dabbling in a new medium

hey there, readers. i know it’s been ages since i posted…please do forgive my absence! my mind is a scattered mess these days. trying to organize my thoughts can be likened to trying to tee oneself out of a sand trap–not terribly graceful or effective. the summer has been busy–full of travels and family visits–and hence, it has been a struggle to keep tabs on my days and keep them structured. the summer is winding down, though, so i feel a little more anchored as cooler days approach, and my favorite season tempts me with its inevitable, yet gradual arrival.

by the way, i finally climbed out of a full-fledged creative funk a couple of weeks ago, and finished some new pieces for the shop. if you haven’t seen them, come take a look! you can find them here.

now, if you know my work, then you know that i have a love affair with history and nature, and i dig vintage. something else you should know about me is that i have a major soft spot for watercolor. it is one of many art forms that my creative self longs to explore and master. andrew wyeth is one of my absolute idols.

when i decided that i wanted to dabble in painting with my jewelry, i chose gilders paste. i wanted vibrant colors that i could blend to create a watercolor effect, and i think i made the right choice. don’t get me wrong–it has been trial and error as i acquainted myself with the medium, and there is a pile of failures stowed away in a plastic bag to remind me that Rome wasn’t built in a day.

among my myriad of hubrises, i tend to be rather impatient, so this whole endeavor was a major study in patience. just so you know, i am accustomed to using a chemical darkener that works in seconds, and a hair dryer to move things along. raw brass comes in a rough state, full of edges that need to be filed, and machine oil that needs to be scrubbed off. the prepping process often leaves me mumbling under my breath and sighing. a lot. so much so, that i tend to skip at least the scrubbing process and just heat it and dunk it. done and done.

well, when applying color, i had to concede to not cutting corners. i needed maximum adhesion, which meant that i needed to prep the brass by drilling it, scrubbing it in soapy water, filing the rough spots, AND roughing up the surface a little with some fine steel wool to get it ready to prime. yes…in order to achieve the effect i wanted, i found that i needed to use a primer. two coats to be precise. and these coats need at least 24 hours to cure.

the gilders paste itself requires 12 hours to cure, and needs around three coats to achieve the opacity that i was after. in true jewelryvixen form, i set about to shave some time off the process, and discovered that a food dehydrator could shorten that time by half, so i picked up a cheap used one on ebay. amazingly, in my desire to hurry things along, i found that the low heat of the dehydrator actually made a more durable finish on each coat, which makes things SO much better, all the way around. score!

i’m not quite ready to debut the finished products yet, because, well, they’re not quite finished. i am very close, however, and i am crossing my fingers that you peeps will adore them as much as i do. 

gilders paste_2 smaller

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One response

  1. Pingback: gird your loins…it’s almost a new year! | jewelryvixen

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