A Life of Varied Endeavors

Category Archives: Metalwork/Enamels

Etching a Copper Label for Little Altar – don’t use Word directly

Little Altars Etched Label-0294

I haven’t etched for a while, even though I’ve wanted to. I have more time already (this “retirement” thing!), so I have made a copper label for the Little Altars project. Didn’t finish in time for the first Full Moon Date. I have plans to try a second version, and I hope to revise the patina on this one with a new oxidising product I have on order, but I’m pleased so far.

The big lesson here is the pixelation of my image that created little pin holes in the resist.  You can see the pin holes in the picture above, even more than in real life – they make the image above look grainy.

In Word, I made a reverse-type label with a black border (I found the helpful instructions on this through a Google search.)  The image is below. Then I printed the Word document on pnp paper through a laser printer.  It turns out that the really black, black, black you see below is just a large collection of black pixels to the pnp paper – and apparently not enough toner bleed to close the gaps between them.  I’ve never had this issue when going from art work to pnp.  So in the future, I won’t go straight from Word to pnp paper. I’ll try printing the document first, and then photocopying onto pnp.

In Word, I prepared a reverse of the label so only the letters would etch out

In Word, I prepared a reverse of the label so only the letters would etch out


Little Altars Project

NancyStrahle Center Collection

I’m participating with several other willing adventurers (10 others to be exact) in a project organized and inspired by Peg Gyldenege.  She’s calling it Little Altars, and we are all filling the compartments of a “letterpress drawer” that each of us purchased.  Once a month, beginning in January, we are completing a section.  Intended to allow us to play with things that inspire us and have meaning to each of us, it’s also going to be a mutual recharge, as we all inspire each other.

I wanted to participate for the inspiration, for the play, for the community, for the let-go.  It’s also a great way to celebrate a transition to retirement – something I am admitting to and focusing on! (Let’s hope it works!)

Our first date for completion was January 26th, the full moon.  We will complete a space by each full moon, sending the contents of a completed compartment to a fellow artist for installation.  To see the first month’s work and all the artists participating, check out Peg’s blog at http://wildhairstudio.blogspot.com/.

This little space gave me the opportunity to give a home to some little treasures of mine; things that aren’t made for more than this, ideas I’ve played with, little things I am fond of.  It uses a dried orchid blossom, some dried leaves, a few handmade magnet hooks with sterling wire and buttons that I made years ago (an Idea I am still keen on developing), a small fold forming experiment, a copper chain that I love (reminds me of a maile leaf lei), a rough ruby, a little madrona branch collected on one of my daily morning walks, a shell collected by a friend in Mexico, a press-formed and colored experiment on copper, and a scrap found-copper-shape that I  embellished with riveted colored copper circles.  The pieces are all held on by magnets to a covered sheet of steel.  So, by nature, each item can be rearranged!

Pratt Fine Arts – still being introduced

Pratt Red Tool Cabinet 2009

Pratt Red Tool Cabinet 2009

Yesterday I had lunch with a long-time friend who has lived in Seattle for even longer than I have (which is about 28 years, even though it’s really Bellevue on this side of the lake.)  I hadn’t seen her for a while.  While we were catching up on our lives, I mentioned that I’d been taking classes and getting involved with Pratt for the past few years.  She hadn’t heard of Pratt.  I guess this isn’t so surprising, since she works alot.  Over the years I’ve decided that working is her hobby, because that’s all she does except for some travelling and taking French classes.  She’s not a make things, creative kind of person.

But it occurred to me that more people might be in her position, so I decided to post a couple of pictures I took of the Pratt Jewelry and Metals Studio 1 on my first day there -the visual that grabbed me when I walked in.  Check out Pratt’s web site for all their art class offerings in a broad range of media.

Pratt JM1 2009

Pratt JM1 2009

By the way, we had lunch at Piatti in University Village – chosen specifically for their gluten free menu offerings.  They serve Manini’s gluten free pasta.  My first of this at a restaurant, but I had some of their fresh pasta at home this week, without knowing that it was what Piatti serves.  Man, is that stuff great!  Even my wheat-eating husband was impressed.

Coleus & Pearl

Here are a couple of pictures of a piece I finished a couple of months ago.  It was a long time from start to finish, and then it had a couple of “finishes” before it was really done.  The enamel piece was one of the first pieces I ever did. I think it’s about 2 and a half inches long.

Repousse copper label – Chinese Pink garlic

Having a little fun, needing the practice, and needing to know which garlic is which next spring, I made this label a couple of weeks ago.  In theory, there will be three more!

Chinese Pink repousse copper label

Chinese Pink repousse copper label

Used my Northwest Pitchworks pitch, some of the tools I made in my Pratt class, some of the tools from MettleWorks, and a couple of hours of my precious time.  It was fun!