Liver of sulfur on silver

Carol Holaday rings
three rings with LOS
Carol Holaday - ring
Bird in a Bush ring

Three new rings created for the recent sale at Monterey Peninsula College. Showing these as examples of the colors that can be achieved on silver using liver of sulfur patina.

Liver of Sulfur for a rainbow of colors on silver –  adapted from instructions provided by Katherine Palochak.

2 C. hot water

about a half teaspoon of LOS gel (or can use dry lump form)

1 Tbsp. clear, plain ammonia

1 tsp. salt (I use kosher)

Dissolve the LOS in the hot water, then add the other ingredients. Stir well. Color of water will be yellow.

Dip piece to be patinated into a container of very hot water to pre-heat the metal, then briefly dip into the LOS solution.

Next dip it in a container of ice water to stop the action and set the patina.

Repeat as necessary to achieve the colors you want. Best to build up color slowly.  Color will develop beginning with straw gold and ending at total black. Left too long in the LOS and the black can become too thick and flake off.

This recipe is particularly good for the dark purple and blue iridescent colors although I have achieved some remarkable orange and magenta colors as well… as seen on the ring at right in photo.

Try different amounts of ammonia and salt (iodized salt gives a different color than kosher salt), and make color patterns by selectively dipping just certain areas of the piece into the LOS solution.

Allow the patina to dry and set before rubbing it off the high areas of the design with a fine polishing paper or pumice. I also use this process for copper and brass although the colors achieved will be very different. Mostly brown to black.

Resist for etching metal

resist for etching
good resist for etching metal

I use Press-n’-Peel/lazer printer ink image transfer process as a resist for etching my printing plates. I use the Staedtler pens for touch-up purposes when the design doesn’t transfer perfectly. They can also be used for drawing directly on the metal. This ink will hold up longer than Sharpie ink will. I bought a box of ten from Amazon.com at a good price. Update: 2018 I recently switched to salt water etching with citric acid added to the solution and discovered this resist did NOT hold up as well as in the salt solution without the citric acid.

Photographing on white and on black

I photographed the recently created “Bird” cuff on a white background and on a black glass background as a test to see what works best for the piece. Both seem OK to my eye… just very different. The black is dramatic, the white seems more contemporary.  If I were to list this in my Etsy shop, I might also photograph it with some props from the garden. A leafy branch or two for instance. Plus I need a photo that shows the out-side of the ends as an alternate view.

The brass sheet was originally photo etched to use as a plate for roll printing onto silver, however, I decided it would work better used directly for jewelry. I am now wearing the cuff to see how the polished surface might change over time. The dark background is a heat patina that developed naturally when I annealed the metal for forming.

bird cuff photo etched
Bird cuff 1
Bird Cuff - Carol Holaday
Bird cuff 1 on black

Jan’s earrings

bird earrings
Birds in a Tree

I made these earrings for my friend Jan in memory of the many happy hours we’ve spent together watching the birds in our shared garden. She helps me to identify the different birds that come and go here.

I photo etched a brass texture plate and used it to roll print the design onto a silver. I then selected and cut the discs to feature two facing birds. The lapis beads were chosen to match a necklace Jan wears.

Business card 4-2015

Carol Holaday card 4-2015

business card one 4-2015

Ordered a bunch. Sure hope I like them!

Update: cards are OK … just not as thrilling as hoped for. Elegant but dark. Next card design will be much brighter and perhaps with a white background. Fortunately, the back of the card tells more of the story.

Carol Holaday card
back of 4-2015 card

If Staples ever offers the great deal again, I might also order this one:

Carol Holaday - Sunflower bracelet

Sunflower bracelet business card

While it also features a dark background, there is a lot more color to brighten it up.

Another Color on Metal Sample

patina on copper
coloring copper with a combination of techniques

Sample created using a combination of techniques demonstrated in my 2010 Color on Metal workshop. Copper sheet with roll printed texture, red and black heat patina using a torch, plus a cold process cupric nitrate patina. I found the formula, instructions, and chemicals at ScienceCompany.com.

Reading and suppliers-Color on Metal 2014

New on-line exhibit at Ganoksin.com

Changing Hues: Color Embraced by Metalsmiths Around the World

In total 303 artists contributed 814 show pieces for the permanent online exhibition. Click on an image to see the details for the work pictured, including a larger image, the artist’s name and statement, plus a link to their web site if they provided one. I found so many new “favorites”… I know I’ll be spending lots of time checking out each artist’s work and reading their statements.If you see a piece you especially like and would like to see more from the same artist (many submitted more than one piece) you can enter the artist’s name in the “search this album” box near top right of the gallery page.

One of my three submitted pieces happens to be the first image on page one because the work is in alphabetical order by title.

“A Gilded Heart” was created for the Monterey Bay Metal Arts Guild 2012 Valentine themed show at Many Hands Gallery. For the beads in this necklace (both the focal bead and the smaller ones), I was experimenting with the different colors of gold that resulted from layering 24K foil over silver rich glass. The hints of color on the small bead to the left of the toggle comes from reducing the metal oxides in the special black glass before it goes into the kiln for annealing.

“Bright Bouquet” bracelet was featured in the 2011 Valentine show at Many Hands Gallery… and later sold at Lireille in Oakland. It is one of a series of flower themed bracelets… each with a different color palette for the glass.

The “Turquoise and Gold” stacked bead was created as a demonstration piece for a tube rivet demo. Details for the technique and materials used are in my April 14, 2013 post.

Check out the other Ganoksin Orchid Galleries to see more fabulous work from artists around the world.

Looking Back… and Forward

binders for classes
Teaching Materials

This won’t be “news” to friends, family, and students, however, others may not know, so here is my big announcement:

Six months ago (August 2013) I officially retired from Monterey Peninsula College where I taught Jewelry and Metal Arts classes for nearly 30 years! Over the years, as a part-time instructor, I taught more than 20 different special topic classes in addition to the basic and advanced metals classes… some more than 40 times, a few only once. I really enjoyed the research, writing, sample making, and learning, that went into every class I taught. The binders full of instruction, photos, resource lists, etc., that I created for each class, are a record of those classes and also a reminder of the many wonderful students who made teaching such a fulfilling endeavor. Their enthusiasm, creativity, and appreciation, helped keep my own creative energy flowing.

I am frequently asked, “Are you enjoying retirement?” Well… yes and no. I like having more time for my own work and for gardening, but I miss teaching. I miss the camaraderie of the classroom, as well as the focus required for preparing new demos and improving on content. I am thinking about how I can continue, or return to, the process somehow. Since so many are sharing their knowledge via the web, maybe this is the way; it is certainly something to think about. For now, I am working on updating and expanding a PowerPoint presentation that I can convert to a PDF for sharing here. This one is for Color on Metal, a workshop I presented in 2010. Meanwhile, here is one sample that I created for that class:

color on metal - paint
acrylic paint sample

Water based acrylic paint on textured copper.