Zita vs. Tostig? or Mieka vs. Fizgig? Winter Weasel vs. Juggernaught?
It could be said that I started working on this in the early months of spring in 2003. My friends started buying ferrets sometime around then, and I did a few sketches of them in one of my notebooks. I had that notebook with me while I was camping out at the Maine Renaissance Faire.. and using my sketches from a few months before as a guide, I drew up the original pattern for this piece during one of the weeks I camping in the woods there at the ren faire. Part of my inspiration for the way the ferrets are grappling each other was illustrations from period fighting manuals we've been studying in European martial arts, though this is not really based on any move from those books. I was thinking of it as a plate from a fighting book for ferrets.
Some people have a hard time seeing exactly what is going on there... the white ferret (looks a bit like Zita) has the brown ferret (could be Tostig) in a sort of low bear-hug while biting him under the arm. Meanwhile, Tostig has grabbed Zita's shoulder by reaching across her back and neck, and is biting her on the back.
A few notes about the pattern... on a strange wim I decided I did not like the border in the original pattern. There was just something about the stick-bamboo-plant-things that I did not like... I wanted leaves instead. I did not draw up a new pattern for the border... I just cut out twenty or so leaves out of scraps of opaque green glass and layed them out around the border. I filled in the space around the leaves with two types clear green glass (lighter green with a bumpy texture towards the outside, and smooth darker green). This made a band of glass around the inner border that contrasted in color and texture with the background in the body of the glass, and the outermost part of the border. The dividing line between two sections of background in the border lined up with the leaves to form the twisting stem that the leaves grow from. It does not show up well in the picture, but the white looking ferret is really grey and white, and the striped colors in the brown ferret do not contrast with each other as much as they do in the picture. The blue background has a texture that is either small daisy-like flowers, or barnacles (those white crustations on the rocks along the sea shore that can cut up your bare feet...)
Something else that is not too noticable in the picture is that I used three different finishes on the solder to better define the various areas. This makes it a bit easier to tell what bodypart goes with each ferret. The brown/white guy is outlined with copper patina, grey/white is just polished and buffed solder with no patina, and most of the other lines have a black patina.. The ivy stem in the frame, which is only short sections less than half an inch long, also has a copper patina to make it stand out a bit and give the impression that it is a continuos line with the leaves over the top of it. If you look close you might also find a few other details that I changed from my original pattern... small areas of background near their hind-ends were removed because they looked a bit too much like part of the ferrets solid waste disposal system, and the brown ferret's left leg is not behind the frame.
This peice was done as a gift for my cousin Mookie/Troy and his wife Hiedi. I just happened (with a lot of crazy last minute rushing) to finish it the day before Mook's birthday.