Excited to introduce, for my MYTHOS: Song Of The Harpy Collection, some of my most involved and technique-varied pieces yet. With these I aimed to create something of a modern archeological relic, a vibe I wish to carry further in my Mythos series which will span years.
This pendant/brooch art jewel features the harpy Aello. Harpies are creatures from Greek mythology who carried evil-doers off over the sea. In my version, the harpy servers as a protector whose aim in life is to protect its wearer from evil. Their serene smiles betray a fierce attitude. This one has a claw that grasps a hand-chased skull, one of your foes no doubt.
She dangles from a very pretty precious lapis and chrysocolla gemstone strand that I picked because they bear the colours of the seaside cliffs where my studio is, and where I fancy harpies might roost. On the reverse, a wide bail allows for a change of chain and also bears a brooch pin, to increase wearability.
About the Piece
To create this piece I have combined several ancient techniques.
The body of the harpy has been formed into 3D shape using the ancient technique of chasing and repousse. The tombac - a high grade european jeweler's brass that resembles gold - is hammered painstakingly with little chasing tools onto pitch to bring out the desired shapes in a process of reverse-sculpting. No moulds or stamps are used, this is entirely free-handed. One side is hammered, then turned and hammered again, then turned again and so on till the 'sculpture''s raised areas are achieved to desired effect. The process creates an entirely unique, painstakingly-created relief that is a sculpture in metal.
See this video to watch me work on part of the process.
The face is painted in vitreous enamel on copper - layer by layer, powdered glass and oxides are brushed onto a specially-prepared copper surface and fired inside a kiln to create a painted, manmade gemstone in the manner of miniature portraits of times gone-by, that will not fade or scratch. The face was then highlighted with liquid gold, fired into the surface for extra visual texture, catching the light when shifted.
For more about this painted enamel technique, have a look at this video on my IGTV.
At a Glance:
Focal: Vitreous Enamel on copper with gold leaf details.
Metal: Tombac (high grade jeweler's brass that looks golden)
Size of focal: 2"X4"
Strand: Chrysocolla and Lapis bead necklace with gilt Czech Glass spacer beads and brass end hook closure.
Length of strand: 21"
- Brooch pin at the back with stainless steel pin
- Wide bail to allow removal of beaded strand and opportunity to slip in different chain
- You will be getting the unique piece pictured
- Signed and dated on the reverse
- Ships courier, from 3 day transit time after shipping
Care: Tombac can be polished with the same products one uses on sterling. I find it tarnishes to a warm glow and does not need a lot of work to keep looking gorgeous. Exposure to chemicals, water and such will speed up the process.
The vitreous enamel focal is light-fast and chemical-fast but the gold highlights are thin leaf so avoid abrading it. The beaded strands may need re-stringing over time, as is normal for strung necklaces. This is an art jewel, and while it was made as sturdy as possible, handmade jewelry is more fragile than machine-made jewelry so take care in wearing so it can last to be buried with you inside your pyramid.