Sunday, September 20, 2009

The Tale of Davy Jones Locker

I made this piece originally for a challenge on the Australian Beading Forum, the theme of which was "Davy Jones Locker". I took the theme quite literally, and tried to imagine what a lost soul would see as it sank towards the bottom of the deep sea. It would drift through different layers of the sea with water in different shades of cold blue and green. There would be worldly treasures - diamond, sapphire, emerald, peridot, citrine, pearls, silver and gold, but there would also be signs of death, despair, darkness, and passage of time. It would be a choice between good and evil, a fine line between attraction and repulsion. If the soul was overcome by desire and lingered on, before it realized, it would be chained to Davy Jones Locker, forever condemned to the bottom of the sea.

This piece was designed around a dichroic glass cabochon which I bought a few years ago from an American artist Donna Cason. Because of its colours, I'd always wanted to make it into something dark and eerie. When I saw the challenge theme, I immediately thought of it. Made all the skulls, seahorse and the man's face with silver clay. Also made two smaller cabochons using enamel and silver leaf on copper to try to match the dichroic cab. Added shell beads, pearls, Swarovski crystals and silver beads. The different components were wrapped with sterling silver wire, patinaed with liver of sulphur, polished then assembled using a combination of sterling silver and base metal chains, and beads. Despite the deep patina, it's actually quite sparkly in real life because of the crystals. This piece was awarded first prize in the wire work category of the 2008 Beading Extravaganza Competition in the Sydney Bead & Gem Show. It was also a finalist in the 2009 Bead Dreams Competition.

Lydia's possum

This is an enamel pendant which I made for our lapidary club, to be included in the club showcase for an upcoming statewide lapidary competition. The actual enamel piece is quite small (see the photo with the coin). The enamel was applied on a piece of copper using various techniques including cloisonne and overglaze painting enamels. Then added a silver clay leaf and 2 opal cabochons, and wrapped with sterling silver wire and patinaed. The picture was painted from a photo of a baby possum my friend Lydia had. Lydia was an amazing lady whom I used to work with. She was a volunteer animal rescuer. One time she was asked to look after a tiny baby possum whose mother was killed by a car. She kept the possum for several months, feeding it around the clock (she used to bring it to work stuffed in a sock in a basket). Eventually she had to release it back into the wild, and she was quite sad to see it go. She took many pictures and gave me a couple, from which I did two oil paintings, one for her and one I kept myself. Lydia was diagnosed with breast cancer and went through operations and chemo- and radiotherapy, but the cancer kept coming back. I had never heard her complained, and she would always try to come to work. Even when she was having radiotherapy, she would go and have the treatment in the morning, then came back to work in the afternoon. She was strong and inspirational. Lydia passed away a few years ago, aged 50. This is in memory of her.