Thursday, January 6, 2011

Copper or not to Copper...that really isn't the question...=P

I may have learned things backwards from how most people learn about working with metal, or so it seems. I have been working with silver for about 3 years now (yowza, where has the time gone?), that is what I started with. Seems as though most start with copper because it is cheaper and then they move on to silver.
I attended a metal texture workshop, in December, taught by Amy Reeves (one of my favorite metalsmiths). I was so excited, I was going to finally learn what to do with my rolling mill (aka Chunk-a-Munk). Chunk-a-Munk had been a Christmas present the year before, but I was not sure how to even get started. Anyways in this class Amy had us use copper, due to how much silver costs have gone up in the last year.

I heard many different things about copper, mostly what I remembered was it was a pain in the butt to saw. Well that part was right! Though I found it was very different from silver once it was annealed. I felt like I had to work-harden it more then silver. Which surprised me.

The other thing that I had never done was use Liver of Sulpher (LOS). I had mostly used the egg method to "antique" my silver. I found this didn't work on copper quite as well. So I broke down and bought LOS and gave it a whirl. It took me a bit to get the hang of it, but it worked and it was fast.

The piece I made that day in class was a bracelet for my mom. Crazy enough I didn't get any pictures of it...note to self "borrow the bracelet, take pics and post on blog"!

Since that class I have figured out my Chucnk-a-Munk. I have a bracelet posted here that I used cloth leaves on, with Chunk-a-munk. It isn't exactly what I pictured, but good for a first attempt. Also, I have a bracelet pictured, that I made for a friend as a Christmas gift. I put small swirls on it with a punch and antiqued it.
As copper is cheaper and I really like the look when it is LOS'd, I think I will keep experimenting with it.


  1. They are both nice, but I love that leaf one!

  2. I definitely prefer the leaf, but I generally prefer leaves :)

    If you plan on sawing a lot of copper, try the Knew Concepts saw. Copper is the first thing I ever tried on on and good, golly was it nice.

  3. Lovely work! I'm in love with the leaf bracelet in particular. :)

  4. I agree about the Knew concepts saw with copper. LOVE the leaf bracelet!

  5. Beautiful Janea! I, like you, started with silver and worked backwards! :D

  6. Nice work, Janea. Love the leaves. Try combining copper and silver. I love the look.

  7. You could do a whole line of jewelry along the lines of that leaf cuff. It's just gorgeous!

  8. Do you use the silver clay? My sister-in-law loves that stuff.