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The finished plique-a-jour smiley - Metals Geekery

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September 30th, 2006


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11:09 am - The finished plique-a-jour smiley

Plique Smiley, completed Plique Smiley, completed

Glass plique-a-jour enamel in a fine and sterling silver filigree, with sterling silver, natural yellow sapphire, and black diamond.

This pendant has a lot of movement and dances when worn, in keeping with the playful nature of the smiley face. The black is opaque enamel; the yellow is translucent, so it looks nice without light behind it and glows when back-lit.

This is the other of the two pieces I created for a 2006 show featuring the smiley at the Worcester Historical Society. Worcester, MA is the original source for this icon of the 1970s.

(Seen in person, the sapphire is more yellow and not as orange as it looks here.)


(14 comments | Leave a comment)

Comments:


[User Picture]
From:anderale
Date:September 30th, 2006 04:28 pm (UTC)
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Wowie, much prettier than the unfinished state (haha! I can still imagine the holes in it eek!)

The whole thing is awesome. I love the bail, the accent dangle, the waves all of it! :D
[User Picture]
From:afmetalsmith
Date:September 30th, 2006 09:31 pm (UTC)
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See, the holes in the yellow weren't the worst part. The worst part was that right as I was getting the yellow parts filled in, the smile enamel started to pull away, so it had a sort of open grin with black lips and black threads passing from top to bottom here and there. Like black drool or something. :P NOT the effect I was after. Really! I'm glad I persuaded it to behave itself in the end. :)
[User Picture]
From:gandryyne
Date:September 30th, 2006 05:13 pm (UTC)
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All of these are awesome, A!!! I really hope you market them. Tho I don't envy the amount of work they take.
[User Picture]
From:afmetalsmith
Date:September 30th, 2006 09:36 pm (UTC)
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Thank you!

I put scary prices on them for the show ($450 for the plique, $500 for the cloisonne, because the latter has more silver and and a lot more $$$ in stones- that 5mm sapphire wasn't cheap...) because I'd really rather not sell them, AND the show takes 40% if they do sell, so to get anything reasonable for my time etc. they had to go high. Sigh.

That's really an issue for me in general; I OUGHT to start pricing stuff double what I'd need to do OK in selling it, but that seems really high to me- and for a lot of things I'd rather have them in good homes than charge an arm and a leg because at some point I want/need to put stuff in galleries. I am still trying to figure out how to handle that.

(Deleted comment)
[User Picture]
From:afmetalsmith
Date:September 30th, 2006 09:36 pm (UTC)
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Thank you! :)
[User Picture]
From:medvssa
Date:October 1st, 2006 10:32 am (UTC)
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It looks very cool, really! :D
[User Picture]
From:afmetalsmith
Date:October 1st, 2006 09:25 pm (UTC)
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Thank you!

The front-on photography conceals his overbite. Which is not really all that horrible- it's just that it gave me problems that I think you, as an enamelist, can appreciate. :) Coefficients of expansion: our challenge!
[User Picture]
From:medvssa
Date:October 1st, 2006 09:37 pm (UTC)
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Hmh, what do you mean with "overbite"? I never heard the word, hehe.
[User Picture]
From:afmetalsmith
Date:October 1st, 2006 10:15 pm (UTC)
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It means that if he had teeth, the top ones would be sticking out- maybe even over his lips. If he had lips. :)

Basically, the top fron teeth would protrude. The whole piece is domed, gently, but there's a bit of a cliff between his top "lip" and his bottom one. Not horrible- especially since I ground it down to minimize it- but it does explain why the mouth started opening as I added the yellow.
[User Picture]
From:medvssa
Date:October 1st, 2006 10:19 pm (UTC)
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Ah, I think I understand. It is a pretty big and long hole in fact!
[User Picture]
From:afmetalsmith
Date:October 1st, 2006 10:27 pm (UTC)
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Oh, yes. It was in some sense technically "impossible"!

It's just that any sort of meandering filigree in it started looking like teeth or something, and that was NOT the look I wanted, so I risked it. And it did turn out OK- but gave me some anxious moments!
[User Picture]
From:silme
Date:October 1st, 2006 05:49 pm (UTC)
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I like it. You've taken the old yellow/black smiley face I remember from the late '60s-early '70s and updated it. It's great. I also like the border a lot.
[User Picture]
From:afmetalsmith
Date:October 1st, 2006 09:33 pm (UTC)
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Thank you!

I think we are roughly from the same era, so it was a trip back for me, too. I wanted to do a really traditional, straight rendition of the design, since i figured the "fine artists" would handle the variants- and from what i saw of the other pieces when I dropped mine off, this was correct.

While I was there a guy came in with a couple of amazing, Gorey-inspired pen-and-ink pieces with smileys in gothic, angsty settings. They were very cool. :)

The original concept for the border- which has practical significance involving coefficients of expansion etc.- was to have a round of black on the inside (which it has), then yellow on the outside. However, I decided that using the same yellow as in the face would look dumb, and I don't have a transparent yellow that was a good match for the translucent I used in the face, so i decided to leave it open. And a good thing I did, because the solder joints that HAD held on the settings and the bail failed- there is a good reason why people do not use eutectic solder unless forced to- so the open filigree gave me an alternative way to attach the black diamond and the bail. And, honestly, I really like the way it turned out- better than my original concept. :)

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