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So more or less done and dusted on this one. I call it Kinship of Cherished Ephemerals. My aim with this work was to evoke the mystery and fleeting beauty around the relationship of seemingly unremarkable bits of nature. Thoreau wrote much about the value of looking closely at our home ground for inspiration: “The discoveries which we make abroad are special and particular; those which we make at home are general*and significant. The further off, the nearer the surface. The nearer home, the deeper.” [Journal, September 7, 1851] Overall length is 13 inches. Vera wood with copper, shibuichi, shakudo and 18k gold. Here is a link to a gallery with more photos: http://www.jimkelso.com/albums/kinship/album/ And a tutorial of how the feather was made: http://www.jimkelso.com/tutorials/feathertutorial.html The wood-carving resolved into an area on one end suggestive of weathered wood or sculpted stone in a stream-bed, or perhaps both, and on the other end as a small area of moving water flowing between mossy patches. Rather than be too literal I would rather leave interpretation to the imagination of the viewer. The metalwork also evolved very differently than usual, the end result being the third generation of concept. Initially I had thought of a larger piece of metalwork but decided that small details would be better as the wood is so powerful. I chose to portray specimens from the animal, vegetable and mineral worlds to illustrate the harmony and relationship of elements (Classical or Asian mode).
Snowflakes and snow in general are a particular fascination of mine and I've wanted to use that theme in these materials for a number of years. "How full of the creative genius is the air in which these are generated! I should hardly admire them more if real stars fell and lodged on my coat." H.D. Thoreau, Journal, 1856 The main piece is 50/50 (copper/silver) shibuichi from Phil Baldwin. Two snowflake inlays in fine (pure) silver and one small inlay of 70/30 (copper/silver) shibuichi. Also a bunch of inlayed and chased fine-silver wire bits using five sizes of wire from 22g to 30g. This piece has been one of my most demanding both in design and technique. It's the most abstract work I've done. I decided to make the snowflakes mostly of the "plate" type as I thought that more solid form would contribute to the layering effect I wanted. Also the more feathery type of flake would be beyond my capability to render at this scale! The hexagons also had to be very convincingly symmetrical. Although I took design hints from a silver vase by Nakagawa Joeki in the catalogue Flowers Of The Chisel from Malcolm Fairley Gallery, I had to make many decisions about materials, placement, depth etc. relating to this form. The Shadow-Master (wife Jean) was indispensable as usual, especially in the placement and size of elements. Here is a link to more photos: http://www.jimkelso.com/albums/quietworld/ And a tutorial showing the inlaying of a silver crystal: http://www.jimkelso.com/albums/snowflakeinlay/
I have wanted for some years to revisit the netsuke world which I was immersed in some years ago. Having also dipped(so-to-speak) back into the Japanese water-casting(yuwake) earlier in the year I wanted to make something from a nice little shibuichi ingot produced then. The obvious convergence of these impulses is a type of netsuke known as a kagamibuta(mirror-lid), which typically have a metal plate set into a bowl made most often of ivory or wood. It has been at least 20 years, I think, since I last made one of these so I was interested to see what I would bring to it with a bit more skill (let’s hope!) and some different aesthetics as well. The photo doesn’t do justice to the nashiji(pear-skin) grain in the shibuichi and I’ll try to get a better photo of that. The smaller photo shows the piece roughly to scale (40mm diameter). The inlays are copper and gold. The wood is Ziricote.