Friday, August 26, 2011

Reliquary Progress

Here is the state of my reliquary so far. Once you get down to joints needing to be less than 1mm, the slightest thing can throw the box into chaos. Most of the work so far has been working out how to get everything level, a procedure like a puzzle so that each stage is done correctly. It's not been easy and there's a mistake here...

The strip down the centre will be the inside edge of double doors. These must fit neatly, and the back must be very level so that the door swing is also level... you want the doors to open in a clean horizontal sweep and shut so that they fit exactly. This has proved to be incredibly hard, the arch shape complicating everything yet more... how do you exactly line up four gothic arches without any reference marks?

Here the centre parts are veneered and facing each other. Everything is held level on top of the back so that this represents the doors in a closed position. Even now though things aren't level and the natural spring and slight warp of the wood has knocked things out at the bottom and sides by a millimetre or two. The veneer though should be longer than the centre strip; it should extend the full length of the edge, bottom to top. That's the mistake. I'll have to remove the centre bits and start again.

At times I've felt like Leonardo da Vinci, thinking and pacing anxiously but not actually doing anything, but I can't help but aim for perfection. There is always a point when enough is enough, when it's time to "get it done". Now I've got a step-by-step plan, the rest should be less difficult.

I'm starting to love plaster again because of this and the front of this cabinet will be a gilded bas relief. My epoxy resin really sinks in to toughen it... hopefully without changing the dimensions too much! My plan is to carve it when dry, glue with P.V.A. and then tougen with epoxy before gilding. I'm performing many tests on plaster adhesion and toughness.

Once these centre parts are lined up and veneered correctly I'll stick on the two arched front doors, then add the aluminium etched edges and hinges. Then the inner veneering and interior decoration... after that the important parts of this box will be complete.


Carolyn Abrams said...

what will you be putting inside? it looks very interesting.

Mark Sheeky said...

Three paintings. There will also be a sculpture on top.