Birthday Fun!

04/27/2011

 
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Marina called me up one morning all excited because her friend Lynda's birthday was coming up and she wanted to treat her to a class. We planned out the day and time and knew we were going to give her a fun birthday present. The day came and after giving them all their options we decided to do something more funky and fun! Marina picked a square piece of brass that I done a salt, vinegar and ammonia patina on to set in silver with a copper ball accent to  make a ring. Lynda picked a long slab of quartz to set in silver and a faceted rutilated quartz bead to make a pendant. We had a great time and they left with some beautiful unique pieces, Happy Birthday Lynda!
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I was playing around with patinas for a project and thought "I should write an article on this!" Truthfully I am always thinking about things I could write about from what the clouds are doing to strange thoughts that float through my head. This thought made me grab a camera though because I would like to have an article published in one of the jewelry trade magazines. So here is how it began...

I bought all the ingredients and selected my different metals...

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Then I made 2 different batches to seal up in the rubbermaids - one with salt moistened with vinegar and ammonia in a cup and the other with loose tobacco moistened with vinegar and ammonia in a cup. The vinegar and salt/tobacco react to the fumes of the ammonia and create a cool chemical reaction on the surface of the metals. I tried copper, brass, nickel and steel and remembered that silver didn't do anything when we (my son and I) did this for a science experiment a few years ago. My Jackson is currently in Chemistry in high school and I keep telling him to pay attention so he can teach me cool things I can do like this but he doesn't want to be bothered with it. Really I just wish someone would have told me that I would actually be using what I (didn't) learn in my chemistry class, then maybe I wouldn't have failed it and transferred to Astronomy instead. I still love stars but that is not what this post is about...
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So back to our regularly scheduled program...The key is not to have them in a cool dark place (I learned the hard way!) After 2 days of waiting for them to slowly do something I decided to put them on the dashboard of my car in the sun, the warmest place I could think of since my car interior is black! This was my genius move of the day as it turned out because it sped the process up quite nicely. I didn't get a photo of them baking in my car but this is what they looked like when they came out.

Pretty cool, huh?

I also learned that it's best not to completely cover the metal because the magic happens in the spaces, kinda like outer space... I had opened them up to check on them at some point and removed a bunch of the tobacco and salt to let the surface breathe a little more. These pieces will have to be cold connected into my jewelry designs because I don't know what would happen to the cool patterns and colors because they didn't teach that in my Astronomy class... one small step for Brittany, one large step towards actually writing that article...