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texture on metal

January 17, 2010

As stated in a previous post I love to make hollow forms.  This requires a lot of different surface patterns. In this post I am offering some suggestions on texturing metal using the rolling mill. The first sample above shows a variation on a ‘paper  plate’. I cut the shapes out of a heavy stock paper and glued it to a heavy gauge sheet of red brass. If you use a fairly permanent glue the paper will stay on offering additional rollings ( most paper plates are finished with one use). I got glue on the metal and it too created a subtlety of texture. Photo above shows plate and the silver I rolled with it. What I liked about the paper on the metal ( as opposed to the paper on paper) is the metal is smooth and the paper part is textured for a nice contrast on the finished piece.) The stencil (see below) also gives this contrast but it is the opposite. The background is textured and the design is smooth.

I have a lot of textured plates that I have etched for rolling in the mill, but often I don’t want to roll a piece of metal that big all of that one design. So I love the paper on metal plates because I can make them any size I want and custom sizes to fit the one little piece of metal I need at that moment.

Tip: don’t make my mistake – the design is too close too the edge and would have too much cut off if used for a top on a hollow form.  Plan for the overhang needed in soldering which will be removed.

For this plate I cut out circles ( there are a lot of different sized paper punches and some interesting images. I like the starburst punch. With the punches you have the punched out pieces to glue on – altered or not and the punched out paper to use with or with out another texture of paper or screen backing it.)  Here I cut the circles up and then glued them to the metal. On the left is the silver rolled with the plate.

Here is the same plate with the paper removed. Now this is yet another plate that can be rolled. And after it is rolled ( or not) it can be used directly as is in your piece. It could also be further altered by punching tiny holes throughout the background ( for direct uses or rolling) or glueing on tiny paper dots or squares for a new pattern to roll.

Necklace    hollow form using this plate for the top   river pebble   beach glass   red brass side rolled with paper strips ( photo below )  “new territory”  2009 by Jane Cather The pebble is the person entering the harbor of the new territory.  The sliced circle represents breaking out of one’s own bubble of space. The beach glass represents the new knowledge and experience to be found in this new territory.

This is the plate for the side strip referred to above. It was about 10 inches long and 1 1/2 ” wide. Some of the paper strips have fallen off as I only used a glue stick. It still could go again like this or be altered a bit too.

top left is one kind of paper on another in an all paper plate – the rolled silver is to the right. Below is a paper stencil ( see a piece of the rolled silver in the hand amulet of previous post) and to the right is paper that has been glued together to create height  cut out and then glued onto metal sheet.  Also try cardboard or other thick pieces.

This will be a fabric, paper and metal ( the disc) plate.  Glue fabric onto stiff card stock then glue imagery or design onto fabric. This helps make the rolling easier. The fabric could be replace with a piece of screen for any other textured item you may discover. And other textured materials may be cut out and then rolled as a shape or they too can be pierced.

No paper here (but there could be for additional detail).  This is a small piece of heavy gauge metal that has had heavy gauge round wire ( I think I used nickel) soldered to it. I used this in the rolling mill with the silver. Test a bit with copper as I did not have the mill set really tight. The wire , of coarse, can be soldered on in an endless number of ways – abstract or actual imagery. If you rolled the design in fine silver or copper the depressions are deep enough for some enamel or enamel over the whole piece. And if enameling over the whole piece some bits of wire (shaped or not) can be fused in with the enamel. ( See enamel tutorials on my website. Link at the top of this page.)

Bracelet  ” Zen Garden” by Jane Cather 2009   Here is the silver rolled with the above plate.  I did remember to leave enough for the edge needed to construct the hollow form, but barely…….The dark ‘ditches’ or rake marks are depressions from the wire on the plate. The circle is set with a river pebble. I don’t have a hydrolic press at this time and this was an attempt to give the puffed raised feel of the press using the mill. Some people use a vice with the rubber, but I don’t have the rubber now either.

Tip: All plates are run through with a folded paper towel for added push and dimension and paper to protect the rollers on the mill.

The above is as they say just the tip of the iceberg. But that is what is so fun and interesting about it all. You may start with a few of these ideas but they are sure to spark many many more of your own. There is an infinite number of combinations of textures and techniques.

11 Comments leave one →
  1. January 17, 2010 5:48 am

    Wonderful information…thank you so much for sharing!

    • January 19, 2010 5:01 pm

      absolutely fantastic, cant wait to get to my studio to get to work..i am a student of carol holaday’s…. i gave her the issue of the studio magazine that you were featured in, because i know she is such a fan of yours….. isnt she the best….

  2. Mary Luke permalink
    January 19, 2010 9:14 pm

    I love that you are basically using a collographic printmaking technique! Simply genius. I’m also a student of Carol Holaday (lovely teacher.) Thank you for sharing this wonderful idea, I’m thinking of patterns and ideas as I type…

  3. January 26, 2010 12:50 am

    Fabulous, thanks so much for sharing, your work is amazing.

  4. January 23, 2012 6:33 pm

    Thank you very much, I have just ordered myself a rolling mill, and can’t wait to get started

  5. January 25, 2012 1:52 am

    Thank you. We just covered texturing with the rolling mill in the class that I am taking. I can’t wait until next week to try some of these.

  6. Neda permalink
    May 16, 2013 6:24 pm

    Wow!!! Amazing stuff Jane!!! I am a new student to jewelry and your innovating pieces are inspiring!! Thank you for sharing these unique and interesting techniques! Can’t wait to try them!

  7. nothanks old_metalsmith permalink
    June 11, 2014 8:37 pm

    Nice, also try using tape. Clear 2 inch ‘packing tape’ over metal foils/paperstock/whathaveyou instead of glue. If you use a decent tape, match the tape edges and cover the entire metal base sheet the tape will last for many impressions against annealed metals. Advantage: you can reposition/reuse impression design elements, do limited series by adding additional taped element numbers in a clear space, etc., more spontaneous and flexible than permanently glued elements

  8. September 22, 2014 1:18 pm

    Thanks for a great post on texture with a rolling mill-just received a mill yesterday and can’t wait to try these. Again, thanks for the information.

  9. July 15, 2015 2:51 pm

    Very enlightening :>)


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