Welcome back for episode two in the 'Diary' chronicles...
Once I had gotten the hinge working on the enclosure, I began to see it as a housing to hold something removeable. As I was sitting with the stucture talking about it with my partner Irena, she held it off to the side of her stomach and commented that it would be interesting for it to hang low, and it got my mind racing - her feedback is always right on target, I'm a lucky man. Soon I came around to thinking about girdle books, which had always fascinated me. Once quite common, only about 25 have survived the centuries; these were books bound to be hung from the clothing - here are a few examples.
(Girdle book from the British Museum)
The piece was now in high gear, as I began to envision a small book to inhabit the low-slung box. That would be a whole different set of problems, as I'd never bound a book myself. I'd have time to mull on that - there was plenty on my plate first. I found the title for the piece at this point, from a newspaper from about 1870. So the next step was to create a plate for the top of the box that would incorporate the title, as well as some kind of hook and eye closure. This jogged my memory to 2004 when I photographed the incredible armor at the Metropolitan Museum in NY. I had taken many images of interesting metal connections, and this supplied the inspiration for the catch I was about to fabricate.
Getting ready to etch the brass plate.
Etching in cupric chloride.
The closure begins.
The design for the plate.
Creating four brass 'bumpers' to protrude from the front and back of the box.
Ready to tube-rivet the hook mechanism.
The top plate complete, with fresh-water pearls set under the swinging hook.
The box nearing completion, I now would turn my time towards creating a really special chain for it to hang down to the 'girdle'. The next post will show you the very unconventional solution to that next challenge - and would find me chalking up another 'first' in my repertoire of making.
Until then, ciao!
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