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Updated: Jan 6

Gwybod (goo-bod) means 'to know'. I like the word very much indeed, it feels nice to say. Having said that, it gives me a kind of creepy feeling. Maybe it's the drawn out 'oooo', but it's a Halloweeny kind of word to me. Happy/scary/heavy word! It instantly made me think of a pouch, or a pursed mouth. A puckered, drawn ring with a bag behind it. Initially, to try and get ideas of shape out there, I made a wire mock up around a ring, seeing what it did when twisted and pouched out. It gave me the 'gwy' without the 'bod'!


A test piece in wire for 'gwybod' - a wire spiral around a central circle
Testing for 'Gwybod'

Test piece, getting the feel for 'gwybod'. It was no good, I wanted a hollow form. I kept seeing what I can only describe as an egg shape with a mouth. I also wanted to give it a creepy character. Hmmm.


I considered casting as an option, but wasn't sure how to physically make the object. After consulting with the ever-patient and fabulous Black Arts Lost Wax Casting I discovered that, in theory a hollow piece could be cast if it's thickness was sufficient and there were openings. I knew I wanted 4 openings (more on those in another post). I got a quail's egg (I already, somewhat inexplicably, had quail eggs I had blown clean), and destroying only one pyrex bowl and the patience of my husband, began coating it in molten casting wax. In the end, I had something that looked fit for a sci-fi film that weighed roughly 8 metric tonnes. I may be exaggerating, but only very slightly. I carved away excess wax, boring holes where I needed them, and making a rough 'lip' around the 'gwybod' hole. I wanted the finished piece to be heavy, so didn't take it down too much.


Quail egg surrounded by red wax, one large 'mouth' opening, 3 smaller holes in the base.
Wax in progress

Eggleton egg. Pre-finishing for the caster.


Quail egg surrounded by red wax, one large 'mouth' opening, 3 smaller holes in the base.
Wax in progress

I wanted a kind of 'spun' finish to it, so I could play with patinas when finished. Now you can fast forward all the nail-biting and see what came back from the casters today! They will need finishing, and patination. I got one silver which weighs in at a stupendous 100g, and a few brass to allow me to experiment. What you don't know is there will be an excellent 'surprise' in the final piece. Actually a couple. At the start of this project, I wanted one of the pieces to have more than one word associated with it, so I could change the look, and the literal translation of the piece. This is the one. The finished piece will have two removeable pieces, which can be added or removed. Each piece representing a different word. More on that as they materialise! Here are the brass and silver casts, pre-finishing. That's next week's job!







Silver gwybod pendant that has bright green glow in the dark inside
Gwybod pendant - Glow in the dark innards

I love them! I can't wait to get finished and experiment with patinas. If the plan succeeds, I'm hoping the finished piece will be able to be worn as Gwybod (know), Gwybod Popeth (know everything) and Gwybod Dim (know nothing). I hope I've got the Welsh right, my Welsh learning has slowed done to amost nothing at the moment and dwi'n araf iawn at the best of times.

Until next time! Lydia

The Llaeth/Milk piece is ready to go to be hallmarked now. It is a legal requirement for silver pieces this heavy to be sent to an assay office to be tested and marked to prove it is of the metal stated. I'm registered with London Assay Office, who will test this, mark it and apply my maker's mark.


Image of the Llaeth pendant (hemispherical vessel in satin finished silver) in silver, silver and wool
'Llaeth' pendant on temporary stringing


Before it is fully ready, I will be stitching the sari silk into place on the hook and clasp. I will be using embroidery thread to stitch the silk in sections. Once on display, the piece will be stuffed with washed Welsh sheeps wool (see previous post for information), and fragranced with a custard-scented perfume oil, 'Creamy Vanilla Crumble' made by 4160 Tuesdays. Actually custard simplifies it lots, but it has the good, sweet, hug-in-aroma feel I was after! Smelling vanilla has been linked to endorphin production.


Close up of Llaeth pendant with wool inside
'Llaeth' close up


I am so pleased with how it has turned out, it's form is very different to my usual work, and it refelcts the smooth, silky feel I imagined. The perforations on the back went through several changes, from the original wave-like cutouts, to an upward arm shape cut out, finally I settled on a simple pattern of repeating circles. When I close my eyes to sleep, I often see a grid of dots. Everything about this piece I wanted to echo calm and comfort, and that falling-asleep feeling works for me! The holes will allow the wearer's body warmth to warm the pendant, and in turn the wool, enhancing the release of the comforting scent. The material used to hang the pendant on is reclaimed sari silk, which again, lends to the smooth, dreamy feel I had in mind.


Perforations on reverse of Llaeth pendant to allow wearer's body warmth to permeate.
Llaeth - reverse

The pendant is quite large, at 6.5cm across, so I'm sewing it to hand on the upper chest to allow the best contact with skin. I'm fascinated to see the progression of how thep ieces for the exhibition are taking place. The level of experimentation, both with form and material is definitely increasing as the project goes on. The later pieces (I haven't shared them all yet!) definitely stretching both my creativity and a re-definining of what I use to actually make the work. This has been such a joy, to be given an opportunity to 'stretch my wings' a little, and explore making in a way I haven't been able to for years, and I'm absolutely grateful for it.


I'd love to know what you think of 'Llaeth', and how the word feels to you.

Lydia@niziblian.com


'Llaeth' on temporary stringing

Hwyl (pronounced like oil with H at the start), was the second word I chose to make into a piece of jewellery, and the most definite shape of all to come into my head. When I hear 'Hwyl' (meaning 'bye', 'fun' or 'mood'), I instantly see a sharp, bright shape going to a point, it makes me want to sweep my hand from right to left. This will be the simplest to translate into jewellery for me, because of its clarity. Instantly I knew it needed to be a pin or brooch, because I don't want anything visible around the shape itself. I initially thought of it 18ct gold, because it is such a shiny word. Budegetry issues will need to be consulted!


Lydia's initial notes on Hwyl
Notes on Hwyl

I am currently debating the fastening mechanism having tried a new fastening on a test piece below. I usually use stainless steel for pins, but wanted to see what happened using burnished sterling. Whilst the pin is certainly strong enough, I don't like the lack of spring, so will probably go back to one of my tried and trusted methods. The text piece was made by hammering 2mm sterling wire to give it a slight curve and to flatten it. I've set a 2.5mm orange sapphire to the point of this. The final design will use a 2mm white diamond as I wanted it to emphasise the point of it.



Back of Lydia's 'Hwyl' test
Rear of 'Hwyl' test piece

test making of 'hwyl' pin in silver and orange sapphire
'Hwyl' test piece: Silver & orange sapphire


Whilst initially I immediately thought of making the piece in gold, I considered a silver version with a corona of gold wire around the diamond. Whilst I like the look of it, and think it would be pleasing, I feel it takes away from the initial, super-clear image I got from the word, so will stick to that!


Eagle-eyed folks may note that the test piece is in reverse to my notes. I get left/right confused quite a lot, and which way to turn things for on/off or open/closed. When I was small I wrote/drew with both hands. I ended up being left-handed. Apparently this is all very common in autistic folks. Kids with ASD have a tendency to take longer to settle on hand-dominance, and there is a higher incidence of left-handedness in austic people. Something to do with poor brain lateralisation (go, go Google it). Point being, I was concentrating on the shape, and not the 'sidedness' and slipped up. You can bet the final piece will be in the correct direction!





What shape do you see 'Hwyl' as? You can reach me at lydia@niziblian.com as ever. Thanks for reading, Lydia.