The original Titanium piece was actually two bits joined by a very narrow neck.
When I first saw the piece, I envisioned the two bits arranged differently to form a gnarled tree --even, perhaps, a tree with a spirit figure in it. I cut the two apart with wire clippers to rearrange the pieces into a tree.
Inspired by the William Yeats poem “The Song of Wandering Aengus” (See below), I began with the idea of a tree between moon and sun. I wanted a 3-D moon, so I made the moon dome using a light bulb, layered some heavy paste on it, let it partially dry, then had great fun making craters and bumps with different sized sticks made more subtle with a slip overlay.
Once the moon was sanded and dry, I needed a flat surface to mount the Titanium. [This] Titanium didn’t bend easily, so it could not be curved to fit the moon. Instead, I’d create a platform just the size of the Titanium. That necessitated using part of the Kahn bezel technique of blowing up a picture of the Titanium (I used 120%) and cutting a piece of clay using the picture as a pattern. I enclosed the edges of the platform down to the moon dome so tumbler shot wouldn’t get stuck and I would have a more finished look.
Next came the sun, to which I also wanted to give dimensionality. I had a mold of a woman’s face that I thought would fit the poem nicely and wanted to include that, though it was front-face and I wanted profile. I filed it so that it was a 3⁄4 profile. After several experiments constructing a sun, I ended up with a paper sun with curly rays cut with a punch, to which I stuck a small dome with the profile and covered with syringe “hair” continuing out to the rays, which I planned to use as prongs for one part of the Titanium.
To attach the sun construction, I needed to raise the sun slightly above the level of the Titanium plane, so I had to have something to hold it up. I settled on a ring, which I filed to fit the curve of the moon dome. Then I sanded the whole thing until the bottom rims of the sun and moon were flat, so I could add a back. I just didn’t like the underneath mess.
In the meantime, I added some wire for prongs in between the two pieces of Titanium, some paper tabs around the edge of the plane, and at the bottom, some wrinkled clay rollouts, paste, and small punched flowers for roots and vegetation, using some as more “prongs.”
The last touch was the apples, sculpted of clay balls with little paper clay stems and put in place with silver clay paste. Once the back was added and the whole thing cleaned up, the construction was mostly done.
I fired a couple of times to fill in cracks and add the bail, which was made of 16 gauge fine silver wire joined with silver clay.
Then came the gold. Using the keumboo technique, I added foil, using small pieces to deal with the three-dimensional objects. Had I to do the project over, I would paint on Aura instead.
After filing the bail, tumbling, and final sanding, I was ready to mount the Titanium. The process took a little struggle to get the pieces into place, but all in all that part went smoothly. A final polish and the piece was complete.
The Song of Wandering Aengus
I went out to the hazel wood,
William Butler Yeats, 1899