Making, Metalsmithing

Metal Forming #3

Tuesday evenings I have Metal Forming. It’s getting to be more of a challenge as the season progresses – my day job is super intense right now, and it was a cold walk to the train … with the threat of rain or sleet.

In spite of all that, it felt great to get outside for some fresh air and exercise. However, the combination of winter gear and my mask is pretty ridiculous:

Today we covered synclastic forming and patinas. As I understand it, this type of forming is basically getting the metal to curve inwards. Anticlastic forming (which we didn’t have time to cover) would turn the metal into a saddle shape.

Instructor samples
Begin with a 6 inch strip of metal
Using a small dip in the block,
continue to shape the metal
After annealing, the piece is worked over a stake to deepen the curve in the metal
A book recommendation
Many more samples

One of the many things I admire about Darlys work (which you can see here) is the beautifully nuanced patinas that she applies to her pieces.

She has a simpler, more predictable solution (heh heh see what I did there?) than the chemistry experiments from my Color on Metal class. Darlys recommends buying the ready-made patinas from Sculpt Nouveau. They work on both copper and brass:

The picture below will give you an idea of what the blue patina might look like on brass. Keep in mind that this would normally need to set for a few days, so it’s not completely representative of what the final outcome would be.

Darlys showed us some heat patinas as well. This is a piece of copper that she sanded with a rough grit sandpaper. Then she used a wax product on the warm metal to paint a design. She heats the copper to the point where it looks like it’s going to melt, and then she dumps it in the neutralizing solution in the glass pan.

For such a simple process, I thought the outcomes were pretty spectacular!

After the demos, I heated up a copper disc so I could try to make another little bowl like we did the first week. Along the way I got this amazing splash of color. It was just a matter of how the torch painted the metal. Definitely something I want to play with some more!

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