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Unveil and Prevail - a story of love and discovery through art

3 min read

What art do you surround yourself with in your home or office? Does it remind you to love more and appreciate the people in your life? This sculpture and wall piece do just that.

In creating my series, The Skin Within, I focused on the skin we don’t see - the layer just under the surface that we use to protect ourselves emotionally. That invisible membrane that allows us to show or hide vulnerability.

Two colorful copper sculptures from the collection are Prevail and Unveil - similar but different.

Prevail enamelware colored diamond copper vessel sculpture


Unveil hammered copper and colorful enamel diamonds wall art in contemporary steel frame


I often tend to create in pairs. It seems most of my ideas require 2 versions to fully tell the story.

In both pieces of art, my goal was to capture a sense of emotion bursting through the surface. With color representing the many facets of people we love, their unique personalities, and range of temperament.

I think of these copper and glass enamelware sculptures as the the 2 sides of connection. In one, a person is showing vulnerability and revealing themselves outwardly, and in the other, a confidant is seeing that person from an outside perspective, viewing in. Both might reveal similar attributes, but the experience of understanding them is slightly different.

hammered copper vessel with blue green yellow diamonds contemporary sculpture

I was newly in love with my boyfriend when I made these, so I couldn’t stop thinking about the process of getting to know someone in a deep and intimate way. In the process of uncovering the layers of a person, you find out more about yourself as well.

Color is a representation of various characteristics and emotions.

Catherine Grisez welding copper sculpture in art studio

The making of both pieces posed interesting problem solving challenges, both technically and aesthetically.

Here you can see me welding the textured sections of the vessel where the copper meets the enameled sections. I had several projects going at once in preparation for a show, so I’m penned into the smallest work space with other parts of the process piled up around me.

process of making art, laying out diamond shapes to determine pattern and color

Enameling the copper diamonds seemed straightfoward enough, until they started warping in the 1500 degree kiln. Curses! But I managed to get everything fitting well enough.

hammered copper vessel and colored diamond process of making sculpture

Hammering the copper vessel was a no brainer - that is something I can do in my sleep (I’ve spent thousands of hours hammering copper over the years). Fitting the vessel halves with the glass enameled diamond shapes was another matter. While I don’t mind if I’m in the right kind of mood, it is still tedious to get things to fit together properly, especially when there are factors out of your control (like heat causing warpage).

Above you can see the process of keeping everything straight - laying out the colors and pattern and then slowly fitting all the sections together.

The three sections of the finished vessel are held together with friction, beautifully supporting itself by the nature of the orb shape.

colorful enamelware diamond and hammered copper vessel sculpture, contemporary art

detail of aqua diamond enamelware and hammered copper sculpture

While I think of Prevail as a representation of a person exposing their vulnerable side to you - Unveil expresses how You experience the vulnerability of the other person from the outside. Two sides of the same coin, seen through two different lenses.

hammered copper and colored harlequin diamond wall art in contemporary steel frame

hammered copper harlequin diamond wall art in steel frame, handmade contemporary art

In the case of this wall piece, determining the color and pattern of the varied diamond shapes was something of a puzzle, much like the process of uncovering the many facets of a person.

raw copper diamond shapes for wall art, layout to determine pattern

Laying out the pattern was the first step, seen above.

A glimpse at the diamond shapes being fused with glass enamel - out of the kiln, the strong layers of black oxidation pop off to create a dusting of burnt snow everywhere.

In this case, each copper diamond has 3 thin coats of glass fused to each side. If you only enamel one side, the imbalance will cause the glass to crack off.

art in the making process shot, enameling copper diamonds

I hammered the copper to fit around the copper diamonds like a sheet of leather skin exposed in the middle. As a jeweler and metalsmith, I’m smitten with making sure small details are just as important as the overall piece.

I fabricated a steel frame to fit the sculpture, giving the organic nature of the copper a crisp structural framework.

detail of sculptural copper wall art with colored diamond pattern

detail of blue, aqua, yellow, red, green diamonds in contemporary copper wall art

detail of hammered copper wall art set in handmade sleek steel frame

It was a frustrating technical challenge but joyful delight to make these two sculptures.

I love the power of color to give depth and meaning to art.

View to purchase: Prevail and Unveil

Catherine Grisez

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