Friday, September 10, 2010

Yearning for color


I'm all ready to start more experimenting with colored anodized aluminum (or colour anodised aluminium).  I tried a couple of simple pieces recently, shown here (the round pair I made for our recent merry go round challenge). 

There is quite a  process involved with coloring anodized aluminum which I'll explain briefly.  When aluminum is exposed to the atmosphere, an inert film forms on it's surface as a protective layer again corrosion.  This layer is chemically bonded to the metal's surface.  When aluminum is anodized by placing in a bath of acid with an electric current, this oxide layer is artificially created - much thicker and more consistent than the one formed naturally.  The surface takes on an appearance similar to a honeycomb with microscopic pores.  These pores readily absorb inks and dyes, if they have the correct particle size, which allows for decorative coloring.  After coloring, the aluminum is sealed which closes the pores and the color becomes trapped in the metal and so is actually part of the metal.  It is therefore resistant to rubbing, abrasion, solvents etc...and as aluminum is light weight, it makes it perfect for jewelry.

As you can imagine there is quite a bit of fiddling in the whole process. So far I've just done some simple earrings but I'm hoping later this month I can dedicate some more time to experimenting.

I just love the colors you can get with aluminum - so vibrant and fresh. Yes - very different from my usual style...but who knows where this will lead?

Here are some I made earlier in the year.

I'd welcome your thoughts and comments......


lora Hart said...

These are just beautiful. I see a class in your future. I'd take it for sure.

Sue said...

These are beautiful Ruth! How did you learn how to do it?

Ruth said...

Thanks for your nice comments. It's always good to get encouragement when you try something new.

Ruth said...

Hi Sue

I'm teaching myself and hunting down info online.