Friday, March 29, 2013

Another Country Cuff Bracelets...

I've been busily working away on various projects in the background.  I've been challenging myself creatively all month long and it has opened the floodgates.  All kinds of ideas have been pouring forth and I have been very productive.  These cuffs are just a few of the things I've been working on.

The bracelets are composed of layered copper sheet metal that have been riveted together.  The base layer was flame polished and the upper layer was etched and colored.  Each bracelet has a different focal.  In this picture, (starting at the bottom) there's a fine silver and ceramic rake disc from MAKUstudio, in the middle there's a lampwork glass disc from Stephanie Ann, and at the top there's a speckled black glass disc from Joanne Zekowski of Z Designs in Glass.

Before I was interested in jewelry, my background was in fine arts.  I was always interested in the mirroring forms of the microcosm and the macrocosm.  I did a body of work that blended cellular mutations (like cancer) with modern day cartography.  I also used to do etchings.

In making these cuffs, I decided to rattle the bones and bring up ghosts of projects past.  I drew on the copper sheeting, in a similar style to the work I used to make.  I then etched the surface of the copper.  This is a different process than the one I did in college.  Back then, we covered the backs in a substance called asphaltum varnish, coat the fronts in a melted wax, and then use a stylus to inscribe the wax.  Where ever we removed the material, the acid would eat away the metal.  Once it was dipped in acid, they were cleaned and inked up and ready for printing.  But instead of using the plates as a vehicle to transfer images, I used this one as the image.

After the plate was etched, I cut it into stripes, filed the edges on the pieces and then flame polished them.  Flame polishing doesn't create a stable colorant.  It can be worn off or can darken.  To sort of stabilize the color, I sealed it with a spray fixative.  The cool iridescence and trippy metallics are lost, but some of the colors remain and are subdued from their original technicolor brilliance.  I then went back over the strips with Guilder's Paste to accentuate the colors.

Once the decorative strips were finished, I assembled the cuffs.  After etching, the strips alone could not be formed into bracelets.  They needed a backing to provide extra strength and frame the little pieces of art.


Katie Hacker said...

Andrew, these are amazing! I love them. And, it's cool to read about your arty background, too.

Unknown said...

I do love the simple, easy look of these. Thank you so much for explaining the process. Did you re-seal them after you applied the Gilder's paste? I've not used it before, so maybe you don't have to with that product. I think what I really love is that each one is, like you say, a tiny work of art. Great job!

Anonymous said...

The decorative strips are beautiful.