The first pair of beakers I made are for me chase designs that are influenced by cylinder seals. I cut stencils from sheets of mylar for two motifs from a seal’s impression, one of a lion with a goat and one of a large boar with a leaf form. The stencils allow me to place, repeat and reverse directions of the designs around the cup.
Designs were drawn onto the beaker with a sharpie and then scratched in with an awl. I cleaned the sharpie ink off and set the supporting dowel into a vise so I could begin chasing the designs into the copper. In the next photo, I have already chased lines on the lip and foot of the cup, the scratches are where I will begin to chase the animals onto the cup.
The chasing has started.
I remade my small chasing tool. When it was made last year, it was for chasing curves, I never used it because the regular chasing tool made the gentle curves that I needed very well. The curve tool, however, seemed to just dig in to the metal and was difficult to use. This design requires tighter curves than I can make with the main chasing tool. I looked at the curve tool again and decided that it dug in because the arc of its bite was too round. It was annealed and I let it cool slowly between slabs of fire brick, then I filed the high part of the arc off of the tool to make it closely match the gentle arc of my main tool. The arc is flatter now like the big tool, the curves are a close match, but this one is on a shorter length of bite. Now the tool works like it should, gliding along without digging into the metal. I’m only chasing outlines at this stage, but I have scratched in some of the future detailling.
Here’s a close-up of some of the chasing.
Between sessions of chasing I was also raising on two new beakers, one slightly larger and one smaller than the pair I finished last week. Placing the design on the first beaker showed me that I would need some different diameters and heights. I bought a 5″ (126 mm) and a 6″ (172 mm) disk, raising one with a 45 MM diameter and the other with a 50 mm diameter, aiming for heights over 75 mm. Here’s what my cache of pots looked like when I got to class last Friday. There’s also a pin in the lower left that I had begun to make for Colman (his birthday was the 21st). While in class I made another snarling iron with a small tip. I know I will need one for the new designs.
I finished the pin Saturday and made a box out of paste paper and maroon velvet to present his gift.
Here I have begun to push one side of the chased line down, the branch and one side of the lion is done.
I won’t do the detail lines at all right now, not having done final working drawings I want to think about it some more and look at photos of the impressions that cylinder seals make before committing to tool marks. here’s a close-up.
I have to put the cup on the back side of the vise to get to some of the lines properly, the tool can only be seen from one side while I am working with it.
Now I am beginning to put the background down with broader polished tools. The areas are large and I may have to make a pattern to get it all to go down to the same level around the cup.
Another close up, there’s still a lot of work to be done so I am not worried about the small flaws and irregularities.
I used the sharpie to mark in some of the details on the boar’s hind quarter. Then I scratched in one line, chased it and then scratched in the next line. It felt like I had better control if I made one scratched and chased line at a time. Doing it that way allowed me to use the already chased line as a guide in chasing another line near it. After chasing I removed the ink for better visibility.
AfterI finish putting the background down I will remove the cup from the pitch and use a snarling iron to push the animals out a little, then it will be time to anneal and put the cup on the pitch ended dowel again for finishing.