A friend of mine has property in an area of California called Blue Canyon. This property is canyon wall and I was looking for material with which to make small fountains. The canyon gets its name from the bluish-grey colour of the slate. I realized I could use that slate. I asked my friend what I could give in return and received a request for a dolphin sculpture.
First I attempted to make a dolphin in the round from the slate. It crumbled and cracked and otherwise refused to co-operate. Finally, in frustration, I did a shallow relief. Slate is a slightly difficult material to work. It breaks in sheets and any pressure applied incorrectly causes what is being worked upon to rapidly become pieces too small to ponder. I worked out a few techniques which I will share in greater detail in the "How To" section.
The Magic of turning this lead-coloured material to gold coloured material was an accidental discovery. I had finally gotten a dolphin in relief intact. Usually, some important part would flake away in my finishing touches. I have a trial and error approach to art. Using an electric hand drill and a wood wheel with very fine brass wire bristling out, I polished the dolphin as gently as possible. Upon completing the final smoothing, I took the piece out into direct sunlight and looked upon a sparkling wonder. The dolphin had turned gold. "Ah Ha!" I said to myself. "The brass of the brush rubs off and coats the slate." I was wrong. To find out the technique, look in the "How To" section.