Monday, May 11, 2009

Happy accident

Last week I had some oxidized brass stampings that I wanted to get the oxidation off, so I could color them with alcohol-based inks. I dropped them into a salt and vinegar solution with every intention of coming back in a couple of hours with some Brasso and an old toothpaste to get the last bits of oxidation off...and then forgot about them for two days, by which time the vinegar had completely evaporated and the salt had re-crystalized into bright blue crystals. I rinsed that off and found that the findings had acquired a beautiful, uneven, variegated blue-green patina.

Okay, I've heard about getting a patina on brass with salt and vinegar, but nobody ever suggested the results would be this interesting if you let the solution evaporate down to nothing. Now I'm going to try to do it on purpose, using a brass stamping I'm not very fond of and a scrap of cloth painted with two bronzing powders from Gold Leaf and Metal Powders: "dark gold oxidized" and "copper."

I think patinated fabric would be fun to work with - on a wall hanging or something else that isn't going to be washed; I have a feeling washing would take off the patina.

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