Horsing Around

October 26, 2017

I've been so busy so haven't had chance to write another blog post until now. I've made quite a few developments with my work, which you will already know if you keep up with my Instagram/Facebook pages. (this might be quite a long one so bear with me)


I came to the conclusion that my work would benefit from the addition of a softer material. Fibreglass was one of the options, I have worked with this material in a previous project and really enjoyed it; but soon decided I wanted to try out something I hadn't used before. - this is when I came to the decision that I would use horse hair!

 Image above shows a few sketchbook pages of ideas/inspiration and material ideas.


I soon had so many exciting ideas, one of them being to use the micro tube that I had been using for my rivets, as 'holders' for the horse hair. My plan was to cut the hair to length, feed it into the tube and then compress it, squashing the surface and clamping the hair in place.


If I wanted to use this idea in a sample I knew I would have to work everything out and get any soldering etc out of the way first. The image below shows my first brooch piece that I created using this technique.



It was at this point I could see my samples finally starting to go somewhere and get their own characteristics; I couldn't wait to take the ideas forward. Using these larger rivets was actually because of a mistake I made. I drilled the holes for the small rivets too big so had no choice but to either scrap the sample or use larger tube. However they work so much better than I expected and were so much easier to use also. I'll definitely be using them again in the future.


Base piece has been made from copper with an ammonia patina with the addition of copper micro tube, copper sheet with heat patina and horse hair.



I soon started to play around with the ideas. (Drilling through this copper bar was a nightmare, it burned my fingers so much but was so worth it in the end)


The first image is actually the underside, the second image if the top side; i'm still not sure which I prefer!


The same techniques have been used in these samples, with the micro tube, hair and rivets. However this time I have used one of my melted copper pieces with ammonia patina.


I've been looking through some of my old samples and trying to combine several techniques to create new, and more exciting ideas.



 So I decided to electro form a copper ring I had previously made. I absolutely LOVE the outcome. The texture is gorgeous and suits my theme so well. It was only natural at this stage to try and add some horse hair into the piece, and this made me love it even more! Doing this gave me even more ideas, and this time I wanted to try and actually electroform the horsehair!


The results are as follows:





 First image shows before, second image shows after electroforming.


I love the sample before but just needed to take the idea further. This time I experimented quite a lot with the electroformer, I had no idea what the results were going to come out like; but thats almost the best bit! I played around with the voltage/resistance to see what would happen. When I took the piece out it was a really dull copper colour, and over night some really interesting colours have come out on the surface.


Today I have prepped some more pieces ready to go into the solution this weekend- i'll make sure to post the results when its done.


 As well as electroforming i've been playing about with some previous samples and using my horse hair almost as a material for attachment. These two samples are two of my absolute favourites at the minute. I love the colours, the addition of the horse hair, and how well the two pieces compliment and work with each other. They don't really serve a purpose but as stand alone pieces, I love them.



 This was an idea that I had been wanting to try out for a while... 


Firstly I drilled the copper on the underside layer (i had to use an extra piece underneath to solder into as I can't solder onto my ammonia patina piece) and marked up the blue patina piece so that I could drill the holes in the same place. I then soldered the micro tube onto the copper and slid the blue patina piece over the top. (which was a lot harder than it sounds!)


My original plan was to rivet the blue patina piece to the copper underside, however decided against this as I like the idea of being able to remove the layer, if desired. It is far from perfect and I would like the tubes to fit better, but a solid sample nevertheless.


The addition of the horse hair makes it almost look like a little world/forest.


 Finally, this is my sample from today. I wanted to try and somehow add my little micro tubes with the horse hair onto the sample, but in a different way to what i had previously been doing. I managed to flatted the tube whilst the hair was in place and rivet through it! I am so happy this idea worked, I really wasn't sure if it would. 


What the layers consist of:


1- Copper with patina from heating with blowtorch

2- Copper shim with patina from leaving in acid etching bath

3- Melted copper shim with silver inlay

4- Horse hair through squashed copper micro tube


I have another brooch I am working on, incorporating the horse hair. I will post an update as soon as the next lot of samples are complete.


Exciting things to come!

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© 2017 created by Alexandra Brennan