Wednesday, November 15, 2017

the Wastekeep Coronets project - many pictures

in which our plucky heroine shares the work of many months...

My former studio partner Bill and I sometimes still collaborate on projects that require both of our areas of expertise. Creating a pair of new coronets for the Barony of Wastekeep needed his metalworking and engraving skill, as well as my enameling, textile work, and general contractor time... We started out months ago, creating a design that met their requirements (adjustable, light weight, durable, and including elements of their Baronial heraldry) and their budget
Once we received the go-ahead and the deposit, Bill began working on the pieces for the hinged coronet plates, which were engraved, stamped, drilled, before being attached together with hand cast silver hinges.

While he was working on that, I enameled many tiny quatrefoil medallions, which would be set in the alternating panels between the engraved trees and castles... This is probably my very favorite color of enamel: transparent Tea Rose... while it shows pink on copper, when applied in a thin layer to fine silver, it turns a vivid transparent golden yellow
I enameled both blue and golden yellow quatrefoils, to reflect the blue and gold of their heraldry, the silver being represented by the sterling silver of the coronets...

The panels laid out in rows, including the expansion panels, but not yet assembled

The reflections that add sparkle and life to the coronets challenge my photography, but really show the combined efforts we made to create these two coronets and add some of the important motifs:
still in pieces, but getting closer to ready for final assembly

Once the pieces are all assembled, and adjusted to the right size, I made the padding. There will be an outer layer of striped blue and gold silk, and inner padding of woolen felt, and the bottom edge of the coronets will rest on the extended lower edge of the padding.

a closer view of the constructed inner layers for the coronet padding showing the multiple shaped layers of wool felt stitched together. There are no instructions for this kind of thing, and no examples, so I get to make it up as I go along... The idea is to create an improved type of coronet padding that is both attractive and comfortable. And below, the fitted padding, not yet covered in silk, with the coronets resting on the formed and stitched padded "lip" which holds the actual coronets when in use

The wool felt padding for the Wastekeep coronets will be covered in striped silk. I am creating the stripes by cutting out strips in both blue and golden silk, and stitching them together. The padding will look quite splendid when it is completed! However, there is a good reason why I have never taken up commission sewing formal and bridal wear: frayed threads from cutting these out and sewing them together ALL OVER ME and ALL OVER THE WORKROOM. Shiny shiny silk is all filamentous, which means thread detritus that flutters everywhere and static makes it stick to everything, and catches on every little unevenness on fingers... I wrapped a stitched sample of the silk outer layer over the coronet padding... another way to refer to the colors of the Wastekeep heraldry

Finally, the bias cut stitched stripey silk was hand sewn in place, completely covering the contoured felt padding, and the coronets were stitched in place as well, using the small holes just visible along the bottom edge of the sterling panels. An angled view showing how the silk covering is stitched over the wool padding, and where the padding is stitched in place through the coronets lower edge.

Front view of the Baron's coronet has two 1" wide expansion panels, shaped like dimensional castles on either side of the center front; the enamel colors are gold in front, alternating with blue. The Baroness has the colors reversed and hers has blue in the front alternately with gold...
The back of the paneled coronet design, and the seam that joins the silk outer layer of padding is (barely) visible.

Finally, a few closer looks at the details of the panels. This shows the engraved details of the blasted/eradicated tree motif, hand engraved on the quarter panels:
The alternating panels with hand-engraved and textured castles. Bear in mind that these are just over 1" tall:
Between the castle panels, and the tree panels,. there are narrower panels set with quatrefoil enamels in either (transparent) blue or golden yellow
One requirement was that the coronet be adjustable, which we met by including additional sizing panels which can be added between the initial coronet. To further reference the heraldry of Wastekeep, there are both 1/2" and 1" castle-shaped panels, which have dimensional crenelated upper edges. This is the wider sizing panel:
I was very pleased to be able to hand carry and deliver these in person to the Barony of Wastekeep this past weekend, where they were hosting Collegium 2017 in Richland, out in the eastern part of Washington state.


  1. Wow what a lot of work. They do look lovely.

    1. what I do for work is so rather esoteric, that I like to share a bit about it...

  2. Amazingly beautiful! Hope the baron and baroness appreciate all the talent, skills and work that went into them.