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... 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.



  1. wow !!
    I am out of words.
    This is breathtaking !!

  2. Your work is amazing Keith! I am sitting on the edge of my chair reading each installment.....I really love the way you are able to keep coming up with different ideas, incorporating so many diverse techniques into your pieces! All your pieces have soul...and this one has sole as well!!!!!

  3. 3rd to 1st Century Celtic Money Ring??? OMG I can't even part with a rusty skeleton key!

    This, and your genius is what makes your work pure magic Keith.

    I love the title too... very mysterious :o)

  4. Really enjoy the explanation, and the marriage of different materials. Keep them coming!

  5. I love watching your process and progress. The piece you called tatting looks like bobbin lace to me. I don't think you can do braids like that with tatting (but I don't know for sure since I don't tat). I do make bobbin lace though, and this really looks like torchon. The little filets on the edges of the triangles would have tiny pinholes in the middle and consist of just one thread.

  6. Thanks for that info, Wabbit! Wow, I wish I knew how to make that myself!

  7. Speechless ... you've stopped me ... Gadzooks, Yikes, Stupendous, OMG ... you're the Jack of all Trades Master of All!!!

  8. I love to watch your process and problem solving! It's going to be a great piece.

  9. Your braiding skills have catapulted my admiration for you to amazing new levels, Keith. Wow! :)

  10. Wonderful piece, Keith! So much to learn from you, I can't take it all in. Thank goodness for that wonderful e-book of yours.

  11. That brading is fantastic! And thanks for showing how your pieces come together.

  12. Another piece from the Master ;-) I too enjoy watching your creative process...