Friday, October 28, 2016
To Patina or Not to Patina?
I am going to say something personal here before I get to the patina bit in the hopes that it benefits someone out there reading.
I have a terrible form of arthritis, called psoriatic arthritis (similar to rheumatoid arthritis). For a very long time, almost 2 years, I was nearly bedridden by it. The pain has been excruciating. My feeble attempts at walking any distance ended with huge setbacks and more debilitating pain.
I have been very fortunate in that my hands have been spared the arthritis, so far. It's my larger joints, tendons and bursas that tend to be terribly inflamed. I am also fortunate that there are so many new medicines available now. You may have seen ads for Enbrel and Humira. I tried them both. Neither worked for me very well or for very long. But, the last one I've tried, Otezla, has been working fantastically! It's like a miracle! And, unlike the others, it's a 2x daily pill and not a bi weekly shot. Yay!
If you suffer from a chronic ailment, like an autoimmune disease, and you have given up hope- know that there IS something out there that will help you or will be. It may take a while to find, but you WILL find it. Medicines have gotten so good in the last 10 years and advances still keep marching on. Don't give up hope. I did. I was miserable- hence my lack of blogging for the past year. I just had no enthusiasm for much of anything. But, now I feel I have a new lease on life. :) I had to share that because I know of a lot of people who have taken up jewelry making as a hobby because of an illness or physical limitation. My hope is that any of you reading find the right treatment for yourself.
Now, back to jewelry... You know that once you add a patina to copper or silver, you are pretty much stuck with it. I am one who happens to really like shiny silver. It is true that it is harder to care for, but storing properly and using a good polishing cloth, like a Sunshine cloth, go a long way towards keeping your silver nice and sparkly. Sometimes, though, a piece really calls for a patina, especially if there is weaving involved because it does such a great job bringing out the detail and texture.
I just finished a piece in silver and had a dilemma. I love the clean silver look with the beautiful, icy labradorescence of blue kyanite. But, I also love a patina on woven bails. I really didn't want the frame to have a patina. So, I figured that I would just dip the bail of the piece in liver of sulfur. If I didn't like it, I could always dip the rest and do the whole thing.
I added hot water to a bowl and dipped in the bail to measure the correct height for the patina solution. Once I got it right, I added the gel and did the patina. I am so glad that I did it. The difference, to me, is striking. Here's a few quick pictures to show you the before and after...
Speaking of patinas. Are you still using steel wool to remove the excess patina? Are you using the 3M "spider" wheels to do it? I have done both, preferring the old fashioned, messy steel wool. But, now, I almost exclusively use a soft brass brush. It not only removes just the right amount of patina, but it also leaves a beautiful satin finish. If you don't like the finish, just go over it with a polishing cloth. Also, it gets into really small spots very nicely, like in between the weaving wires. I remember reading about this on Mary Tucker's blog when I bought my first brush. I used it on copper all the time, but just switched to using it on silver, as well. In fact, I have two brushes- one for silver and one for copper- which I recommend you do, too.
Thanks for reading and enjoy your day!