mirror, mirror…

copper mirror
A copper gilded mirror (convex oval)

Next to the glass fur project and the research into clay to glass, I’m trying my hand at verre églomisé, the art of gilding glass.

Ever since we were introduced to goudleder – “Cuir de Cordoue“, in Prof. Em. A. Bergmans class of History of interior, I’ve developed a fascination for gilded surfaces and am doing some research on it, especially (guess what…) how it’s applied to glass. Even in the history of glass alone there is so much to discover… Do you recognise this mirror from a famous 15th century portrait? And did you know that this type of convex round mirror was called an “Oeil de sorcière” (witches’ eye)?

The Arnolfini Portrait, détail (2).jpg
The Arnolfini Portrait (mirror detail)” by Creator:Jan van Eyck – Image:Jan van Eyck 001.jpg. Licensed under Public Domain via Commons.

Verre églomisé was a decorative technique, often combining the gilded surface with reverse painting (on the back of the glass), so that the glass itself can act as protection and lens (of sorts). Mind you, this wasn’t the way functional mirrors were made in the past; since the Renaissance a tin-mercury amalgam was used to create a smooth reflective surface, and Venice was one of the manufacturing centers.

copper mirror
A detail of the copper mirror, seen on the back showing the bare metal leaf.


In using metal leaf, it is impossible to obtain such a smooth surface, but that doesn’t matter. It is precisely the edges of the leaves, the tiny folds and crinkles that make the mirror seem more alive. Also it gives the opportunity to oxidise the metal so it darkens; you can already see this happening in some of the patches in the mirror detail above!)

The reflection of a gilded mirror is softer, almost painterly. I love this effect. Since there’s so much going on with the reflection already, the form of the mirror doesn’t have to be complex. The convex/concave distortion is interesting, and I’m working on some forms but still debating if I want them to be more organic or geometric…

For inspiration I’ve turned to Pinterest, with a collection of artistic and contemporary examples. Feel free to take a look!

square ring continued:

square ring with asymmetric bezel setting (glass murrine)
a clearer view of the murrina (and my weird fingers…)

for once I managed to get the “925” sterling silver stamp level. I have a knack for messing it up, but not this time!
2nd square ring in the making, still smudgy and firescaled after soldering
you’d have to try it on to know how comfortable it wears!

a polyp ring

green polyp ring

I made a new ring by accident. Well, I made up the design as I went along… the murrina (the little glass cabochon) was the starting point, and at first I wanted to include it in a new pendant design, but halfway into the process I decided it would make a pretty ring. And while the result is not bad, it’s not quite perfect…

green polyp ring

You can’t really see it on the first two pictures, but the ring isn’t round -it’s a little lopsided. On the back, the oval base and the ring don’t fit perfectly (although they’re soldered and strongly connected) and there are some unaesthetic gaps. So I guess this one will have to stay in my own collection… 😉 And next time I work on rings of a similar design, I know how to fix it.


When I’m working on a piece of jewelry, it’s the first realization of a design that I’m most attached to.  They’re the freaks, the poor little monsters and misfits, all cracked and gapped and limping, but they mean a lot to me! With the following realizations of the design, I correct the mistakes so they’re technically and aesthetically better and ready to go out into the big world and I love them too, but they don’t have the same appeal to me as their first-born siblings…

I wonder what would Mr Freud have to say about that, eh? :-p

earth & moon

This weekend I finished the moon spirit, a sister to the earthy one I created this summer. I’m pleased with with the way she turned out: a silver halo with starry sprinkles (7 of them, not unlike Rossetti’s Blessed Damozel…hehe). 

The TalentDevelop newsletter just had a piece on muses and creativity, and referred to a page on the history of daimons, genii and muses which fits right in here, with my little girls! 😉

More on Flickr, also some work in progress photos.

Back to business: meet the new projects!

Thanks for letting me share that personal stuff of my previous post with you. I went back and forth about writing and publishing it to the world, putting myself out there, but whether I want it or not, it is part of who I am/who I’ve become. I don’t need to talk about it all the time, but I’m glad I got it out. 🙂

And the future looks bright: these are some little things coming to life on the workbench:

  • Fossilized coral (I just lovelovelove it! Look at them! They’re practically paleontological murrine! 😀 ) pendants and brooches with glass coral branches…
  • Opal glass cabochons with fused murrine, waiting to become pendants, rings, brooches, … (not sure how to name them yet -I can’t call everything microcosmos, can I? :-p )
  • … and a broad, solid silver ring set with a single murrini. I must give you a better view when it’s finished. Right now it’s on my finger, as a good luck charm for my upcoming tests at library school. You know, new jewelry needs test driving. It’s a very hard and tedious job… 😉
  • and this little goddess is getting a sister! Now what head to choose…? hehe

I’m also working on a bigger project (relatively speaking) involving torchpulled murrine, fusing and copper and am already dreaming up the next one. So stay tuned…

Goldsmithing at Syntra West: my course so far

my goldsmithing course  so far

Here are some of the results fo the 1st semester: on the left our assignments in brass and another alloy which name i always forget (it’s the paler metal in which the bracelet and that one ring is made).

But now it is getting pretty interesting… designing a necklace on our own. Woohoo, now we’re talking!
So you see those silver grains? That’s the start. They are molten and poured into a mould for wire, and then that longish wonky clump gets rolled through the rolling mill until the wire gets the diameter it needs…

My chain design is a pretty simple one: just connected round loops with pins here and there. But of course those pins will hold glass cabuchons, and that’s where the fun begins! 😉

I’ll try to update as I progress…

in stitches!

Yay! I finished my ring! 😀 It’s all silver. I loved the idea of a patched up ring -something worn and ragged in a precious material like silver. Must be the influence of the Wabi-Sabi book I’ve been reading a couple of months ago…

So it took me two full days of sawing, texturing with linen cloth, drilling, sewing, soldering and forming the metal…didn’t add stones yet, but I might with a next project.

And this ring -at least the stitches- is your next clue for The Project! :-p Don’t get your expectations too high, it’s just something I’ve been planning on doing for quite some time but I fear it won’t be until the summer vacation, after library school has finished.

target practise!

Now that I’ve got this cute little microtorch up and running I can do some soldering again (I experi- mented a little with my basic plumber’s torch last year but that bushy flame was hard to control so I left it at that until I found this little torch), and one of my first “victims” was this little fish…he looks as if he’s fully aware of that… :-p

Don’t worry, he survived! LOL.

Today he became part of a new fishy necklace. You’ll soon see more of that!

lucky fish!

No new jewels just as yet but here’s a new photo of my lucky goldfish!

lucky fish on a dark background

Oh, and I did finish the papers for library school on time. Sort of… :-p I’m really not used to writing anymore. Oh well, I just have to stick it out for a year & then I can hang around in libraries professionally, yay! 😉