The vase is now ready for "planishing." It would be rather difficult to planish a vase such as the one illustrated by the method previously described (Chapter XII (Construction, Raising, Planishing)). In the first place, it would be no easy matter to find a tool that would go inside the vase and fit the various curves, and it would also be difficult to hold the vase on the tool in the proper position to do good planishing. We avoid these difficulties by filling the vase with pitch, allowing it to harden, and planishing on the pitch. The pitch mixture is made up of equal parts of Burgundy pitch and plaster of Paris measured by bulk. The Burgundy pitch should be melted first in a common saucepan and the plaster of Paris stirred in slowly. Be careful that the pitch does not take fire. When the pitch and plaster are thoroly mixed, pour into the vase and allow it to get hard. Then the vase may be planished, and if it is desired it may be fluted as shown, Fig. 118.
This fluting is done in the same manner and with the same tools as described for the process of "chasing," Chapter XIV (Outline Chasing, Raising), except that the tool is a little thicker and blunter, and instead of being done on a board, the fluting is done while the vase is full of pitch. If the fluting is to be rather deep, it is advisable to do the work while the pitch is slightly warm.
After the vase is planished smooth, the pitch may be melted out by tying some wire around the vase, suspending it bottom upwards, and turning the flame from the blowpipe on the pitch at the mouth of the vase. Do not turn the flame on any part of the vase except where the pitch is exposed to the heat, as it would be likely to explode if the pitch in the upper part got melted first and could not get out easily.
Fig. 120. Seamed silver pitcher.
From Kalo Shop, Chicago.
The silver pitcher. Fig. 120, was made by the seaming method, as described in this chapter, excepting that it was planished on a stake, the mouth of the pitcher being wider than those of the vases. The handle of the pitcher is made of thick flat silver bent and filed to shape. The wire around the mouth is half-round wire soldered on.
The question frequently arises as to the commercial value of the kind of work described in this book. The answer to this question, of course, depends entirely upon the design, and the care with which the object is made and finished. A value is placed upon a piece that is of good design, well made, and carefully finished, in the same way that a value is placed upon a fine picture or any other work of art. It is not valued by weight of metal or the time it took to make it, but as a piece of art work. If a piece is of poor design, crudely made, and carelessly finished, it is worth nine cents a pound, because that is the market price of scrap copper and brass.
The work used to illustrate this series is, with a few exceptions, the work of students, and it will give some idea of the commercial value of such work if the prices at which they were sold, or are held at, are known. The price of the kettle shown in Fig. 114 was $35.00; of the seamed and fluted vase, Fig. 118, $25.00; of the three seamed vases, Fig. 119, $8.00, $18.00, and $12.00, respectively.
But the commercial value of the work is not to be compared with the value gained by the student in recognizing and controlling the many factors that make for success - the new experiences and knowledge accumulated - the gain in appreciation and, best of all, the joy of creating.