ring of gyges
Bob Mathas, who has tasked me with the creation of "mythical antiquities" before, challenged me to make an interpretation of the Ring of Gyges.
According to the tradition, Gyges was a shepherd in the service of the king of Lydia; there was a great storm, and an earthquake made an opening in the earth at the place where he was feeding his flock. Amazed at the sight, he descended into the opening, where, among other marvels, he beheld a hollow brazen horse, having doors, at which he stooping and looking in saw a dead body of stature, as appeared to him, more than human, and having nothing on but a gold ring; this he took from the finger of the dead and reascended.
Now the shepherds met together, according to custom, that they might send their monthly report about the flocks to the king; into their assembly he came having the ring on his finger, and as he was sitting among them he chanced to turn the collet of the ring inside his hand, when instantly he became invisible to the rest of the company and they began to speak of him as if he were no longer present. He was astonished at this, and again touching the ring he turned the collet outwards and reappeared; he made several trials of the ring, and always with the same result -- when he turned the collet inwards he became invisible, when outwards he reappeared.
Whereupon he contrived to be chosen one of the messengers who were sent to the court; where as soon as he arrived he seduced the queen, and with her help conspired against the king and slew him, and took the kingdom.
Plato's Republic, Book II
The "trick" to this piece was to design something that looked like it had been bouncing around the whole of history.
I got to thinking about the number of emotionally significant pieces I've restored for people over the years. The age on these items shows not only in their dated style, but also in the little clues that the item was important enough to continually repair.
To know this is one thing, but to intentionally apply this knowledge to piece in progress is a bizarre experience. I found myself in the studio willfully inflicting damage on something I had put hours of care and consideration into making, in the ironic hope of making it even better.
Balancing these acts of creation and destruction eventually led to the sort of "ruined and repaired" look I was after, though along the way I found a philosophical detour I hadn't expected.
Cast, forged and fabricated sterling silver, 14k yellow gold and chalecedony.
The Morpheus Company, 2007.