Tuesday, July 17, 2012

More Inspiration

Inspiration comes in so many different forms.

I’ve said this so many times but it never ceases to amaze me when I look back at something I’ve created and see a little of something from the past peeking through. Something it’s quite obvious. Sometime it’s so obscure that I don’t see it until much later. That’s when the “WOW!” factor kicks in the strongest.

This time it’ quite obvious. This time it’s all about the “STEAMPUNK CARTOUCHE”.

The name cartouche was first applied by soldiers who fancied that the symbol they saw so frequently repeated on the pharaonic ruins they encountered resembled a muzzle-loading firearm's paper powder cartridge (cartouche in French). In Egyptian hieroglyphs, a cartouche is an oval with a horizontal line at one end, indicating that the text enclosed is a royal name, coming into use during the beginning of the Fourth Dynasty under Pharaoh Sneferu.

At times amulets were given the form of a cartouche displaying the name of a king and placed in tombs. Such items are often important to archaeologists for dating the tomb and its contents. Cartouches were formerly only worn by Pharaohs. The oval surrounding their name was meant to protect him from evil spirits in life and after death. The cartouche has become a symbol representing protection from evil and give good luck. Egyptians believed that if you had your name written down in some place, then you would not disappear after you died. If a cartouche was attached to their coffin then they would have their name in at least one place. There were periods in Egyptian history when people refrained from inscribing these amulets with a name, for fear they might fall into somebody's hands conferring power over the bearer of the name.

All this information can be found on Wikipedia. For me, the Cartouche touches something deep but obscured by who knows what. I could be something from a past life. I could be my connection with travel and/or fantasy. It could be simply because I’m a big Stargate SG1 fan.

I designed this piece with only the aesthetic in mind but it seems to have captured a little bit of the luck vibe of the ancient pharaohs. I have plans for a few different versions of the “STEAMPUNK CARTOUCHE”. I’m even thinking of turning it into a birthstone pendant. Soon you’ll be able to pick your style, metal and stone making it even more your own.

I’ve been thinking of adding a 3D printer to the tools in my workshop. The idea is to make it easier to construct some of my designs that need to have a more polished and clean-cut look and feel. Mostly, I enjoy the aesthetic of the “Artifact”. I love it when a piece I create looks as though it could have come from an archaeological dig site or have been made many years ago and shows the touch of the hands of time.

From time to time it’s a good idea to think about what others might want to see. You know. Good business practice and what not. I have a great many ideas that could be made by hand like 99% of my work but won’t look as clean. I can design the pieces, 3d map them on the computer, print them with the 3D printer, mold them and then cast them in whatever metal I wish or whatever metal my client wishes.

It’s also a great way to keep prices down. If a client wants a piece done in gold, I can remove coverage for scrap in the cost of the piece. The original model would already be done in plastic saving me from having to produce waste by cutting the piece in metal. It’s a great way to stay GREEN as well. The plastic can be easily recycled and reused for creating new work. It’s that simple. The one setback… 3D printers ain’t cheap. I’m still not raising my prices.

Now, we move on to the tasty part of this little adventure.

Normally I feature other jewelers on Etsy or other artists that have inspired me in my art. This time we’re hitting something completely different.

My wife and I had a date recently. Sure we took the baby with us. It was awesome to be able to get out together. We went to a killer Thai restaurant. We took a walk through the park to work off the killer Thai food. It was a hot day and we wanted ice cream. What we got was more of a treat than we expected.
My Cherry Vanilla & Rum Raisin at Eddie's

We had a choice of a chain or a “Mom & Pop” type spot we discovered on the corner. You know we chose “B”. We walked through the door and I was blasted into the past with the biggest grin on my face.

What we found was an old style ice cream parlor and candy shop like the ones I remember as a kid. Even then there weren’t many left. What we found was ice cream heaven in Queens. They even made sodas the old fashioned way. What we found was Eddie’s.

Located at 105-29 Metropolitan Ave, Forest Hills, NY 11375, this outwardly unassuming corner shop is so super cool on the inside that you'll swear you can see your breath as you walk in the door. The marble countertop, the serving dishes and the serving sizes and toppings will take you back to the 1940s or 50s. (I was born in the 70s, if you must know.) The staff is happy to be there and that makes it a happy place to be.

I want to go there with a crowd of Steampunks for some ice cream and photo ops.