Friday, September 5, 2014

When Nature turns into Nature Jewelry #wip

By Viki Tiamat

In my previous post I told you about my new hand bound books +Etsy  shop hiBOOK .
 In this post I want to talk  not about  my SierkaPerka jewelry shop, but about the exciting process of making of the copper electroformed jewelry I sell there .

What exactly is Electroforming anyway ?
Electroforming is a metal forming process that forms thin parts through electrodeposition
This process is differs from electroplating in that the deposit is much thicker than the phases which are plated and can exist as a self-supporting structure.
 In the basic electroforming process, an electrolytic bath is used to deposit copper onto a conductive surface. Once the deposited material has been built up to the desired thickness, the master electroform is parted from the premaster substrate.
This process allows high-quality duplication of the premaster and therefore permits quality production.

I LOVE electroforming mainly for the ability to make nature duplicates!
What can be more awesome than taking a simple leaf from a tree that grows in your garden and make an EXACT replica of the leaf in metal?!
The possibilities are endless!!!!! You just need a little bit of imagination and the jewelry practically makes itself.
Of course turning a biological matter into metal isa time consuming process, but the results are beyond rewarding :)
So in this post I want to show you my latest creation  (not finished as a jewelry piece yet, but so, so beautiful)
I gonna show you how I turned this cool looking dried seed branch into a 100% copper bead

As you may already understand, turning a branch into copper bead requires several steps of lacquering   and coating of the branch and then placing it into an electrolytic bath
In the photo above you can see the branch  I've electroformed resting on top of  the varnish can in the center left of the photo, plus some other nature elements I plan on electroforming in the future
The  electrolytic bath is the blue liquid in the beaker

So after all the coatings and drying has been done, I dip the element in acid bath and let it cook for a while - in some cases it can take a few hours ,with bigger or delicate items it can take several days even

When speaking of electroforming gemstones, after I decide that enough of the copper has been built up I remove the gem from the bath , place it in soda water to neutralize the acid, wash it thoroughly ,baff and polish  to desired shine  ,take photos  and put it up for sale in SierkaPerka shop :)

Here for example  is one of my lovely Agate Geode stud earrings  electroformed in copper

BUT, with  this copper electroformed branch the process is MUCH longer !

After I take it from the bath and neutralize it, I grab my torch and anneal  the newly formed copper to burn the wood branch from the inside

Annealing is such a neat thing- while heating the metal you can actually  see how copper gets oxidized and shows a spectrum of hues starting from yellow to pink to deep purples

When there is no flame  and  smell of burnt wood left,I scrape the charcoaled wood from the inside of the form and like magic, a hollow bead is born
See the burnt pieces in the photo -these are  the branch pieces I scraped from the inside of the form

And here in this photo you can see a small piece of burnt wood peeking out from the almost hollow form

 Isn't it just AMAZING !!!!

Next step would be to make this sweet branch bead into a lovely necklace -I can hardly wait :)             Meanwhile, you welcome to visit my shop and check out my already formed copper nature jewelry 

See ya all soon with new creation