This is the underside after patination and with the silver "water" base in place. I finished the silver with a very fine "ishi-arashi" texture because the highly polished finish just looked cheap and harsh. It felt too "noisy" for the feeling I've been pushing towards.
You can see the cut-outs for the wings ( they are not yet in place in this shot ), behind the leaves. When in place they add yet another little surprise, glowing in the dark as they do. Because I thinned the mother of pearl quite a lot to allow light to shine through from behind, it also means that the veins are visible when seen from behind. The shadows cast by the leaves also play across the back of the wings when seen from the front, giving the impression that the dragonfly is flying in their shadow. It's all turned out to be quite kinetic!
Monday, 25 August 2008
It's been a while since I provided any idea of what I was up to with my pet rock project so here's a peek. The underside of the rock was to be left open to allow light to shine through the mother of pearl wings when the piece was picked up. I experimented with a couple of options and finally settled on this "woven" effect being created by overlapping leaves. I need to be sure that the whole space was reasonably evenly covered but at the same time to suggest a random and natural arrangement...I think it worked out OK.
The material is a variety of brass which allowed me to develop a very pleasing and warm ochre colour. The chiselled texture on the leaves, a combination of kata-kiri and maru-bori ( gouge work ) allowed me to actually use two different tones of colour, this really added to the painterly effect I was after. The other thing that I did to heighten that feel was to model the flowers by only very roughly working them with a simple rounded punch. They were then gilded.
The first image shows my jewellers bench and the 3 different piercing saws I use. The biggest one is necessary for those cuts that simply can't be reached on larger than usual pieces, like some of the work on this back plate. The middle one is my standard saw and one I've been using for nearly 30 years...it's my old faithful and feels like part of my hand. They just don't make them like this any more. The smallest one there is actually an antique German one. A lovely birthday present from my mate in Berlin, Karl Wunderlich. It's nearly 200 years old but it very precise and handles very well. It's especially good for very delicate work.
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