I had this idea for the roll of old copper cable I brought back from the MT ranch: turn it into feathers that would act as a wind-tail for the Unicycle Covey. The wire is wrapped in cloth sheathing, so first that has to be stripped away, after sectioning it into lengths. I made myself an “anvil” with a scrap piece of small I-Beam, put a piece of carpet under it, and clamped it to the table. With a small butane torch I heated the copper cable, hammered, heated, hammered, and so on. Once they were all formed out I soldered them to a small section of copper tubing, then sleeved that into a larger section of copper tubing and clamped it to the spinning platform below the birds (on their own small unicycle).
The trout swam down from Park City for a new patina. Hard water from sprinklers had bleached out the cupric greens and hazed over the golden browns. The foundry had done the previous patina, with a little bit of after-effects from me. This time I did the patina. I heated up the sculpture with a torch and applied wax with a heavy cloth to the golden portion of the trout, buffing away all of the hard water spots just before lifting the patina away. This takes some special attention and lots of elbow grease. What had been the green back and tail needed to be stripped and done again. I was prepared to sandblast the entire piece and do the whole thing anew, but the rich gold tones around the head and body are due to the slow change of patination over years- the gold was not that rich last fall when I conditioned it before winter storage. I decided to try stripping the bad upper portion with synthetic steel wool- more elbow grease- and work a hot patina of cupric nitrate using the long process of stippling Cupric from a trimmed brush with one hand and torching with the other. The heat has to be maintained at the right balance, or the entire effect can be burned and ruined. The mottled pattern this achieves adds some depth to the color, and allows more interplay from the dimensional spots. Once the color is established, then I re-clean the lower golden portion of all drips and begin spraying the green areas with water and flame. This oxidizes the patina further, evening it out and pushing the tone from blue to green.
Next was brightening up select spots with a buffing cone and rouge, and also darkening spots with a ferric/iron mix. The buffed spots catch light nicely when in shadows.