I’ve gotten a lot of comments and compliments about my doodles which is always energizing for an artist. A few days ago, I showed you the image of the green flame, where I burnt the asphaltum off the copper plate.
If you missed that, here’s the run down. First, I paint two layers of hard ground (asphaltum and wax) onto a copper plate. I use a scribe to scratch away the hard ground in the areas I want to be recessed, darker lines. I leave the piece in an acid bath for a few hours. One hour gives a light etch good for intalgio printing, but I wanted the design to stand out more prominently. This plate was etched for about three hours. After rinsing off the acid, I use a blow torch to fire off the asphaltum. When I do this, it produces an awesome green flame. Definitely check out the link above.
After I quench the copper plate it cold water, I clean off the black fire scale in the pickle pot, a metal cleaning acid that softens the metal and cleans imperfections. Afterwards, I use a stiff bristle brush to clean off any remaining black from the fire. I used a handsaw to cut the design out of the copper plate and filed the edges smooth with 450 and 600 grit sandpaper, which is finer than a nail file. After polishing with red rouge polishing compound, I molded the copper to the shape of a 1 qt mason jar from my pantry. I soldered a domed copper cup to the bottom to serve as a tray for the birdseed. A wire hanger completed the design.
To fill, invert the entire piece and remove mason jar from the its sheath.