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Two Green Pendants (vegetable ivory)

November 19, 2013

I gave another shot at carving vegetable ivory. This time, I’ve tried with a more “round” design… ending with these two shapes, one which gives me an idea of an egg (?!?), and another one that I’m not even sure what is it…

egg_A_small egg_B_small

This time, instead of just polishing them (or using ink), I tried some wood mordant. I’ve read some instructions about dyeing vegetable ivory.. so I’ve followed the I found some GREEN mordant in a local store in powder form, to be mixed up with water. I prepared the solution, heated it up (the instruction I’ve found said that mordant works better when warm), put the pieces in and let it stay completely submerged for one hour (moving it every now and then, to avoid the same part rest on the bottom).

notEgg_A_small notEgg_B_small

After the hour, the pieces had reached a nice color… but it was bit flat. So, after having the pieces resting and drying for one day, I gently applied with a brush small amounts of mordant solution around the edges of the lowered areas of the design. In this way, the additional color rested in these areas, making them darker, bringing back some three-dimensionality to the pieces. I finished by polishing them, obtaining a nice, smooth and shiny surface.

egg_C_small  greens_finished_small

The green color is really nice, and it helps defining the shape of the pieces. As a bonus, on the smaller one, it also brings out the grain and veins of the vegetable ivory with a really cool wavy effect. Good… two more fancy pendants for my gifts…

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