a green or brown film on the surface of bronze or similar metals, produced by oxidation over a long period.
a gloss or sheen on a surface resulting from age or polishing.
“the dining table will acquire a warm patina with age”
the impression or appearance of something.
“he carries the patina of old money and good breeding”
I found my love for creating patina pieces about four years ago. Starting with pre-cut brass and copper metal blanks, I did a little on-line research on patina how to’s and started experimenting.
My first creations were patina’d earrings.
Don’t you just love their unique colors and asymmetrical designs! So eclectic! Little jewelry works of arts. A must have for the jewelry connoisseur, don’t you think!
From earrings, I went on to creating a few cuff bracelets and rings.
Rather than purchasing pre-cut metal cuffs, I wanted to actually make the cuffs. Hand-cut from a sheet of brass, copper or bronze. I experimented with different gauges of metal 22, 20, and 18. And, in my opinion, I think the 20 gauge has a nice weight and sturdiness to it. The 22 gauge is a thinner metal and makes a more lightweight cuff. The 18 gauge makes a somewhat thicker, heavier cuff. And, like Goldilocks with the Three Bears, the gauge, weight, and size of a cuff comes down to a personal preference. Yet, no matter the gauge of the metal, with a gentle squeeze/pressure each cuff adjusts to a desired fit.
I also tried different lengths and widths for a variety of sizes. Although the cuffs are somewhat adjustable, I noticed that a one size fits most isn’t always the case. Not all of us are average. Case in point, I’m 5′, 10 1/2″, above average height for a woman often leaving me with just wishful want of some clothes that are made as one size fits most. So, with my cuffs I have a few different lengths; 5 3/4″, 6″, 6 1/2″, and 7″ allowing for a more encompassing one size fits most.
After cutting my metal strips into different lengths and widths, I then sand them, by hand, to smooth the edges. I could use power tools to cut, sand, and polish the metal but there’s just something about creating a piece step by step by hand. Realizing the strength of my hands as I cut through the metal. Feeling the joy from that last snip as the metal falls away. Sensing a slight heat as the metal warms up with the glide of the sandpaper over the rough edges. The smoothness felt when I run my fingers over the sanded piece to rule out sharp edges. It’s not just the end result that makes the piece special, it’s the process and the journey of the creation. A little bit of heart and soul along with a bit of elbow grease goes into each creation.
Once the metal is sanded smooth the strips are shaped into cuffs. This process requires a rawhide hammer, a heavy metal mandrel, a little stamina and a bit of patience. Hammer, Hammer, Hammer not just to create the shape but to strengthen the metal, as well. This will help the piece better maintain its final shape.
After the cuff is shaped it’s ready for the patina magic to happen. Nope, I do not use patina paints, polishes, waxes or dyes. I use a chemical process to expedite the development of the patina vs waiting for the every day elements of moisture, air, heat and humidity it takes for metal to develop its patina over time.
I patiently, and sometimes not so patiently, check my pieces to see what designs the patina is creating. Sometimes I pull them early. Sometimes I leave them overnight. Sometimes I remove the patina and start all over. But after it’s all said and done each patina comes out as a unique, stunning work of art. Some I like better than others. And I love to watch how other people are attracted to one design over another……..decisions, decisions!
After the patina has dried, I then apply a wax coat to seal and maintain the patina. The wax adds a nice shiny, glossy finish.
Lately, I’ve moved on to creating unique patina pendant statement necklaces. Following the same process I did for the cuffs, I created the pendants. Each is hand cut, hand sanded, patina’d and polished.