Completed [Painted Sky Jewelry] Of Lizards And Butterflies

Kelski finishes a couple of commission pieces.

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While Sylira is by far the most civilized region of Mizahar, countless surprises and encounters await the traveler in its rural wilderness. Called the Wildlands, Syliran's wilderness is comprised of gradual rolling hills in the south that become deep wilderness in the north. Ruins abound throughout the wildlands, and only the well-marked roads are safe.

[Painted Sky Jewelry] Of Lizards And Butterflies

Postby Kelski on August 31st, 2019, 6:46 am

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Timestamp: 80th of Summer, 519 A.V.


The Kelvic loved sitting at her jewelry bench. She loved it for multiple reasons, but one of the best reasons was that it gave her time to get to know herself. It sounded strange, but sometimes with all the changes around her, Kelski felt utterly alone and as if she were a stranger in her own life. Time at the bench doing the work she loved and was good at helped her tremendously. Creating things, beautiful and almost timeless things that would last brought her joy. And today she had multiple orders that would take multiple techniques, some of which she didn’t do often and needed a refresher.

There were two Lia’s for two different Svefra pods out in Matthews Bay that had ordered items for each other. They were closely tied, both by blood and by friendship. And what each of them had said was to ‘think of something’ to give the other that the other would love. Kelski didn’t know either of them well, but they were on her beach enough and the Meraki were hosting them frequently enough she had been able to ask discrete questions and get some idea of what they loved. One Lia, Benali, loved butterflies and jewelry. The other Lia, Calina, had just recently lost a pet lizard – some tropical species that Kelski hadn’t recognized – and Benali had wanted Kelski to make one out of silver in the form of a lapel pin that would glitter like the lizard had in life. Benali had a beautiful neck, exquisitely long and curving that Kelski thought would be perfect for a sort of stylized butterfly wing necklace.

Thinking about the projects, Kelski sat down at her work table, got out her sketchbook, and began sketching. The lizard was one she’d saw on multiple occasions, so she had some idea of how to do it. And because Benali was going to pay generously, Kelski could afford to make it in silver almost life sized. Calina hadn’t skimped on the fee either, so that meant her necklace for Benali could be large and prominent. The only thing was, neither woman wanted gemstones. That was a hard one for a jeweler who liked to encrust everything with gems. Instead, each had said the other one loved color, but for the ease of travel and lightness and indeed for the longevity they had wondered if they could get their orders enameled. Both women, it seemed, had similar tastes.

Kelski pulled one of her old notebooks from a shelf as she drew, and refamiliarized herself with enamel techniques. She rarely did enamel, but being a Master now, if she was going to do the work, she was going to indeed make it look exquisite.

Jewelers had enameled for ages. It was, indeed, one of the oldest techniques because it meant jewelers could be jewelers without gemstones. One used enamel to add color to metal that was long lasting and durable. All a jeweler had to do was paint on the enamel – which was a mixture of tiny crushed glass and adhesive – then heat the mixture with indirect heat via a torch or enameling kiln and that caused the glass to melt and completely and expertly coat the metal in a uniform and beautiful way.
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Kelski
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[Painted Sky Jewelry] Of Lizards And Butterflies

Postby Kelski on December 1st, 2019, 6:54 am

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Kelski seethed out the butterfly necklace and the lizard pin and looked thoughtful. She laid her charcoal aside, flipped through the notebook of her notes, and refreshed herself on the techniques she had noted when she had studied enameling back in Sunberth. The process of fusing the glass to the metal was technically an easy one, however, one could completely and utterly make it complex and breathtaking depending on the technique. There was Cell Enameling. This involved soldering fine lines of metal into forms – like frames – that one could then fill with the enamel… and as the glass melted, it filled the frames. Fish scales, eyes, or even decorative metal adornments like ribbons with set edges all could be cell enameled easily enough. The distinctive part of cell enameling was that the metal frame remained visible, outlining the colored part. It looked like a mosaic or motif when a jeweler was done.

Level Field enameling was the opposite of Cell Enameling. A jeweler got a bit sneakier and made depressions in the metal using etching, engraving, or chiseling and then build up layers of enamel until they were rising slightly above the surface of the metal to form a distinct texture or pattern. Once that was done, the enamel was fired and polished, the hardest part being the underwork before the enamel was applied.

Patterning Enamel was interesting too. It was something Kelski could potentially use on the fish, if not the butterfly wings. The main structure of the piece was decorated – by whatever technique the jeweler liked – then high walls were built around the decoration. The enamel was laid over the metal decoration in a thin translucent layer and fired in an enameling kiln. The result was that the decorative underwork became visible as if it were growing within the glasswork or as if the enamel had a secret heart it was only letting the admirer glimpse. Kelski smiled romantically at this one. She wanted to use the Patterning on the butterfly’s wings. Delicate lines that would look like veining and texture in the wings revealed by translucent blue and white enamel would look amazing, she decided, adding notes next to her sketch as she filled in some of the fields. More notes were added enthusiastically and then Kelski went back to reading her own notes in her techniques journal.

Letting The Daylight In was another technique that Kelski had seen done and had used a bit of herself, though she wouldn’t mind doing so again. This enameling technique had the jeweler applying enamel in between bits of metal – like the glass in a stained-glass window showed between the lead. A jeweler could do this blindly, but the best way to proceed was for the jeweler to use an incredibly thin pounded slip of metal to form a ‘backing’ on the piece, and then fill the openings with enamel, fire it, and then remove the backing with acid or etching so a clear pane of ‘glass’ was visible in a piece.

Kelski liked this idea, but the truth was it wasn’t nearly as durable as other forms of enameling, so she mentally checked this technique off her list.
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Kelski
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Posts: 1574
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[Painted Sky Jewelry] Of Lizards And Butterflies

Postby Kelski on December 1st, 2019, 6:56 am

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The other technique, Round Work, had promising aspects to it. Round Work was all about enameling pieces that were true to life and not flat representations. Her lizard pin, for example, would be in essence a carved lizard, which meant it would not be flat, but a true-to-life representation. This is where the glue came in. Powdered glass, aka enamel, did not wish to stick to rounded things. It slid off easily enough unless it was in a pattern, level field, or a cell type situation. Kelski had noted in her journal that the glass here had to be mixed well with adhesive to hold it to the surface. But as the piece heated and the glass melted, the adhesive ‘fired off’ and was burned up in the process.

She took a quick peek at her application notes too. Enamel could be sifted, painted on, stenciled on, sponged on, inlaid wet or dry, and a whole host of other ways. Regardless though, it was a temperamental technique where a lot of things could go wrong. She had in her notes to do some test coloring on copper to double check her enamels before she used them on actual pieces. For that, she’d need some copper shims.

Setting up the kiln and getting it hot by starting a fire under and around it, Kelski got out her tin snips, some strips of copper, and removed her enamels where they were still packed in a crate from her move. She mixed up some adhesive using cornstarch, sugar, and white vinegar in a small ceramic pot over an alcohol burner. She left a spoon in the mixture where she could stir it and watch it thicken. Once it got to the right thickness, she could pull it off the burner and let it cool, using it for ‘glue’.

While the glue was thickening, Kelski pulled out her enamels. She read the labels on the dozen bottles and got out copper shims. The shims were thin pieces of copper, about four inches long, that she could paint enamel on and fire – experimenting with technique and mixtures – to have an accurate reading of how well the enamels played in their new environment. Each shim got stamped with a set of numbers that corresponded to Kelski’s notes. That was done with a simple metal stamper and small ball peen hammer. By the time the pieces were cut, stamped with their numbers, and the glue was cool enough, Kelski carefully coated each shim with a thick to thin layer of enamel, with one end being translucent enamel and the far end of the shim, near the bottom, being mixed with opaque white and her bottle of enamel that had diamond dust in it.

Then, she slid them in the kiln, brought its temperature up to where it should be by adding wood and breaking it down to coals, then held it there while the glass melted and fused. Slowly she let the wood burn out and began cooling the kiln. In the morning, she’d be able to pull the shims out and see what her enamels could do.

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And while she was waiting for the enamels to cool properly still within the kiln – taking them out hot and putting the in cold air would crack the enamel – she got to work on the commission pieces themselves.
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Kelski
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[Painted Sky Jewelry] Of Lizards And Butterflies

Postby Kelski on December 1st, 2019, 6:58 am

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One was easy… one wasn’t so easy. The lizard would have to be carved from a simple block of beeswax. Kelski wasn’t the worlds best carver, but luckily beeswax was forgiving and if she cut the wrong thing off, she could add more melted wax and start again. So, she indeed considered the lizard the ‘not so easy one’. And that meant she started on the butterfly necklace first.

It would be a big bulky thing, two butterfly’s touching at the wingtips with semi-precious inexpensive but tough gems forming their bodies. It would latch at the touching wings, not behind the neck. And the whole piece would form a set of butterfly’s that if latched together would fill her cupped hands. The necklace part would be one solid enameled band that reached up and around the Lia’s neck.

The Jeweler started with a large silver ingot, went to her forge and got it heated up. Once there, she pounded out the silver while it was warm – not hot – and formed it into a thick heavy sheet with her silver hammer. After it had lost its ingot shape, she was able to take it to her metalsmithing bench, roll it out smoothly, and work it into what she considered ‘cookie dough’ sheets with the help of heated metal rollers and a bench press that she could feed the ‘dough’ through repeatedly until the rollers got it smooth.

Then, she used a thick lead stick to sketch out the shape of the necklace. By this time, all but the Butterflies were thin enough to cut with tin snips. Kelski snipped out the shape of the necklace and then took it over to her metal ball former, where she could lay the metal on the convex dappling block and began to shape it carefully. The necklace couldn’t lay flat. It had to have a convex shape that curved up and around like a massive torc. Kelski frequently took it off the dappling block and physically tried the shape on.

It took lots of manipulation to get the metal formed the way it stretched up and around someone’s neck comfortably and then hung appropriately across their upper chest. The metal had true weight, which would increase with the enameling. Kelski then had to smooth it without ruining its shape, which was no easy task. She laid down wire along the margins, where she could then craft each segment into a cell she could enamel with an exotic blend of blues and whites which would stand out on Benali’s deeply tanned skin. Once the wire was laid down, Kelski cleaned and polished the necklace part, buffing it thoroughly before she acid washed it to get all the rest of anything off that might be contaminating the metal.

Next came the two showcased pieces in the front… the two butterflies whose wings would touch to form the clasp. Kelski didn’t want them patterned after any specific species of butterfly. Instead, she wanted them to be exotic and unique, the type of creature if someone saw on the necklace, they’d look for the whole rest of their lives wondering if the artist had patterned them after something alive.
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They laugh at me because I am different.
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Kelski
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Posts: 1574
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[Painted Sky Jewelry] Of Lizards And Butterflies

Postby Kelski on December 1st, 2019, 7:00 am

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She picked a few shades of blue, white for contrast, and then began to carve into the flat metal of the butterflies themselves, taking out patterns of metal that made the butterfly shaped pieces of metal actually look like butterflies. Kelski took fine metalworking tools and carved whirls of veins, the hints of spots, and lined the edges with more wire that got soldered down. She would do the clear type of enameling here that would reveal the pattern beneath. And she hoped the result would be stunning.

Kelski cut, shaped, and soldered on the clasp to the linked butterflies, then carefully smoothed out the rough edges, cleaned up the project, and gave it an acid wash and another polish getting it ready for the enamel. Then, tired, the Sea Eagle set the project aside until the next morning when the enamels would be cool and she could go to that step.

In the meantime, she went to her ‘vault’ and began rummaging around the cupboards in there until she found some pretty matching blue topaz that were cut in long thin emerald cuts. The Jeweler then took them over to the necklace and tried them on for size. The gemstones fit like they were cut for the butterflies. Already polished, all Kelski had to do was add six prongs to hold them in place for each piece. Doing so involved a minor bit of soldering and polishing after she crafted the prongs out of thicker wire she had already had pulled. Another round of polishing and buffing left the butterflies ready to enamel.

At that point, Kelski went to get something to eat, grabbed some sleep, and was wide awake the next morning to get started back up on the project. The first thing she did was take the shims out of the now-cool kiln, examine the colors, and select her enamels. There was a wide selection of blues available, especially after her test fires. Picking her color, Kelski began to carefully enamel the necklace and butterflies by carefully painting on a mixture of blue and enamel.

She blended colors, hoping to get an ombre effect in various places. Then, when she felt the color was as nice as she could get it, she moved the items to the kiln, refired it by building a fire and bringing the kiln up to temperature, and let it set on the melting point for ten chimes before she began the cooling process that would harden the now melted enamel and adhere it to the pieces.

The entire necklace would take a day to cool after she killed the fire in the kiln, so it was time to start on the wax sculpture of the lizard.

Consulting her sketches, Kelski got out her carving tools and turned the block of soft wax over and over in her hands. The lizard was already in there, she figured, and it was now up to her to take everything away that wasn’t lizard. Easy right? Kelski wasn’t so sure. She carefully sketched the shape of the lizard on the wax and then began removing excess wax with delicate little scrapers and bladed chisels. Little curls of wax fell like rain all around her as she focused on turning the block into a lizard shape. The wax block wasn’t long enough to get a tail like she saw the lizard having, so she carved a tail that was curved back upon itself.

She smoothed its back, gave it an upturned neck, and began working on a belly and then legs. Its mouth wanted to be open, so she carved it that way. It actually turned out cute, being stretched out with its legs spread wide for balance and its head upturned and its mouth open like it was grinning widely or asking for a treat.
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They laugh at me because I am different.
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Kelski
Freedom is earned. Fight for it.
 
Posts: 1574
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Joined roleplay: July 3rd, 2014, 11:08 pm
Location: The Wildlands of Sylira & The Empyreal Demesne
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[Painted Sky Jewelry] Of Lizards And Butterflies

Postby Kelski on December 1st, 2019, 7:02 am

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Kelski heated it up carefully, making it more playable. She tilted its neck, added face details like nostrils and carved out its eyes which would be gemstones. Then finally, she decided she was going to use a level fill enamel technique and began carving out space in the lizard’s wax body with remaining ridges so she could artistically add color without adding gemstones which in the women’s eyes would weaken the piece. Benali wanted functional beauty for Calina, not garish pieces dripping with gemstones. And as amusing as that was to a jeweler, Calina had asked for the same thing for Benali.

The final step Kelski needed to do before she cast the lizard was to add sprues. Sprues were odd looking things that looked like spikes sticking out from the lizard everywhere. Kelski took rods of wax, heated the tips, and simply pressed them into the lizard. The rods were thick, as big as large gauge wire, and were sticking off the lizard in long graceful arches. Kelski grinned at it when she was done adding the sprues. What would happen was the sprues would stick up out of the investment plaster and when the wax burned off, so too would the sprues. Then, once the sprues were gone, leaving vacancy in the plaster… channels would be created that lead directly to the lizard. The space the wax left in the plaster would be more quickly filled from the sprues than any other way. Then once the lizard was done and the plaster dissolved, Kelski would have to cut all the ‘channels’ of metal off the lizard and smooth it down since the sprues would leave metal coated pathways into the lizard’s body.

When she was done, Kelski mixed up investment cement, placed the wax lizard in an investment flask large enough to fit its sinuous length and then filled up the investment flask with the investment plaster covering the lizard. Once she was done, she tapped the flask to release air bubbles, and then reset the kiln with wood and relit it. She put the investment flask in the kiln, slowly bringing it up to temperature. What she knew would happen would be the wax would melt, burn off completely, leaving a lizard shaped space in the investment plaster. And the great thing about the investment plaster was that she didn’t have to let it cool to pour metal in. Instead, if she heated up the forge, melted silver in the crucible, she could have the pour ready for the moment the investment flask came out of the kiln.

And that’s exactly what Kelski did. Once the flask came out with the wax burned off, she set it aside, out of the kiln, and poured the silver. Then, once that was poured, she let it cool completely until it was time to get it out of the plaster. There was no real trick to that either. Once cool, the investment flask was dunked in a bucket of water. All Kelski had to do is wait for the water to dissolve the plaster, and pluck the lizard free of its watery bounds.

Once out of the investment flask, Kelski took a small jeweler’s saw and began cutting off the sprues painstakingly careful, setting them aside to save the silver. Then she took a cleanup tool and polished the lizard, buffed it, and got it ready to be enameled. Clean, air-dried, and ready to go… she got out her shims, looked them over selecting enamels to use for both.
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They laugh at me because I am different.
I laugh at them because they are all the same.
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Kelski
Freedom is earned. Fight for it.
 
Posts: 1574
Words: 2004873
Joined roleplay: July 3rd, 2014, 11:08 pm
Location: The Wildlands of Sylira & The Empyreal Demesne
Race: Kelvic
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Medals: 11
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[Painted Sky Jewelry] Of Lizards And Butterflies

Postby Kelski on December 1st, 2019, 7:04 am

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Instead of making them different, Kelski selected matching and complimentary blues and whites, deciding both pieces would look like they were enameled from the same collection even though they were both one of a kind.

Getting out her pot of glue, brushes, and sifter, Kelski worked her magic, painting each piece carefully with enamel. She filled and channeled and then put them both in the enamel ovens to slowly bring the temp back up and melt the glass within the enamel to adhere it to the silver on each piece. She ran the kiln cycle, let the pieces cool off, did a hard clean and polish, then set the gemstones that needed to be set. When both pieces were done, she added lacquer to protect the gems, and boxed them for the two ladies whom had ordered them.

Two days later she was able to get ahold of the two Lia’s and pass their orders back to them. Privileged, she was also able to be there when the gifts were exchanging gifts. It made her feel so good to see the women’s eyes light up with astonishment and happiness. Compliments were passed around and the Kelvic was suddenly glad she had a profession that could make people happy. It was a true blessing, for sure, and she thanked the Night Mother, Semele, and the other Gods that had marked her.
Benali’s Piece:
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Calina’s Piece:
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Count: 3633
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They laugh at me because I am different.
I laugh at them because they are all the same.
User avatar
Kelski
Freedom is earned. Fight for it.
 
Posts: 1574
Words: 2004873
Joined roleplay: July 3rd, 2014, 11:08 pm
Location: The Wildlands of Sylira & The Empyreal Demesne
Race: Kelvic
Character sheet
Storyteller secrets
Plotnotes
Medals: 11
Featured Character (1) Featured Thread (2)
Mizahar Grader (1) Trailblazer (1)
Overlored (1) Donor (1)
One Thousand Posts! (1) One Million Words! (1)
Sunberth Seasonal Challenge (1) Power Fork (1)

[Painted Sky Jewelry] Of Lizards And Butterflies

Postby Kelski on December 8th, 2019, 5:42 pm

G R A D E S
Drawing +3, Research +3, Painting +2, Organization +1, Carving +2, Metalsmithing +4, Body Building +2

Drawing: Planning out Jewelry Pieces Via Sketching, Jewelcrafting: Level Field Enameling, Jewelcrafting: Patterning Enamel, Jewelcrafting: Letting The Daylight In Enameling, Jewelcrafting: Roundwork Enameling, Jewelcrafting: Techniques To Apply Enameling,




PM me with questions or concerns.
Image
They laugh at me because I am different.
I laugh at them because they are all the same.
User avatar
Kelski
Freedom is earned. Fight for it.
 
Posts: 1574
Words: 2004873
Joined roleplay: July 3rd, 2014, 11:08 pm
Location: The Wildlands of Sylira & The Empyreal Demesne
Race: Kelvic
Character sheet
Storyteller secrets
Plotnotes
Medals: 11
Featured Character (1) Featured Thread (2)
Mizahar Grader (1) Trailblazer (1)
Overlored (1) Donor (1)
One Thousand Posts! (1) One Million Words! (1)
Sunberth Seasonal Challenge (1) Power Fork (1)


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