Samstag, 31. Januar 2015

How (finally) I managed to oxidise my brass stampings!

If you work with metal and use liver of sulphur for oxidation you may know that this work well for copper and silver but not really good if at all for brass. Still, I like this small brass stampings. They are sturdy, cute and also cheap. I bought them on a craft fair and to be honest, there is never a great selection but the dragon fly and frog is cute enough.

Cute... but bright golden yellow shiny (aka as not mine)...

Here is how the looked at the beginning.

...and here is how black I can get them after oxidation with liver of sulphur! Okay, the dragon fly on the left got just a little bit of darkening and I also brushed a lot of but the others are a lovely blackish colour! They have a little bit of shine due to renaissance wax.

How I got there? By heating them up with a torch! Brass being mostly a mixture between tin and copper heats up quite easily. You have to be careful how to treat it (and yes, it is easy to make brass head pins, the only necessary trick is to flux the wire before!) and not to overdo it but also to heat enough. Mh... but to be honest... you don't have to be too careful. These little brass stampings are not expensive and there is not a lot that can really go wrong. 

If it does not oxidise enough after heating/pickling, just heat them up again. If you heated too much (which is not soooo fast done with a micro torch, I didn't manage until now!), it is just melted. Since the small stampings are not expensive, that is okay.

On the upper dragon flies I got a nice heat patina. Lovely! Now I have to try to preserve it (I know, I know... not really easy/possible). On the middle right butterfly you can see how flakes fall of the stamping after the heating. This is mostly tin while the surface now has more coppery tone. And yes, that means more copper on the surface!

Just a mild pickle (I use normal household vinegar and salt and just add a bit of boiling water to get it warm) and then you can use your liver of sulphur! 

Look at the pink shades...! If only I could preserve them...!

So there it was. My simple and easy trick to get my brass stamping black! (or just a little bit duller, darker, more colourful ^^)

I am posting this because I stumbled over so many postings online from people trying to get their brass. Originally I thought how easy this was, I mean after all this is also how it functions with the oxidation of brass after being etched (you get more copper at the surface on the etched areas because tin and copper react different). Treating now a metal mixture with heat where both kinds of metal have different melting temperatures just was a small jump for me (first thing I did after is was not working with just really hot water and liver of sulphur). But then I thought if so many people are trying to do this: Here is my trick and I hope it may be helpful to you :)

Dienstag, 20. Januar 2015

"Reminiscence" - Earrings

This is going to be a rather short blog entry (not on images but on text). It is dark and late and I am really tired. Still I wanted to show you some of my newest earrings! The beads are made by Julie from uglibeads (have a look here) and yes, even if she has her etsy shop (here) you may rather be lucky to catch up some of her beads by facebook. But sorry, no chance against me to get more of these etched dichronic beauties (at least I hope so ^^). 

Edit: It seems I put a wrong link to her etsy shop. Now it is the right link. I hope you all went to Julie's blog first and could head over to her shop from there :)

I added some old african beads. They are between 400 to 800 years old. Just a touch to add a deeper story. The bead caps are actually oxidised brass stars. I found a way how to use liver of sulphur with brass! The dangles are cut wire sheet, hammered and oxidised (and polished with a nail board!9

...look at the shimmer of the gorgeous beads!

...and more sparkles... (nearly the same image, I know but I couldn't get myself to delete it)

Originally I wanted to take some pictures before I post these earrings but it seems that the weather report says that the sun won't be seen again soon. Maybe I will add an additional image to show you an impression how nice they dangle and move!

But I was bale to catch the tiny wee green sparkle in the depths of the pink beads!

Montag, 19. Januar 2015

"Dark memories" - Earrings

You remember that I told you I won a bead giveaway from Niky? You can find her blog silver niknats here :) 

She included the red facetted beads as well as the black rough big nuggets. Big as in big... the look great but... big, you know? But I thought this was a great challenge... 

I struggled quite a lot but finally got a design together. I soldered and hammered some copper rings and added next to the beads Niky's wire findings. They are quite heavy but still okay. Maybe not for the whole day but easily (for me) for an evening.

I was quite unsure about them. Until I put them on. They look great! Strange that I still not trust my own sense for design but it seems that I have a feeling for balance for actually worn earrings ^^ They grew on me until I really love them now! Weird and bold but still also balanced and lovely :)

Sonntag, 18. Januar 2015

Chain ideas - Playing with material

Okay, one of my own self-inflicted challenges is to create more necklaces. I am getting there, slowly and one step for me is to play a little bit with chains or rather with chain-making. I wanted to show you some of my ideas / experiments.

This one is just a connection between donut/rondelle glass beads (they are lovely and quite irregular in size). This chain moves beautifully, falls nicely and adds a nice weight without being heavy.

I also connceted thwin beeds with jump rings. Because the holes in the twin beads are relatively small and I aso had to use tiny jump rings, I could just fit one bead on one jump ring. Hence there is always a connection jump ring in between. 

It looks lovely and normally I am more bold in style but this fragile looking delicate chain I just adore :)

Quite easy one but also effective: Connecting big jump rings with small ones. For me I need to balance this by adding more of the smaller jump rings between the big ones.

This is how the chains started ;)

Or how about connecting vintage mother-of-pearl buttons with bronze rings? I never can decide which side of the button I prefer: The shiny one or the organic, rough one with the rest of the shells visible :)

An example of just wire wrapping beads and connect them. This are some of my precious (although originally cheap ones!) pressed glass beads. They have a feeling / looks that always brings past times into my mind. If you know where I could get more, please tell me!

Okay, I couldn't edit this image! I already have more chain versions on my table but need some more time to take pictures. :)

Samstag, 17. Januar 2015

"Old flowers" Yellow and I - again - earrings

Just... finally... the earrings I made with some of my polymer clay beads. In fact of the polymer clay beads I made for my first self-set use-yellow challenge ;)

...and of course... I included the price tag on the picture... sorry! But it is dark and grey and I need some lighter day to take new pictures... grrrr....

I named them old flowers because the white czech glass beads are over 25 years old and fit so well with the yellow beads that also have a kind of vintage feeling for me :)

Freitag, 16. Januar 2015

"Bristly rose" - Earrings

This may be the first pair of earrings in this style I show you. But believe me I already made a lot of them over the past weeks. There is something in the dangling long form and the shape with the heavier top and small drop at the end that speaks to me. I even lost one from another pair I just had to keep for myself. Grrr. But I still may have enough of the right beads to make a second one again. 

They consist mostly of czech glass beads, new ones as well as old one. Therefor it is sometimes possible to recreate a second one after losing it (normally I won't repeat myself even in the rare opportunities where I could). But since I am also using vintage beads, beads from recycled jewelery, found objects and so on, this is not always the case.

I really like the colour combination with this opal blue beads popping out in the middle without disturbing the overall disturbance. Also it seems that nowadays I really prefer to create long earrings. But hey, they look good! ^^

Donnerstag, 15. Januar 2015

Some impression of the pink advent calendar 2014!

Every year again I create a pink advent calendar for a very dear and close friend. Quite often I am missing the right words to express how this person means to me. How thankful I am to have her in my life. How impressed I was and still am that some persons will stay at your side even your darkest moments.

I can't put all of this in words.

But I can create a pink advent calendar! :)

So here we go... some impressions...

Long silver filled wire I annealed, hammered and oxidised to create these long dangling earrings with small gorgeous czech glass drops. 

Yes, quite long but I love the long and slender shape! Still organic ^^

As bright contrast the bright and shiny silver with sparkling pink swarowski beads. Quite easy to make but such a lovely effect.

Especially compared to some of my polymer clay beads with crackles and bumps!

Also at least a teaser because it was dark and there was nooooo way to take a good picture from the wing pendant and necklace *sighs*.

Mittwoch, 14. Januar 2015

"Captured moments" - Necklace

Don't ask me how many times I tried to capture this necklace on camera. It was really, really hard. The etched brass is quite dark and while I love the organic, worn, rough and edgy look... and the nice contrast to the shimmering and bright beauty of the pearl... my camera hated it. You see: The pearl is way too bright... but the only way I could somehow capture the necklace ;)

I created several necklaces with my etched brass pieces... but already sold several without having a chance to take a picture. Actually I sold them to one of the persons I shared a booth with at the christmas market. She said she would send me some picture where she wears them :)

Dienstag, 13. Januar 2015

"Dia de muertos" - necklace

Yellow again. Yellow. Yellowish yellow. Bright sunshine yellow. I used the yellow beads! They were part of one of the inspiration kits from Rebecca's "The Curious Bead Shop" (I get a monthly bead package! :)).

But the flowers and the small facetted bead went surprisingly well with my tiny skull (made from polymer clay). Better than I could have imagined and even better than any other colour I had available. Yellow it was.

I just added a delicate bronze chain. It is now a cute little dia de muertos necklace.

With yellow... ^^

Montag, 12. Januar 2015

Inspirations: "Weihnachtsspaziergang" (Leipzig)

Second christmas day walk - we captured some sun rays :) Maybe you can even see the university, the "Gasometer" or the new town hall (which is still old but just younger than the old town hall ^^).

Sonntag, 11. Januar 2015

"Inner glow" - More dia de muertos earrings!

Some more dia de muertos skulls I made with polymer clay (fimo). This time a little bit bigger and due to that of course also with more flowers! I also made more tiny dia de muertos earring / studs but they already sold on my last christmas fair before I took (good) pictures. Not that I didn't try... but grey and grey and grey... that doesn't work for any good picture :/

These big czech glass bead drops are really going into my category of favored bead types! Just have a look at the glow! 

They are even yellow. Yellow! And I love them! Not only this: It was even easy to use them. Maybe, just maybe I am finally able to work with yellow :)

Samstag, 10. Januar 2015

Creating new components - I added more metal to my work!

Some components like these ones you may already have seen in my former blog entries. But I just have to show you my newest ones. Okay, that is not exactly true: The shell and sea urchin I already created some time ago. But they were christmas presents (one for my brother and one for the friend of my sister). Just simple necklaces: The bronze clay pieces as pendants combined with grey waxed linen. 

Next to my dremel for drilling and polishing and so on... I also got the dremel torch! This allows me to actually work with metal clay like the bronze clay (this is a version which works in small pieces with a torch) as well as to solder or just anneal metal.

I need to anneal the metal in order to hammer it again and again... like the long stick-like shape or connectors or whatever they could be. I use them for earrings. The rings are copper wire soldered with silver hard solder since I also want to hammer them. Also you can see the backside of my little bronze clay pieces :)

And just so you can get an idea about the size: My universal ruler - the hand!

Oh, by the way, do you know what "new" tool I discovered? That works perfectly for metal as well as polymer clay? Emery boards for nails! Of course I have sand paper and fabric, polishing cloth and all the same for my dremel... but nothing beat the emery boards in the ease to use and hey, they are not expensive. Maybe after all I even may start polishing my polymer clay beads a little bit more ^^

Freitag, 9. Januar 2015

"Summer memories" - Earrings

A new pair of my "trash" earrings. No, I didn't call them like this but a customer at the christmas fair did. I was sharing the both with other people (a big both and in total we were six persons!) and every day two of us would be at the both selling the things of every one. Since the fair was going over several days, this was the only chance for all of us to participate. I was there only at the weekend (during the week you can find me in the research lab.. or... to be honest... nowadays mostly at the computer *sniff*). 

I had my first pair of this kind of earrings at the fair... and it seems that someone came back in a hurry (at one of the days I was not here) and ask if they still had the "earrings made of.. trash or something like that...!".  ;) As long as they are loved they can be called whatever they like! (and the material was trash... so yes, they are right... but we all had to laugh) :)

Donnerstag, 8. Januar 2015

"Carnival" - Earrings made out of tin

The long tin parts were in their first life part of a metal tuna box from spain. Yes, we ate the tuna during our stay on formentera... and I washed the tin and brought it back to germany. Strangely enough but instead of tuna box feeling they are giving me a vintage carnival or circus feeling. 

I combined them with tiny wee beautiful lampwork beads made by Sue Reynolds (you can find her etsy shop here but I snapped this beauties in a lampwork auction fb group :) ). They are a deep purple even if they appear more bluish on the picture. But even with daylight my camera went on strike to capture the real beautiful purple colour.... grrrr....

I tried with different background on my balcony... (in case you wonder about the background) but the red even enhances the blue impression.

The same with a blue background...

My winter pale skin colour was also not helpful...

At least you can get an idea about the length. The tin itself is really thin and lightweight but sturdy and even slightly flexible. Yes, it was expensive tuna... but the tin was so beautiful! (also: This tuna is individual line caught not with a dragnet.. this is what makes the prize so high, not the beautiful tin)


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