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etched rocket necklace

30 December 2009

This weekend was my boyfriend’s big birthday and I wanted to make him something really special. We had a pretty magical moment involving a 40′ tall rocket at Burning Man, so rockets are a significant motif in our relationship.

The pendant is made out of a penny that was flattened by a souvenir machine, and then the image (it was a penguin) that was stamped on it got ground off by my jeweler friend. Next I etched the penny, treating it just like any other (tiny) copper plate. I used a red stop-out ground, did the outline first, then the body, then the little flames shooting out the back. I went with an asphaltum ground for the back.

I couldn’t resist adding something mushy to the back of the pendant.

I tried printing the plate, but because of the slight curve of the penny the print didn’t come out at all. But the ink did add a great patina to the penny, and I was able to get some decent rubbings with thin paper and a hard lead.

I used an old penny with a high copper:zinc ratio and then sealed the pendant, so it won’t oxidize out of control. Then I went old school with a friendship-bracelet style necklace, so the whole thing is handmade. Unfortunately I did not take into account how much bigger his man-neck is than mine, so I have to make him a longer necklace. I put it in a little drawstring pouch that smells mysteriously good.

My man doesn’t wear jewelry, but I really wanted to make this for him. It was so hard to keep this a secret! I had it for 3 weeks before giving it to him. I was going to wait until we got to the Grand Canyon on his birthday, but instead I gave it to him the night before. It just felt like the right moment, and he was pretty excited.

OK, that was staged, but you get the idea.

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