A couple of weeks ago I took a Damascene, or Nunome Zogan, workshop down in Tucson with Fred Zweig. Damascene is a technique of inlaying fine silver and gold into a steel background. I had seen the technique demonstrated by Bruce Clark while I was in college, but never actually tried it out. The workshop was a nice opportunity to see the technique again and actually try it out myself this time. I had a great time and can't wait to use this technique in a new piece!
You can see a short youtube video from the class here.
The first thing we did was finish off some chisels that Fred made for us. They were made from a relatively small sized tool steel. See Fred below showing us the proper angle for the shape of the chisel.
Then we began chiseling the texture into our steel plates. Above you can see I am just getting started, and below I am about halfway through my third round of chisel marks.
This is the start of my sample, just inlaying some fine silver scrolls.
Fred has an amazing (and HUGE!!) collection of damascene pieces from both Japan and Spain. He was nice enough to let us all touch and photograph his collection!
This piece (above and below) was pretty cool because it was actually marriage of metals rather than damascene, so the design could be seen from both the inside and the outside.
This was a copper box with silver and shibuichi inlaid.
This case was also marriage of metals, rather than damascene.
Coolest matchbox I have ever seen (above)
We used small paper punches to cut out our foil designs for inlaying.
Here are my samples in progress.
And this piece below was something I actually picked up while I was in Japan a couple of years ago. I love it, and now its even more special to me because I understand the time and practice that goes into creating these beautiful damascene pieces!
Like I said, the workshop was great and I can't wait to work the technique into a new piece!