Saturday, December 28, 2013

CANTO I. In-Progress - Part 2.

Welcome back! Work continues on this unusual structure, which as you can see, now sports a name...

To mount an attachment to the left side of my scissor handle, I need to anneal the steel first, as it is quite hardened tool steel.

 This beautiful and very old glass-topped pin is chosen as my attachment. I've owned this little object for twenty-five years. Feels nice to bring it to bear now.

Drilled through and inserted into the scissor. I love the angle.

The pin is curled around very slowly and is now a useable connection to the pendant.

 To make tiny eye-pins to attach chains to my mirror structure, I carve little 'hand-wrought' style nails.

Chains are added and the general form works for me. It has a great movement.
Attention turns now to the wooden mirror itself.

The silvered backing is selectively removed to allow my imagery to be framed by the mirror surface.

The 'paddle' end is pierced to allow a two-sided visual. 


I select as a facial image an engraving of 19th-century British philosopher Jeremy Bentham. A fascinating man in his own right, but memorable for many years to me for his request that his body be dissected and then presented as an 'Auto-Icon', where it sits today. You can read all about him here and see an interactive 360˚ view of the Auto-Icon here.

If I've been able to lure you back from your macabre detour, the mirror is prepped.

The title for the piece is now chosen, as I've got a pretty rounded-out vision of what is coming together. 'CANTO I.'


Preparing the back of the mirror 'stack', here choosing an early 19th-century patent-application engraving and adding my signature to be seen from the back of the piece.

Mica is cut as the back window of the stack.


As the stack of glass, image and mica come together, I make one of those wild-card decisions that make me trust my intuition.


 The mirror is lightly scored and cracked in two places. To my delight, the tiny fragments of silver dot the area under the eye like tears.

Time to drop the mirror structure into the bezel of brass.

The tabs are delicately pushed over the wood, with a thick pad of felt underneath to protect the glass elements as well as the wood, which is quite brittle with age.

The pendant portion of the piece is now, except for one detail I'm about to add, complete.

Join me one more time as I work out a typically unorthodox method for hanging the pendant. Thanks for joining me!

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

CANTO I. In-Progress, Part 1

Hello and glad to be back in the step-by-step mode of bringing you with me into a new piece.

The kick-off is this miniscule Victorian wooden hand mirror, most likely made as a doll's accessory. I've been nurturing this object for a long time and its time has finally come.

I love the upside-down orientation, so that's where my instinct starts me.

Time to remove the mirror.

 Now I'm setting about cutting a small hole in the bottom of the handle and making a glass lens to fit.

This glass was melted in my kiln and will now be used as the lens.

 Cut down, tapered...

...and polished.

My next major element is brought in - a 1940's brass coaster with the glass center removed. I cut the ring to enable me to shape it.

After deciding to form-fit the coaster brass to the mirror, I set to work.

So far, so good. Slow work.


The forming finished and soldered together, I can now turn to working out how to further modify and join them.

I'm going to make tabs that will fold around the wooden mirror, which will also serve to greatly reduce the depth of the piece.


Roughed out and ready to be finessed. At this point I'm thinking about hanging possibilities, while it's still in a rough state.


This fantastic steel-and-brass scissor handle is cut down and will make a perfect asymmetrical top to the pendant.


The right side chain is anchored to the brass body. The form is really taking discernable shape.

Join me next week to see where I'll take it. Comments are welcome!