Adventures in Anodised Aluminium

Recently I went to Westhope College to have a go at making anodised aluminium jewellery. It’s something I’ve wanted to have a go at for a very long time, after seeing some jewellery in a gallery in Cardiff Bay.

I got a book to learn how to do it, but couldn’t find anywhere to buy the metal pre-anodised, and the inks were prohibitively expensive. So I put it on the back burner and forgot about it, until I saw it advertised at the College when I went for my enamelling course a couple of months back.

Our tutor, Jane Radford, showed us the basics (don’t touch the metal with bare hands as the fingerprints won’t take the dye, how to draw our designs and dip the metal, how to set the ink permanently) And then off we went:

So this is what we start iff with,. A piece of anodised aluminium (and a massive bunch of pens to draw on it with). I've started with some yellow dots as I was thinking of making a toadstool pendant.

So this is what we start off with. A piece of anodised aluminium (and a massive bunch of pens to draw on it with). I’ve started with some yellow dots as I was thinking of making a toadstool pendant.

lots and lots of circles. What colour am i going to dye the metal with? oh choices, choices.

lots and lots of circles. What colour am I going to dye the metal with? oh choices, choices.

Drawing lines, actually very difficult.

Drawing lines, actually very difficult. The tape on the back was to try and feathered effect. I didn’t take an after photo, sorry.

One of the stamps I bought for copper etching. The basic idea was to turn this strip of metal into a ring. You can't solder aluminium (not without some specialist welding equipment anyway) so riveting is the way to go.

One of the rubber stamps I bought for copper etching. The basic idea was to turn this strip of metal into a ring. You can’t solder aluminium (not without some specialist welding equipment anyway) so riveting is the way to go.

Another one of my stamps, again thinking about making this a ring. Or maybe a very wide pendant. Not sure yet.

Another one of my stamps, again thinking about making this a ring. Or maybe a very wide pendant. Not sure yet.

pale blue ink with two shade of blue pen. I think the bubbly-ness looks really good.

pale blue ink with two shade of blue pen. I think the bubbly-ness looks really good.

I love this one so much. This is the olive ink with a pale blue pen. I am going to make so much stuff for me out of this sheet.

I love this one so much. This is the olive ink with a pale blue pen. I am going to make so much stuff for me out of this sheet.

The black ink has made the pen stand out in an almost neon fashion. Love it.

The black ink has made the pen stand out in an almost neon fashion. Love it.

Some stamped out anodised pieces, just needing some jump rings and some findings.

Some cut-out anodised pieces, just needing some jump rings and some findings. The stripy ones look really good.

Oops,this one has ended up going a bit sideways. The flowers were hand drawn by my in pen, the clouds are a crayon resist and the blue sky is the anodised ink.

Oops,this one has ended up going a bit sideways. The flowers were hand drawn by me in pen, the clouds are a crayon resist and the blue sky is the anodised ink.

My ode of Van Gogh, a starrry night bracelet. Just come out of the steamer, still needs the final filing and polishing and also shaping.

My ode of Van Gogh, a starry night bracelet. Just come out of the steamer, still needs the final filing and polishing and also shaping.

riveted ring, in process of riveting.

riveted ring, in process of riveting.

 

I had a really good time on this course. Jane was a fab teacher and I came out after four hours with some lovely sheets of metal to make jewellery from.

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