Sunday, February 21, 2016

Chemical Antiquing of Metal

Dear Art Lover,
     I have the best landlord ever!  He had never heard of a gallery system before, so I showed him images and explained to him the real purpose (to keep the wall from being “uglified” with tons of holes after changing art positions around on the walls).  He has done so many things to this house and it seems we both keep finding things to do to improve it.  I am enjoying working together with him.  He told me to let him think on the gallery system and I stayed home to list the lengths of the rods I wanted for each room.  

     He showed up a day or two later after he returned to the iron factory where he worked before. We installed the iron rods with tabs that he welded together to the best places in all the rooms.  Some went on the wooden ceiling beams; others directly into the stone walls.

     I later bought the “S” hooks for the tops, but I could not find them in a dark, less noticeable color.  Where the eyes travel is important and I did not want a bright silver hook visible.  The man in the hardware store gave me the solution:  acid [see the photo for the actual label in Italian].  He said it is a chemical used to clean floors in Italian homes, but you must wear gloves and have good ventilation.  He instructed me to soak the metal hooks for about five minutes or so, until I got the finish I desired.  You may see in this first image also the color of the catene [small chains] that I bought.

The too-bright "S" hooks in a plastic bowl before acido added.
The chains for the art are in the box behind and
ready store-bought for cutting and hanging.

     I used an empty Greek yogurt bucket and then a small wooden stick to check progress of the chemical soak.  After five minutes, the metal had lost its sheen, but was not the color of rusted metal that the man showed me in his store.  So, I pulled two out onto a paper towel [as a "control"] and I ended up leaving the rest of the hooks soak overnight on my front doorstep outside.  I woke the next morning with the fear that perhaps I would NOT get a nice antique color, but that I would instead simply weaken the metal.  I was not interested in seeing a frame drop to its demise!

Nice fun bubbles began almost immediately.
     However, those in the yogurt dish looked the same that next morning, but the two on the towel looked antique.  Score!  So, I used my wooden stick to pull out each of the “S” hooks and laid them all on a paper towel.  The acid smell (chlorine?) was quite strong.  However, after exposure to the air, all of my hooks were rusty colored!  Perfect!  I let them air out all that next rainy day.  And wallah! 

The bubbles turned to green almost mossy looking texture after a while.

YAY!  Look how quaint my "new" hooks are.

     I would like to take this opportunity to thank you again for your friendship and support.  I was thrilled to have sold a bronze sculpture, as well as a giclée reproduction of “Le Scale dell’Eros” during my 15th anniversary sale.  Those who know the art business know that it is a “no-no” to have a sale on art.  However, artists break rules and I prefer to remain a citizen who pays my bills.  I thank you for helping me to be able to do that and I hope that my art brings you far more years of joy than the small amount of money it took to obtain the work.
Thank you.

A simple winter sunset, but lovely.


Jo Castillo said...

Clever idea. Thanks. Look forward to the new mural. All fine in Texas!

Albert jack said...

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