Reviews: Patina Basics, DVD

Guild of Jewellery Designers (UK)
Reviewer: Dianne Sandland

Up until viewing these DVDs my only experience of video tutorials was via YouTube, where the quality on offer is variable, to say the least. It has never occurred to me to purchase a DVD in order to learn a new technique, or even to improve on a known one. This is where name and reputation come into play; had it been anybody other than Tim, whose books I devour, I might not have given these DVDs the benefit of the doubt. The Patina Basics DVD is Tim's seventh full-length instructional and his relaxed presentation style is a joy, as is his common-sense approach to things, particularly matters of health and safety. The DVD includes seven downloadable pages with recipes and instructions, and a PDF file for an 18" x 24" poster.

Anybody who wants to add some colour to their metalwork will get something useful from this disc; the methods are well explained and the emphasis is placed on using relatively safe, readily available materials. An ideal beginners DVD and a valuable resource for metalsmithing teachers.

About this DVD
You may remember that a couple of weeks ago I reviewed The Colouring, Bronzing and Patination of Metals, which I highly recommend. That particular book, it has to be said, is rather scholarly - not a bundle of laughs, just information. Information is, of course, exactly what you need. However, to absorb information it helps if it's put across in a way that makes it easy to take in and I can't help but feel that these two sources of information dovetail rather nicely. In the best of all worlds I would choose to own both. Tim's DVD makes patination accessible and fun, whilst Richard Hughes and Michael Rowe give you all the recipes and facts you will ever need. If I had to choose just one, my choice would hinge on where in my jewellery career I happened to be -- McCreight's style makes him ideal for the beginner or improver. However, if you've mastered the basics - including health and safety - you might prefer the 'recipe book.'


Metal Clay Today magazine

Brynmorgen Press announced the release of Patina Basics by Tim McCreight. In this 70 minute video tutorial, Tim demystifiesthe process of creating rich colors and beautiful patinas on metals. It is recommended for metal clay artists and traditional metalsmiths regardless of skill level. It is the 7th in their series of instructional videos and includes seven downloadable pages of recipes and instructions.

In this video, Tim guides the viewer through a number of patinas, giving their recipes and showing the step- by-step process. If you are someone who doesn't like the idea of using expensive and toxic chemicals in your studio, then you will happy to learn how to create patinas using everyday household products, including mustard. I really enjoyed the photographs of each of the completed patinas.

The video is well organized. It has a complete menu so you'll be able to view or review any chapter and topic with a simple click of the mouse or controller. The instructional pages are informative and the poster is decorative enough to print out and use in your studio. The cost is only $30.00 and is available for purchase at


Ronna Sarvas Weltman

Although I've used books about patina effects on metals, my favorite source is the "Patina Basics: Safe Color Solutions for Metalsmiths" DVD by Tim McCreight. I thought I was pretty savvy about patinas, but I learned lots of new tricks from watching it. McCreight is a good-humored and engaging instructor and, best of all, his techniques are easily accomplished by even the newest and most inexperienced metalsmiths.

Creating jewelry is a mix of art and science, and that is particularly true when examining the application of patinas, where temperature, humidity, metals composition, hidden impurities and a little serendipity and voodoo all affect results. And patinas can change over time. McCreight tells students that the first step in understanding the process is to let go of expectations, since results will be different - and slightly unpredictable - every time. "You won't get what you choose," he explains. "First thing is, I celebrate this! This is the point. If you want a fixed color, go to the paint store." Although many traditional silversmith and jewelry-making techniques focus on mastering the process so that the jeweler is always in control, that mindset needs to be discarded when working with patina. "There are lots of places where we recognize this," he adds. "An old leather jacket or briefcase has a rich patina of age. It's a natural living thing, so leather gets seasoned with age. We see it in wood, old furniture, even blue jeans. We need to bring that understanding with us into the patina studio. The challenge is to let go of traditional silversmith assumptions."

To fully take advantage of what he describes as the "richness in spontaneity and unknowing-ness of patinas," McCreight approaches the process more slowly. "Typically, we go through a long process. We design, experiment, fabricate, and attach findings. Our natural mindset is to slap some color on and we'll be done. I've learned to say 'That's it for today. I'll come back tomorrow when I'm fresh and can take on the patina process with the same legitimacy and patience I would do with any other process in making a piece."

McCreight points out that it's useful to know that in the patina process, you can undo just about everything. "What's the worst that can happen?" he asks. "Just go back to where you started, and scrub it clean again. That might be part of the process. Instead of thinking 'I don't really like it, but it's good enough,' go back again. Start with idea that 'I'm going to work on this piece of metal four or five times. If it's only two times, I'm ahead of the game.' Attitude is the thing. It has nothing to do with chemistry; rather, it's what's in your head when you approach it."