Friday, 06 January 2017 15:53

Finished the Enamel Cross Project

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Here's the set of finished pieces that make up the enamel cross. I finished it a couple of months ago but I've not got around to updating this blog until now.

All of the pieces with nails


Here's some close-ups of the pieces:

alpha piece


omega piece


top piece


stem piece


bottom piece


I made some nails out of gilding metal, the same metal that the cross is made from, I wanted to be sure that the nails would age in the same way as the cross. I'll write about making these nails in a different blog, suffice to say my method was a bit unkind on my fingers!

Gilding metal nails

Nails again


Here's the finished cross:

cross from above



a perspective view of the cross


I engraved my signature on the pieces too, just incase it gets found in a hundred year's time and someone asks who made it!

Here's the one on the stem:

signature on stem of cross

Friday, 04 November 2016 11:38

Enamel Cross Project (part 9)

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I've not got round to updating the posts on this project for a bit. Here's how the cross looked after all the engraving was finished:

Close up of the upper portion of the cross

You can see here how the gilding metal tarnishes over time. The left-hand, alpha, section is the most recent and over time the metal turns more of a red-yellow colour, as with the centre and foreground sections. Since the end result is for the cross to look old this tarnishing is exactly what I want, so I won't lacquer the piece when finished.

Next stage is to show how the enamelling went!

NB. Here's the links to the earlier stages:


Tuesday, 02 August 2016 08:30

Enamel Cross Project (part 8)

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The cross so far


I've finished the engraving for the penultimate section on the enamel cross. It's looking good! The twirly bits on this section were a bit tricky, those inside curves are really hard to get nice and clean cuts on.

Here's some photos on the progress of this section, the other sections are here:


First I cleaned the gilding metal and pained on some Chinese white water colour to take the pencil markings, then marked out the design. The design is based on the paper design that I drew out in part 1, although I left the background to the omega empty for now as I wasn't too sure about it.

The design drawn out onto the brass


Here's the piece mounted in a low melting-point plastic, stuck onto a block of wood and put in the vice (The red coffee mug is a present from Taiwan, I love it and it keeps my coffee warm for ages!):

The section mounted and ready to engrave


After a bit it looks like this. All of the design outline is engraved with a detailing 96 degree point graver. I aim to do a light cut to start with in case I make any mistakes. In this shot I'm also starting to remove some of the background, for which I use a flat graver. The circular plant pattern around the omega was cut out with a knife-edge graver

Mid-way trhough the engraving


Here's the finished engraving, with a bit of blackened background so the design is easier to see:

The section engraving is finished!


The section with it's adjacent piece:

Close up of the section and adjacent sections


On the design the alpha and omega are very important, in Christian art they symbolise the span of time. Alpha being the start of the Greek alphabet and omega being the end, the message being that God transcends time. I didn't want to overshadow the symbols so I wasn't too sure about the background to the omega. On paper I've put a design which is based on a reference from the book, shown below the next image:

Design on paper up close

the green and white Fleur-de-lis with green cross-pattern here:

background design inspiration


So I did a quick sample to test how it would look just focusing on the centre of the circular section:

Omega drawn out on the brass test sample


Here's a shot of the engraving in action, I've found old Marigold gloves quite useful for protecting against sore fingers!

Engraving the omega sample


Here's the finished sample, with some blackening in the recesses to pick out the design:

Omega test finished


Putting the sample next to the section piece I'm pretty sure it would make the section look too busy. There's a lot of design going on in this section already and, I think, anything else would swamp the focus away from the omega.

Omega Test next to section


I can always add extra design later if, after the enamelling, it's clear that something extra is required.


Friday, 01 July 2016 15:31

Enamel Cross Project (part 7)

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An update on the enamel cross project (part 6 is here). I've finished engraving the top section of the cross, it now looks like this:

the cross so far


Here it is again with the next section marked out:

whole cross on work bench

Monday, 20 June 2016 13:58

Simple Necklaces

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Some time ago I made some colour test strips of the enamel range from Milton Bridge (see Enamel Colour Test blog post). My wife was quite taken with these and wore one with a choker necklace. Since then I've given some away as presents. Here are some photos of, repectively, Peridot Green, Dusty Rose and Cobalt Blue transparent enamel strips mounted onto a silver choker necklace:

peridot green necklace


This one is the cobalt blue

cobalt blue

This one is the Amber



I've put a page (here) on my website if anyone would like one!

Also feel free to make any suggestions or comments below.

Thursday, 09 June 2016 16:14

Fabergé-Style Egg

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I had an interesting enquiry a few weeks ago to make a Fabergé-style egg. Initially the enquiry was about painting some miniatures on the base that would support the egg but expanded to include the whole piece.

I'd been wanting to try out a computer aided design (CAD) package called Blender for a while and this seemed like a good opportunity to do so.  I was amazed how life-like the finished rendered model looks. Blender allows scripting in Python computer language (which I like), so I was able to produce the egg shape from a mathematical formula, pretty cool! Here's the preliminary model design:


Faberge style egg model


The egg is loosely based on the Kelch Chantileer (rooster) egg:


Kelch Chanticleer Egg


My model was based on the customer's drawings but I think I've got the base a bit too large, also I have greatly simplified some of the detailing.

The project didn't go ahead unfortunately but, in my head at least, I feel like I've gone through all the possible fabrication methods a dozen times.

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