Friday, September 28, 2012

Rose quartz zibellino

A dress was obviously not inspiring me.  I was getting sort of excited about couching an interlace pattern in silver on the green sleeves, but to do it the way I really wanted to, a month deadline was a bit tight.  Especially after wasting 2 weeks. So, I'm shifting gears and trying something a little wacky. 
I had seen this extant zibellino head carved from rock crystal on both Sable Greyhound and Oonagh's site.  Not much info is available on it, other than it is in the Thyssen collection in Zurich.  More recently, I found another view of it at Bridgeman Art, originally from Christies.  I've made 4 zibellinos at this point, and my excuse for making them from polymer clay was that I couldn't afford materials and I didn't have the skill.  I've had a piece of rose quartz kicking around the house for ages, and with the pink theme for this challenge, I started thinking about using it as a replacement for the clear quartz that is rock crystal.  Skill, well, that's probably still an issue, but I have the diamond drill bits I got to carve the signet ring and a Dremel tool, so I figured I really didn't have anything to lose but time.

I also had the reddish mink I had planned to make the pair of zibellini from for IRCC 2.  I rather like the redheaded mink and the pink.  Conveniently, my chunk of quartz is already close to the right size and sort of has a snoutlike pointy end.  Unfortunately, I'm not quite sure I'll actually get the shape I want since it is pretty thin on one side of that projection.  That's something that is still up in the air.
I started looking around for what it would actually take to cut quartz.  Basically, you need a diamond cutting blade/wheel as the stuff is pretty far up there on the hardness scale.  A respirator is needed since the dust isn't something that should be getting in your lungs.  Safety glasses are a must due to the dust, sparks, and glass like bits it throws off.  Coveralls are good so you're not getting hit by the shards and the dust.

I've worked with bone before, so I had equipment to stop the dust, and safety glasses.  I bought a set of diamond cutting wheels for my Dremel for $8 plus shipping. (Dremel doesn't sell them, but there are off brands that fit.)  A water wheel would have been nice, but I settled for working in a plastic box and swapping that out with mineral oil.  It seems to be working,  Mostly.

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