Just because you haven’t seen us in the school doesn’t mean the work is finished. We are having a lovely time in the studio playing around with the children’s work. We have decided how we want the assemblage to fit together so now we have lots of bits to do.

To give you an idea of some of the jobs – all the glass in the cabinet has been replaced with reinforced glass and the cabinet painted back to look like the original,the  sea stones have been bored and plugged, the bronze fish have had plugs welded on to them, the bronze has been patinated, charcoals drawings and photographs have been framed.We are nearly ready for hanging the whole piece.

A little bit about patination.

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The natural color of bronze when it comes out of the mold looks like brass or gold and the finish is very bright and shiny. It is difficult to maintain — without waxing as a protective layer the surface of the bronze will inevitably oxidize and change. The process can be uneven, with dark brown and green streaks developing. Over time the surface will even out, but this can take a very long time.

Using a blow torch and chemicals to patinate bronze.
Using a blow torch and chemicals to patinate bronze.

We added patinas to the bronze fish to create a variety of colours. A wide range of chemicals, both household and commercial, give a variety of patinas.The basic palette for patinas bronze includes chemicals like ammonium sulphide (blue-black), liver of sulphur (brown-black), cupric nitrate (blue-green) and ferric nitrate (yellow-brown). We apply these with heat and then wax them.