Tuesday, May 22, 2012

REFLECTIONS, In-Progress - Part Two.

Welcome back. On to part two of our journey.

Now that I've finished the lens assembly that would occupy one side of the piece, attention turns now to creating points of connection for a cord or chain. I bypass my first thought (the easy solution!) of wrapping wire around the 'handle' part of the compact and decide instead to drill and tube-rivet anchor points in the hollow body of the compact itself.

 The tubes inserted, yet to be flared out.

The tube-rivets finished. I like the placement.

 The piece is patinated at this point to bring it all together thus far.

 A fast hunch leads to this rather drastic move. I do like the lipstick mechanism, no doubt, but it nags me and I can see far more lyrical things up there, so off it's cut.

Several hours of fossicking through Studio Stuffsmith yields this gem: a 19th-century clay pipe bowl fragment from the Thames. It's a perfect crown.

The tall side, opposite the opening, is hollowed for an image.

As the clay is porous and fragile, its soaked in acrylic media to seal and strengthen it.

Yep. This step has kicked the piece to life for me. Wired solidly in place.

Now my focus turns to the covered chamber that will be the beating heart of the piece. I can now take stock of the elements I've readied for this side of the neckpiece. On the left, the opaque glass portrait of Maureen Kistle and on the right, the same portrait fused onto clear antique glass.

 This clear image reads as a negative...

...until it is backed in black, when it becomes readable.

The pattern on the hinged lid is lovely and I want it to remain - however I want to have the empty circle in the center have some focal weight, so the radial pattern pulls the eye inward. I choose to create a bezel in which to mount a ruby. First a hole is drilled.

 Now the surface is protected...

...and raised in a dapping block.

A washer of thin brass seals in the back of the stone. The opaque glass portrait can be seen faintly through the bottom panel. That is the area where the resin lens assembly will go (chronicled in last posting).

 Now precious cargo comes aboard - a lock of Maureen's baby hair.

 Laid in over black velvet, it will then be pinioned in place by the clear glass portrait. Note the small hole in the center of the velvet to allow light through the ruby.

The portraits now affixed in place and a chain of steel and brass attached.

At this stage I tiptoe through the titles and settle on the name of the piece. Obvious reference to both noun and verb, literal and ruminative. REFLECTIONS it is.

Next week, the final installment as the finished work (and a sister piece!) coalesces. I hope you'll join me!




  1. Keith ~ I am riveted to this piece and am anxiously awaiting the finale! Lovely work ~ as always.

  2. As always, a few key phrases popped out to strengthen me in my artistic struggles: "easy solution" (which must be viewed skeptically, as you do)is one of them. I would love to see a Stuffsmith design class! It's how you process that makes these things yet more beautiful. This one is such a loving tribute to a friend and her memories. The feeling shines through in all those decisions you made!

  3. Fantastic!!!!!! Looking forward to seeing how you complete this piece.

  4. Your bravery kicked this up a notch for sure. I would've been so hesitant to cut off the lipstick piece and yet that pipe fragment adds so much character and lightness. Loving this so much.. no surprise there. : )

  5. This is just brilliant!!! I can't wait to see the finished piece.

  6. Sensational cant wait to see how you finish it what a awesome tribute.

  7. amazing again how your brain works, where do you pull this stuff from!! that is the class i want to take with you! when are you coming to hawaii?? beautiful work as always, aloha nui loa! angi in hana

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  9. I love to see the process of your pieces. It is incredible how you take found items and put them together so beautifully. Thank you for sharing with us!

  10. Brilliant work, Keith. Can't wait for the next step.

  11. My heart did a little beat skip when I saw that you had cut off the lipstick tube - that was kinda brave you know ...No going back at that point! Naturally the clay pipe piece is the perfect answer. This piece is going to have so many layers of meaning for the recipient. There will be tears for sure when you present it. And a sharp intake of breath I imagine. Thanks.

  12. Magic. End of story. :)

  13. So very clever. I am loving this piece!

  14. I'm fascinated at the way this all comes together - homeless forms now finding new life and new homes. They take on a life of their own and, I'm guessing, inform you throughout the creation process. This piece just draws me - beautiful!!

  15. I haven't had much time lately to check in on your works, but this morning was browsing during some well-needed down time. I can't tell you how interesting to me these sessions on your blog are. I have only been able to get into your classes twice and find myself leaning towards your way of working (as a fellow old-time junk collector). Checking out these docs of your creations helps me problem solve and validates the need to create. I love to see the way you resolve things as you work and gives subtle encouragement to people like me! Thanks and keep inspiring us, Keith!

  16. This piece is simply,no,make that absolutely, brilliant. Most would have left the lipstick handle. Only you would think the opposite, Keith, and I think it MAKES the piece. Well done!!

  17. I love following your journeys, thanks for sharing every single step and your thoughts. It is very inspiring and makes me 'wanna do stuff' ;)

  18. Thank you all for taking the time to comment on what you're seeing! It makes practicing a very solitary activity feel more connected with creatives around the world, and for that I'm really grateful...

  19. You are fantastically awesome Keith! You have the ability to see, hear, feel, smell and taste where this piece wants to go....you also have a great talent for taking a risk and travelling a path that many would not! Wrapt in Rocky happens in about 5 weeks....so sad that you will not be there.....you will be missed! Hope to see you there again next time (in 2014) :)

  20. Such a wonderful and beautiful piece! You are just genius!
    Thank you for sharing!