Monday, September 17, 2007

Go Green!

Right now I’m facing a catch-22 regarding my first production batch of pigment. I need to make some pots in which to refine my pigment more, but in order to do that I need a kiln. Although I have some clay to make bricks or pots, I don’t have anything to fire them in…

That and I don’t think my landlord would really appreciate me making a bonfire on his property to pull this off. This sort of thing needs done at my parent’s property.

So, in the meantime, I’m trying to expand my color palate. I’m about 1/3 of the way through tests for creating a copper green pigment. Here’s what I’ve got so far:

I found a recipe for patina on the web, which consisted of only three ingredients: Sea/kosher salt, White Vinegar, and Ammonia. We had the salt and vinegar at home. Believe it or not, finding a cheap $3 bottle of Ammonia was *not* easy. I called or looked in over five stores before I found it in stock at Safeway. Why so scarce? My guess is that it’s a cheap ingredient used in the manufacture of meth, so people are either buying up all the stock, or stores are not selling it to attempt in vain to cut down on meth production. Come on everybody! Haven’t people figured out yet that speed kills? Now it delays art projects too.

So, while I was looking for ammonia, I tried a substitution for my first batch… one that would be easier to make from scratch too. Let’s just say that it’s a) it complies with my ‘from scratch’ rule set b) a liquid and c) I can currently manufacture more in a week than I’ll probably need for this entire project.

I also tried just using lemon juice for a second test, but it just resulted in making a green snot-like goo. When I added alcohol to it, it looked pretty bad.

Both batches on day 2 or so

Day 3 or so: Crystals began to form

Close up of crystals

Day 5, Had been left outside for a while, including a light mist of rain.

Icky green goo from dehydrated lemon juice. I couldn’t tell if the green color is from the copper or some nasty bacteria. So, I mixed it with alcohol to see if I could sterilize it and separate the pigment out.

Final bottled samples. Middle sample has settled since this photo and all pigment and salt is at the bottom.

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