As making custom pieces is probably our plucky heroine's favorite thing to do, it was really delightful to collaborate with J. The custom rune pendant, a project that began several months ago, was just finished up and mailed out today.
This is a bit about how the process worked... I started with a series of sketches, the only caveat being the particular motif, the small size (1" x 3/4") and the colors blue/orange/gold. Not sure what kind of look they were going for, I offered an assortment of styles both pictorial and geometric:
From all of these, the choice was for the simple elegant "bands of color" outline, which was my own favorite as well. Given the scale of the enamel, my plan was to use limoges painting enamel techniques for the rune motif, as it allows very fine detail.
I then did a more finished rendering, to clearly show what I proposed to create for them, a small rectangular enamel set in silver
In order to translate the sketch into a finished enamel, I needed to test the various orange enamels on hand, since that color is pretty much never used in regalia. I wanted to get as close a match to the sketch as I could...
None of the opaque colors looked right as a background for the center section, so I chose my old friend "Thompson's Tea Rose", a venerable pink that turns vivid gold when fired on silver.
My first effort at creating the borders, the outer blue strip, while not a dark cobalt, looked much too dark compared to the warm orange and gold. By using wet-packing the enamel directly, instead of using cloisonné, I was able to get an effect of soft borders, rather than hard outlines, which really suited the design.
After some additional email consultation, the dark blue was replaced with a lighter color... much better visual balance. Adding the detailed complex lines of the rune (just over 1/2" tall) was a real challenge; I think it took at least six firings or more for the motif to have all the details even and tidy.
Finally a simple silver pendant setting was made to fit the enamel. I use serrated fine silver bezel wire to hold the enamel in place, as the malleable pure silver, combined with the serrations, is the most gentle way I know to hold the enamel in place securely. I decided to use some spiral twisted wire for the pendant bails, and made them large enough to allow for various kinds of chain or necklace to be used with the pendant.
I can only hope that 2017 will allow me additional opportunity to create durable, wearable special artifacts of beauty for people...
November SMART goals
|#||THINGS MADE||THINGS FIXED||THINGS GONE|
|1||charter #17||framed Summits charter||7 pounds|
|2||charter #18||framed Adiantum charter||Goodwill bag|
|3||reflective mesh vest||repair small frame||old chook gate|
|4||blue batik dress||frame fox print||paper recycle bin|
|5||brown pinafore||setting acorn enamel||3 bags recycling|
|6||setting rune enamel||-||2 bags trash|
|7||-||-||11 bags Goodwill|
|8||-||-||1 bag yarn|