Find of the Month: Woody the Artisanal Woodpecker

I came across this beautiful pin whilst visiting the parents in K-W. First of all, I cannot resist a bird brooch. Secondly I have, of late, become quite interested in the art of enamelling.

Enameling is basically the firing of glass onto metal. While most widely used to coat bathtubs and cookware, transparent enamels can take on a jewel-like finish when applied to decorative objects.

From the 1940s to the 1970s, there was a surge of enamel-on-copper-jewellery pieces — designers such as Renoir and Matisse or De Passillé-Sylvestre were very popular. It was also a favourite craft amongst the hippy-era arts and crafts movement. I remember going to the Aberfoyle Market as a tiny child and watching enamelists with blow torches creating swirling abstract patterns on copper discs meant to be hung from bent wire chokers.

Swirls and dots, it turns out, is easy. To make a design as complicated as the sapsucker pictured above is quite demanding — remember the enamelist is working with powdered glass as a palette, a blowtorch as a brush and a tiny two inch piece of super-heated copper as a canvas.

The icing on the cake is that it is signed A.G. Eaglesham 1972, Guelph, Ontario. I like to think Eaglesham was one of those long-haired artisans I watched as a tot.

That and that this delightful piece cost only $3.