Sunday, April 6, 2008

Come look at my etchings

...well, not quite yet. I've been trying this metal etching technique from Stephanie Lee's blog and it's sort of working, but my results are not quite ready for primetime. I'm not sure if I'm not leaving my pieces in long enough, too long, or if the various mystery metals I've tried are to blame, but the nickel silver squares I cut, filed, and stamped do show just enough of the desired effect to keep me trying!

Old and rusty. That's my personal manifesto of beauty, always has been, so as I approach the new-to-me metal arts, it just seems right to take lovely, shiny, new materials and do whatever I can to make them look like they have been buried in the ground for a couple of hundred years. When I made quilts, it was the same way. I would finish the quilt top, sewn only from reproductions of antique fabrics, quilt it by hand, apply the binding by hand, and then systematically perform various nefarious aging processes on it to make it look like a timeworn, beloved antique. A psychologist would have probably had a field day with this behavior, which may seem inexplicable since I was trained to be an art historian and curator, pledged to preserve other people's antiquities, which I guess I did, but for my own work, it's always been all about recreating the past. So though I am not entirely sure what I'm doing, I'm turning my attention this chilly spring afternoon to etching and aging metal, and it's pretty exciting. Ineffective so far, but exciting. The great results that Stephanie Lee, Jane Wynn, the O'Briens, and all the other people who've published variations on the etching techniques lately are just so beautiful, I have to keep trying. Wish me luck. Pictures, hopefully, to follow!