Friday, May 27, 2011

Finishing off!!

           Now that you know how to cut, pierce, raise, shape  and etch metal , its time to graduate!! :) Time to complete you metal art work, by giving it some really interesting 'finishes' . What are 'finishes' in metalwork , well finish simply refers to the final look of the piece, whether left off with the original warm red of the copper or given and aged look or coloured. Here are some of the more commonly used finishes or effects to make any artwork look interesting.
          Copper which is usually the preferred metal for most techniques, also happens to tarnish quite easily, especially so if you live in a city like Mumbai, ( humid and high levels of air pollution).
So in order to protect you pieces and make them more attractive, you can add certain finishes.
Copper box and dish with antiqued and lacquered finish
©1998 Nayna Shriyan
  • Lacquer or Varnish: If you are like me and love the warm red colour of copper then a clear coat of varnish is all you need to do in order to protect your artwork.  Lacquer can either be sprayed on or brushed on depending upon the variety used.  I personally prefer the spray on kind that you get in cans, making for a smoother and even coat.The dish shown here on the right is a clear copper effect with lacquer sprayed on.
  • Antiqued: If a more aged , antique look is what you are after then, aging the copper is easy with some liver of Sulfur commonly called 'Oxidizing salt' . Generally if the salt is fresh all you need to do is mix a small lump with some water and dip your piece once or twice very quickly, brush with a brass wire brush and rinse (never ever leave your copper sitting in the solution even for a minute!)  The box in the picture above is a perfect example of the antiqued effect, it is a very old piece, in fact one of my very first assignments in college!
  • Pendant with irregular blue green patina on copper
    ©02010 Nayna Shriyan
  • Patina:  Patina is essentially colour that is bought about chemically upon a metal surface with the use of certain chemicals and under very particular conditions. Technically speaking it is a protective layer formed on the surface of the metal due to atmospheric conditions. There are a range of colours that can be achieved with the right chemicals, from a vibrant blue to a dull rust brown, from green to a blood red, textured straw yellows to black. The simplest of greens can be achieved by applying any acidic substance like lemon juice to a clean piece of metal and then leaving it out for a few hours, you might need to repeat the application and then keep rinsing in between applications. After you have obtained the colour you desire, the piece absolutely has to be waxed in order to be protected. The atmosphere continues to change the colour until most simply turn into a very dull black
So this is the concluding part of the series on metal work and the common terminology used by metalworking artists. By no means a complete list, but still enough so that it does not seem like complete gobble de gook!!
So do drop a line if you liked this series and if you have any thoughts regarding another series I could run like this :)

    Tuesday, May 17, 2011

    My Studio Mascot

    My Studio Mascot
             I just had to share my studio mascot with all of you, this sketching mannequin came to me in November last year to help out a student in her sketching skills. While she left my art class and I have not had much luck persuading the rest of my students to take advantage of its presence and maybe enhance their sketching skills :( they do make it a point to have the mannequin pose a different way each time !!
             This mannequin also happens to be my sole companion when I am alone in my studio creating, and so I am thinking of giving a name. Now since I do not think I want to decide on the gender , I hope someone can come up with a unisex name, any ideas ?? Do drop a line :)

    Saturday, May 14, 2011

    More Metal Madness!

                Continuing the definitions , I thought I could move on to the heavy weights, those techniques that take up longer to learn and even longer to perfect.
      Chaised bowl, Copper
      © 2010 Nayna Shriyan

    • Chaising: While this might sound like chasing a piece of metal with a hammer , it means working on only one side of the piece of metal with tools and a hammer (a special one). Mostly the tool used is a simple one which can create lines, so the design appears to be like line art. Although in the bowl to the right there is some relief seen this happens mostly due to the pressure applied on the tool and due to the copper been annealed to extreme softness.
    • Repoused necklace centerpiece, Copper
      © 2010 Nayna Shriyan
    • Repousse: A french term meaning to work on both the sides. Basically this involves giving relief from one side and giving the finer details from the other side( usually the side to be perceived as the top or the front). This can involve many different steps, from using wooden mallets to special tools called stakes to setting the metal in pitch ( a mixture of tar, plaster of paris and a few other things). This process may take up to a week or more depending upon the size and the detailing required.
    • Raising: Similar to a potter using his wheel to raise up a bowl or pot, this process involves
      Raised Copper vessel with tinning,'5 x 5 x 2' inches
      Copper and tin, Red patina
      © 2000 Nayna Shriyan
      raising bowls and other similar vessels using special stakes( tools) and hammers. A very delicate process, that can easily go wrong if you do not know what you are doing! There are absolutely no joints in the vessel, my first raised bowl featured here received some intense scrutiny by my non-metalworking friends for some joint somewhere, it was so much fun to look at their faces when they finally conceded defeat still insisting that there had to be a joint somewhere !
    • Fold Forming: A very interesting process that involves folding the metal to create creases and them opening it again. The crease adds to the visual and textural effect.A process that I am still trying to perfect and my final efforts will soon be feature here ! Keep checking back :)

    Monday, May 9, 2011

    The war path!- A book review of " the WAR of ART

    Cover of "The War of Art: Break Through t...Cover via Amazon
            Recently on the recommendation of a creativity coach, whom I follow and will hopefully soon by hiring (these folks can work wonders for you!!) I read a book called ' the WAR of ART ' by Steven Pressfield. While I love reading books like these, 'motivational' books (to me these books not only motivate but also pass along some serious information) I suppose they are called, most kind of go the round about way getting to the point, but not this one. Mr. Pressfield goes straight to the point right from the word go!

              As artists there is always a certain amount of anxiety related to actually doing the work, sitting down to write, paint, sculpt or create in any manner cause a whole list of obstacles to suddenly land on our paths. More often than not we treat distractions or interruptions rationally, like falling sick ! I know falling sick is out of our hands, but believe me read the book and you will know what I am talking about. The book lists all those small and big interruptions, distractions even some things on your to-do list that will surprise you. The best part is there are also points on how to tackle all these problems.

              Two things I got out of this book is A) what keeps me from working and B) What helps me to stay working.
    Frankly the book is not meant just for artists but for any body who ever wanted to achieve something but got derailed will finally have a name for the precise thing that cause the derailment. Mr. Pressfield calls it 'Reistance' !If any of you have read the book or any book like this that tells it straight, I would love to hear from you, what do you think, did the book help? are you spending more time doing the work you should be? could be anything, writing, sticking to that gym time, dieting, reading, painting, or like me marketing  my art (that's the thing that brings out my green eyed 'Resistance' monster)!!

    Okay I know book reviews are supposed to enlist the negative points as well, my only grouse, I wish the book were bigger ( more pages) I need some more in your face war tactics against 'Resistance" :)

    P.S. : The above link is not an affiliate link, just something for those interested to check out, again I do not make money of off any links that I may put up here .

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