“I like to be, under the sea, in an octopus’s garden…….” This post isn’t about The Fab Four, however, but The Fab Two! My new ‘Under The Sea’ guilloché enamel cufflinks ‘Tropical Fish’ and ‘Seahorse’.
It is no secret that I am somewhat addicted to guilloché. Peter Carl Fabergé came up with the brilliant idea of combining enamel with guilloché machine turned metal patterns to produce a perfectly jewel-like effect in which the metalwork is visible through the vitreous layer, without requiring actual jewels, and I am rather glad he did, because it is something I have returned to over and over again.
My seahorse explores this to great effect. The rather regular geometry of the creature’s exoskeleton, is coated in a colour saturated translucent layer, contrasting structure which the merging, blending, richly aqueous envelope of enamel. Light bouncing off the metal ground produces different effects according to the depth of the layer lying over it so one green becomes many. Silver ribs and dots pop right through or sink beneath another cerulean coat, adding depth, roundness and intrigue to the form. It is simply exquisite and evokes perfectly the sense of gently swaying, undulating rhythms in the deep sea where the seahorse, that most elegant of marine animals drifts serenely.
Tropical Fish explores the same themes of liquefaction, structure, brightness and augmented form. He is a handsome creature with his contrasty head, his splash of ochreous orange, his gleaming yellow flanks. Sometimes in the process of applying the enamel air bubbles enter and are trapped as the material sets. This would normally regarded as a flaw, but I have welcomed it here, a happy accident, one of those things that I find to be such an essential part of creative design – that element of the unexpected which ends up making perfect sense. So a bubble or two might find its way into Tropical Fish’s watery world as indeed you would expect.