Afternoon of a Faun

July 2, 2011

Is this simply some fascination I have with Classic literature? Did eight years of Latin have much to do with this piece of jewelry? As a child, I read endlessly from faerie tales, adventure novels, Greek and Roman Myth, Grimm’s Fairy Tales, Aesop’s Fables and so many other sources. All these are just stories, are they not?

I always found a ring of truth, even in a fable. Particularly the Greek and Roman myths, where the greed, the lust, the weakness of the gods is exposed. These stories talk of the gods, but really, they are talking about humanity. It is far easier to point out someone else’s failings rather than admit your own. Thus the Greek myth talks about those awful gods, and we never have to look at ourselves.

The Faun is a mischievous Ā trickster of the forest. Half man, half goat, he lives a life of bad behavior. We all have a taste of this, I am afraid. Some more than others…. ahem.

The head is fine silver, which is .999 pure. Hammered from a flat sheet, this face is rather tall relief.

The major sections, such as forehead, nose, cheeks, and chin were punched from the back of the sheet. Then the sheet was turned over, and punched, or chased, from the front. This is called repousseĀ“, I believe. To support the work, it is set in pitch, which is a forgiving and slightly sticky mixture of rosin, beeswax and asphaltum.

Below is the sheet turned for the first time, having been punched out from the back. It’s a good idea to have a sketch or a photograph to work from, so you know where to beat the metal out, and how deep to go.

After the metal has been worked a bit, it workhardens, and is in danger of cracking. To soften the silver, remove the metal from the pitch, clean it completely, then heat it red hot, and dunk it in water to cool. Set it back in the pitch for another go of punch work. In the photo below, you can see the details starting to get defined. Mustache, beard, eyes, etc. The stubs for the horns are beaten up from the back. At this point, I am not sure how the horns will be attached, but I know where they are going to go.

The horns are made using the same process outlined above. Punched from the back. Flipped over and then detailed from the front. The horns will be sawed out of the sheet using a jeweler’s saw. Then fitted to the mask and soldered.

This piece measures 1.9″ tall, fine silver mask, brass horns. This is a brooch or a pin, however you wish to call it.

 

 

Advertisements