Etching is where the metal itself, through a chemical process, is eaten away to form a pattern. Many etching processes use chemicals that should only be used in a very carefully controlled environment and using safety equipment. These advanced etching processes that go beyond what can be done in the Bellingham Metal Arts Guild studio will only be discussed.
However, in this class the participants will do hands on etching using an everyday chemical solution found in our kitchens – Salt! Each participant in the class will be provided with a kit made from easily available items that will allow them to take what they have learned and then do their own salt-water etching on their own after the class. There are many methods to create patterns on metal for etching.
The class will cover using various resists to create the patterns on the metal for the etching process. These will include using ink stamps, paint pens, various spray paints, and PnP resist paper. During the class each participant can select their pattern then using their own kit, etch a piece of brass or copper.
The opposite of etching is plating. In plating, a thin layer of metal bonds to an existing piece. Like the etching process, plating techniques often use chemicals that are highly acidic, caustic, or poisonous. Most plating operations should only be done with careful consideration of safety issues, proper equipment and by knowledgeable persons and is not suitable for the BMAG studio environment.
This course will provide some examples of plating techniques and explain the equipment needed. This will include explanations of the processes for silver and gold plating of objects, pen plating, and electroforming. These more advanced techniques will not be done in this short introduction class.
However, there are some specific chemicals for gold and silver plating that are readily available, less hazardous and don’t require expensive equipment. Participants will then each gold electroplate a small piece of previously salt water etched material using the same type of equipment that they used for the salt water etching that they can then take home.