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Bitumen, Copper and me

I knew that removing the bituminous layer from my copper would require staying power and strength but it is proving to be testing all previous expectations and moving into “I’m just fed up” territory.

I also knew that there would be an inevitable compromise on how I removed it with previous experiments in the science laboratory already proving that I could not possibly remove bitumen with vinegar. So, white spirit in hand I began by pouring some on to a test piece. The liquid sits for a few minutes and then I begin the arduous task of working it into the black goo that needs to be removed from the copper.

Once removed, I used white wine vinegar and salt to clean and polish the copper, washing it in cold water to neutralise the acid and prevent further erosion into the metal.

I have had mixed results and my initial frustration and disappointed air being changed to “Ooo look at the way the light catches the shiny bits” which is after all the whole point of the exercise: to draw the eye towards the light and to have contrast between light and dark; natural patina and human intervention.

It almost makes the prospect of cleaning and polishing all the actual pieces of the sculpture bearable…almost…

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