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More progress on my plique smiley today: I got the enameling done on… - Metals Geekery

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My artisan metalsmithing site
My original Celtic designs in various media, including jewelry
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September 16th, 2006


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06:15 pm
More progress on my plique smiley today: I got the enameling done on the yellow- and indeed I am getting stress cracks but I knew I would and it's technically Not A Problem since more plique does have them in a few spots- and have been working on filling in the smile. Again. The black I'm using melts pretty low, so my theory is to fire it low and pull it out of the kiln fast, which ought to keep it from pulling to the sides again. Today I added more black enamel to it, and fired it several times low- right now the enamel has fused together but not yet quite flowed, so I'm getting there; I took it up to 1360F, and I think 1365F would do the trick. Then cleaning and a quick fire-polish (this is a technique for making glass shiny again after grinding it: grind using successively finer grits, clean it well, and at the end throw it back in the kiln for a firing that just heats the surface and allows all the scratches to heal and make the surface shiny. The alternatives are going with a matte finish overall, or mechanically polishing the glass to shiny, and I don't have the equipment for the latter at the moment.).

I sawed out the pierced parts of a second lotus plique blank. I'm not sure I can fire this pair in air, since the metal is 20ga! I have no idea what I was thinking when I cut out the first one several years ago. I do have a substrate on which I can fire them, though. I've done one earring pair using this design, though I don't think I've posted them. The lotus pattern is based on an ancient Egyptian artifact, and for the earrings I had them drop from a lapis oval, with a coral bead between the lapis and the plique. They're pretty, and VERY mobile which is fun! They'd look fabulous on someone with short hair, or someone who wears their hair up.

I used my new antiquing substances to add blackness to the lower parts of a commission piece. It's white gold, so patination won't work- but it NEEDED to be darkened in some spots. This stuff was a bit hard to get the hang of, but seems to be pretty effective.

(5 comments | Leave a comment)

Comments:


[User Picture]
From:sculpin
Date:September 17th, 2006 09:24 pm (UTC)
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Those lotus earrings sound great. I'd like to see them!
[User Picture]
From:afmetalsmith
Date:September 22nd, 2006 10:15 pm (UTC)
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Thank you!

There is a not-so-great picture of them in my userpics: http://www.livejournal.com/allpics.bml?user=afmetalsmith

We're working on ways to get better pictures of the plique pieces, but it's tricky.
[User Picture]
From:sculpin
Date:September 23rd, 2006 10:12 pm (UTC)
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They're gorgeous! I think I can imagine them with the light coming through. I hesitate to ask -- how much would a pair of earrings like that cost?

Josh suggests, "If you have a laptop or an LCD monitor, make the screen all white and put the things in front of it. I've used that as a cheap slide copier before, so I imagine it would work as some amount of backlighting. You'd probably have to do some adjusting of the light in the room. But LCDs make a decent backlight source if you've got one. A cheap light table would be much cheaper if you don't have one, and work better."
[User Picture]
From:afmetalsmith
Date:September 23rd, 2006 10:56 pm (UTC)
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I think these were taken on a lightbox- that's why you can't really see the lapis, because the posts on the back make the lapis settings go all sideways. However, the colors are MUCH nicer when there's real light through them, so I could be wrong about that... It looks like there's some light coming through, but not enough to really show off the colors- it's all red, yellow, greens and blues. You can get a hint, though- and it's probably not all that unlike how they'd look when worn.

We're experimenting with different ways of lighting, and various sorts of "furniture" for holding stuff. I recently got some acrylic earring stands that seem promising as an aid. And I got a frosted acrylic necklace display that I have high hopes for in getting good pics of plique pendants...

I think about the least I could ask for the lotus earrings upfront is about $155, because the plique is pretty demanding in terms of time and effort and equipment. If that's too much, let me know and make a counter offer! Please!!! (I'd ask $200+ if i were putting them on Etsy, for instance...) Also, I am amenable to barter arrangements if you are interested in anything like that... :) I would really love to see them in a good home! :)

They're pretty cool earrings, if i do say so myself! I am very happy with the way they turned out. The lapis was not horribly expensive but is very nice, and the whole earring has GREAT movement when worn- they're incredibly responsive to movement of the head, and just dance.

I'm cutting the silver for another pair or 2, but don't have any more of that lapis to use. I'll probably end up using smaller pieces, and maybe dyed. Sigh. Good lapis is REALLY pricey any more!
[User Picture]
From:afmetalsmith
Date:September 22nd, 2006 10:16 pm (UTC)
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D'oh! I can use that as a uerpic for this reply!

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