Friday, February 8, 2013

Folklore Friday: under lock and key

In this new series, I want to investigate symbols that we often incorporate into our jewelry. I make pieces frequently that have a meaning, a story, an intention, personal symbolism... as do many others. There are iconic images that speak to us regardless of cultural heritage or time, and they are often worn as jewelry, giving them a talismanic function. But not to be too heavy - I promise pictures and inspiration ( I hope) as well!


Keys. The meanings here are very clear - freedom, release, keys to knowledge & inspiration. The reverse: containment, entrapment... But keys also can mean secrecy, trust, rebirth, renewal...

Janus was the  Roman god of the god of beginnings and transitions, thence also of gatesdoors, doorways, endings and time. His two faces represent his ability to  look to the future and the past. The month of January was named in honor of him, and he is usually shown holding a key...







Hecate is an ancient goddess, most often shown holding two torches or a key.  She is variously associated with crossroads, entrance-ways, fire, light, the Moon, magic, witchcraft, and knowledge of herbs and poisonous plants. She was associated with earth, sea and sky. Hecate was one of the main gods worshiped in Athenian households as a protective goddess and one who bestowed prosperity and daily blessings on the family.







The Papal Seal/ Coat of Arms showing the keys to Heaven:  "The insignia of the papacy includes the image of two Crossed Keys, one gold and one silver, bound with a red cord. This represents the "keys to the Kingdom of Heaven" ( Matthew 16:19 ).  Jesus's statement to Simon Peter, "whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven".  The silver key symbolises the power to bind and loose on Earth, and the gold key the power to bind and loose in Heaven. " ( Wiki)




My next investigation was to find key, and lock ( or escutcheon) components. With in the team here at AJE there were quite a few; I didn't even venture out into World Wide Web! Jen has created a lamp work bead ON a key, Kristi's escutcheons have gorgeous patina... I could go on.

Clockwise from top left: Kristi Bowman, Jen Cameron, Sue Kennedy, Lesley Watt, me, Diana Ptaszynski, Lesley Watt, Kristi Bowman

And in the midst of all this I decided to make a 2 part key mold, in an attempt to have fully 3-dimensional keys to work with in stoneware or porcelain. I made the mold using RTV or two part silicone  putty. I tested the mold...

Making the mold, testing the mold, the first attempts. 
... and it was an epic fail. The keys in earthenware were too fragile. I tried to carve away the excess at the mold seams, and broke them all. I think next I will try the mold with polymer, and perhaps embed a wire inside for strength. And I will try with a sturdy stoneware - the key to success is to keep moving forwards. ( Pun intended. Had to do it...)

Until next time...
Jenny
www.jdaviesreazor.com




13 comments :

  1. I always love the little history/myth/folklore lessons in your posts. Thank you for showing that behind every success are lessons learned about what doesn't work.

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    1. ... and I will try again. Maybe I was impatient, maybe I had too much coffee...

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  2. Enjoyed your post! I love old skeleton keys. but hesitate to use them in jewelry designs, because I will then sell or give away the jewelry piece and I won't have the key any more! Is this the definition of a hoarder?

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    1. If it is - I am there with you. I wanted to have key options. Antique sometimes, clay, polymer... I have plans to experiment with the Swellegant metallic finishes and patinas...

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  3. Great post Jenny. Love the mythological info and the mold making. Look forward to next time.

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    1. Thanks! The feedback is making me think a series would be interesting!

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  4. I alwaus feel so enlightened after reading your posts Jenny...lovely little snippets of information to give pause for thought. Good luck with the molds.

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    1. Aw gee shucks. I am so glad it was a hit. Thanks Lesley!

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  5. This is a fascinating post, Jenny. About 2 years ago, when visiting my in-laws in Germany I took a whole series of close -up photos of ornate metal doorknobs with the key plates. Many are like little works of art.

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    1. I would love to see some of those Linda!!!

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  6. This will be a great series! I love finding out meanings. I like to include pieces of information about my jewelry and this should help increase my knowledge.

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    1. My passion is myth and symbol, and creating pieces in all mediums that have layers of meaning. So Stay tuned! Thanks for reading!

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  7. Keys in jewelry design are so popular! I've got a few items waiting to be made in my stash! I love learning the history of things. Thanks so much for this interesting and informative post, Jenny! Looking forward to your future posts! ~Sharyl

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