Convergent Series

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

Silver-artists etch copper!

Posted by C Scheftic on 2012/10/10

I wonder about people who are able to write several posts each day: what’s it like in the rest of their life that they have the time to do that? I’m always busy. That’s meant neither as a complaint nor as an excuse. Without consciously trying, I keep busy. And I do prefer that to ever letting myself get bored! Even if that means it sometimes takes me a while to get around to writing posts that I have on my mind.

Which is exactly what happened with regard to the last meeting of the Western PA Chapter of the PMC Guild. I still don’t have time to write a complete narration (especially after having side-tracked myself with three recent posts on tumblers and more) so I’ll first just annotate a few of the photos I took, and end with a few comments on the most surprising outcome.

We met on a Monday night in September in Springdale, PA, where Barbara helped everyone with etching copper. This photo shows Susan looking over Sharon’s shoulder as they discuss design issues:

Lois wasn’t sure if she wanted to draw her own design, so Barbara helped her consider the pros and cons of various stamps that she had. (In the end, Lois did draw her own. More on that shortly.)

Clockwise from the left are Ann, Susan, Lindsay, Donna, and Sharon at work, all at different stages in the process:

From left to right, we have Ann, Donna, and Lindsay from a slightly different angle:

I did not get a shot of the sample pieces Barbara shared with us before we started. Then, she spent her time helping everyone else. (Thanks so much!) But here’s a photo showing the pieces made by Ann, Donna, Lindsay, Lois, Sharon, Susan, and me:

We spread them all out, and compared notes. Of course, there were some “obvious” differences. Beyond variations in both our goals and our basic drawing techniques to begin with (Charlie: the talisman I promised you at your last birthday is in there! I just put it in the mail for you but, until it arrives, can you spot it from its symbols?!) we also used a range of different finishing techniques: some people used Barbara’s polishing wheels, others used her torch to heat-patina the pieces, and so on. Some observations were curious: we noted both the appearance of and differences in patterns of “extra lines” that showed up in some of the designs.

But the result that I think we all found the most interesting was the one we didn’t realize was a surprise until Lois pointed it out. (You may have to click that last photo to get it large enough to really see this in the tall piece at the far right.) The “dots” at the end of each branch on the tree were NOT deliberately drawn by her. At an autumn meeting, she had just felt inclined to draw a tree that had already lost all its leaves. So the “dots” must have been the result of holding her pen such that a tiny bit extra ink pooled at the end of each line, making the metal just a tiny bit more resistant to the etching solution! Though unintended, we all agreed that this was a very pleasant little surprise.

And we wished that the meeting wasn’t about to end: It seemed that just about everyone was eager to start another piece in order to try the “Lois’ Dots” technique!

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