Saturday, November 21, 2009


I bought a brass burner this Summer at a church rummage sale in Cedarburg. I have had the idea to make it into a necklace ever since. I'm glad to finally get started. Jill Shulse, Thomas Mann and Keith Lo Bue are artist's whose work has inspired me in the creation of this necklace. I hope my work reflects inspiration versus copying.

The cover with it's door that opens and closes is the part of the burner that I want to use for this project. The bottom of the burner also has an interesting shape and perhaps will be used in a future project.

The next step for me was to find some type of theme or direction for the piece to take. This engraving from a 1800's book was just what I was looking for. I ponder using the title "A Royal Pickpocket" somewhere in my piece but it is not quite the direction I am looking for.

I cut out two circles, for the front and the back.

Next to find a quote or write a verse for this piece. The story included with the picture doesn't yield something for me to quote. The man appears to be dreaming so I look up quotes with "dreaming"as the key work...nothing. The pickpocket seems to be stealing a message from the dreamer. Nothing that I write seems sophisticated or mysterious enough. I look up Keith Lo Bue's work. His title's are thought provoking and I want this for my art. I look up a few words in the dictionary and this is what I come up with - SECRET DEVOTIONS OF THE DREAMER LIFTED IN A SURREPTITIOUS MANNER. I love the word "Surreptitious" and after a few days I think that I can finally pronounce it :) There are certain words that I have trouble pronouncing or remembering how to pronounce. My Grandma had this challenge also.

In order to letter this I write it upside down. It is really bothering me that the lettering is upside down so I remove the handle and turn it around. It is not until that I am almost done that I realize the handle now covers part of the lettering. After going back and forth several times, I decide I would rather have the handle cover part of the lettering than to have it upside down.
Final fit for the dreamer.

I had been using plexiglass for my previous projects but was looking for something more natural and aged looking to use. Mica was the answer.Unfortunately I didn't buy the mica at Valley Ridge that I was considering when I was there. I was trying to watch my expenses and had no ideas for it at that time anyways. Mica is not easy to find locally, and in the midst of a project I hate waiting for supplies to arrive via snail mail. Fortunately my friend Jill Shulse had a piece of that I could use :)

Mica arranged over picture for best look.

I decided to cut out the hand to emphasize it. Then drew the rest of the figure on a brass circle and etched it. This will be the plate for the back side of the necklace. I want the back of my work to be as finished as the front.

Close-up of two pieces together.

Mica arranged so that the least amount of spots show.

A brass key hole escutcheon to help protect the "Secret devotions".

A slot cut out from the backing plate that I made to go with the key hole escutcheon. Phrase from the story that came with the engraving.

Working out the arrangement of the necklace. Keys to enhance the theme I am developing. Wooden beads to compliment the wooden handle of the cover. I am also considering an asymetrical design to help balance the wooden handle.

More pieces to consider.

The finished necklace. I had one piece of brass chain from a vintage necklace. Adding a second and different chain gave me the weight I was looking for, plus more variety to the design. I also attached another key that looked like it could work with the key hole escutcheon. I feel this helped to further balance the large handle on the cover.

The clasp is made from a clock part and a nut (from a set of nuts at the dentist's estate sale). After letting it set for a couple of days I still need to redo the wiring on the clasp. It looks to messy for the style of the rest of the necklace and I have thought of a way to make it more neat in appearance.

The backside.

The front with door open. I'm still considering if I want to add something to the inside of the door...