Skip to main content

Reading About Metallurgy During Sunday Brunch

I'm so surprised that my favorite medium these days is metal. I always thought I'd get back into oil painting or pottery. I'm even more surprised that my favorite book right now is The Complete Metalsmith by Tim McCreight. He took a complicated subject and made an easy-to-read book, and it's spiral bound which is an extra treat.

Here's what I learned while eating my oatmeal with slivered almonds and high-fiber toast this morning.

One ounce of gold can be flattened to a sheet that will cover 100 square feet or drawn to a wire almost a mile long. Gold can be made into a foil that is less than 5 millionth of an inch thick, at which point is is virtually transparent. (I couldn't find a picture of transparent gold for you. Duh.)

When exposed to moist air, copper forms poisonous acetates, sulfates and chlorides known collectively as verdigris. The name comes from "vert-de-grice," Old French for "Green of Greece," a reference to metal sculptures of antiquity.

Copper jewelry with a verdigris patina is available for purchase at Lost Marbles Jewelry.

Brass is an alloy (combination) of copper and zinc. Bronze is copper and tin. Pewter is lead and tin.

When the Washington Monument was completed in 1884, a 100-ounce pyramid of aluminum was made to crown it. At the time this was the largest mass of aluminum ever made. Before placement it was displayed in Tiffany's window in New York.

Aluminum is the most abundant metallic element on the planet, making up eight percent of the earth's crust.

The aluminum airplane bead bracelet is available for purchase at hammerspike jewelry for men.


Popular posts from this blog

Joseph Cornell’s Boxes

Boxes by surrealist artist Joseph Cornell
“Shadow boxes become poetic theaters or settings wherein are metamorphosed the element of a childhood pastime.”
Joseph Cornell was not a sculptor, a draftsman, or a painter. This internationally renowned modern artist never had professional training. He was first and foremost a collector. He loved to scour old book shops and secondhand stores of New York looking for souvenirs, theatrical memorabilia, old prints and photographs, music scores, and French literature. 

Cornell was wary of strangers. This led him to isolate himself and become a self-taught artist. Although he expressed attraction to unattainable women like Lauren Bacall, his shyness made romantic relationships almost impossible. In later life his bashfulness verged toward reclusiveness, and he rarely left the state of New York. However, he preferred talking with women, and often made their husbands wait in the next room when he discussed business with them. He also had numerous friend…

How to Clean Copper After Annealing with a Recipe for Non-Toxic Pickling

This is not your grandmother’s pickling recipe. I’m pickling copper bangle bracelets instead. As you can see by the previous post, I’ve been annealing copper bracelets this week (my first time was Sunday evening). To give you a point of reference, these bangles were dark brown, almost black, when I put them in the pickling solution.

Today I used a recipe for a non-toxic pickle to clean the oxidation from the copper. It was simple: 1 cup white vinegar and 1 tablespoon table salt. I heated it in the microwave for 30 seconds in a glass jar and then put it on my husband’s coffee cup warmer. To test it I stuck a piece of annealed 6 gauge wire in it, and it worked beautifully. I only had to brush a little of the black stuff off, and it was bright, shiny copper again. Better yet, the brushing didn’t take a lot of effort.

Feeling very successful I doubled the batch and dropped all six bangles in and left them for about 15 minutes. When I came back the black was flaking off nicely and floating…

Eulogy for a Difficult Mother - what I wish I’d said at my mother’s funeral

I fell in love with my Mother for the first time on the night she died. It was May 20 of this year. Less than two months ago.

That doesn’t mean I didn’t love her before. I believe that all children love their mothers, but all mothers don’t necessarily love their children. My mother was a loving woman, but my sadness is that she loved her husbands more than she loved her children. In spite of that I always loved her. Every day of my life.

Mother had a difficult time living with bipolar disorder in a time when the only treatment was hospitalization and useless counseling, and the medications for it were toxic. It wasn’t until the last decade of her life that everything came together for her, and she was able to live well and with some peace.

On the evening before she died her husband called to say she had not awakened that morning but she was still breathing. Her doctor told us two or three years ago that she would not suffer with renal failure and that she would gradually lose energy,…