Sunday, January 29, 2012

Paulette Werger Workshop

So, I'm really late in writing about this, but a couple of weeks ago I had the opportunity to participate in a workshop by Paulette Werger in Tucson, through Arizona Designer Craftsmen. The workshop was titled "Making Your Mark" and we learned a number of ways to to make your own mark on metal. It was a pleasure meeting Paulette. She is very friendly, knowledgable and helpful. Most of the techniques were ones that I've done, but it was interesting to see the different ways in which she does them, so I still learned a lot.

On the first day we did etching. Something I hadn't really thought about before was etching on brass plates to use for texturing metal in the rolling mill. As long as you don't apply too much pressure, you can use the plates 50-60 times. Another interesting thing was the way in which she sets up her etching bath. The metal turned out to have a much cleaner etch than the way that I had been doing it. Instead of laying the metal upside down, suspend with tape, she had the metal sitting vertically, and had a bubbler from a fish tank agitating the acid.

Paulette giving a demo on different ways to apply a resist for etching

Container for acid

Etching outside

Paulette also talked a lot about using argentium silver, which I had never used, but will definitely be trying out. She fuses all of her argentium, so there's almost no cleanup! That's always something to aspire for!

The keum boo was what I was most excited about learning during Paulette's workshop! I had tried it once before, but wasn't entirely successful with it, so it was great to see her process. For those of you who don't know, keum boo is a Korean technique in which 24k gold foil is fused onto fine silver, or the other way around. The gold is applied to the silver through heat and friction, by burnishing the gold onto the silver over a hot plate. Paulette makes her own keum boo foil, which is thicker than commercial foil, and you can certainly see the difference. I managed to roll down my gold to the right thickness during the workshop, but now I need to finish the rest of the process. 

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