Use repoussé, chasing, and embossing techniques to create a design on a copper cuff.
Relief, form, negative space, composition.
This project was interesting to try because I’ve never made jewelry or worked with metal before. I chose to base my copper cuff off of some plants that I’ve always thought had interesting textures, mainly china berry (the plant with the yellow fruit). I think these were decent choices, although I found it difficult to get more than two or three layers of depth with the copper without warping the shape of the cuff.
Of course, you could embrace this and go in a totally different direction with this project: in fact, I think the best part about this project is the versatility of the cuff. I experimented with cutting parts out of mine with an x-acto knife, but I think if I were to make another cuff, I would try altering the whole shape.
I would also maybe try adding and sanding off paint from the surface to create an effect similar to the patina. For whatever reason, the liver of sulphur mixture didn’t seem to affect my copper cuff much at all. I’m guessing my problem had to do with the temperature of my water or the liver of sulphur not dissolving, so I would recommend double-checking those. Also, do watch out for paper cuts: I got a few without realizing it!
I have never worked with copper before and I was very excited with the opportunity. Surprisingly, the copper was very flexible and soft which made it hard for it to keep its shape around my forearm. The project was a learning process as I didn’t know how hard I needed to press on the copper in order to make a crisp impression on the other side.
This project really showed me how much work it takes to create simple pieces of jewelry. I wanted to create a simple design in order to get my bearings on how the medium worked, as I feaedr that if I did a complex, fine detailed design, I would be biting off more than I could chew. It took me a couple tries to get the fine lines of the veins of the leaves.
I realized how copper was really forgiving; if I messed up a line as I could flip the copper over and flattened that part out. I traced my design on the copper over a notepad as the notepad was soft enough to absorb the details but hard enough that I had good control when I was tracing. I also never used liver of sulphur before to stain the copper which I thought was a very interesting process. The liver of sulphur was able to add a rustic touch to the piece, making the cuff look more worn in.
The final product didn’t look exactly as I imagined it and I wish I did more detail designs on it. However, it was a fun learning experience and I enjoyed going out of my comfort zone and creating a piece of that I can wear.