Sunday, November 28, 2010

Two Kinds of Courage, In Progress - Stage 2.

Hello! Let's pick up where we left off last post. This piece is going through many changes, and the biggest ones are yet to come. Flipping the piece over, it's time to address this vantage point.

 I made a piece with this essential structure back in 2005 and am very fond of it still, so I'm going with this really singular specimen of seaweed root ball - the double inverted cones have an unavoidably facial effect - especially after  I saw the root ball in half depth-wise so holes appear in back of this chambers. 

So with this element chosen, I return to the etched face on the flip side. That side must be finished before I can work more on the root-ball side.

 I made this glass 'lens' in my kiln a few months back.

 Great fit.

Meanwhile, I'm thinking about an element to hang down from the trap jaw, weighting the piece so the spigot can revolve. I choose this exquisite chandelier crystal from the mid-1800's and prepare to modify it.

First it's cut down and shaped.

A concavity is ground behind the beautiful sunburst pattern.

Seen from the front. The hole will be set with a dichroic bead.

Now a design is drawn for a backing plate of brass that will tab-set the crystal and allow it to hang.

...and sawing begins anew.

Cut and etched.

 A face to peer from the crystal.

And imagery to be seen from the back.

 Readying to assemble this unit - Notice the bead has been inserted and ground to lay flat with the surface of the glass.

 Imagery is collaged into place.

Now it's ready to set into the brass structure.

Time to prepare how it will hang from the trap.

Drilling the old steel.

Fitting a staple through with riveted ends.

 The crystal hung. This arrangement didn't sit well with me, but I decided to move ahead with the spigot handle so I could get a better overall idea of what needed to be done with this lower part.
The seeweed roots being prepared with small eye pins so I could tie it in place with waxed linen thread.

Just about to get tied into the spigot.

Suspended in place.

Turning it over, an engraving of eyes are affixed to the back, and labradorite beads are arrayed around the trough of the handle, so when the brass plate is attached over the top, they will be trapped but will be able to rattle inside.

Now the brass side is readied - a lovely color lithograph of a hand from 1880 will be behind the lens. Covering the back of the plate will be this map, from mid 19th-century. Most of this will be covered up by the root ball, but bits will peek out here and there.

The brass leaches some beautiful verdigris into the paper.

A big moment for the piece as the very thin and fragile tabs are bent around the spigot to lock it all in place.

 Little by little they embrace the edge.

 Now I can see the mechanism rotate for the first time.

I love the rotation.
But I don't like the piece.
Part and parcel of working in an intuitive manner is the possibility of working things in the wrong direction. Luckily over the years I've come to see these setbacks not as a waste of time, but as a fork in the road for me to change direction.

The piece is too large and lifeless to me. In fact, the hanging crystal below is simply too strong and detailed an element on its own - looks like I've made two separate pieces of jewelry. So with a wince and a smile...

...I snip the bottom piece off. It doesn't need to be there - it leaves the nest for later use.

Now I'll have some real rethinking to do. The neckpiece is turning a corner, one I hope will bring the spark back into it.

See you next time!



  1. I love the back plate to the spigot such a facial expression, looks like he is thinking about something and looking at something as well. I think the symmetry is what is throwing me off your work at times is symmetrical but asymmetry seems to work better with the overall composition. I do think its natural to go for symmetry but looking at the "Arial Ocean" in comparison to "Two kinds of Courage". Using the two holes in the trap possibly creating some wire work that follows the trap. I do love the piece of crystal as a seperate piece in it's self. Also the seaweed root looks so much like a Owl. What about a Owl egg shape that gives the weight. The Courage to come out of your shell, the courage of life, and the unknown. Your the man, you will figure it when are you teaching classes on the east coast huh huh hint hint. You should put up more high resolution pics of studio lo Bue.

  2. I love the process! It's so helpful to remember the spark! Thank you Keith!

  3. Man oh man, you ARE the man! Thanks for a peek into your magical process. Oh yeah, when are you coming back to east coast? March? Pretty please? :)

    Can't wait for the next chapter!

  4. Thank you Keith for sharing your amazing process with us. I can't wait for the next installment :)

  5. Well, this certainly took an interesting turn :D I'm very curious about how you will finish this amazing piece. And also what you will do with the beautiful dangle :)

  6. You find the greatest stuff! I can just imagine your mind churning through ideas wherever you go!

  7. WOW Keith You never fail to astound and amaze me