A Journey to Stonehenge with Richard Salley

Two intensive days of melting scrap and fusing metals to create texture and interest. This is my 6th class with most amazing metal smith Richard Salley at the Art Is You artist retreat. I cobbled together five pieces in two days with a big project to work on at home started. There is still much to be done on finishing but very pleased with the results. 

1. Large Ring with Dinosaur bone with Sterling and copper 

2. Yellow dendritic opal ring in Sterling. 

3. Sterling band with bronze.

 4.Pendant with serpetina, aventurine, Sterling, copper and bronze 

5. Copper panel bracelet with Sterling silver, bronze and carnelian. 

                            

               

Advertisements

A peek into my studio – time for a cleanup!

via Instagram http://ift.tt/1iknwED
So many projects on the go. I need to refresh the landscape to get to the next level. #studio #peek #art #hd @sfetsy #huntingdragons #messy #whatido #maker #artist

A visit to the Brooklyn Art Library – @sketchbkproject #sketchbookproject

20140519-205131-75091870.jpg

Our NY adventure finally allowed time for a stop in Brooklyn Art Library to visit our Sketchbooks. My first sketchbook was completed in 2011 and I have 3 sketchbooks and 1 fiction project book that I had the opportunity to flip through once more. I was so pleased to see them in such good condition! It was hard to give them back 🙂 If you are in Brooklyn, NY be sure to stop by. We had a wonderful time looking at our own books, but an equally wonderful time looking at other sketchbooks by other artists as well!

@sketchbkproject

20140519-205134-75094532.jpg

 

20140519-205129-75089919.jpg

20140519-205123-75083715.jpg

20140519-205131-75091014.jpg

20140519-205128-75088274.jpg

20140519-205124-75084564.jpg

20140519-205127-75087280.jpg

 

20140519-205125-75085423.jpg

20140519-205122-75082545.jpg

20140519-205132-75092676.jpg

20140519-205126-75086395.jpg

 

20140519-205133-75093545.jpg

20140519-205435-75275429.jpg

20140519-205434-75274105.jpg

20140519-205436-75276666.jpg

The Conundrum of Repairing or Restyling Vintage Jewelry

20131112-161222.jpg

If you have been following me, you’ll know that I love old things. Vintage and antique jewelry is a long time love of mine, and something that I find inspiration from. It’s not just about wearing jewelry; it’s the history and the story. Materials which followed a location or design that followed fashion. Lately I’ve been focused on learning some repair techniques for vintage pieces. The passion to restore and repair is strong, but when presented with an old piece which is not quite at its best, I’m faced with a dilemma: do I restore the piece to as close to its original state as possible, or do I modernize it and make it more wearable or do I turn it into something completely different?

I try and let the piece speak. In the case of some Art Deco pieces which are mostly intact, I fully intend to restore them to their original splendor.

20140305-145601.jpg
Vintage 1920s Neiger Bros Czech Beaded Necklace in need of repair

But what about the necklace which is too short, or too dull, for modern tastes?

In this particular case I rescued a broken necklace with beautiful brass spacer beads. The purple glass is lovely but frankly I thought a bit dull. At just about 15″ it’s also too short for me – and for most people to wear elegantly.

Enter the redesign. Some lovely genuine Swarovski crystal aurora borealis bicone beads picked up the brass and the purple tones and allowed the length to creep closer to 16″ After considerable thought I decided to go with modern softflex wire in a purple hue which would show through the clear glass seed beads in the original necklace, and definitely show that the piece had been restrung.

20130522-112727.jpg 20130522-112700.jpg20130522-112714.jpg

The last decision was to whether to replace the clasp. It was in excellent original condition and stamped with Czechoslovakia. Again, I while I have no interest in misleading anyone, I think the clasp looks lovely with the piece, so I chose to retain it.

Here’s the finished necklace.

20130607-081544.jpg20130607-081525.jpg

It’s available in the Hunting Dragons Etsy Shop until I realize that I can’t really part with it and put it into my jewelry box. 🙂

Two others I’m working on are going to be completely redesigned into new necklaces that incorporate vintage beads. A black and amber one features genuine Whitby Jet and carved Carnelian.

20140305-145545.jpg
Whitby Jet and Carved Carnelian Beads

Another is going to be wedding cake yellow beads are vintage Art Deco and I’m likely going to pair them with freshwater pearls and Swarovski crystals, but I haven’t settled yet. It takes a while to make the final decision… I choose some designs and then I let them sit for a while. When I come back I tweak the pattern or change out the beads and then let it sit again. It may be months or days or hours.

In this case I took a family heirloom amethyst crystal necklace and restrung it exactly as it was – but I added a new clasp.

20140305-145621.jpg

Here is another project which I recently completed.

20131112-161349.jpg

These gorgeous amber glass beads are really heavy.  The necklace came to me broken and I’m guessing it is from the 1930s or 1940s. It was originally strung on silk and knotted in between each clear space. I considered restringing it on silk which would make it slightly longer, but I decided the weight would really suit the more modern heavy wire. The clasp took a long while to decide upon. Sterling Silver or Vermeil were my top choices. I thought pure gold to be too much and in the end went with silver. The 2 part barrel shaped hook clasp has this great lotus leaf pattern which I really think makes this beautiful necklace even more special.

20131112-161152.jpg
Vintage Graduated Amber Glass Beads 28″ Necklace – Sterling Silver Clasp – original vintage beads – ginger rootbeer – honey –

Would love your thoughts!

Hunting A Dragon – The Mysterious Game of Rosenborg Slot

IMG_2243 - Copy
The Mysterious Game Pieces of Rosenborg Slot
Copenhagen, Denmark

In June 2013, we had the opportunity to visit Copenhagen, Denmark. One of the highlights was our tour of Rosenborg Slot, a renaissance castle in the center of the city. It houses a collection of gorgeous antiquities, including the Danish Crown Jewels. The treasures displayed in the castle are quite extraordinary and are well worth a visit. One of the items on the first floors especially caught my eye – some gorgeous turned wooden game pieces under glass. Every one was different, with carved profiles of men on each one. They were large – about 2.5-3 inches in diameter. Fifteen of each blonde and black pieces, for a total of 30 pieces.

IMG_2245 - CopyIMG_2244 - Copy

We inquired about them to one of the guards and he explained that they didn’t know that much about them and that they were a bit of a mystery as they didn’t know what game was played with them. Of course that sparked my interest. Not only were the pieces beautiful, but they were mysterious. The hunt began…

IMG_2274
Lorenz Spengler Amber Chandelier – Rosenborg Slot

I had to consider some of the other things on display and the pieces themselves. They seem like chess pieces but are the shape of backgammon. So I looked up a history of backgammon and was surprised to find so little online. One of the other treasures in the castle is an amber chandelier. The period of the these pieces looks like it’s contemporary to it. I found a reference that the famous ivory turner, Lorenz Spengler who arrived in Copenhagen in 1763 and who created a few of the treasures in the Rosenborg Castle museum. I have no reason to believe that Spengler made these specific pieces but I was betting that he did. This search led me to an article in the Grove Dictionary of Decorative Arts which said that Spengler made two game boards and their game pieces for the Danish Royal Family.  One of these in amber and ivory we saw in the Rosenborg Slot museum (the photos of it are below). The game board we were excited about was wood with a gorgeous burl to it, so it wasn’t one of the two mentioned in the dictionary. But matching the dates put my boardgame search firmly in the mid to late 1700s. Off to Google I went, searching for games popular in the 1750s.

IMG_2275
Lorenz Spengler Amber & Ivory Chess Set – Rosenborg Slot – Copenhagen
IMG_2276
Lorenz Spengler Amber & Ivory Chess Set – Rosenborg Slot – Copenhagen

My first hit was an engraving of men playing Toccadille, a backgammon like boardgame. Too much of a coincidence not to follow that cue. The pieces, although larger than modern backgammon pieces, to my eye closely resemble them. There were only a few interesting articles on Toccadille, which I did find odd. In my hunts I often hit a brick wall finding that the wonders of the internet fail me when the information I search for is either very old or esoteric. If the information is in another language, or based in Europe, it’s another even bigger obstacle.

The German (translated) wiki directed me to Trictrac, a game called Puff and Throw Zabel which is a medieval dice board game and definitively not what I was looking for. Tric Trac or Trictrac or Tric-Trac showed promise as did Puff, but I wasn’t giving up on Toccadille quite yet. This trictrac game piece had enough similarity to the ones in Copenhagen I was sure I was on the right trac (sic).

I was still astounded at the lack of information on boardgames of the mid 1700s. What I did find fascinating was that pastimes such as these were the domain of the wealthy. It wasn’t until much later, and more specifically the dawn of the industrial era that games became commonplace. As the middle class grew so did the need to fill leisure time created by machinery and innovation with amusements once reserved for the idle rich.

My quest ended short of a definitive answer. I’m going to guess that TricTrac is the closest as it’s played with 15 pieces each, like backgammon whereas Toccadille appears has 24 pieces. The real mystery is whether the beautiful carvings on the pieces had some purpose in the game. I did not find a game that had that sort of description in my search.

So as this hunt ends inconclusive, I’ll be on the lookout for a gameboard or game pieces in the vein of the ones we saw in Copenhagen. I don’t suppose my budget will allow for purchase of them, but a veil has lifted in yet another category which fifteen minutes ago I was ignorant.

IMG_2235IMG_2234IMG_2236

I have to mention this amber board was auctioned in London recently, which I came across looking for information on Lorenz Spengler. It’s a chess board not a backgammon board, and from 1607, but stunningly beautiful.

Resources and Links:

Chess in Iceland and in Icelandic Literature: With Historical Notes on Other …
By Willard Fiske
Toccadille:

An Engraving – Playing Toccadille c.1750

Dictionary of Backgammon (translated)

Toccadille –  (German Wikipedia translated)

Throw Zabel (Wikipedia) – Medieval Dice Game

A Brief History of Games (Very Concise)