"Discovering A Lost Art Form"
by Conrad Grundke

Learning Commesso, Part II

10. Finishing Your Commesso/Intarsia
   a. Epoxy strips of brass around the outside edge to form a border and hide the outside edges. Use plenty of water when grinding down the brass, because excess heat will break down the epoxy holding the brass. I use 5/16"x 1/8" Brass molding.
   b. Lap the surface of the picture using a 600 sanding drum or similar device.
   c. Epoxy four brass ¼" x ¾" flathead machine screws approximately 1 ½" from the four corners, flat head against the stone.


Epoxy strips of brass around the edges of the picture to form a border, and fix four machine screws to the back for mounting.

   d. Select a piece of masonite a bit larger than the final size desired for the picture. Mark a location for each machine screw in the center of the masonite and drill four holes large enough to accommodate the machine screws. With the "Commesso/Intarsia" located on the masonite via the holes, measure the desired distance from each side of the picture and mark and cut the masonite to this finished size.

. . . . . . .

   e. A background of dark felt makes the picture look as though it is floating in the frame, creating a shadow box effect. Take your picture to a fabric store and by lying the picture on the various shades of felt, select the one that brings out the colors in the "Commesso/Intarsia."
   f. Using a spray adhesive, coat the masonite (with the "Commesso/Intarsia" removed) and stretch the felt as you gently place the felt on the masonite. After the adhesive is dry, trim off the excess felt.
   g. Mount the "Commesso/Intarsia" onto the masonite with nuts that fit the screws and take your work of art to a reputable Framing Shop. The last place you want to cut costs is in the frame. It will add immeasurably to the final appearance. Most of my frames cost between $75 and $100, but it is worth adding this much to a $1,000 to $10,000 work of art.

   Once you compete a "Commesso/Intarsia" you will be hooked. Where else can you find a work of art like this, outside of a museum? Even the Smithsonian does not have pictures to compare to the pieces of art that too infrequently get displayed in American Federation of Mineralogical Society Lapidary Shows. I'll look forward to seeing your work at one of the shows in the future, and having the opportunity to meet you and share our methods and tehniques.

Other Stones Commonly Used in making a Commesso/Intarsia:
Buildings: Banded rhyolite (shingles), brecceated jasper, chapenite, petrified dinosaur bone, petrified wood, red jasper, verde antique
Grass: Arizona lizard stone, aventurine, chrysoprase, green India moss agate, green quartz, jade, petrified palm trunk, petrified wood, sagenite, serpentine, green unakite, verde antique
Mountains: Arizona lizard stone, Biggs jasper, blue agate, Bruneau jasper, chrysacolla, granite, marble, pastelite, picture agate, rhyolite, California tiger's-eye, howlite
Rocks: Chapenite, jasper, brecciated jasper
Shadows: Basalt, black jade, gray and white marble, basinite, slate
Shingles: Banded rhyolite, petrified wood
Snow: Angel-wing agate, howlite, marble, mountain agate
Trees and Bushes: Banded obsidian (red and black), dendritic serpentine, graveyard point plume agate, mariposite, petrified wood, sagenite, serpentine (with epidote), silver onyx
Sky: Amazonite, annabar, blue aventurine, blue calcite, blue lace agate, blue petrified wood, howlite, marble, Missouri agate, opalite, onyx, travertine, verde antique (blue and green)


   You can contact Conrad Grundke at 2214-B Via Mariposa E., Laguna Woods, CA 92653; (949) 587-0935; e-mail: cgrundke@dslextreme.com.

 

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