Thursday, December 27, 2012
14thC tiny tidbit
Here is some of what it took to get from my initial sketch to the completed piece:
There were quite a few challenges along the way, starting with getting the An Tir checky background just right; remember that the backing metal on these enamels is only about 3/4" across or less. Enamel is very finely ground glass, like beach sand, but smaller.) Fortunately, our plucky heroine has been playing with glass and fire for a number of years now, and while it is never as intuitive a process as stitchery is for me, time has seen improvement in my skill set... (Hmmm, speaking of practice, am thinking it may be time to start up again with teaching my various enameling workshops again after the turn of the year...)
Three layers each of white and gold, carefully hand-packed, (six firings) plus two layers of counter enamel (two more firings), and the checky base is ready for the limoges painted enamel details.
That sorted out, the heraldic designs (Goutte de Sang and Jambe de Lion) that are the insignia of particular awards in the SCA Kingdom of An Tir, were painted on with limoges enamel (finer than beach sand, more like talcum powder) mixed with lavender oil, fired at 1500F, and that process repeated several times to refine the images and add details. I always love to see the working sketches that I make begin to translate into material objects. Now that the enameling for these pieces is completed, the next step will be to fabricate the settings that will protect the enamel and allow them to be worn as jewelry.
A close view of very small bezel being sawed to shape, before the finish work of smoothing and polishing, and setting the enamel. (interior is about 1/2" x 3/4")
Bit by bit, all these pieces will be completed and assembled together in an tiny articulated brooch... (see drawing on right side of image)
Finally this challenging project is complete! I am quite happy with how the enamels turned out, and with how tidy the tiny hand-fabricated bezels look. Hope the recipient is as pleased with it as I am...