Monday, September 10, 2007

Color #2: Lamp Black

I was going to talk about the blue clay that I got from a coworker, or perhaps a list of all the things I can use now that my starting point is 4004 BC, but there’s a new development that is much cooler. Except for two tools and a paint brush, I just came up with a production batch of Lamp Black!

When I told my wife the difference between proof of concept tests and productions runs, she exclaimed “That means you have to do everything twice!”

Um, yea. At least twice. Usually it takes more tests before I can go into production. But this one was proven out on the first try and that means my next batch will be production ready!

Here’s what I did:

I couldn’t find my beeswax candles, but I did find some beeswax in my art supplies for Ukrainian Egg Decoration. Why beeswax? Humans have used it for at least 10,000 years (presuming of course that the earth existed for over 10,000 years. For the scope of this project, the world was created in 4004 BC, or about 6011 years). There is even evidence of it being used at Lascaux.

I created a wick from the retted flax that was donated by Wild Rose Fibres, and inserted it into the hole I made with a screwdriver (1st tool that was not from scratch)

After lighting the candle (wood fire is from scratch, as there is evidence of it being readily available to our ancestors in 4004 BC. So, I felt a wooden match was OK to use. Note that I didn’t use the bic lighter in the photo, as the end result was much the same), I held the copper over the flame, and collected the soot.

I tried to find raw copper sheeting to use as a smooth surface. No such luck at 6pm on a Saturday. But these post toppers at Home Depot did a wonderful job. One note: copper conducts heat *very* well. Watch your fingers!

After scraping the soot off with a palette knife (2nd tool not from scratch), I mixed it with walnut oil. Success! The end result is a very black, very smooth paint. Apparently this is the same pigment used for India Ink.

More on clay and other reasons why I bought copper post toppers next time.

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