Lately I have been sneaking in moments to play in the studio. Unsure of what will become of some of this, I'm having lots of fun reticulating yellow brass and sterling silver. These first couple of images are parts are destined for a wall piece- fusing silver and copper filings to copper sheet.
patinated with liver of sulpher:
To fuse filings, start with a clean copper or silver surface and cover with flux. When the flux looks clear and glassy, sprinkle clean silver and/or copper filings onto the surface and continue to heat until the metal is glowing red. Pickle, and clean with pumice and a brass brush.
16 gauge yellow brass
more 16 gauge yellow brass, patinated with gun blue
this last image is of a piece of reticulated 18 gauge yellow brass
Its easy to reticulated brass- just heat the metal until red hot and pickle eight times. Then, heat the metal until evenly warmed. Using a sharp, hot flame, heat up an area of the metal until it is near melting point. Move the flame away slowly, and you will see the metal begin to buckle. Keep moving across the metal until you have completed reticulating the piece. Definitely work with good ventilation, and my best advice is to work with a piece of metal that is about 3 inches by 3 inches to avoid melting through until you get the hang of it.
I am so enjoying the instant gratification of such dramatic texture. In three short weeks, I will begin to teach a class here at Arrowmont about surfaces. I can't wait to share this with the students. What I think is so great about these techniques is in their simplicity. All they require are metal, a little flux, a pickle pot and a torch; pretty minimal for such interesting results. Start adding patinas, and the sky is the limit...