Friday, 13 January 2012

More spankle colours and patination experiments

Here are a couple of new spankle bead colours for 2012. Navy and aqua (yes, yes, I KNOW ... more blue!) :-) I can't help it, I LIKE blue!
I've been busily restocking my Etsy shop after it got emptied before Christmas. The aqua spankles went very fast so I'll be making more of those.

I'd usually be working on new jewellery designs at this time of year and I have got ideas in my head but I've got a poorly hand at the moment, seeing the doctor about it this afternoon. It's been very sore in the mornings since just before Christmas. I think I overdid it on bending memory wire (it's very tough material). I thought I'd just pulled a muscle and with the Christmas break (and not doing much), I expected it would get better by itself but it hasn't. Beadmaking doesn't hurt too much for most of the beads I'm making but any hammering or filing is difficult; basically anything that involves rotating the hand is painful. I'm not having a moan about it (it's my own stupid fault for making 16 memory wire bracelets in one day ...) I just wanted to explain why there's no new jewellery designs so I'm not just writing this for sympathy (but any going spare would be gratefully received!) :-)

In the meantime, I'm experimenting with organic means of patinating silver that doesn't involve liver of sulphur or platinol. I don't like working with chemicals if I can avoid it, both of the chemicals mentioned are smelly and messy. To avoid doing the patination myself, I have been buying pre-patinated items and wire from Daisychain Extra, an excellent Etsy shop but one of my new year resolutions for Sooz Jewels is to make my own earwires and I can't expect someone else to patinate them. I am addicted to Jo's clasps, my customers adore them, so I'll definitely still be buying those!

So far I have run trials using uncooked and cooked egg yolks. The former doesn't work at all. The latter worked but the tutorial said it would only take 24 hours. My earwires and headpins needed 4 days imprisoning in a little plastic container with mashed up egg before it became dark enough (I'm after gun metal grey, something that looks vintage). After 4 days at room temperature, this was just as smelly and messy as the chemical means (but at least you don't need a Health & Safety sheet when you buy and cook eggs!) The patinated finish from the cooked egg method is also quuite uneven which is disappointing (I might do a photo when all my experiments are finished).

The instructions say to make sure the silver is very clean in order to get an even finish using the cooked egg method. I degreased the silver using alcohol, tumble polished with mild detergent, and then rinsed very thoroughly, only handled the silver using plastic tweezers. If the silver needs more cleaning than this, then I don't think this is the system for me.

I have read that you can use old kitty-litter (the ammonia produced by the decaying cat's urine is the thing that colours the metal apparently). Anyway, I don't have a cat, both my sisters have two but they live well over half an hour's drive away. So I've used my own wee (is that shocking?!) This is just out of interests sake to see if my urine is effective. Please be assured that even though the silver isn't directly touching the urine (it's just in contact with the fumes), I have absolutely no plans on using urine-patinated silver in jewellery that I sell!

I also have some silver hanging up in the shower to see if that will do it. These latest two experiments have only been running for two days though so I'll report back on results as and when anything happens!

And so my thoughts turn to the weekend, it's very strange for me to have a Saturday where there's no Art & Craft market to go to. Normally I'm running around like a mad thing on Fridays! The market starts back at All Saints on the 28th so I'll have to think of something nice to do instead; I hope everyone has a lovely weekend!