Friday, May 27, 2016

Copper covered books

The final two books I made during the class had 5" x 7" oxidized copper covers.  We used plastic boxes to created small chambers to oxidize the metal for our book covers.  Inside the box the metal sits above a shallow pool of ammonia, and a mixture of vinegar and salt crystals are used to patina the metal.  The process created intricate patterns of yellow, pink, turquoise and black on the copper sheets; while the brass sheets developed gold, silver and brown patterns.  The finished plates are sprayed with a thin mate or gloss coating to stop further oxidation and to protect the patina.

While the copper was oxidizing I worked on the the other parts of the books.  The text block was stitched to the leather spine using chain and long stitching.  The pattern required sewing two signatures per station, which is a tight fit.  To adhere the edges of the leather spine to the copper covers the surface of the copper needed to be roughed up.  It was difficult to scratch away even a small amount of the beautiful patina from the copper sheets.

Each copper sheet develops a unique patina, and I had to decide which piece to use for the outside of the front and back covers.  The front cover of the completed book below was my favorite, it reminds me of a river delta with swirling streams.  The weight of the copper cover is enough to keep the book closed without any additional closure.

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