I promised a better introduction to the peacock brooch. He was made of silver clay for the body and a more diluted silver clay which is extruded through a syringe which once fired forms fine lines of fine silver wire, for the plumes. He is quite big at 10x7cm. This was one of the pieces I submitted for my level II ACS certification, and sadly it didn't make the mark. The criticism I received was that the tail was too messy, and I have to agree. The tail actually broke before it was fired, so that made the repair all the more difficult and in the process I lost some of the detail (yes, I had originally syringed individual feathers... so my expletives hit the ceiling when the piece broke and I realised that the repair would make the carefully designed plumage sort of disappear...). You can't see it so well in the picture, but the tail is actually openwork, which means you can see through it in places, a bit like lace.
The problem with this piece was confounded by the fact that as soon as you set out, as an artist, to make a respresentation of something recognisable you automatically add another level of difficulty in ensuring that the piece looks like the thing it is meant to look like. So whilst my melange of feathers did not work as feathers, I wonder whether, had I set out on an abstract piece, the expectation would not be somewhat different. I'm not even talking about the Art Clay Guild judges, as their requirement is very specific, and this piece would not have passed whether as a peacock or as a Pollock. However, even for me, as the maker, I find there is something much more unforgiving about a representational piece as the added challenge is to try and achieve a little bit of realism.
Evidently, a bowl of noodles doth not a peacock's tail make, but I still love this handsome boy.