Freeform Friday – Swellegant patinas!

May 16, 2014 , In: General, Inspiration, Metalsmithing, Studio

 Do you ever buy a thing that you think is going to be perfect and then put it safely away in your studio? For a year? Uh yeah… It wasn’t that I forgot I had this complete set of Swellegant paints and patinas – I wanted to have a chance to play and experiment and test them out. To devote to exploring the hundreds, no, thousands of combinations and inter reactions. Right. Like that’s ever going to happen. This week there weren’t any pressing deadlines, and I needed to PLAY a little. So here we go!

Swellegant paints are a system comprised of a metal paint, a patina, and colorful dye-oxides. I heard of it via Christi Friesen, who has shared amazing tutorials and resources about Swellegant on her website.  And she sells it there too. But I am NOT receiving any rewards or bribes for this shameless plug.
Here I am watching paint dry. Well, watching the magic of patina happen! These pieces are polymer and had been languishing in a tray awaiting some attention and TLC. 
There are five metals paints available: brass, copper, bronze, iron, and silver. ( They are working out the kinks with the silver formula, sometimes it explodes. Just a little. Mine was gelatinous and stinky after a year… The customer service at Christi’s site is out-of-this-world though!) 
There are three patinas: darkening, Verdigris and Tiffany Green/rust. There are like a million dye oxide colors. ( OK thirteen, for real.) 
Here is the story so far: One coat of metal paint, let dry. Second coat applied, and patina applied while metal paint is still wet. I spritzed mine onto the pieces.
 From L to r: Brass, Bronze, Copper – all with Tiffany green patina.
Now the fun can begin: I went back in to some pieces with metal paint to highlight the high points, accentuate the relief of the sculptural pieces. 
Tiffany green patina on iron paint creates rust. 
The brass group: dye oxides added. I used blues and greens to vary the patina colors on three pieces. On the figure/cameo piece I used white, red, brown to accentuate the figure and the trees. 

The bronze group: Lots of blues! The deep cobalt agains the bronze was so fabulous to me.. . Trying white to lighten and add interest to the owl. 
The copper group: some blue/purples added to darken the deeper areas, some lighter green and yellows added for variety. It was truly playful. I didn’t feel the pressure to finish pieces for a deadline and these PC pieces had been waiting to be painted for a good while – not too precious, not too much time invested in their creation that would make me hesitate to mess them up! 

The left moon and feather are copper/tiffany/dyes. 
The right owl and feather are iron/tiffany/dyes. I am digging the rusty crusty nature of that owl, and the colors with the rust! Yes. 
So thats where I am today! I have to wait a total of 72 hours before sealing the pieces. The Swellegant system comes with a water based sealer. I have only used one patina! The tip of the creative iceberg…  After sealing them – hmmm. Tab settings! Beaded bezels! Make more! 
I am overall thrilled with this product and my results. There are infinite possibilities. My only regret – I waited so long to dive in! If you are interested in more information check Christi’s site. And heather at Humblebeads wrote a stellar post, sharing her patina combinations! I for sure am going to add this to my repertoire. OH! Swellegant finishes on my Mythic Nature pieces! Whoa! 
Stay tuned here and on my blog for more “Swell” pieces. And its NOT too early to start making things for Beadfest in August! What would you like to see? Cabs? pendants? charms? beads? I would love to hear what you think! 

Thanks for stopping by – off to the studio now… 


Jenny Davies-Reazor

Jenny Davies-Reazor is a mixed media artist inspired by myth, folklore and the natural world. A proud Jack-of-all-trades, she concentrated in metals and painting in art school, turned to clay during her teaching career, and is truly happiest when mixing materials in unusual ways. From clay to resin, paper to polymer... Since leaving her ceramics classroom, Jenny is always in the studio: fabricating jewelry, creating ceramic shrines and decorative tiles, and teaching in a variety of mediums. " I love sharing my passion for art, and seeing sparks light up in student's eyes..."
  1. Reply

    Sitting for a year, who does that? Well I do, I have this set and they have been sitting for at least that long and I haven't found the time to play. I love how your pieces turned out!!!!!!!!!!!! And I'm glad I'm not the only one! 🙂

  2. Reply

    I think on some level I was stalled by the shear scope of the possibilities. How would I ever try each with the other? And – I won't! But I was happy with my results, and inspired to play more!!!

  3. Reply

    Every piece turned-out amazing! You did a fantastic job! Thank you for letting us see a few possibilities!

  4. Reply

    These are FABULOUS!!! I love the effect you get with the metal paint on the polymer, these look like treasure from Atlantis!!

    • Reply

      Thanks K! Its like the perfect synthesis of my loves for metal and clay…. I want to tab set them… I want to make more… Theres a lot of creative juju here!

  5. Reply

    Good to know that the bottles I have that have also been sitting for a year (or a tiny-smidge longer) will probably be fine (hopefully!). Thanks for this nudge. I might have to try and 'play' this weekend. I LOVE the pieces you have here, especially the ones w/the ladies,..they look like ancient Greek or Roman Goddesses or something – Fabulous!!

    • Reply

      Watch out for the silver Shel! But the others will forgive your absence and make pretty things happen… little patience, little spontaneity – you are all set!

  6. Reply

    love these, Jenny! Can't wait to see them tab set. I have been mulling over getting some of these but haven't bit yet…will add to my list!!

  7. Reply

    Well, here I am in little Columbiana, Ohio, spending the weekend with Christie Friezen. Tomorrow night at 7 she is doing a Swellegant demo for me, and on Sunday night, I'm taking her out for dinner and chocolate cake. Great article! I'll tell her how happy you are with her customer service. 😉

    • Reply

      OH! So jealous! Have a great time. And yes – Christi rocks. So fun, and friendly. So knowledgeable and sharing, and encouraging!

  8. Reply

    These are so incredible! I ADORE them…like buried treasure. I can hardly wait to pick some out at Bead Fest

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