Halloween is approaching quickly, I need to finish off my dress for the party, and inspired by the sinister theme, I have created a somewhat darker piece in my workshop: The Dark Lady. I got the idea some time ago when I visited my boyfriend in Finland. Nowhere near my workshop I could only draw designs and so I did –lots of them!
At home I cut out the serene features of her using my dentist-style drill. Ebony is rather soft, compared to for instance mother of pearl, which my Snow Queen brooch has been made from, but still it’s one of the hardest woods around. I am always very meticulous about the details, and so it easily takes one hour to create a portrait like this. Now that I had it, I decided to sand cast it in silver. I still haven’t decided what I’m going to use it for, perhaps a ring, but it’s nice to have this very special piece of silver ornament, which is as unique as the original.
Then the fitting of the silver bezel, which is actually quite a hassle, when the shape isn’t exactly round, like a gem. But it’s important to me that it fits snugly, and so I take the time to fit, file, fit again and file again until it’s perfect. That done, the actual shape of the centerpiece –the wings – were cut out of a sheet of 1 mm thick silver and I soldered the bezel onto them. The basics were done – now for tidying up and the finishing touches: I removed the excess silver around the bezel and filed it smooth, then created a half loop and soldered to the base of the bezel to hold the garnet drop. For the decoration on the back I drew the outline of the frightened face of the back, drilled holes and then pierced it with my saw.
I was in doubt how to create the vines of the wings, but decided to go for the delicate solution: chiseled curls define the structure of these wings and make them come to life.
Then I heated the surface of my tar-bowl, softening it enough to press the piece into it and thereby fastening it securely. This is a very good trick when setting any kind of gem –in this case the ebony face –because it holds the whole thing secure, making it possible to work two hand with both punsel and hammer to push the bezel over the edges of the face. Now it was secured, never to be removed again. And now the scared face on the back had a black background, which works very well indeed!
Then I made the bezel for the garnet drop and cut out a hole in the back of it to let light in and show off its color. I attached it to the centerpiece with a length of chain, but I’m still in doubt whether I should just have attached it directly. The chain makes it look more elegant, but it can also turn around itself, leaving the backside of the drop visible. I decided to go for the chain after all –practicalities must suffer when faced by aesthetics!
I wanted the color scheme of this piece to be black, silver and red and have a certain sumptuousness to it. The choice for a strand of garnets was therefore easy and I was lucky enough to have extra string to push them apart and cut it in two, securing the ends with knots. I burned my fingers a bit, fiddling with the shell lack for attaching the strand, but eventually it was done and I was quite satisfied. I think it came fairly close to the original idea of my drawing and find it very flattering, especially with a deep V-neck –which is what I mostly wear anyways.
She looks pretty and serene, but beware… muahahahahaaaaaaaaaa!
Do you want her to become yours? Buy her here