Copper Wildcat Mask

May 30, 2011

Copper Wildcat Mask

Copper Wildcat Mask

This wearable, adult-sized copper Wildcat Mask is a bit larger than my Cat Mask and looks more like a bobcat or a very large domestic cat.  It is hand-raised from a flat sheet of copper, with decorative rivets on the whisker spots.  My post on the  Jaguar Mask  has photos and a description of the mask-forming process.  Photos of me wearing the Cat and Jaguar masks at the Tucson All Souls Procession can be viewed on Flickr here:

http://www.flickr.com/photos/leonfangs/sets/72157622765310126/

The rigid metal is hotter and not quite as comfortable as a soft mask made of fabric or leather, but it is easier to wear than wood or papier-mache, and looks very dramatic and unusual.  I didn’t put ties on this mask because these will depend on the wearer’s costume and style preference.  I use long 2″ strips of black cotton fabric, tied in a tight knot at the back.  They give a secure fit and are nearly invisible at night.  For a daytime occasion, I would use more elaborate, colorful ties that functioned as part of the costume.

The metal is not coated in any way, so it can be hung anywhere, even outdoors, and will tarnish to a beautiful warm brown.  I prefer the natural tarnish colors, which change over time but are always comforting and mysterious.

Wildcat Mask, side view

Wildcat Mask, side view

Wildcat Mask - Rivets

Wildcat Mask - Rivets

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More recent additions to the website jewelry collection…

I reworked the Big Cat Claw necklace to make it a bit more wearable.  It has a new smaller, more curvy iron hook to hold the carved picture jasper claw pendant, and the pendant is now removable so it can also be worn on its own.  I reshaped the original twisted piece of iron to make this Mediterranean Waves bangle bracelet, which also features a curly cone charm and a double spiral in 14-gauge black steel wire.  Inner diameter of the bracelet is just under 3 inches.  The fit is very nice – the twists give the steel a bit of grip, but their edges are polished smooth so the bracelet is comfortable to wear.  A combination of simple yet enduring ancient iron styles.

Double Spiral Twisted Iron Bangle

Double Spiral Twisted Iron Bangle

This pair of multi-metal earrings is made from black steel, copper, sterling silver, and brass wire, with copper tube beads and antique African glass and iron beads.  I wanted a classic hoop design with a bit of color that would look good even when it was tarnished (and I think these will, and the milky blue glass beads will show up even better then).  Unfortunately, they remind me of the infamous Dow “scrubbing bubbles”.  I think a version done entirely in black steel wire and iron beads, with no hanging wires and with the glass beads providing the only color, might look more elegant.  But I’m saving the rest of the glass beads for another project.  So here they are – Scrubbing Bubbles earrings.

Scrubbing Bubbles

Scrubbing Bubbles

New Jewelry

May 14, 2011

I spent most of the last moon cleaning up the Lichen Oracle glyphs and sewing a new pair of pants.  For this moon I decided to catch up on metalwork to put on the website, and as the waxing crescent grew in the evenings, I was inspired to make these bone and iron Crescent Moon Earrings.  Forged steel cut nail, coiled and twisted (“recycled”  since I cut up a big and rather clunky hairpin that I’d made several years ago, reused the good forgework, and scrapped the rest).  Catfish rib bone from the western Kentucky swamp, cut short and polished (the uncut rib was over 6 inches long), and whitetail deer antler tine from the Empire Mountains, Arizona.  Strung on 16-gauge black steel wire with tiny copper tube beads.  Longest earring is 2.5 inches, not including the earwires.  These are very mobile and surprisingly light in weight.

Crescent Moon Earrings

Crescent Moon Earrings

These Peridot Earrings are made from very large facet-grade Arizona peridot pebbles.  Peridot is the gem name for the mineral olivine.  It is as hard as quartz, and is named for its unique yellowish-green color.  These are natural crystals, drilled and strung on copper wire with antique African forged iron beads.  One has the characteristic smooth, eroded “jellybean” surface that is sometimes found in olivines from this locality.  I chose the iron beads because magnetite is commonly found with olivine, and both of these crystals each contain a tiny magnetite crystal inclusion (not visible in photo).  The stones are large enough that I had to keep the beads small and the wirework minimal so the earrings would be comfortable to wear.

Peridot Earrings

Peridot Earrings

This Crescent Blade Amulet has been on the bench for awhile because I didn’t like the original wire bail.  After some reworking (adding holes to the blade and a new bail on top) it’s now ready to wear.  The blade is forged from high-carbon 1095 steel.  This is a “primitive” pendant, with minimal polishing.  Only the back, edge, and holes in the blade are polished; the handle and the flat surface are left “as forged” after removing firescale.  The handle is mild steel and is riveted tightly to the blade.  The spiral bail is 16-gauge black steel wire (lighter gray than it appears in the photo, giving a distinct contrast with the black iron).  This piece is quite small – only two inches long and two inches wide.  The corners of the blade are polished smooth, and the blade itself – while sharp enough to be a real knife – is not razor-sharp because it is so exposed.  It will be offered for sale as it is, but I can put a very sharp, shiny edge on it at the buyer’s request.

Crescent Blade Amulet

Crescent Blade Amulet