Posts Tagged ‘antique’

In the last big haul of “Steampunk” supplies, there were all sorts of clock and watch parts. It was from a repair shop so while there was a really random mix, there were also a few big groups of things. One was a large number of the tiny ladies watch cases. Another was a box of the matching ladies metal expanding watch bands. The bands were new so were in great condition and had the old, high quality gold plating.

I liked the look of them as well as the fact that they can give a bit of a flex to how they fit. They are also narrow enough to work in necklaces, unlike the men’s.crystalwatch4

I ended up doing a series of asymmetrical pieces combining both. I set faux stones and gems into the watch cases. (I have no idea how people read the time on them since the faces were super tiny!) The bands make up part of the chains.

For this set I was able to find a trio of cases that, while not the same, feel very close to each other. A set of faux rainbow crystal druzy stones were set into each case. Some old stock vintage aurora borealis crystal drops were hung below each of the earring cases. The necklace has three of the drops hanging from a small brass gear. Salvaged glass beads, that have a bit of the aurora borealis sheen, give the set additional flash.

It’s the only one I did with the matching earrings and I love the Steampunk glitz it has!

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I don’t do very many craft commissions. I’ll get the occasional custom stuffie request but it doesn’t come up much with the jewellery and I generally just make what I want and then offer up the finished pieces. This was one of the rare custom necklaces I’ve made.


One of my framing clients would stop in every year or so with more pieces and she always enjoyed seeing what I was up to in the crafts and decided she needed a custom necklace that made a statement. She’d seen the large chest piece I’d done using a brass clock frame and wanted something very much on the same scale with the theme of Time.

I had a second brass frame plate and that was the base. A trio of enamelled watch faces became the main part of the design. A pretty little watch case, with a red heart inside, was set into the centre of the top and flanked by a pair of tiny brass wings. Chains of glass beads and brass decorate it and make up the support necklace.

She loved it and told me how much she enjoyed wearing it, especially to any meetings where there would be “questions” about if/when she was considering retirement!

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The last of the Key racks was were I had the most fun. IMG_6129 The back is the centre part of the panel and a chunk of the original sticker was still on it. While it was no where near intact, it is still partially readable and has a great look. I wanted to keep that but doing so limited where hooks could be placed. I fiddled a bit with using the key hooks but then remembered that I had a few antique brass gears around. These ones hadn’t been used for other things because they all still have their central pivots solidly attached. That made them perfect for my needs and I was able to embed them into the wood backing. Almost all were bent, at the tips of their pivots, or in one case, it was tilted strongly upwards, so they will still work as hooks. The spacing even worked out well enough that the remains of the label show well through the open parts of the gears! While I’m pleased that it turned out to still be a functional key holder, the finished piece has such a great Steampunk vibe to it that I think it is likely to get hung up as pure decoration.

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For the second of the my Key hooks, I wanted to use IMG_6137 some of the longer flat silver ones. I love how their shape is closer to the antique keys and is vaguely reminiscent of a spine. The problem was that, unlike the solid brass keys, many of them will break instead of bending to the curve for a hook. It was a bit frustrating, trying to figure out which ones had the right type of metal composition and shape, that would allow them to be bent (some were too hard for me to handle with the tools on hand) without snapping. I had to make things even more difficult by only wanting ones with specific looks too. Eventually, I was able to get a trio that I liked done. For the accent, it’s simply a large enamelled clock face. This one was a bit too big for jewellery but was in such good shape I didn’t want to use as a background for a collage either. This was a good way to let it shine.

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A while ago we found a large group of keys. IMG_6130 My primary area of interest was the antique skeleton keys but the lot also included quite a number of more modern ones as well. (and by “modern” I mean from this century) The later keys just aren’t a style I like for jewellery, so aside from the “Key to My Heart” painting series, they hadn’t been getting used. At the same time they came in, we also found a pair of solid iron ring mandrels. Having the mandrels meant that I could shape some of the softer keys into hooks and make a group of “key” hooks. (and yes, the terrible pun was part of the appeal) I wanted to keep them small enough that they would fit in a range of spaces since most key racks are used in tight spaces. I also wanted the finished pieces to keep the vintage feel of the keys. To do that, I ended up cutting up a back panel from an antique clock that I found in the stash. It gave me three panels that were small enough to be hung anywhere but big enough that each could fit enough hooks for a usable key rack as well as some decorations. For this one, I went with a trio of brass keys and a dark brown accent piece. The flower is a fairly newish, resin piece but has a great antiqued finish and was cast from an antique sculpture so the keys end up feeling like the newest part of the whole thing.

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Once the frame was all rebuilt, repaired and refinished, silmirrphoto 2 all that was left was deciding on the mirror. While we considered going with an antiqued glass, it was decided that the ornateness of the frame didn’t need any more going on so we went with a plain, flat mirror. The large amount of variance in the widths of the inner frame lip, as well as trying to avoid any possibility of future strain on the frame, were why we didn’t go with a bevelled mirror. The lip widths were as wide as over an inch in some areas but the typical ¼ inch in others so even a deep bevel would be mostly covered in spots. All together, with it’s new finish, the mirror is now hanging in it’s new home. The darker tones tie to the slate front of the Victorian marble fireplace it sits over and the silver leaf co-ordinates with the rooms chandelier. I also love how the Persian carpet in the room features similarly shaped birds. A fitting space and a new life for an beautiful old frame! The photo of it in it’s new home is the work of Dave Kimmel. You can see more of his work on his website.
The rest of my posts about this project: part 1, part 2, part 3

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After the physical reconstruction was done, img_5499 it was prepared for the gilding. It had been gilded, when first made, but had been hit with some gold paint, at least once, so there wasn’t enough left to salvage. (and the client wanted a different finish) There had also been quite a bit of damage to the compo base that covered the wood of the frame and so that needed to be evened out. Once the surface was smoothed and stabilized, it was sealed with a base coat in a dark brown/grey. Then the frame was gilded with silver metal. That is a multi-step process in that, after the base is prepared and sealed size is put on, as a glue, then the metal leaf is applied. Next it is cleaned and polished down. (and any missed spots are filled in) After that, there is an application of a an antiquing wash and then the whole thing is sealed. The antiquing wash is necessary since it brings out the details and gives depth to the flat, bright silver of the plain leaf. (you can see how bright the plain leaf is in the photo) Since we wanted it to be closer to the pewter tones, the antiquing wash was altered to more of a blue/black than the usual brown.

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