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Masque Girl Basse-Taille


It's roughly 8"x12", made of vitreous enamel on etched copper. This took me about eight months to finish, although I could have finished it a lot sooner if I hadn't been working on two dozen projects at once.

Arms are for pussies.

To explain the process, I first need to explain the terms because most people have very little understanding of enameling unless they've taken a class in it.

Enamel is a mixture of ground glass and other things designed to fuse to a substrate, usually copper, gold, or silver, calculated so that the glass melts and cools at the same temperature as its base metal. It comes in transparent and opaque colors, and can be seen on a wide array of items- particularly jewelry, small sculptures and kitchen wares. It's an ancient art form practiced in various cultures all over the world.

Basse-taille is an enameling technique where a low relief is created in the metal and then can be seen through translucent and transparent enamels. It was developed in the 13th and 14th century as a response to the very similar champlevé technique of the 12th century.

First I used acid to create a relief, using a resist made from a combination of painted asphaltum and a copy of a sketch printed in toner on special heat resistant PNP transfer paper burnished on to the copper with a hot plate to make it melt. Here's a picture of it from before I put the enamel on it: http://www.newgrounds.com /dump/item/ec3f5b4016f3ef a999c770412e6f4e46

The background I made using a process I made up as I was going along, dropping droplets of an asphaltum, water, and maybe oil (it was at least six months ago, I don't remember exactly) while the copper was sitting on top of a hot kiln, and the designs were left in asphaltum as the water boiled off. Then I stuck it in the ferro chloride, cleaned it off, formed it (mostly with a plastic hammer to the back) and started applying transparent enamels to it and firing them.

Photographing it without a ton of glare has been a pain. It looks better with more light on it, and in person when you can really see the layers of transparency, but this is the best I've managed thus far. Here are some detail shots-
http://www.newgrounds.com /dump/item/32553da7b9711a 070db2f7d43dd5c86a
http://www.newgrounds.com /dump/item/92dff918f56a52 487a62d2a4541a179a


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oh so beautiful and elegant.

radiodark responds:


Oh god

I bet the pics don't make justice to the real piece, I'd pay for it too, impressive technique btw

absolutely brilliant

how much would you like for it??? it's absolutely amazing!!

radiodark responds:

I'm too attached to it at the moment to sell, but the etched design would be fairly easy to duplicate, although there's no way i could make two pieces identical. I could see churning out a couple and selling them, but I'd have to wait a couple of years until i've graduated from college, have saved enough money for an enameling/metalsmithing studio, and have somewhere to put said studio.

Back when I was thinking about selling it, I was thinking something around $300, but that was a figure pulled more or less from thin air (i considered price of materials and time spent in calculating it, but my consideration didn't really go farther than "a lot" and "a while") , aggravated by my attachment to the piece.

This needs to be in a museum.

Seriously. This must have take ages.

radiodark responds:

Thanks, and yes it did.


the picture of it is beautiful, i wonder how it is in person. good job ;)

Credits & Info

4.19 / 5.00

Jun 14, 2010
6:40 PM EDT
Fine Art
File Info
1728 x 2156 px
1.5 MB

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