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Harpsichord 1

August 7, 2007

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Photo by Rende Zoutewelle

This case with soundboard is on its way to becoming a musical instrument. My job is to decorate the soundboard in the tradition of the 17th century Flemish Ruckers’ instruments. 
This is the 5th harpsichord decoration job I’ve done; the first one was in 1993.

The instrument’s builder is Herwil van Gelder and he lives just down the road. The customer is also coincidentally from the village, so it feels like a community kind of project.

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After determining which flowers will be painted on, the next step is mixing the classic blue for the blue lines, scallops and arabesques.  I’ve opted for a cobalt-blue based mixture. The original material used was ‘smalt’- cobalt glass in a casein suspension.  After experimenting a bit I’ve arrived at a mix of gel medium, designers colour and casein. This goop is applied with a fabric painting applicator and is like decorating a cake.

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