TOP: The chasing on this piece represents my most advanced technical accomplishment to date. There are nine separate levels of perspective between the ridge over the bird’s eye and the farthest background level. Of particular interest is the bird’s beak; it intersects the highest and the lowest levels while bisecting a third level (the leaf). The feathering textures on the head and shoulder of the bird are just great. The detail in the eye is perfect. The body’s texture is a newish one for me; it works wonderfully, representing small, overlapping feathers. The contour of the body is really very good. The wing and back feathers hold up well. The small section composing the tail, background area, and branch is probably the most noteworthy aspect. This took some chasing. I like the work on the leaves and background and am happily satisfied with the branch. I am very, very pleased with the overall reflective qualities of the entire top. Almost no part of the piece gets lost in a metallic shine, detail stands out, and the overall impression is glittering rather than bright or shiny. This top took an insane amount of time but I did achieve new levels of both ability and comprehension. While it is true that some pieces are a culmination of past efforts, others are the ushering in of new abilities. This is a piece from the second category.
SIDE: I went with a thin box; the side is only about half an inch in height. The finish is one I have been working on, and I like it very much. If you notice, the finish on the box side is the same as the feathering on the body of the bird.
BOTTOM: Again, the bottom of the box has little to do with the design of the rest of the box, serving as a surprise factor when the viewer turns it over. I like the design I like it a lot. The workmanship is fine, with particular pleasure being taken from the small fan-shape line elements that surround the outside edge. Doing this represented a certain risk, as messing up cuts like these would leave the whole piece unusable. They hold the oxidation well and set up a strong perimeter edge. The chasing is pretty straightforward and simple, but the design is strong and does kind of jump out at you. The reflective quality is again fairly heavily matted: a distinct preference for me lately. It goes back to that “glittering rather than shining” concept.
OVERALL: Very happy with the whole box, very impressed with the work on the nuthatch, the basic silversmithing is good. The proportions of the box are very pretty. I am pleased with the effect the of an only half-inch side height. It fits the box’s diameter well. It feels good in the hand, and, once again, the central dimple in the bottom just makes it easier to hold and harder to put down.