Sunday, March 20, 2011

Interdisciplinary metalsmithing

Something that I love about metalsmithing is that it's possible to incorporate many other crafts into it. My friend Danielle uses metalwork to showcase her handmade glass beads; I use my sewing skills to make silk necklace cords; and my favorite art blogger, Daily Art Muse, keeps posting really great combinations of metal and other materials (like leather!). My newest idea is to etch copper plates, pull prints from them using my pasta press, and then turn the copper plates into jewelry. I've enjoyed printmaking in the past, both with my pasta press and with linoleum blocks, and I'm really happy to have found a way to tie it into my metalworking.

I've taken the first step this weekend by trying out electrolytic copper etching. It seems to have worked well on my test pieces; now I just need to perfect an image transfer process (or come up with some designs I can make on metal by hand). I've had a lot of fun researching the history of etching on Wikipedia--and I learned a lot about how one can turn an etched plate into ink on a page. Much better to look to old handmade processes than reinvent the wheel!

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