Friday, October 23, 2015

Titanite or Sphene Gem

Watching cable tonight, the gem network was selling a number of stones called "sphenes".
Gotta say - the multifaceted cut was highly specialized by a  featured gemologist, but the stone was quite costly at 250.00/carat. Still one marveled at the extreme faceting, and sheen of multiple colors - red, green, yellow fire over a lovely bright amber base.

The refraction of light of gems has captured my attention for many years, first brought to my attention by the painters Van Eyke brothers Hubert and Jan. No one has surpassed the Van Eykes with their crystal clear miracle varnish that hasn't clouded their original oil medium in over 600 years. I recently obtained a copy of the new Van Eyke, Up Close, which depicts many of their paintings in close up photography. You can share my excitement of these visual masterpieces of  by viewing the Ghent Altarpeice,digitally up close:

What is noteworthy is what is NOT there in the effortless transition glazes. The imprimatura is critical in creating the middle tone and carefully used by the artist from depicting fabrics to gems, where the fall of light is critical to the surface and texture.

Understanding the imprimatura in painting is helpful to understanding design in jewelry making.
By using the paint in an incidental manner- rather than focusing on it, but rather to achieve something else such as the depiction of light, is like using metal to achieve something else - to create a feeling or concept that speaks beyond the material itself. One loses sight of metal and at the same time is captivated and mesmerized by it's crystaline metamorphorsis into an object of desire or emotion or beauty.

Soon you will see examples of  my painting and metalsmithing that should be interesting to view side by side. 

Saturday, March 28, 2015

blinded by the light - chatoyancy

There appears in nature, certain stones that resemble a cat's eye. Light reflects through parallel bands of fibrous material. This phenomenon is known as chatoyancy.

Not all stones are useful for making paint, however, I sometimes find myself drawn to certain minerals for other reasons that initially may seem remote, but then  their relevance becomes apparent.

Such is the case with a stone called "Cat's Eye".
Here is a picture of it:

I have purchased this stone for my father and myself. One of it's greatest characteristics is it's ability to protect. Recently I became interested in another version of Cat's Eye, called Hawk's Eye. Hawk's Eye is red and in addition to the same guarding property of Cat's Eye, it is "very grounding". I carry Hawk's Eye with me daily, both for it's stability enhancing effect in a rough work world, and for the reminder of it's incredibly brilliant example of chatoyancy...

I enjoy staring at these stones daily. They are extremely soothing to the eyes. 

One day i was passing a wire sculpture on campus. The sculpture was capturing the light that was so pleasing and relaxing to my eyes. The late morning light was reflecting on parallel "bands" of wires and creating chatoyancy!
That is how I interpreted it loosely. But I was amazed that a similar effect was created with entirely different materials.