The Fantastic Animals of the Golden Horde
These works are based on images taken from objects created by the nomadic peoples of Eurasia. These people ranged the northern steppes from the Black Sea to Northern China. Much of their imagery concerned animals and was tied into their shamanistic belief systems. The animals were highly stylized representations of both real and imagined beasts. They were wonderfully modeled and appeared on a variety of objects such as belt buckles, horse harnesses, tapestries and other everyday items. The present works mostly date from the fourth century B.C.E.
The objects in this series are worked in 24K gold sheet and outlined in 24K gold square wire. the technique is repoussé and chasing, which involves modeling from behind and in front. I first roll out 24K gold into thick sheet - a tricky operation. Then I heat the gold to cherry red to soften it. I trace the design onto the gold with a homemade stylus. Then I begin to work the design in bas-relief with homemade bone tools, reheating the gold occasionally to keep it soft.
I have tried to give the feeling of the various styles of the original artists while in some cases making the images more readable or occasionally more interesting and anatomically accurate.
The pieces are unfinished. They will be set in small frames that can be hung or set on a desk. Some, on request, may be adapted so that they can be converted into jewelry for wear, as well as for display. The series itself is incomplete. There are several new images in the works. I would like to have a gallery show of the framed pieces.