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The demise of the pickle

It’s not been a good couple of weeks for machines in my studio. Firstly Vera got sick and now, now my piclke has died. Well, I say died- I really mean ‘is just no longer usable’.

I should explain exactly what my pickle is -lest you think that I’m just a particularly sentimental and strange vegetarian. Don’t get me wrong, I like to garden and have been known to grow the odd thing but this pickle is distinctly jewellery related.

It’s a standard household slow cooker that I fill with a weak acid-like solution. At the proper temprature it eats away the layer of oxidisation that forms on metal when it’s heated. This cleans up the surface of most precious metals and is an essenial step in the making of any piece of jewellery. It’s heated simply because that makes the chemical reaction go faster and I am impatient. Most makers will have some kind of device that serves the same purpose as my pickle tank – be it an acid bath or a vinegar solution.

A few weeks ago, upon plugging it in, my pickle tank threw the household trip switch. I wasn’t overly worried because I live in an area prone to power cuts and electrical over-sensitivity and, well, it didn’t look broken or anything.

I probably should have taken it more seriously given that I have no idea how old the thing is -I had it second hand from a former housemate and, well, take a look:


It’s not exactly a modern design right? When was avacado coloured plastic in anyway?

Last night when I plugged it in it threw the trip switch 3 times in as many minutes. I thought that maybe, just maybe, it was time to stop plugging it in for good. A little research confirmed my opinion and this morning our dustmen took the pickle away.

It was all a little sad, because it was a part of my first independant studio, but  it does mean that I won’t get fried while I’m working (and this may seem shallow) that I got to go shopping.

And behold:


New, beautiful, fully functional and electrically safe pickling equiptment! I am quite happy and relieved, as there’s a show coming up in Malvern in a couple of weeks and I’ve totally run out of a few things. Time to get making.

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