Champleve enamel on copper, 3mm CZ, fine silver, sterling silver: 20 g sheet, 18g square wire, 1.75 mm OD tube, 2.5 mm OD tube, 3.5 mm OD tube, steel piano wire, and 57.75% Halstead Design Kit
3 x 3.125 x 1 inches
Photographed by artist
On learning the SNAG/Halstead Design Challenge was titled “Momento” and required a photo element, I immediately knew I wanted to create an enamel piece. “Memento” made me think of a momento mori (a funeral or death remembrance) and I remembered the beautiful wrought iron wreaths and gates of Recoleta Cemetery in Buenos Aires, Argentina.
I needed a deep etch to create a champlevé enamel. I chose a hi-contrast image suitable for etching, using a PnP paper resist and ferric chloride to etch the image on 14g copper. I kiln fired the enamel in 9 firings (3 counter/6 front) using opaque Thompson unleaded enamels. I “signed” my initials in the counter using the sgraffito technique.
The next challenge was how to use at least 50% of the Design Kit. First, I eliminated the 3 chains, brass sheet & diamond cut wire. I knew I could use most of the balance to create flowers to adorn the setting. I cut notches in each side of the copper triangles and dapped them, then I enameled them to create leaves. Both the 18g copper sheet and the 24g hammered sheet were cut into circles, the edges were scalloped, and then they were dapped to create flowers. The larger flowers were enameled. Both the silver spacers and potato chip heishes were dapped, as were sections of the open daisy gallery wire that I cut. I cut the balls off the head pins and used the wire to make more balls. I then combined assorted pieces to create flowers and soldered. I fused fine silver balls to sections of copper wire for ball head rivets to join the enamel flower pieces. The perforated gallery wire was used to create the back of the setting, along with 20 g sterling silver and .999 bezel wire. I soldered tubes for the pin wire/catch and saw pierces a paw print to reveal my signature. Another piece of 20g sterling was cut and hammered to act as a frame around the enamel, held in place by riveted flower clusters I created. Stainless steel piano wire was used for the pin wire and I flush set the cz’s in the balls in the center of the enamel flowers. Lastly, the piece was patinaed with liver of sulfur.