Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Two Sides of History, Pt. 2

Thank you all for the kind words about seeing the process as I go. Picking up where we left off last post...

The kiln reveals my tiny glass lenses, fused to the steel strap.

Left, a drawer-pull as it was originally, right the result of two fuse firings.

Top of a 150-year-old thimble getting tube-riveted into place.

Laying the lens in place where it is to go. The tab of the lens has been riveted into place on the trap, but it acts as a pivot point, so it will be chained into place from above.

Creating the object to be viewed through that lens: a sawn-down piece of seaweed roots, with tiny shell fragments still embedded, will become the organic center of the piece.

The lens gets attached in four places with the tiny chain.

The drawer pull, now in place, will need to be suspended from the iron jaw above, so time to modify those parts to make that happen.

The drawer-pull ready to be drilled

with a tiny pin drill and miniature bit.

The steel jaw gets similar treatment, this time with a flex-shaft tool behind the bit.

Having finished with the metal manipulation of the trap, I can attach the more delicate materials with less fear of damaging them. The keyhole first, with glass fused into it...

The keyhole as it will be seen from the front.

A pearl to live in back.

Removing an eye for the central opening in the root ball.

And put in place.

Which leaves me safe to attach the lens permanently, as well as the little drawer-pull above. Now the structure is coming together.

Hand-drawing the text for the title into some asphaltum resist, which will then be etched into the nickel-silver bar.

While it's etching, I can move on to the cord.

Creating the clasp.

The hanging mechanism, complete.

The etched title bar is shaped,

and elements are created for it. Here I've taken two antique earnuts and some fine steel wire.

The whole assembly soldered together.

Creating the hanging element for the title bar completes the piece.

The neckpiece hung on my 'just finished' hook, awaiting its studio photo session.


The finished images of 'Two Sides of History' can be viewed here.

Or, for the person who simply can't live another day without owning it (there's only one out there!), you might prefer to check it out here.

At the time of writing this, I'm deep into a new neckpiece that will be posted here next week after my teaching weekend in Melbourne.

Thanks for visiting. Ciao!

Friday, July 10, 2009

Two Sides of History - In Progress, Pt.1

I've just emerged from my studio lair with a major new neckpiece, which I've documented all the way. This post will take us halfway through the fabrication of the piece, to be followed later by the completion. I'll be shooting beauty shots of Two Sides of History later today, to finish my documentation.

Ready? Let's hit the bench.

After deciding on one of my collection of antique animal leg traps to use as the body of the piece, I choose some elements to add glass to in my new kiln.

Keyholes ready to slump glass into.

A beautiful and tiny brass drawer-pull gets prepped for similar treatment.

The trap, jaws and chain removed.

Readying to remove the small setting strap after shaping the metal above it...

...for modification.

Drawing the new contours of the trap.

And sawn.

A keyhole window gets a cutting template.

Slow work in old and brittle steel.

A stunning optometrists' lens, glass altered from below, will take center stage on the pendant.

A real fisheye-grade lens!

Gathering materials to make the swing attachment for affixing the lens to the trap.

The tiny assembly ready to go.

The trap, shaped.

To remove the rust, the trap gets a day in a rock tumbler.

In the meantime, I start work on the jaw. Note the lovely deep dent on the right...must've snapped shut on another piece of steel long ago...?

The tiniest chain of this design I've ever made.

The trap cleaned, now the jaw gets rounded out on a steel form.

A beautiful steel eye bolt is riveted to the jaw.

And fitted with a large brass ring, while the upholstery tacks are bent into loops to hold the little chain.

Part two will start by showing what emerged from the kiln and we'll take it from there.