Monday, June 16, 2014

Sculpture Part of Nest Finished.


This post is for my own records.


This is an interactive sculpture that has three separate pieces of jewellery that are part of the sculpture but can be worn separately.

I had this idea of making a stylistic humming bird that would be sipping from a flower.

That was the basic idea.

I like humming birds.

As always, I start with an idea, but I don't set it in concrete, because as I progress, other ideas come to me and the actual thing curves into a different direction, – always.

Anyway, one thing that does not change is the mechanical work.

So I start with a vague shape of 1mm brass.


The three wings were made out of 1mm brass sheeting and then a 2mm border was soldered around them.

Then thin titanium sheeting was rolled out and cut to size so that is is actually inlaid.

I like using a combination of brass and copper.

I like the colour contrast.

From the beginning, I decided that I was going to use a lot of titanium, mostly blued with heat, my favorite colour of all.



This picture shows the 'bib already made out of titanium and I am also busy with the tail.

The tail is made out of three millimeter tapered brass wire that is soldered together at the top and then held to the body with a 3mm screw at the back.

The making of the feathers I blogged on here, so I am not going to re –write it again.


Here the basic design of nest is being thrashed out.

I made several versions before I settled on this one.

The inner box being made.

This is where the pendant will reside, so I wanted it to be removable and have a glass lid so that one can see inside.


These are the supports that I turned out and then I made silver washers and soldered them in.

I pavé set 2 mm garnets into them later.


I went back to the flowers and this time I was more sure where I wanted to go with them.

All in all I made eight different designs until I settled on this one.

Eight symmetrical petals with silver smaller insides.

Then I made silver collets and soldered  a 3mm screw on the collet and set some blue topaz stones in the collets.

They hold the Nest together.


I made the catch for the nest out of a scrap piece of brass and soldered some tubes in and set some Sandawana emeralds in them.


Showing the garnets.


The flower was difficult to design.

This was my first attempt.

I had this idea that these petals would open and the ring would then be exposed.

I thought that is I used plique-a-jour enamel one would see the vague shape of the ring inside.



It looked miff, so I scrapped that design.


So I started again with a new design.

This time I had more direction, if only because I had determined what NOT to do.

So I wanted to have the flower open up so that the ring inside would be easy to remove.

First I made a paper model, several, in fact.

Then some frames.


I hinged then and then made some copper back ground panels.

I wanted to patina them turquoise .

I like the colour.


I welded up a hollow bar steel frame for the sculpture.

I like the heft and body of it.

I also stick to the golden rectangle or there about, because it’s easy on the eye.

Here I am playing around with the vines and general positions.


Then I made four different humming bird designs out of silver.

I play around with colours but I never stick to them.


I use Thompson enamels.

I would use leaded enamels but the nannies have stopped adults like me buying them.

Luckily I can still buy cyanide, though.


Here are my lead free, perfectly safe for human consumption enameled humming birds.


The inside of the flower.

The white paper will be titanium, blue of course.


Here is the test sample.

IMG_5357 (2)

I made a sliding catch for the flower.

Then I first nickel plated it and then I gold plated it.

In fact, I gold plated the entire sculpture, except for the copper sections and the body of the main bird and the vines.

They are stabilized with Incralac.

Every other thing is gold plated so that there is no deterioration or tarnishing.


Here is the unpainted raw metal background and the final position of all the objects in space.

The background metal was first primed and then painted with an acrylic using a mixture of  Winsor Blue and Black


After the frame was finished being painted with an egg shell black enamel I gilded the inside.

In retrospect, I should have gilded the entire frame, but at this stage, after four and a half months of work, I am a bit burnt out on this project.


One of the last ‘infrastructure’ things I made were the end caps for the frame.

The cones are threaded on the inside and the frame has a 4mm threaded bar running through it that holds the whole catastrophe together.


The eye consists of a 15mm amethyst that I faceted and then drilled and polished a hole in the middle of the table.

Then I inlayed a cabochon garnet in it.

The ‘collar’ is set pavé with 5mm amethyst, peridot,topaz and garnets.

The two bottom collars are pavé set with a mixture of 2mm sapphires and Swarovski natural stones.

The beak is made out of un-blued titanium.


IMG_5826 (2)

The birds on nest are pierced out of blued titanium.

The spider web is pierced out of one piece of  0.7 mm silver plate.

There are still three pieces of jewellery that have to be made for Nest.

One is a ring that will be made out of gold and titanium  and enamel, which I have already started.

The second is a pendant with a  painted humming bird in enamel and gold

Here is a blog of my first bird that I painted.

I’m better at it now, but painting in vitreous enamel is quite tricky for me still.

The third jewellery piece will be  a spider brooch for the web, made out of gemstones that I have facetted already.


The flower.

Note the catch on the top right.

When the lever is pulled back the flower opens.

See how the background is not quite black, but rather a deep, deep blue.


The lever pulled back and the flower opens.

I have made the picture 1000 pixels so they can be clicked big for detail.


Nest open.

The inside will be finished off when the enamel pendant is finished.

Note the two jump ring on the web where the spider brooch will fit in.


Detail of the inside of the flower when it is closed.


Detail of the catch of Nest.


Nest, waiting for the jewellery.

Overall size 640 mm x 500 mm.

More hours than I care to count.

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