Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Half an 18th century fan

When I found a complete and unbroken set of original 18th century bone sticks on Ebay a while I ago, I decided to make a really nice fan for myself just for once.

The fan was in a quite sorry shape when it arrived, even the rivet had fallen out and the whole thing was held together by a paper clip. I took it to the goldsmith who feared that a repair would break it, so I had to use a tongue piercing barbell and glue (this was not the first time, I might add). I love to see the staff's faces every time I enter the tattoo parlours with a nice old fashioned fan in my hand...

"Monture รก la Anglaise".

The sticks are supposedly from 1790, but since the inner sticks are plain and rather similar to earlier stick designs I decided to make a leaf in early 1780's style, which should match most of my outfits better.
Now that it's finished, I realise that I should have made a silk leaf instead, I can't really say why I used paper. When I compared the result to one of my antique fans, I noticed even more that modern paper is about twice as thick as paper from the 18th century. The fan in question has a double leaf which is actually thinner than the single leaf on my newly made fan... and sticks that are more than 200 years old might be a little bit too fragile for thick, coarse modern paper... as you can see on the reverse, I had to strenghten the thin wooden strips on the upper part of the sticks to prevent them from breaking.
Oh well.

So, modern wooden sticks are not so bad, after all... wood is rather elastic and doesn't break quite as easily as bone. I don't really know if I have the guts to use this fan a lot, breaking it would be an unforgivable sin...