Start from the heart - The making of the Whirls #6 Large Pendant
Posted on April 04, 2012 by Harlequin&Lionhead
Like all creation, it starts with a thing that pulls your heart's string. In this case, it was Alexander McQueen. Not surprisingly, the show at the Met was an inspiration for a lot of designers.
I have always been fascinated by feathers and the idea of flying. In high school, for awhile, all I drew were wings. You could see it on the blackboard (now you know my age, it was black and then green and then white...), on my textbooks, drawing pads...The original idea for the Whirls #1 ring was a pair of wings spread in a distorted way on your finger. Then I saw the Horn of Plenty dress at the show. Not only was it made of feather, it has the most interesting shape one always omits when looking at a pair of wings, though it stares back unmistakably at you - a heart shape.
Two wings closed and perched on the back forming a heart shape is what we see everyday looking at birds at parks. And McQueen amazingly took it to adorn the hip area of the dress. I adore the elongated curves of a heart. So I thought I'll combine the beautiful shape with dramatic texture of feathers and make a large size pendant. I started with polymer clay, as for the whole Whirls Collection. I created a heart shape as a foundation (1st image of this post), then developed the feather on top of the foundation to form the pendant, separated the pendant from the heart foundation and baked the clay to harden it.
Then the clay model was sent to my mold maker to make a silicon mold. From there, it generated a wax model, which I used to hollow out the back side further and reduce the weight of the wax model. Then it was cast into brass and soldered with a ring on top for a chain to go through.
The heart feather pendant was still very heavy. I think it was first over 2 troy ounces in weight. I had to hollow out a couple times to bring it to within 2 troy ounces. Imagine casting it in silver, it would be quite an expensive piece. So currently I'm keeping it in brass.
After I polished the piece to a matt finish, I oxidize it to create an antique look. This pendant measures 1.5x2.25 inches in size and looks stunning on the front with the layers, and interestingly eerie on the back with the heart muscles and veins around the little heart shape in the hollow chamber. The oxidation is achieved here in the picture with liver of sulphur, which changes metal color into shades of yellow, blue, green, pink, purple and black based on heat. The purple here is quite a random result and it needs to be protected from air with a sealant to be preserved. The 30-inch long chain is also brass and tarnished the same way into a vintage looking dark color.
This is my current Whirls Collection. More to come, watch out for it!