Thursday, 24 November 2011

Mosaicon 21st century style

"A gold centre surrounded by green, violet and other colours cannot fail to look pretty. Crimped papers lend themselves admirably to this treatment."
From an article on 'Floral Mosaicon' published in 'Every Woman's Encyclopaedia', circa 1911

In my last post, I talked about Mosaicon - the quilling kit that was commercially produced in the UK for filigree artists back in Victorian times. These past few days, I've been fascinated by an article about Mosaicon which appeared in an encyclopaedia for women 100 years ago - and it's inspired me to put some more of its suggestions to the test.

Mosaicon work seems to have been characterised by the use of shapes created using ring coils, enhanced by huskings and open coil filigree work. The 'Floral Mosaicon' article also contains several points of guidance concerning the use of colour, and, as you will have seen, I've quoted from one of these at the top of this post.

"A gold centre surrounded by green and violet" ... well, that made a great starting point for a modern-day 'Mosaicon' design which I decided to create for a pendant. Taking on board the advice about crimping, too, I rolled a tight coil from a crimped gold quilling strip, then bordered it with another crimped strip in green.

(For this project, I also decided to work in 1.5mm strips for extra delicacy, so I cut my selected 3mm strips in half.)

Next came the violet ... the green ring is bordered by a series of heart shapes, fashioned out of open ring coils. Then I added some 'S' scrolls in deeper purple - so far, so good!

At this stage, however, the central gold circle was still completely plain, and as I had used quite a deep matt gold colour to create it, the centre of my design looked a little dull. Just as I was wondering about how to 'lift' it, I received a comment on my last blog post from Ann Martin.  "... another look I like is gold on gold which gives a sense of metalwork", she said. Eureka! I would add an extra embellishment using some black strips I have which are edged with a much brighter gold - and the end result really does look like metal! Thank you for the inspiration, Ann.

Having completed my quilled motif, I decided to mount it on a circular background comprising two pieces of card topped front and back with gold gift wrap paper, as described in my last post about the brooch. I added a ring coil to the top edge (for attaching a jump ring) and coated the whole pendant liberally in PVA glue to give it maximum strength and stiffness.

Normally I spray my quilled jewellery pieces with clear lacquer, but this time I thought I would experiment by coating my pendant on both sides with clear nail varnish. This proved to be quick and easy to do, and it has resulted in a deep glossy finish which really brings out the metallics in the piece.

I'm pleased with the way this pendant has turned out, and have decided to keep it for myself rather than offering it for sale at the market. My customers won't be missing out, however, because I'm already part way through making another similar one with a different design on it. And my mind's working overtime - just think what sort of effects could be created with holographic-edged strips?! Watch this space ...


  1. another piece of great advice! your pendant reminds me of the Sun. And in the middle of the sun is 'yin' and 'yang'. look forward to your next post!

  2. that really turned out sharp, enjoyed reading your steps on making it!!!!

  3. what a beautiful piece this is Philippa. Clever idea to use the clear nail varnish.

  4. Beautiful I love your work!
    Greetings Baukje

  5. Very pretty! Reminds me of an Aztec design - perhaps the sun as lulu mentioned. And thanks for the link love. :)

  6. Just found your blog from an ocean of quilling blogs!!! Love your jewellery pieces. I too make pieces for quilling onto and you may find that cellulose sanding sealer, which can be brushed on and when dry and hard, buffed by hand or machine, to a brilliant gloss! There! I've told you my secret!
    I'll see if I can scrape-up a few pics to show you of my work.
    Keep the inspiration boiling! Good job.

    1. Sounds interesting, Phill - thanks for commenting!



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