Deviation Actions

TallGuyKen's avatar


Brass body and copper

Pierced smithed Front, flat back

1 1/4” x 3/4” x 1/4” (4.45 x 1.91 x .64 cm)

If interested in purchasing ->

Sister Pendant to "Smoke"…

“Bound Frustration” spurred my interest in the art of metal smithing and jewelry design. From it came many series of pendants exploring elements of “Bound Frustration.” One series that everyone whom looked at them referred to as “bullets” has been a reoccurring design throughout my journals. This pendant is the results of 3 years of thought and design.


I have always been fascinated by the “bullet” shape of this pendant series. The visual and tactile aspects just feel good to me. When I hold one in my hand the weight and shape are just right. Originally the pendants produced in this style all had the line pattern etched into the surface of the brass with acid. Close up the results of the etching were beautiful and detailed. From a distance though the line work faded into the surface. I want all my jewelry to draw the observer in closer. Each piece needs to be felt and studied at a personal level. The viewer should feel the texture, weight, and presence of the piece.

The piercing technique produced a strong design on the surface of the brass that can be seen and felt better than etching. It also shows the depth of the pendant through the metal being pushed in. This pushed in section of brass retains some of the copper plating caused from dipping the pendant while hot into a pickle that previously was used for copper pieces. The results are a nice contrast of the pierced design and the polished brass. It also pulls the copper color through the piece tying the bale into the body more.

I kept the overall pendant design simple so that the complexity of the pierced design would not be lost. I enjoy the look of a complex intricate element being contained within a simple, less complex form.


I start by cutting out two “bullet” shapes from a flat sheet of brass. After annealing one or both of the cutouts, they are smithed into a boat shape. It usually takes two or three smithing rounds (annealing and hammering) to get the desired shape. I will normally smith both halves. Once one or both halves are smithed, I will scribe and then pierce the design into the front half. The edges of the halves are matched and prepared for joining. A file is used to remove remaining hammer marks and smooth the surface. After that they are joined together by torch and solder.
Before the metal has a chance to cool, I quickly quench it in the pickle solution. I do not use separate solutions for copper and brass so the brass tends to get plated with a thin layer of copper. The piece is removed from the solution and washed off. At this point the metal is soft from being annealed during the soldering process. Using a plastic scribe, I carefully push the metal inside the pierced design. I will try to create some depth to the design itself.

The surface of the brass is sanded smooth and polished to a high shine. The parts of the design that were pushed in retain file marks and the copper plating. This creates a beautiful difference between the smooth brass surface and the rough copper plated section.

The bale is produced by cutting a strip of copper large enough to wrap around the brass body. After roughly fitting the strip at the top of the “bullet” body, it is soldered close and refitted. Another small strip is cut and soldered on top of the bale, capping it. Using recycled electrical wiring, I design and attach the part of the bale the chain will go through. The bale is again fitted to the brass body and a hole is drilled through both. They are riveted together with a brass tube. The bale is filed and sanded. From this point I either leave the bale textured with the sanding or will polish it to a shine. The whole process takes a total of 6 hours from start to finish. The finished pendant is solid and uniquely beautiful, drawing the attention of those who see it. Those more daring will ask to see it or even hold it.

I intend for the pendants to tarnish overtime, so a protective clear coat was not applied. The idea is for the pendant to change with the wearer through their journey together. The wearer also becomes part of the process since it is the oil from their hands and body, along with the people they let see it, that causes the overall change. To see what the end result may look like see links below.

Process steps:
“Bound Frustration” :…
Tarnish Example (2 to 3 years):…
Tarnish Example (6 months of constant wear):…

Other design examples mentioned in description:……
Image details
Image size
800x800px 787.27 KB
Shutter Speed
10/130 second
Focal Length
5 mm
ISO Speed
Date Taken
May 16, 2010, 12:36:13 AM
© 2010 - 2022 TallGuyKen
Join the community to add your comment. Already a deviant? Log In
Neko-Krys's avatar
Wow i love !!!!!
angellast's avatar
very cool but sorry to ask you sell or something?
thumbelyna's avatar
Nice...very nice.
ShaunnaMichelle's avatar
This is an absolutely amazing piece!
DlennartD's avatar
wow amazing! I wish I could make things like this :D
Lionsong's avatar
:heart: Your amazing jewelry has been featured! [link]
rapturesrevenge's avatar
This is beautiful, and the photograph showcases the pendant's beauty and the craftsmanship fantastically. :heart:
BRH401's avatar
Is it hollow??? an can i be made so you can fill it with incense???
penngregory's avatar
:wave: This fabulous fiery image is featured here [link] in "Elemental part II : Fire" :clap:

By faving this article you'll spread the love! :heart:
salvagedsword's avatar
Nice! Your use of the copper plating to add dimension and color to the flames is really inventive. So far, I've only used the copper plating from pickle to make a mottled color effect.
Beautiful! Thank-you for describing your process. I was very intrigued by how you got the copper color onto the brass. Clever!
TerraRhapsody's avatar
It's great to see the plan for this- and how you've brought it to life. wonderful creation
It is a lovely piece as is all your work :)
Dexxtrr's avatar
Really interesting piece, love the design. Materials seem quite steampunk-y, love it :winner: +fav
Vansee-Jewelry's avatar
I absolutely love how you photographed this piece, I think its genius to photograph it over the actual sketching you did for this piece. Oh and you piece is beautiful as well!
Excellent work! Keep it up!
TallGuyKen's avatar
Thank you.
When I set up my BFA gallery showing, I included my sketch book [link] along side the art. I felt that to truly understand and appreciate the effort, time, thought, and value that is in each piece one must see the sketches behind them. Everyone who came to the gallery really enjoyed looking at the reworked and final sketches to many of the pieces in the show. Some even thought the sketch book was the best part of the show (one of those was my intaglio print teacher).

With this idea of seeing the origins of a piece and the reaction to my sketch book in the gallery, I decided pieces that had a sketch would be photographed in this manner for the full effect. I am glad to see that the idea is coming through and that my photos are successful!
ChibiWorks's avatar
This is beautiful! I really like how you laid it on top of your concept. It really makes it stand out as an amazing piece.
Create-A-Pendant's avatar
That is really cool! Shoot... the background must have taken a long time too!
radtastical's avatar
this is so pretty! i love it
trisomy's avatar
That's beautiful! It's so complex.
living-stone's avatar
it looks very strong and beautiful:)
goRillA-iNK's avatar
This is very beautiful. I love the tones of the metals you used. Just Amazing!!!
badwolf7242's avatar
I like the brass and the copper together
Join the community to add your comment. Already a deviant? Log In