I promised you a bit of information on electroforming, and in my usual style, I am not going to get all technical ~ because that is just not fun!!! But…if you keep reading all the way to the bottom….you will get a little nugget of technical…
Electroforming ~ what can I say ~ except that lately I have become completely obsessed with this medium. It is the perfect way to take all of the beautiful treasures I collect from my journey’s and combine them with metal (copper) to create one of a kind, earthy, nature inspired creations. The process allows me to form metal where none previously existed. Imagine the possibilities!!
To me, electroforming is alchemy. I transform into a mad scientist jewelry artist magician…hmmm…. that sounds a little crazy…but completely accurate! While the process is partly scientific, it’s not entirely predictable which is where the magic comes in. Honestly, I never know exactly how a piece will finish, so on top of being unpredictable, it is also very exciting. Like waking up on Christmas morning and running out to see what Santa left…pure magic…
Some would argue that alchemy is a silly way to explain this process but, here is Miriam Webster’s definition of Alchemy ~
Noun al·che·my \ˈal-kə-mē\
- 1: a medieval chemical science and speculative philosophy aiming to achieve the transmutation of the base metals into gold
- 2 : a power or process of transforming something common into something special
- 3 : an inexplicable or mysterious transmuting
Now, I don’t know about you, but doesn’t #2 seem to hit the nail on the head??? Combine that with #1 and #3
And what do you have? Electroforming
When I discovered the electroforming process it was serendipity and déjà vu all at the same time. You know, like when you meet a stranger and feel like you have known them for all time, all the while knowing it is the best thing EVER?? That’s how I felt when I learned what possibilities were available through electroforming. My design style has always been organic and pulls strongly from nature, so adding this to my metalsmithing just seemed like the natural thing to do.
So, what is the scientific definition of electroforming? It is the intricate process of controlling an electrically charged chemical bath, and slowly depositing thin layers of metal (copper, silver, gold) from a cathode onto a conductive surface (anode), whether it be organic or inorganic material. This process is done over a long period of time – depositing layer over layer, and generally takes from 12 – 24 hours just for the forming process. The entire process from start to finish for a piece can easily run into days!!
Now, that may seem like a long time, but when the reward is a finished product that looks like these beauties, I say it is well worth the time ~