Courses / Faux Tortoiseshell
 

Throughout the ages, the shell of the tortoise, with its spectrum of color, its vitality and exoticism, has appealed to the imagination of creative craftsmen. The Isabel O'Neil student learns a variety of tortoise finishes.

Tawny Tortoise
During the seventeenth and eighteenth-centures the vogue for all things from the Orient led to many painted imitations of tortoiseshell. The naturalistic style of faux tortoise rendering is constructed upon a light yellow ground; radial patterns, built up from light to darker values, simulate the markings of the tortoise.

Green and Red Tortoise
During the eighteenth-century, French éb´pistes used elaborate inlays of tortoiseshell as a decorative surface on commodes, table, desks, secretaries and clock cases. Antiques that were studied after they split and dried revealed tortoiseshell that had been laid over a thin sheet of colored paper glued to the wood frame. Admiration for the effect, unrelated to the hue of the natural shell, has lea craftsmen to develop colorful tortoise fantasies.

Amber Tortoise
The Asian technique of placing real tortoiseshell over a golden ground is simulated in a fantasy finish, created by Isabel O'Neil and referred to in the Studio Workshop as the amber conceit. Construced on a gilded ground, the effect is both translucent and luminous.

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THE ISABEL O'NEIL STUDIO WORKSHOP
315 East 91st Street (between 1st & 2nd Ave), 2nd Floor New York, New York 10128-5301
TEL: 212.348.4464 FAX: 212.534.7769 EMAIL: studio@isabeloneil.org

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