Monday, June 1, 2009

"Cooking" lids in my chiminea

Before I begin the technique I have for today, I would like to reply to a comment Cindy left me on Saturday’s post:
"Oh Elizabeth - how I would love to come and play at your house! Your day
reminds me of many days that my dear friend Andrea (who passed away last year)
and I used to spend just playing with a new technique and having such fun."

I remember how devastated Cindy was when Andrea died, after sitting with her for months and months through the painful and eventually like-taking cancer. It is for this very reason I take the mundane day-to-day trivia and, instead of trivializing it, I honor it. It may be boring reading to some. If so, there’s that big "X" in the upper right hand corner of the page. It's not like I'll ever know the difference. But some, including participants, will have not only a memory, but a visual record of the times that were so precious and can never, ever be repeated.

Although I’m not a scrapbooker, I love taking photos and documenting events. I could never scrapbook because I take way too many photos and would have a book at the end of one week. I appreciate Cindy’s comment because it reminds me that life, no matter how insignificant to some, is so important and PRECIOUS to others. Thanks Cindy for the comment and the emotion I know it must have drug up. And, YES, I would love to have you come play in my studio. You would definitely bring a different and unique approach to altered art.

Some people asked me how I prepare my Altoid tins and I tried to explain on ABC. However, I know some are visual learners, so here is how I prepare them, although this time I was "cooking" lids to use in assemblages. Yes, I am all over the map with my art. One day fabric, the next metal. I don't get bored that way!

You will need a fire pit, fire place, or chiminea, a bucket of cold water, tongs (not seen in the photo), and a lighter (not seen in the photo). Get the fire burning well.

Throw a few of the lids or tins into the fire, then place more wood on top and get it burning, too.

Add more lids. Turn both the wood and and the lids or tins with tongs every few minutes.

When all the writing is gone from the tins, or the lids are the color you want, remove them using your tongs. I allowed these to stay in the fire for about 10 to 15 minutes each.

Quickly bring them to your bucket of cold water. You might want more water than I put in mine. I'm not used to working with so many pieces.

Drop the hot piece in the cold water and listen to it sizzle. This technique provides lots of "special effects."

Be sure to completely submerge the piece. By the time I took this photo, the pieces were cool enough to remove from the water. In fact, the water cools the metal nearly instantaneously.

Of course Bleubeard had to get in on the action, once again supervising the job.

As I removed the pieces from the water, I stacked them, admiring their various and subtle color differences. To make them even more special, I had left them outside when I planned to do this a few weeks ago. However, I never had the chance or the time to start the chiminea, so they sat in rain water and a few of them rusted. Now some have both rust and heat altering properties.

Spread the pieces out to dry, allowing them to drain well. These pieces will be dry in just a few minutes because today is supposed to be the hottest day of the year so far. And yesterday we hit 97 degrees F, so it's no telling what today will bring.

The secret to the success of this technique is to keep a flame on the pieces you want to color. I have found that coals will provide subtle differences in color, especially when heating copper, but won't remove words from tins or the metal from around the biscuit lids (which incidentally were "gifted" to me by my friend Billie).

6 thoughtful remarks:

Halle said...

What a cute little chimenea!! I haven't tried this technique yet. I've only used my chimenea twice so far this year. It's been so stinkin' windy here all the time!!

Findings Art by Donna said...

Hmmmmmmmm... something tells me that those little iron colored lids could end up in a swap????
yummmy !!!

Mar said...

what a good time it looks like y'all had!!!
the lids look really cool
what are their planns too??

~*~Patty Szymkowicz said...

Me again! I Love your altered metal tutorial Elizabeth, having flame and putting the metal in water afterwards really does add extra interest. I use our gas grill and will do your water trick next batch of tins! Your chiminea has so much more charm!!!

Sharon K. Shubert said...

Wow you are always doing something interesting Elizabeth! What fun you have. :)

Thanks for coming by my blog. It was great to hear from you!

Sharon
redladyart@yahoo.com

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