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Japanese Genre- Koi and Waterfall in mixed metal

Steve Wardle

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I've been working on a new piece that I thought I might share. It is sort of a common motif, but I have always liked the carp trying to make it's way up the waterfall. Like the koi kites in Japan flown on boy's day, the carp is admired as a tough customer swimming against the current. Most of us seem to be swimming against the current. Someday, perhaps, I'll pick the right stream, swim with the current and really get somewhere.

The piece is constructed of Shibuichi, fine silver, shakudo, 22k gold and copper, All elements are carved in metal, assembled with solder or inlay techniques.






I opted not to follow my original drawing as it followed, too closely, other antique works that I have studied. My work never seems t follow the diagram!


Here is the piece with the final elements inlayed, ready for patina. I can't seem to find my cupric sulfate, so I'll await a delivery and then color it next week. Until then, please let me know what you all think. I'll try to take some photos at a higher Fstop for more depth of field next time. Thanks, Steve









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Hi Steve,


The combination of waterfall elements with the leaping carp make a very lively composition. I get the feeling of complex movements that occur at water level where the carp is. I look forward to seeing it after the patina is used. Thank you for sharing these images with us.



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Thank you, Janel, for your kind complements... and for the wonderful opportunity that you provide to the carving community.


This is a better picture of the piece in progress. Of course, now that it is cleaned up, I see things that I might like to change. The true measure of a goldsmith is the alacrity with which he repairs his mistakes.

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Dear Mr. Kelso,


Thanks for writing. I've admired your work greatly. Thanks for sharing it.


Though my apprenticeship (to my Father, silversmith Alfred Wardle) began in 1970, I did not pick up a graver until the mid eighties. My business partner then, was a graduate of the Bowman School. I learned engraving at his elbow. I viewed engraving as more of a chore than an adventure for a decade, doing the obligatory monograms. It is not until I bought an Airgraver that I really started to enjoy engraving, because it freed me from spending so much time repairing slips. I do practice some more conventional scroll work, and find it fun, but I think I prefer less conventional treatments like the above. I still engrave dozens of monograms and baby charms, however. My use of the graver has been mostly applied to the carving of wax and silver models for the line of jewelry that I produce here on Cape Cod. Bills to pay, you know. My daughter, who is eleven is carving wax and working clay... she is almost ready to apprentice!

Cheers to all, and keep the chips flying! Steve

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Very nice. I like the way you've treated the waterfall and the rocks in the background.

" The true measure of a goldsmith is the alacrity with which repairs his mistakes". I do like that. I was taught that same lesson when first starting out (although it was said in coarser words ;) ).


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Here is the piece with it's new oxide skin. My shibuichi was showing too much to the army green side, so I darkened it a bit with black max. I'm not satisfied with a few details, but I like the overall look. I'll make a mounting for it to be a pendant slide sometime this week. Thanks for all of your kind words. We'll see what the finished work looks like soon. Steve

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