Tuesday, October 16, 2012

les feuilles mortes

OK, you romantic, yearning hearts, tap this up in another window and come back: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Xo1C6E7jbPw&feature=related. Now the mood has been set.  The leaves of autumn and the musings to which they give rise can never be trite, will always be sweetly sad. Think the western version of wabi sabi. Give yourself a large serving of this nostalgia and watch Yves Montand recite the original poem and lyrics -- you may find the song much older than you thought.

Then tap it up one more time for a sound track and take a look at my latest musings on the subject, a work in progress.

The leaf on the right is actually fold-formed copper with torch fired enamel. The enamel shine was tamed with Armor Etch and then buffed down with a Scotchbrite scouring pad. In places where the enamel pulled back from the edges, copper was left exposed. The buffing allowed me to bring on the verdigris with salt and vinegar. I think the shine removal makes it look like a real leaf, and shows the subtle undulations of the fold formed surface.  I will wax it with Renaissance wax to protect the patina.

Hint: the Armor Etch is also a good way to make a new glass bead look old, like it had been buried in desert sands for a few thousand years.  The possibilities are endless.

I left the back (or is it the front) slightly more shiney. The "rib" of the leaf is upstanding on that side, and I pierced it, planning to have a chain or thong pass through there.  The scar you see on the lower half is a mark left by the trivet that held the leaf while the enamel was being fired. It actually adds to the real-leaf quality of the piece, I think.  The white spangles of counter enamel could be frost.

For now, I plan to use hand braided, hand spun linen to suspend the piece around the neck, probably with some sort of button closure, perhaps even a horse chestnut I found on a walk.  So far, I have braided about 3 yards.  I like having a goodly supply for future projects.

I was able to order the linen from a supplier in Latvia, on Etsy.  It was single spun and is slubby. There's something so honest about it.  I could drill that horse chestnut (after it is truly dry) and pass the braid through it with a good knot, maybe even a fancy "monkey's fist" or "Chinese button" knot, and a loop on the other end.

It would be good, at least to me, with just the leaf, but other pendants could be added.  True simplicity can be a difficult step to take!

Just to be sure the hole in the pendant is smooth enough not to cut the linen braid, I will ream it to size and add a copper eyelet, which will also give it a good finish.


  1. Gorgeous foldforming and wonderful surface treatments. That leaf is perfect to stand alone. Just beautiful.

  2. breathtakingly beautiful. organic. yumminess.

  3. Gorgeous! You've summed up the beauty of Autumn in one leaf. Well done indeed.