Tuesday, March 10, 2015


(etch and patina copper face)

My daughter says I have an open invitation that invites crazy into my life and I am starting think she might be right.  My best friend confirmed it when she said she wished there were hidden cameras in my house so she could see my misadventures played out in real time instead of hearing about them secondhand.  Most of the time I get into these scraps because my head is in the clouds and I am not paying attention, who could with a cloudy head?  But this time was different, in my defense I was paying close attention, inexperience led to this channeling of my Lucy and Ethel moment.
(stamped etched copper)

In Ethel's famous last words, "This is easy, I think we (I) can do it."  That was my exact thought when I took on a lesson in applying patina to metal.  I think a little background is needed to set the scene properly.  About a month ago I took the plunge to do something that I have long wanted to learn, metalsmithing (as applied to jewelry making).  I gifted myself with a class on Valentine's Day and away I went on my learning adventure.
(etched and patina moon and trees)

After covering the lessons on patina and etching applied to different metals I decided to spend a day experimenting with both homemade and manufactured solutions to compare the different results and build up a supply of ready to use pieces.  The etching turned out beautifully and I was ready to tackle the patina.   I am not a complete novice where patina is concerned but there are some methods and products I have never used before...and so the adventure began.
(embossed patina copper)

I happily slathered, dipped, brushed, burned, inked, salted, and soaked.  Blue greens, rusty dreams, spectacular speckles, burnt browns, brackish blacks, giddy success plummeted to sudden distress with the very last thing I tried, something I had never used before.
(play pretties)

I read the directions carefully and plunged into the very last experiment.  Things were going well until my super sniffer begins to tingle with the most unpleasant, distinct, offensive, odoriferous odor I have ever smelled. My eyes started to water. I started to cough and gag.  My nose was burning.  My whole house filled with the green gaseous scent of rotten eggs!
(waiting to become a necklace)

I was immediately catapulted back in my memory to standing on the edge of a volcano that had the same sulfur stench and I suddenly wished I was the sacrificial chicken that I saw tossed over the into the abyss for an offering...no worries the chicken was not alive, it was one of those roasted ones from the Wal-Mart deli...I wondered why anyone would have a picnic on the edge of a sulfur infested volcano...but that is beside the point and a story for another day.
(lovely verdigris on copper)

I grabbed the noxious offender and it splashed on my hands turning my finger nails a sickly shade of yellow green. Coughing, choking, and gagging to the back door I flung the repulsive concoction as far as I could fling it taking deep gulping breaths of fresh cold air.  I scoured and bleached my hands, however, NOTHING helped the stench in my house.
(desk view)

I should have known that if you put anything that tastes as bad as liver and smells as bad a sulfur together into a usable product that it would be a recipe for disaster.  Oh, it did a beautiful patina but it almost did me in!
(butterfly pendant in progress)

Now to tackle those torches...pen torch, mini blazer, stubby torch here I come!


P.S.  If you want to keep up with the artful happenings here at the Quill between blog posts you can follow along on my Facebook page here.  


Lady Locust said...

Liver and sulfur...Yum...?
I'm glad it turned out nice at least:) Also loving the butterfly.

Magpie's Mumblings said...

I'm sorry. I laughed. I will do penance. Reminded me though of the time I made what is now fondly referred to as 'Burnt Offerings Cake' in my household for a friend who was coming over for lunch. She got out of her car just in time to see me throw open the front door and launch a flaming 'something' out into the snowbank. Needless to say there was no dessert for us that day!!

Teddee Grace said...

Can't you tell us, without fear of being sued, what the vile products was?

bobbie said...

Oh, my! But ~ that is how we learn... and you'll never make that same mistake again!
The butterfly is gorgeous; I can't wait to see more of your playing!
Hugs ~

Vee said...

What terrible poisonous thing did you make? I nearly killed myself cleaning bathrooms at church...had to nearly crawl to a window for fresh air....I am so grateful I didn't croak that night....what a horrible end. So you are going to have to promise me to be very careful...perhaps this activity is best saved for your outdoor labaratory. Your pieces are very pretty, of course.

Caterina Giglio said...

ah yes ... the dangers of patina, I know them well... glad you are ok and you might consider gloves as well that stuff doesn't really wash off ... if you know what I mean... x

Dorthe said...

Oh MY !!!Sandy!!! You made me laugh, even nothing to laugh about !!!! What a disaster, --I have never tried that liver sulfur mix ,and think I will not, after reading this story from the real life,lol.
But oh your patinas are all so fantastic looking ,and I wish you happy new playtime, dear !

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