Friday, February 12, 2010

Earrings, Emily...and experimenting with eggs

Isn't it great when you come across an artist who inspires you in a whole new way? A few weeks ago I first laid my eyes upon the gorgeous wirework creations of Emily Gray.

Sure, I'd seen plenty of wirework and wire wrapped creations before. But something about Emily's work struck a chord in me instantly, and my usual thought pattern of 'That's cool, I must learn how to do that some day' stepped up a notch to 'Wow, I MUST learn how to do that TODAY!'.

So I found a tute online about how to wire-wrap a briolette (the 'messy on purpose' look...clearly I nailed the 'messy' part! LOL), and flicked through an old copy of Step-by-Step Wire, and off I set on my new journey of discovery.

Whilst I'm a long way off using AAA quality gemstones and sterling silver/gold-filled wire a la Emily, my glass beads and copper wire offer an economical medium whilst I'm learning the ropes. Champagne taste on a beer budget, you know ;-)

I love the look of patinated metal, particularly the antique effect that liver of sulphur has on sterling silver. That deep, buttery gunmetal effect is a great contrast to bright beads and gems. Not having any liver of sulphur just lying around, I resorted to something from my pantry...eggs! I'd read about using a boiled egg to patinate sterling silver, and had heard it could be used on copper also. So I decided to dive in head-first, as always, and try my luck. I boiled a couple of eggs, smashed them up, threw them into a clear zip-lock bag with my newly made wire-wrapped earrings...and stuck the stinky, gooey mess outside in the sun for half a day.

Smelly? Yes! But look at the results:

Before patination:

After patination:

Quite a difference, eh! I was surprised at the result. I really just wanted to create highlights and lowlights, and I think I've achieved that. The earrings were quite dark when I eventually rescued them from the egg bag, so I scuffed them with a kitchen scourer to expose some of the shiny copper beneath.

Not a bad way of using a couple of old eggs which would have been thrown in the bin anyway. Reduce, reuse, recycle...right!

Thanks for looking and be well!


  1. Good for you! It has always been a goal of mine to learn some cool wire techniques. Congrats, the earrings look awesome!

  2. Thank you so much Bella! It was lots of fun (despite the smell! LOL) Just jump right in, I say ;-)

  3. Don't waste your eggs! Your copper is so much prettier left shiny.

    You do magnificent work!

    Ruth Ann

  4. Thank you Ruth Ann! I had a chuckle at the 'save your eggs' comment ;-) The eggs were old and would have been binned anyway, so I was happy to use them up somehow! LOL

  5. Hi Belinda,
    I think the earring's look great, and i really do like the dark look, but i dont know wether I could cope with the smell, lol.
    The beads are ok in the egg Patina??
    I haven't tried this but am tempted to give it a go.
    Thanks for sharing.

  6. Hi Tracey! I've never tried liver of sulphur before, but everyone says it smells just like rotten I guess you're going to get a bad smell whatever you use! LOL At least the eggs are a natural alternative to using chemical patinas, that was part of attraction for me. The beads were fine, they withstood the whole process. I hope you give it a go yourself! All the best, Belinda :-)

  7. Hi Belinda, I so love these earrings. The patina does make a huge difference.

    Happy day to you

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