|Enameled Copper Breastplate by OxOriginalArtJewelry|
Every material I have ever worked with seems to have its own way of expressing its inner beauty, much the same way every individual on earth has inner beauty waiting to be discovered. Or the way sounds can be transformed into music, with patience and experimentation.
As I became more familiar with pure copper in my jewelry work, shining it to reveal its inner brilliance, treating or aging it in solutions, heating with a torch or firing it in the kiln, I began to listen to its music. Each piece reveals itself in a rainbow of color as it oxidates and self-patinates throughout the jewelry making process.
So I decided to allow one piece to sing its own melody entirely with its own voice. For this experiment I created a specimen in the shape of a breastplate, or bib, with lots of open surface, devoid of texture or embellishment, to allow the copper ample space for self-expression. I shined it to its natural glossy state, then applied a coat of protective transparent vitreous enamel to the edge, like a frame, and fired it to seal and preserve that edge. The results were stunning: the copper actually glowed beneath its protective glass blanket.
Each time I fired with subsequent coatings of transparent enamel, the unprotected areas oxidized, aged, and revealed their own patterns and characteristics. It painted itself. It expressed itself. It found its own voice, created its own music.
How often do we forget to listen for the harmony in the materials we work with?