Sunday, January 17, 2010


One of my favorite things I learned in Tim McCrieght's color workshop was something called copper cladding. Basically the process is covering fine silver in copper. Okay?????? Why would anyone cover an expensive metal like fine silver with a lesser metal like copper? Because it is fun and looks great!

The process involves dropping silver (with a paper clip on it) into an over saturated solution of pickle. (Pickle is used to remove oxidation from silver and copper.) The paper clip is used to create a charge, which causes the copper to adhere to the silver. (I think that is the way it went. I knew I should have taken chemistry in high school, but at the time it didn't seem important.) The silver with the paper clip on it was heated first with a torch. Again, I think this was only to remove the coating on the steel paper clip. Anyway, the heated piece makes that fssst sound which I love, when it goes into the liquid. We left them in there a few minutes. Often we got busy and forgot about them so they were in there longer, but I'm not sure that made much of a difference.

When they came out of the pickle, they looked like a piece of copper. What makes it worthwhile is cleaning off the high areas. Polishing with a cloth, tends to go into the recessed areas and remove it. I used a nail buffer instead which was rigid and polished the high spots.
This piece was one of my favorites.

More copper examples and pieces to come. This process is so cool. (Okay, I dated myself with that word. But at my age I don't care. There's got to be some perks to getting old.)

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