Convergent Series

learning, using & teaching metal clay, and other aspects of life

How much to polish?

Posted by C Scheftic on 2011/12/23

Here’s another butterfly from my recent little extravaganza making bronze pieces alluding to pollinators. I had this one out at the recent open house at Zelda’s, and got into a discussion with another artist (Jan) and a couple other customers from the store.

Jan had taken one of my butterfly workshops where she made several gorgeous silver pieces. I’d tumble-polished them to an even, high shine for her, per her request. And she had them on display, for sale, at Zelda’s. At least one of the customers indicated her opinion that I should have polished my bronze ones as much.

While I did polish the butterfly in this photo a bit, I chose to not take it to that same high level of shine. Why? Mostly because I liked the hints of color hiding down in its hollows. (Same thing with the butterfly shown in my last post.) To me, those subtle hints of color are part of the appeal of the bronze.

To you of course, it may just look like it still needs to be polished some more. If that’s what you want on a piece you’re thinking of buying from me, please just ask! Once I’ve polished it, however, all of it will have that dark-golden yellow tone that bronze takes on. All of the other tints will be gone.

I have done that for all sorts of pieces, but it’s just not high on my list of surface treatments for butterflies. I guess I imagine my Lepidoptera, to appear colorful.

That discussion did prompt an idea for me, for a project for next year: to make a series of pieces that are, not identical, but similar, and finish them in a series of ways. One like these butterflies, another with a solid-color satin finish, and another that is as shiny as I can get it. Don’t hold your breath waiting for the results to appear here, but know it’s on the to-do list at least. If you have done anything similar, please let me know, and we can compare notes!

In the meantime, I’ll close with images (regular readers of this blog may have already seen them) of two silver pieces I’ve made that are much shinier (though I’m not sure how fully that appears in the photos). The pendant has had a bit of patina added down in the lines of its pattern; the ring has some color in the ruby stone that’s set on the top.

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