Despite what the name suggests the Athena series was originally inspired by origami, more specifically a segment from the kusudama flower.
I had made several variations of origami flower but the kusudama just stood out to me. Many experiments had been carried to try and get a strict translation of the the flower, included dipping paper into wax1 and folding chim, but as we all know metal does not allow much folding “to and fro” because the metal weakens and just breaks.
Instead I decided to simplify the flower and work based on the shape of a fifth of the segment. During the design and modelling process two simplified shells, if you like, were made from paper. Then duplicates of the two were created to proceed to the assembly and give the models a finished look – it was at this modelling stage were things were deviating to a more Grecian look. A silver masterpiece of the two kusudama segments were made, then a mould was made and I would finally get them cast in silver, one in 18ct gold casting grain:
A lot of elbow grease was put into buffing each segment (22 in total!) with different grades of buffing paper and then leave in the magnetic polisher to give a satin-high polish
Once all the segments were finished to high standard, no annoying marks or scratches, the segment was carefully assembled to the desired shape, where I would apply a little bit of flux and tiny pieces of solder and heat up the whole piece until the solder melted – this was done in stages to make sure I got a clean solder line after each soldering. After each soldering session I would leave the precious metal to immersed in the acid pickle to clean out any “muck”. Custom brooch pins – double-pin and Tiffany pin – were made for each brooch. Once the brooches were complete a final tumble in the magnetic polisher was applied before I completed the look with pumice to get a nice satin finish.
The end result is the two brooches below.