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Swallowtail butterfly


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I find myself wondering if with metals and patination, is is possible to mask the metal to resist the chemicals of the patina, for contrast between the darkened metal and the original colors? 

Swallowtail butterflies present in a variety of black/yellow combinations, so my imagination wonders what is possible with the metals to express a certain variety.

Janel

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5 hours ago, Janel said:

I find myself wondering if with metals and patination, is is possible to mask the metal to resist the chemicals of the patina, for contrast between the darkened metal and the original colors? 

Swallowtail butterflies present in a variety of black/yellow combinations, so my imagination wonders what is possible with the metals to express a certain variety.

Janel

I do believe it's possible, but it seems challenging (to me at least) when we are talking about rokusho-based patina, because of the specific process that it calls for.

Specifically, if an area is masked before the fine polishing step, it would need to be fairly resistant to abrasion. If done after the polishing step, the challenge would be to apply the mask while keeping the rest of the piece pristine. My understanding is that there needs to be as little time as possible between polishing and daikon bath, and similarly between daikon and niage bath.

And of course the masking technique needs to resist prolonged immersion in the niage. I'm thinking shellac or jewelry coating might do the trick, though I'm unsure how abrasive resistant this would be.

The other solution would be flush inlays. I was originally focusing on the carving practice so I didn't think of it, but that would have been good practice as well!

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I finished the larger piece today and after patinating it, I found the fully dark-grey butterfly to be way too dull. I pondered this for a bit, considered masking as Janel had suggested but for the reasons above chose to experiment with another method instead: I used a rotary polisher at very low speed and carefully backed up the patina on the outside of the wings and on the body. I then gave the piece a very light baking soda finger rub and returned it to the solution. Total time in the bath was about 1h (40m + 20m)

cfyVpH7.jpg

It sort of worked. It's not as clean as I had hoped, and might prompt me to redo the patina eventually if i figure out a cleaner process, but it's definitely more pleasing than the solid grey that ended up hiding a lot of the details (I wish I had taken a photo for comparison). As always with rokusho patina the color depends on the light, so the two parts contrast different ways, from just a shade like the photo above to a tinge of olivine/brown in the outer wings like the photo below.

Stem is 40% silver shibuichi, butterfly is 20%, cattail body is copper, spike is 24k gold and background is reclaimed 950 sterling.

Interestingly the copper came out a lot redder than in my previous runs. It's nowhere near the "elusive" rich red people talk about but it's a lot redder than I've gotten before. I am wondering if the pause in the process contributed to this. I'll have to add this to the list of rokusho mysteries to investigate.

aO7IyIU.jpg

This was a gift for my better half, and in spite of several issues/mistakes that I have immense difficulty not seeing, she seems to like it :)

Here are a few more photos of my clumsy process if anyone is interested: https://imgur.com/a/K5iCWdW -- feel free to critique, I am quite new at this and can use any and all advice. I sure know already that my lack of finesse or planning is sometimes causing me to have to do a lot more cleanup than I should need to :P

 

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