McGonagall’s Brooch 2.0
Saturday, 4 February 2012
Professor McGonagall’s brooch has been a piece I’ve loved for some time. Firstly, McGonagall is my favorite of the book professors and secondly, Dame Maggie Smith has been bad ass since Clash of the Titans. This brooch is the iconic piece for McGonagall — heck, even the LEGO figure wears it.
I had attempted to make the brooch once before, but I was never satisfied with the result. I decided to redo my original design taking into consideration the higher-res reference photos and blu-ray images available. I mocked up my design in 3D:
I then milled the design into machinable wax.
Once it was milled, I felt it looked too plain. Looking at antique pebble brooches, I realized I didn’t need a terribly ornate design, just a texture. I hand-carved some “noise” into the piece.
I also milled the agate and serpentinite “pebbles” out of wax. I made a small silicone mold and cast tinted Aves apoxy paste to create the stones. They are rock hard and the slight translucence of the Aves makes them look like real pebbles.
I then molded the brooch in silicone and cold-cast it in resin. Cold-casting is simply dusting the mold with real metal powder (and adding the same powder to the resin) when casting. The piece is then polished up with steel wool and looks and feels a lot like real metal. I’ve listed a few of these on etsy.
I stopped at resin with my last brooch, but this time I wanted REAL METAL. I’d had a 10 lb casting pot, but I’d never used it. My friend, Jamie, volunteered to give it a try. I made another mold of the brooch and he cast it in pewter. There is nothing quite like watching metal being cast, and the best part is you reuse all your mistakes! After casting, I used an aging solution followed by a polish to give the brooch a well-worn look.
I’ve yet to solder the pin back to the metal brooch, but as soon as I do I’ll be listing them on etsy as well.