Wednesday, September 3, 2014

The Fish Pond Pendant.


There is an artist, Gary Drostle from England, who made an amazing mosaic depicting a  fish pond with fish swimming in it.

Check out the original here.

Since I have been teaching myself vitreous enamel painting, a design like this lends itself well to the medium.

As with any project of this nature, it always balloons into something bigger, more complicated and much more tricky to complete.

I never learn—there is ALWAYS project creep.


Anyway, the first thing I did was to make some tools to make the silver base and enamel ‘canvas’, as it were.


I first made them out of copper, but that was not good enough, so I switched over to silver.

Of course, gold would have been the best, but as my specialty is making things that never sell, it would have tied up too much cash.

So silver it was.


I decided to make the surround , which in real life would have been tile work, out of copper and silver.

I like the contrast.

I make that by soldering strips together and then piercing strips off and soldering those together.

Then I make three concentric rings that ‘step down’ to the ‘water’.

The fish, which were the first of several models , are made out of 18 carat gold.

In this picture, I have just drawn the blue with pencil crayons to get the idea where I want to go to.


This is how the strips start out.


Piercing out the fish.

I have finally discovered the definitive manner of transferring an image from paper to metal, which will be the subject of a future post.


The various components, most of which were rejected and remade several times.


The back of the pendant.

I only stamped on it, because I might engrave the back later if I am overcome by a fit of lethargy.


About at this time, I decided that I would ‘float’ the fish on some 1.5mm glass and make a central feature like a real ornamental pond has.


Unrelated to this project, but coming in very handy, was a experimental gem-set that I had made and facetted  previously.

I faceted a Brazilian amethyst and then I drilled a hole into it and set an emerald into it and then I did the same with the emerald and set a 1mm diamond into it.


Makes a nice center piece for my pond.


Here are all the various components.

If one counts all the bricks up, then there are 124 individual pieces.


Here is one of several backgrounds that I tried.

I engraved the pattern and then enameled each individual square separately.

Even though I rejected this background as being too busy, I will definitely investigate this technique for further jewellery projects.

One thing I learnt here is that if one enamels little squares like this, counter enamel is not necessary.

The piece stays flat after it is fired.


Here is another background that was rejected.

This one was engraved, then the engraved lines were filed and fired with black enamel and then covered with clear enamel for a second firing.

I really like the red colour the copper goes to after firing.


Some of the rejected backgrounds and casings.

An exercise in tenacity, trust me on this one.


The finished pendant, 41 mm in diameter.


The most difficult for me was getting the fish shadows right.

I learnt a lot doing the enameling on this piece.

And again, I must thank Gary Drostle for his brilliant original design.

He does inspiring work indeed.

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