gown belt

Ok, so this is turning into a petrus christus dress with a little bit of memling and van der weyden thrown in for good measure, although in my defence you can’t actually see her gown buckle in the christus painting. I took inspiration from van der weyden’s “Magdalen reading” in the national gallery, whic has a very pretty(and equally importantly do-able) strap end on display

weyden belt end from magdalen reading

So, I made one in silver, with a corresponding buckle chape, and had it gold plated. The plan was to set them onto a wide tablet woven belt with a shadow pattern like the one’s worn here by maggie, and by the ladies in petrus christus. Unfortunately the silk sent by my supplier came from a bad batch, so the belt I set up has had to be scrapped as it was fuzzing and shredding (most annoying after it had taken me a whole day to set up such a wide band). They’ve agreed to replace it but it will be ages before I’m able to weave my belt now. So instead, to allow me to wear the velvet dress over summer, I have sacrificed some of my black duchesse satin for a stopgap belt.

gown belt

As you can see I’ve gon for all pearls as the danglies instead of alternating pearls and metal twists. I did make some twists similar to the ones for the necklace, but decided they would be impractical as I would inevitably sit on them and crush them with my humungous behind. Pearls are more robust, also they’re less distressing when you loose one – the trouble with all these medieval dangly pearls is that pearls have very small holes that only allow you to use0.5mm wire, which always gets metal fatigue and breaks somewhere down the line.

I still need to put holes in for the buckle.

I’m quite please with this, esp since it’s only the second ever belt I’ve made. Belts go more into experimatal archaeology for me, as modern silversmithing really doesn’t include such things. Also because I’m crap at rivets (I’m not going to lie to you, the backs of some of those rivets are functional but less than elegant), I think it’s simply one of those things where I need to practice, but because I’m nervous of cocking it up I tend to avoid doing it instead.

I’m tempted to make a whole new set of buckle and ends for the woven belt when I get it done, though, as it would be usefule both to have a spare gown belt and to go through the whole process again, implementing what I’ve learnt from my mistakes on this one.

Oh, and yesterday, on the hottest day of the year so far, my idiot cat who normally like to sit in cold draughts decided he needed a blankie…


~ by opusanglicanum on July 9, 2013.

3 Responses to “gown belt”

  1. Will you be able to use the silk thread for something else, or is it completely unusable?

    Love the strap end, by the way – very dramatic!

    • Don’t know – it would be ok for tassels but not really much use for anything else, the twist is too loose. I’m not sure yet if he wants me to send it back when he replaces it as he’s out of his office til later in the week.

      you really can’t go wrong with black and gold, can you

  2. […] the gown belt […]

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