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!

10 comments:

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

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

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

    You do magnificent work!

    Ruth Ann

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  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

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  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.
    Tracey

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  6. Hi Tracey! I've never tried liver of sulphur before, but everyone says it smells just like rotten eggs...so 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 :-)

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

    Happy day to you
    Nicole/Beadwright

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B.
-xo-