Tuesday, July 19, 2011

To the Invisible Girl, In-Progress, Part Four - Conclusion.

This fourth part will see To the Invisible Girl through to completion....

After spending so much time on the 'front' of the piece, which is the bottom of the shoe, I flip it over to look into the boot. I find a choko nut case that nestles perfectly into the oval presented by the heel. Note the black velvet in place below it for the glass image on the opposite side.

 16th-century paper to line the nutshell.

 My girl is found, in the form of this lovely little 'gem' tintype.

Shaped and tension-fit - I'm about to do a resin-pour to trap her in the shell with a few other things. I'll also sign and date the piece now by scratching the emulsion above her head.

 A fountain-pen nib in the bottom, resin is poured over it all and the bubbles encouraged to remain.

 Now the split in the leather toe is to be sewn up. Holes are punched...

 ...and sewing commences.

 Tacked into place with glue. When the glue is dry, I will connect it mechanically.

  Antique copper tacks are pushed into creases and crevices.

 The choko is riddled with tacks for a final securing.

 Now a shoelace is about to be woven to anchor the brass name plate, and, at the other end, the hanging element.

Gauging the length as I go.

This is the same old rayon thread used for the neck strap. I love the bright ivory color in contrast to the rich blacks and browns of the boot.

 The hanging elements - old spiral-shank nails.

 Bent, polished and ready to go.

 Finaly, they are sewn into place at the top of the boot.
Resting for a minute on the second side...

My beloved waxed linen tying it all off.

As a link to ascend from the spiral nail, I fabricate spiral links out of 8 gauge square brass stock.


Patinated and ready for use.

 The brass ring makes a good visual lead from nail to Celtic money-ring.

 Now to the last step: the clasp.

 Removing the outer tines.

 And cutting it down.

 Annealing this heavy nickel silver fork is necessary to get it to bend the way I'll need it to.

The initial form.

Creating a waxed-linen ball to adorn the hook's end.

The attaching end is twisted to the side to allow the hook to lay flat against the body. A final polish and the piece is there...

To see finished images of To the Invisible Girl:
Click here

Or, for those with more possessive tendencies:
Click here.

It's been a real journey - hope you've had some fun.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

To the Invisible Girl, in-progress - Part Three.

Welcome back! Early on in the making of the shoe piece, I created a braided cord to use as the necklace. Let's see that now, as it will come back into play as the visual of the whole thing falls into place...

 I start with a Celtic money ring from around the 3rd to 1st century BC. The off-white thread I'm using here is some spectacular antique rayon, yellowed with age.

 I've made this kumihimo plate designed after Makiko Tada's original plate design.

The flat braid appears. It's a zig-zag anda-gumi pattern.

 And finished with another money ring. The discoloration of this old cord makes this my favorite braid I've made yet. If anyone out there has decrepit old discolored thread or cord that they want to donate to my obsessive new practice, please get in touch and I'll cover the shipping! 

Now back to the pendant. Now that the sole work is in place, I can focus on what will nestle behind the glass, both the upper lens and the lower fused glass. Starting with the fused glass at the toe end, I take a eucalyptus seed cap and search out an engraving to occupy it.

A fantastic Australian scrapbook from the 1870's. Lucky this was unbound and decaying...

 When she's mounted behind the glass, it should read as a sort of thought-bubble over the woman's portrait...

...like so.

 Now for the top lens. Taking note of all the fabrics and textiles working their way into the piece, it occurs to me to include some antique lace or doily work into the background of the lens chamber. But as soon as my eyes fall on this small bit of tatting, I know this is to be used as a grille through which I will view another face. The center circle is even the same diameter as my lens!
 I couldn't have fabricated a better fit...

 A portrait of Gabriel Dumont will peer from the stitching.

 I now set about searching for a title, through my collection of about 5000 accumulated titles from antique books, newspapers, etc. I've learned to be patient through this process, and not to force any associations in advance, but to go with my gut when it appears.

 After exhausting my title file, I begin thumbing through complete books in my collection, hoping to find a connection there.

And there she is. No wonder she was so hard to see! The piece jumps vividly to life in my mind now - amazing how the trail of clues leads me to this life I've assembled.

Now to design a plate with the title to integrate into the form.

Space allowed to pass under the green kumihimo braid.

Cutting the plate.

 Type written on and ready to etch.

 Just out of the etchant.

 Forming the plate on the work.
 Sitting aside waiting its turn to climb aboard.

 Now I treat the little boot with a high-end saddle dressing - this thirsty leather hasn't seen nourishment for over a century. New, rich color is brought up out of the leather.

 I sit the plate in position and start mulling how to lash it down.

Thanks for staying with me. In the final installment: the boot gets laced, the back gets some serious attention, an unusual clasp is devised and it's a wrap.

Hoped you enjoyed yourself.