Five-way Frog Bowl, hammer-formed silver and brass

by shelbyvision on November 22, 2009

This is a piece I made to enter in the Saul Bell Design Awards competition. One of my few forays into silver, very expensive for me, but I thought it might be worth the expense. Unfortunately it did not make the cut; I guess it’s too traditional-looking, and not really innovative in any way, which is what they want. I may enter it somewhere else if I can find an appropriate venue (any suggestions?). Following is the description from my entry.
This piece is 7 inches tall and 7 inches across at the base. It is three separate pieces which fit loosely together. The bowl and lid are sterling silver with LOS patina and satin finish, and the base is brass, finished the same way. I call it five-way because there are five different ways it can be used or displayed: (1) The lid by itself as a sculpture, (2) The bowl by itself, (3) the bowl on the stand without the lid, (4) the bowl with lid without the stand, and (5) the complete three-piece set.
My design for this set was inspired by some work I had just done previously. I had made a frog on a lotus leaf sculpture, and someone suggested that it would look nice as a lid on a dish or bowl. I had made a tall candlestick with trilateral symmetry, and one element of that was inspiration for the stand. The base of the stand, with the three tapered curving pieces are reminiscent of growing plant roots. The bowl, although I had a general idea of what it would look like did not take its final form, with the juxtaposed positive and negative forms, until it was mostly formed.
All three pieces were made from flat sheet, using raising techniques. The stand is made from three pieces of brass the lower part of each formed into a spiculum or conical tube shape, and silver soldered, then the three pieces were joined together with silver solder. The bowl and the lid are each one piece, and were formed with hammers, punches, and stakes. No pitch was used in the process.


{ 9 comments… read them below or add one }

Nanette Cobb January 24, 2010 at 7:56 pm

Hi Steve,
Beautiful work on your site here! I actually stumbled onto your site while looking for an old friend, found her comment to you when I googled her. If you know Penny Brannaman-Hummel please pass this message on to her! She tried to reach me about the same time she commented on your silver smith creation. Thx if you can! Someday I will be pursuing my crafting ideas here in Arizona, good luck to you! Nanette Cobb

shelbyvision January 17, 2010 at 8:40 am

Thank you all. Cheri, I wish you success with the silver jewelry.

Cheri Tatum January 14, 2010 at 9:18 am

I found your blog as a suggestion on my Google reader site. I’ve subscribed because I love your Five-Way Frog Bowl. I am a new student of silver jewelry so I find your frog bowl fascinating. I’m very impressed by your talent.

Penny Brannaman-Hummel November 29, 2009 at 7:42 pm

Hi Steve. I think this is a lovely piece. Sometimes hard to tell what will “make the cut” but kudos to you for your design!

Nanette Kroupa November 29, 2009 at 2:21 pm

This is absolutely spectacular! Keep making beautiful art and don’t get too invested in awards.

shelbyvision November 25, 2009 at 8:51 am

Thanks, Hans. Yes, Art Nouveau gets mentioned a lot in relation to my work. I must admit having a great fondness for Art Nouveau.
Thanks, Cynthia. I had hoped to at least make the first cut, but didn’t really expect to. There’s a lot of very talented competition out there.
Mobilia Gallery? Would that be for a future exhibition, or for sale, or what? I’m interested.
The spiculums are soldered first, then bent. When the spiculum is thin enough, it bends easily after soldering (but the metal must be thick enough). Fat or broad pieces like my fish, http://shelbyvision.userblogs.ganoksin.coms/2009/10/26/fish-out-of-water-hammer-formed-brass-sculpture/, have to have all the curves built in from the beginning.

Cynthia Eid November 24, 2009 at 10:38 pm

Did you solder the spiculums while they were straight, and then bend them? or did you form them and anticlast them as “open seam” spiculums?

Cynthia Eid November 24, 2009 at 10:36 pm

Hi Steve,
I think this is great! It is necessary to develop a thick skin when it comes to these things. Remember that the judging is by people, on a subjective basis—it is impossible to be objective about these things. I have had a piece be rejected by a competition, and then win an award in another. So, I celebrate the positives, and I try not to dwell on the “rejections”. Keep trying! the more you try, and the more you enter, the more success you will have. I think that Mobilia Gallery in Cambridge, MA might be interested in this. Email them images. Feel free to tell them that I suggested it.
good luck!

Hans Meevis November 24, 2009 at 9:12 am

That is really,really beautiful. I love the flowing lines and the frog. It’s got a distinct Art Nouveau feel to it. Brilliant.

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