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Showing posts from January, 2015

New Earrings And Having Fun With Bronze Sheet

Continuing my experiments with and learning more about working with bronze, I had a go at etching some bronze sheet last week. It came out really well and behaved very similarly to copper. The only difference was it took slightly longer to etch than copper - about an hour and 45 minutes compared to 30 to 40 minutes with copper.

The design stamped on the bronze sheet.

The results of the etching after the first rinse. 

The etched sheet after removing the ink with nail varnish remover and giving it a scrub with steel wool.
So the next step was to make something with the etched bronze sheet!  Heating and pickling bronze results in it being covered with layer of copper. I'm not sure if this occurs due to heat from the torch during annealing/soldering or if it's the result of the bronze going into the pickle {maybe someone will tell me} but the bronze has a definite copper hue after it's taken out of the pickle as you can see in this photo.


Luckily someone commented on one of m…

Experimenting With Liquid Enamel

Something that's been on my to-do list for a while now is trying liquid enamel. I had a few weeks "break" over Christmas {not really a break as I was making new stuff!} so at long last I got round to ordering some of the liquid enamel powders. I got a few basic colours and a white so I could mix different shades. I also bought a white crackle base powder to experiment with.

I mixed up the colours with distilled water in totally unsuitable containers - too tall and thin and I've since bought some wider pots - and started painting. I applied the liquid enamels to a base of cream opaque and on two of the pieces I fired a layer of white crackle base before applying the liquid enamel.

Lumps in the enamel means I didn't mix properly!

Once I'd finished painting I set the copper pieces onto a warmed soldering block to speed up drying. When they were dry I started scratching designs {I use that word in the loosest possible context} into the dried enamel using a wood…

New Handmade Bronze Jewellery Findings

I  became intrigued with bronze a few weeks ago and decided to try using it to make some findings and bangles as a change from copper. Bronze is widely available in the UK but you do have to search a bit for the thicker gauges if that's what you're after. I found a lot of the thinner gauges at wires.co.uk for reasonable prices although it is more expensive than copper.
Bronze is an alloy of copper and tin but is also mixed with other materials like phosphor, zinc, aluminium and silicon which alters it's properties depending on what the bronze is to be used for. I think the bronze I have is phosphor bronze and I did expect it to behave very much like copper when heated. It does behave a lot like copper but it does have it's quirks too.......
Quirk #1  When you form a ball on the end of the bronze wire the heat causes the copper content to rise to the surface giving you in effect a copper ball end.

The first photo shows the bronze wire straight after forming the {copper}…

Say Hello, Wave Goodbye - It's 2015!

Photo: Richard Wezensky on Flickr {Creative Commons}
First things first - Happy New Year!! Here's hoping it will be a good one for us all.
The title of this post is from a song by Soft Cell from 1981. That was the year I left school and it was one of my favourite songs of that time. It made me think of seeing in the new year and saying farewell to the old.
I've been looking back at my posts through 2014 and I think one of the biggest turning points concerning my jewellery making was the decision to put a garden shed in what was already a pretty small backyard and turn it into my workshed or "shed of wonders" as my friend Nicki describes it.

This photo was taken shortly after I moved in to the shed in April 2014 when there was sunshine and it was warm enough to leave the door open.....At the moment I'm using an electric radiator in the shed which is ok and does take the chill off but it can get pretty cold in there at times, although a spot of soldering soon warm…