RMIT Year 1, Semester 1, Enamelling #4

29 05 2010

First year, first semester, Enamelling, project #4: Neckpiece

This assignment was to make a five-component enamelled neckpiece. I couldn’t help but start off imagining horrible seventies shapes and it took a deliberate energy to unwind that association.

sketch from project diary; amended copyright notice: not to be reproduced without permission

I had been studying Istanbul / Constantinople for an elective subject I was taking, and was reading a lot of texts on the region about the year 1453, when the Ottoman empire conquered the city. I must have absorbed some of the images I saw, for the above shape that came to me when sketching for this project was a common shape in the art of the era and place.

I accidentally found the below image a week or two later – it’s a pendant from 11th century Egypt, it’s incredibly gorgeous and became a reference point for this work.

British Museum, Gold pendant with inset enamel decoration; click on the image to go to the original source

This was the last project for the semester for this subject and time was getting a bit squishy, so I didn’t quite resolve the necklace connections in time for assessment (I initially liked it, but it didn’t take long to unlike it). The below photograph was taken at the time of assessment.

enamel necklace; original image by Mark Kral; amended copyright notice: not to be reproduced without permission

What is particularly interesting about this piece, is that it is the only one I’ve happily re-worked. I took out one of the components less than a year later to gift it to a special friend who had been truly wonderful to me. The remaining four pieces remain alone, two currently threaded on simple wire necklets… waiting for a new incarnation.

It’s funny that I had no qualms about essentially destroying this piece in order to create newer works, but cannot find myself able to do so for other pieces. Perhaps it was due to its relatively simple original construction and that I was only cutting thread not metal…

enamel components; amended copyright notice: not to be reproduced without permission

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