You’ve seen this sterling silver lantern featured in my latest project The Muse of Art Nouveau. I’ve been wanting to make a tiny lantern for doll ornamentation for a year or so before I was finally able to find the time and put the work into making it.
My sketch was heavily inspired by an actual street lantern in Nice. When I saw it, it took my breath away and I resolved to make a little replica of it. I think I have a thing for lamps and lightscaping, because my place is lit by over a dozen different table lamps. I really hate the harsh ceiling lights, and prefer the warm, muted glow of lamp-lit interiors.
I made detailed schematics for computer rendering. If the scale allowed it, I would have carved it myself, but I found it impossible to translate the richness of the ornamentation of the original into a miniature scale with my human hands. In some ways it was harder than just getting right down to it and carving away, because instead of working organically and relying on my own instincts and my hand-to-eye coordination, I had to approach it from a geometric and mathematical standpoint. I had to transcribe the shape from my imagination as accurately as possible, to make the technician understand exactly what I had in mind.
In some ways, working out the precise measurements of each part was pure torture. Every few hours I would find a mistake in the proportional calculations, lose my composure, curse and yell at the graph paper in frustration, throw my pen against the wall and curl into an upright fetal position in my chair, rocking and crying quietly. Then I would put myself back together and begin measuring and drafting my model all over again.
When the model was finally built, molding it was another can of worms while nearly half of the models fail to cast properly due to the extremely technical casting, but I really love the result and the effort that went into creating it. I had made one into a pendant for myself to wear. I frequently catch myself touching it and pretending that the tiny lantern is some sort of an ancient talisman which allows one to see things hidden from human eyes as it illuminates a path through the dark maze of its wearer’s subconsciousness.