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Idle Gauds Jewelry and Metals

Anamorphic skull cuff in chased and repoussé copper with blue-green patina

Anamorphic skull cuff in chased and repoussé copper with blue-green patina

Regular price $195.00 USD
Regular price Sale price $195.00 USD
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Blue-green patina copper cuff featuring an anamorphic skull. From the side, this cuff appears to feature a simple pattern of depressions and raised sections. Spun and viewed from top to bottom, it reveals itself as a distorted skull. I'm inspired by the memento mori tradition in medieval and Renaissance culture. This cuff is the first of many reflections on this way of thinking about life and death.

I made this cuff bracelet using chasing and repoussé, a method of creating depth and dimensionality in sheet metal developed independently by many ancient cultures. I placed the cuff in a pitch bowl (a container filled with a resilient but moldable substance) and created the swirls and lines by moving a series of different-shaped metal punches over the surface while hammering on the punches. Hammering on the back of the piece is repoussé; the piece is then removed, cleaned, and flipped over to be hammered on the front side (chased). You can see a time-lapse video of one round of repoussé and chasing on German red pitch on my Instagram. After going through this process once, the metal becomes work hardened and must be softened by annealing, or heating to just below the melting point. Then the process is repeated many times, until a three-dimensional relief is achieved. In this case, I used beeswax in my pitch bowl, which is how the ancient Greeks supported their repoussé. Historical objects made using this technique include the mask of Tutankhamen, Navajo jewelry, and the Statue of Liberty.

The blue-green patina on this cuff was achieved in two steps. First, I soaked the cuff in a solution of liquid Miracle-Gro and water and allowed it to dry in the open air. Then, I soaked the cuff in a concentrated saline solution and enclosed it in a tightly covered glass jar, suspended above a small amount of household ammonia. After two days, I removed the oxidated cuff from the jar and allowed the delicate oxidized surface to dry. Finally, I lightly sanded the piece and then finished it with several coats of sealant.

The cuff measures 8 inches (21 centimeters) in circumference and can be adjusted about half an inch (one centimeter) in either direction.

Materials: Copper

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