Sunday, March 15, 2009

Sunday Explorations in Metalsmithing

My fellow metalsmiths, Tracey & Margarita along with myself have taken on exploring new or revisited metalsmithing techniques twice a month. One of the first things we decided to tackle was etching. We had all etched before but had not done it in awhile. We started with copper etching. We tried different methods of "resist"on the copper. The resists varyied from Sharpie markers, finger nail polish, & laser toner based transfers. We all came out with some interesting effects that we found were mostly successful.

Tracey & I decided to take it a step further & explore etching on sterling silver. Stronger acid & more dangerous. Eeek! This time around I used asphaltum as the resist on my silver. It held up pretty good after a very short etch time. The longer the etching the more it under cut into the edges of my designs. I find that using asphaltum is is much easier to carve out the area you want etched than to carve out around the area. Meaning carving the positive versus the negative space. It just how my brain works.

I have always admired the decorative patterns of Gustav Klimt. In particular, I have been drawn to his "Tree of Life" painting.

One of my silver etchings is a simplified homage to his tree. I finally got around to making it into a piece of jewelry. I wanted a gemstone to give the piece some color & some interesting visual dimension. I chose a natural Australian boulder opal. This one had an earthy, root feel to it. I thought it worked perfectly. Here's the finished result:


  1. The new piece is exquisite. I love opals (my birthstone!) but they are so often overwhelmed by the metal work they are set in...your work enhances the stone!

  2. By the way, what a great way to spend a Sunday!