Bubbles (RAW52.7)

This week, I decided to make another stacked ring. I’m exploring simple hollow forms and I learned that bubbles (or spheres) are not as easy to make as they look. But I love the process of starting out with a flat disc of metal, then slowly seeing it take shape. I also wanted the ring to look funny.

Ring a Week #7

I decided to texture the metal with a planishing hammer to give it more of a bubble look.

As far as fabrication, the hardest to make was the base bubble (22mm), then they got easier as they got smaller. The smallest (6mm) was also hard to make because it kept slipping out of my fingers. Soldering was definitely a challenge (and I think I’m pretty good at it) – I used a lot of “white-out” to prevent the solder from running after each consecutive step.

Ring a Week #7

It took a lot longer than expected (doesn’t everything!), and to prevent myself from going crazy, I made the ring over several days.

By far the hardest step was soldering the ring shank after all the bubbles, and this is where I think I made a mistake. I should have soldered it on to the base bubble as a first step. Instead, by the time I had all the bubbles on, I had a hard time getting the “clump” to the right temperature, for even the easy solder to flow. But it finally did!

Ring a Week #7

I’m also wondering, design wise, whether I should have had a half bubble on the base. I’m undecided. Maybe I’ll just cut it and see how it looks.  Right now, the ring is sitting in an airtight container with a bunch of tobacco, vinegar and ammonia to see if I can get the copper to patina to a blue-green. I’ll find out in a couple of days.

What I learned this week:

  • Things don’t always end up looking the way you imagined or sketched them
  • To make a good half sphere, use smaller and smaller punches (in the same doming hole). That will get the sides to close in more so you can move to the next size down
  • Praying to the soldering gods (plus a lot of white-out) really helps
  • The more I work with copper, the more I like it

I think I will be laying off the stacked rings for a little while, but I’ll keep playing with the hollow forms.

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