Saturday, March 19, 2011
A challenging project...
The recent sale of one of my bronze-art necklaces at the Manitou Springs gallery has presented a unique challenge – and provided me with a project for this weekend. The purchaser, a spring bride, wishes to present each of her two bridesmaids with a bronze pendant to commemorate her wedding: she has asked me to make a duplicate of the original!
As an artist who creates mostly one-of-a-kind jewelry, I had never considered the difficulty of duplicating an original piece. Not that I’m comparing myself … but, just imagine Picasso, or Michaelangelo trying to duplicate one of their original artworks! For the bronze-clay artist this becomes especially challenging because there are certain unpredictable aspects to bronze art that one who is unfamiliar with the process would not expect – things like an unpredictable texture, SHRINKAGE, and the kiln-fired PATINA.
Since I have agreed to venture into this brave new world, I thought it would be interesting to document the process for my blog.
When I made the original, I made a mold (luckily, I still had it) of the button-like bezel piece. The pendant consists of a plate, a fancy bezel and a round bail, each of which are made separately. These components are then combined with the stone before firing. Did I mention that because of shrinkage during firing, extra space must be allotted, and movement of the stone during firing is to be expected? If it is too tight, the stone can be crushed.
Images show the original necklace, a lump of Bronzclay (below), components in their leather-hard state before assembly, and the pendants before firing.