Thursday, 7 February 2008

Weathered Iron Tsuba- a work in progress.


This is the front of one of the pieces I've been working on lately. The weathered sort of texture is something I've been exploring for some time now. It's a matter of working the effect out in such a way that I can create subtle areas of interest where I want them, and so that the "design" ( if you could call it that ) has areas of balance and other areas that are counter point empty spaces.

One of the great masters of this sort of effect was Kano Natsuo. This present work of mine was initially inspired by one of his masterpieces which is held by the Boston Museum of Fine Art. I did a version of my own about 10 years ago but this time I am not using the original as my starting point. I feel comfortable developing my own expression and aesthetic in this manner now. Here's a link to the tsuba that started me off; http:/to natsuo Tsuba you can judge for yourself the differences in terms of personality that are expressed by the different modes of working the ground.

This piece I've posted is obviously not finished yet. The patina is at this stage just a trial and there will be an Iris flower and leaves inlaid in the lower right corner, the design will wrap around to the back in a similar way to the original. All the really delicate work follows.

8 comments:

Megatron said...

Naruhodo... wonderful job sensei.
I wonder; how the rust patina will look like if you make rokusho bath to make patina on the inlays?
As usual sorry for maccaroni english.. i hope you will understand what i mean.

ford said...

you really don't want to hear my macaroni Italian...;-)
Rokusho and iron don't mix. Once the iron is patinated ( sabitsuke ) the iron surface must be completely painted over with some sort of lacquer to prevent contact with the rokusho. I actually use black nail varnish, it's hard, dries quickly and comes off cleanly with paint stripper. You could use pink but if any tiny bits remain on the work it looks a bit strange, black is less obvious. I tend to use a rokusho paste in this sort of situation. Once the forum is running I'll do some tutorials on this approach. Thanks for the compliment too.

remo said...

Hi ford ,
Yours tsuba photos are dark,hidden the details
i send for your email the two same more clear,

remo

ford said...

Hi Remo, yes, you are right, the images are too dark. I have replaced them now with lighter versions. It is easier to adjust the originals. Thanks for letting me know.

ford said...

and remember to click on the image to see a bigger version.

remo said...

Thank's ,
now i can view the details,
congratulations for the blog and share your work with us,it's realy help the students learn the steps of a traditional work,

Remo

Anonymous said...

Ford,
Big fan of your stuff, and I'm happy to hear about the new website and forum.
I'm pretty new to japanese metalwork but I've been a goldsmith for 10 years and have an interest in doing some narrative style work.
I have a question if you dont mind. on your tsuba I see you've already applied the patina. How do you go about doing the inlay and polishing prior to the rokusho without disturbing the patina on the iron base?
Once again looking forward to the new site.

Dustin

ford said...

Hi Dustin,

I began to describe the colouring process in my reply to Lorenzo ( Megatron ). But that's not the whole story.

The patina you see is only a basic covering, it will need much more work to be what I want. I do this at this stage so that I can get a clearer idea of what the surface now looks like. It's hard to judge when its all shiny and bright!

The next step would be the inlay of the flower. I will roughly shape the inlays once they are set and the background is perfectly restored. Then I will return to the patination of the iron. Once that part is finished as I want I will do the final fine shaping and finishing of the softer, non-iron ( non-ferrous ) inlays. Any rokusho based colouring will then be done using a paste and with all iron surfaces covered with a varnish resist.

This is another aspect I will get round to detailing on the forum...

I've now got a 30 page "manual" to work through to get the forum running, so you can guess what I'll be doing this week-end;-)