Working with brass sheet - 2013

After the troubles I had with the last sheet of copper I purchased, I was somewhat leery of buying more so I went to Portland back in January and bought two sheets of brass, a sheet of 20 gauge and a sheet of 18 gauge, both 70% copper 30 % zinc. The first brass piece I worked on was the second of the two pieces I needed to complete for the upcoming show this summer in Portland, 'East Meets West - The Hammered Object'. I raised a figurative piece, a female torso with arms upraised and had no trouble at all with unexpected cracking as I had with the last sheet of copper, so that was a big relief in that I confirmed to myself that the problems I was having seemed to be out of my control. I didn't take any photos of the piece yet because I delivered it to Portland where it will be photographed along with the works of the other twenty-one metalsmiths in the show.

But as I was working on the figurative piece over the course of a couple of weeks, I was also hammering on a larger free form vessel. It's been at least three years, maybe four since I last worked with brass. I had produced three or four pieces from recycled door kickplates that were fairly heavy gauge and I remember it being alot of physical work relative to hammering copper. So this time I was working with a lighter weight brass that made it go easier that before. And over these last few years my knowledge and skills have improved, not only technically but aesthetically as well. And the piece I ended up with needed a good patina to make it more striking so I used the simple method of fuming the piece with ammonia and salt in a closed plastic tub. After a week or so in the tub, I gave it three coats of wax and decided I like working with brass.