A lot of my friends are doing kumihimo at the moment, there was a full kit on sale a few months ago… I’m sure you can guess the rest. Kumihimo is rather addictive and I can do it in my lunch breaks. (It takes me back to the knotted friendship bracelets I used to make when I was a teenager, too). I made a few long braids, then decided that the pattern on this one would look good in short earring-length pieces.
#24 Woven Around
So I made the braids, wrapped up the top ends in thread so that they couldn’t come undone, then added the copper wire-wrapping. Which should have been simple, but I will now have to digress into the evils of anti-tarnish coated wire…
I said I was going to patinate last week’s earrings with liver of sulphur. I have the gel variety, followed the instructions and put them in a little pot with warm water and a few drops of gel. So far so good. I put in some textured washers I’d made beforehand too. They sat in there for a while and I noticed that the earrings weren’t getting any darker, unlike the washers. I’d got this wire in a sample pack of different sizes: some of them are anti-tarnish, some aren’t, and they don’t say so on the packaging. I got everything back out, neutralised in bicarb solution and went looking for how you remove the coating. I tried attacking it with micromesh, steel wool, nail polish remover and had another go. This time I used much hotter water and got little bits of black, but only on the top side of the topmost wrap of wire. So my previous earrings are now backwards from the usual finish, where everything goes dark and then you polish back the highlights!
These earrings were made with the same wire and the copper was too bright for the braid, so I’d wanted to patinate these ones too. I’d been going to just paint the LoS on the surface of these, because I didn’t want to soak the cord in the solution in case it absorbed the smell. But after all the faffing about above I obviously wasn’t going to be able to get the effect I wanted this way!
Instead, I knew the coating burns off easily because I’ve seen that before when balling up wire, so I unwrapped all the wire, carefully went along straightening both pieces out with my pliers and then passed them through my torch flame in sections. The coating burns off quickly (and with a green flare) and at the same time the wire gets flame patinated and reannealed. I ended up with darkened varicolour wire that was easy to wrap back around my braids. Hooray! They will probably get darker still over time.
These are shown on my niobium earwires and I am wearing them right now. They’re nice and light for long earrings.
52 little things links
• Craft Pimp Week 23 thread
• Linda of Earthshine Lampwork Bead and Jewellery Design: http://www.earth-shine.co.uk/
• Sue of BlueBoxStudio: http://www.blue-box-studio.blogspot.co.uk
• Jolene of Kitzbitz Art Glass: http://kitzbitzartglass.blogspot.co.uk