I made this tsuba in 2006. We'd just moved back to Cape Town and I was without a studio for a few months while we waited for the household to arrive by sea. I'd prepared the steel blank back in England and brought my chisels and hand tools with me...I hate to be without them. This tsuba was made on various kitchen tables and other unlikely places.
Carved steel, no power tools touched this piece! The flowers are inlaid in pure silver and have touches of gold which I applied by fire gilding. The stem of the unopened bud on the back is of unrefined copper hence the colour. This particular carved texture is part of an ongoing exploration I've been making into ways of getting steel to appear more "natural" and without being too contrived about it....pardon the apparent paradox, it's very deep Zen stuff actually ;-)
It resides now in the Kiyomizu Sannenzaka Museum in Kyoto. http://www.sannenzaka-museum.co.jp/
Sadly my camera at the time ( a Fuji finepix S9500 ) was dying on me so the images I took before I left it in Japan were not the best. I now use a Canon 400D with a dedicated EFS60mm f/2.8 macro USM lens and I'm very happy with it. That's for the techie types out there who need to know this sort of detail ;-)