October 2010 Archives

The Wrathskellar

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The Boston Babydolls are a local Burlesque troupe, and they currently have a Halloween-themed show.  I only mention it because the photo accompanying an article on the show in Tuesday's Boston Globe is one of mine.


It's not actually my favorite from that series, but it fits the article well


Incan Art in Paris

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The Pinacotheque is a private, for profit exhibit space in Paris that opened in 2007. Through Feburary of 2011 they have on display South American metalwork in an exhibit called "L'Or des Incas", even though it's not all gold OR Incan. One of the pieces they're using in promotional materials is this fascinating pounded silver portrait vase, which actually is Incan.




ps. yes, the guy who did the photoshop work to mask that image needs to find a new career

Jeweler != 3D-Artist

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I've posted Lorenz Bäumer's excellent jewelry before, and I cannot complain about his work in that sphere, but his work in digital renderings leaves much to be desired.  I understand the desire to use renderings to promote unfinished pieces, the watch brands do it all the time, but put some effort into it!

I was all set to like the Mikado ring design, it even reminds me of a recently finished house that I liked, and then I saw the full size image. I know getting specular surfaces to render properly is not trivial, but every edge has that "I just hit the render button in AutoCAD" look


Once I saw it there, it was almost impossible not to see the same sort of digital artifacts in a piece I'd have probably not noticed but for the horror, the Toi et Moi ring.


For someone who's got the weight of Chanel and Louis Vuitton behind him, you'd think he could find a 3d artist....

(pictures from Paris Joaillerie)

Dali Jewelry

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Less well known then his paintings, photographs or even perfume bottles are Salvador Dali's Jewelry designs. Here Madelle Hegeler poses with several pieces: a solid-gold hand, lips set with rubies opened to reveal pearl teeth, a corset ring and the "eye of time" watch, worn as a monocle. The pieces were designed by Dali and constructed by Carlos Alemany, a Argentinian silversmith, under Dali's supervision. These pieces can now be seen in the Teatro-Museo in Dali's hometown of Figueres, Spain

(picture source)

Another piece he made is the "Grapes of Immortality" on display at the Dali house in Portligat. It consists of emeralds and amethysts set in gold with small diamond accents.


(picture by Frank Courtney )


The National Museums in Scotland has a watch, or the remains of a watch, that was recovered from a mid 17th century wreck.  The watch was corroded and heavily encrusted, but a conventional x-ray revealed that though the steel components had turned to dust, the brass wheels remained

Watch as Discovered

Sadly the only image of the plain x-ray I can find is embedded in the original article in The International Journal of Nautical Archaeology. and not easily posted. Based on that image, and the work that was done to elucidate the function of the Antikythera Mechanism, the researchers decided to use a CAT scan. The following images are all from that scan, they reveal details as small as the groove on the fusee cone, the contrite wheel and even the makers signature engraved onto the top plate.

The back of the watch, with the verge escapement wheel in the foreground.  The two large wheels in the back are the mainspring barrel and the fusee cone.  The watch is upright in all the pictures
Dial of the watch.  The wheel at the bottom left is the contrite wheel that rotates the plane of motion from the vertical of the verge escapement to the horizontal of the rest of the train.
The back of the watch, showing the conical fusee wheel and the long groove that would have held a chain to transmit power from the mainspring to the rest of the movement.  At the far left are 2 of the pillars that supported the top plate, in cross-section. 
The top of the movement, or the back of the watch,  At right is the opening for the balance staff, long rusted away, and at bottom the signature of the maker is still legible.

All images from Nature

I have some rough photos of a similar pocketwatch, to give an idea of what this would have looked like pre-soaking. This piece is approximately 70 years more recent, but British watch design was VERY conservative, both aesthetically as well as technically, they were still making key-wound fusee pieces in the 20th century.

Dial. The same sort of carved dial that the older watch seems to have had. The hands on this piece are carved iron, so not preserved, but likely a similar look
Pingston Watch Dial.jpg
Side of the movement. One of the Egyptian-style pillars is clearly visible supporting the top plate, as is the contrite wheel, with upwards-pointing teeth.
Pingston mvmt side.jpg



The Mesopotamians

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By They Might be Giants... I am without words to describe


Snakes, Bugs and Crabs...

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The Chartered Institution of Water and Environmental Management (CIWEM) is a British environmental organization who has an annual photography contest, the Environmental Photographer of the Year (EPOY). The winners have been announced, and a few of them are quite stunning.

"The Fortune Teller" (Radoslav Radoslavov Valkov ), winner in the under-21 category is a technical tour-de-force
radoslav radoslavov valkov - the fortune teller.jpg

"Home Sweet Home" (Alex Marttunen), runner up in the under-16 is one of the more amusing ones
alex marttunen - home sweet home.jpg

But far and away my favorite, both technically and aesthetically is Bence Mate's "Fly to Eye", winner in the natural world category.
bence mate_kolibri.jpg



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Claiming inspiration from Jean Cocteau, Delfina Delettrez(previously mentioned) has released a small collection of jewelry patterned after bits of clothing: a tuxedo collar, a hair bow or my favorite, a french cuff, complete with a cufflink

The piece is rather nice, but I've cropped down the original promotional picture, since the disembodied hand was just a bit too creepy otherwise. More pictures are available from the same source, Paris Joaillerie, and the pieces can be seen and purchased at Colette in Paris.



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Boucheron (previously mentioned) has released their second(the first was with Richard Mille) collaboration piece with a high-end watch maker, this time going with Max Büsser and Friends (really that is the name).  This piece is based on their HM3 "Starship" design, itself built around a custom GP-based movement. The two "bumps" tell the time, with the left-side being hours (a 24 hour display, so it indicates night vs day) and the right being minutes. A date wheel runs around the large window that reveals the self-winding rotor

HM3HM3 Movement

The new pieces use the same movement and case design, but rotated 180 degrees, so the crown is at the bottom, and the two bumps, now the eyes, are at the top. Boucheron has had some owl-themed pieces in their collection for the past few years, but nothing quite like these. The first piece is white gold, with carved amethyst for the center stone and the two cabochons covering the hour and minute bumps. The case is set with blue and purple sapphires.

Jwlrymachine in WG (33.WATL.B) FrontPurple Jwlrymachine profile

It will also be made in rose gold with a rose quartz breastpiece and rubellite "eyes", set with multi-colored sapphires.

Jwlrymachine in RG (33.RQTL.B) ProfilePink Jwlrymachine front and back

All these pictures are from MB&F's website, and they have super-high-resolution ones if you're interested.

I think these pieces are much less sucessful than the RM/Boucheron collaboration. To me the watches are just a scaffolding for a completely Boucheron look. MB&F's aesthetic, whatever you think of it, is usually very distinctive, and I feel it has been lost here.


From the Michael Maltzan, the architect, in his description of the project

The project is a residence for two artists. Located 15 miles north of Los Angeles at the edge of Angeles forest, the site encompasses 6 acres of land originally planned as a hillside subdivision of houses designed by Richard Neutra. Three level pads were created but only one house was built, the 1952 Serulnic Residence. The current owners have over the years developed an extensive desert garden and outdoor pavilion on one of the unbuilt pads. The new residence, to be constructed on the last level area, is circumscribed by the sole winding road which ends at the Serulnic house.

The house has the form of a septagonal spiral, creating an unusually fragmented courtyard in the middle. Many of the rooms open into the courtyard and the outside rooms have protected windows, to keep the openess but provide privacy from the encroachment of LA.

Pitman-Dowell-NIGHT01.jpg The picture, and they have many more if you're interested, is from Architecture Lab


Clearly there's a primordial terror here that has never been exploited before, I call it manchettaphobia



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