Handmade Decor: Moon Mirrors by Heather Palmer
Handmade decor for those who love modern design: that’s what Heather Palmer creates. For those of you who haven’t discovered Heather’s luminous work, you are in for a real treat. I’ve been a follower of Heather’s imaginative objets d’art for a few years now and I like to check in periodically to see what this talented makers has created. Per usual, Heather doesn’t disappoint.
In her latest collection, Heather introduces us to her new Moon Mirror series. I reached out to Heather for some background information. Heather explains:
I have always loved the process and the look of the antiqued mirrors. When I started hand silvering and distressing the glass to make the mirrors I really got into researching the symbolism and mythology of mirrors in history and literature. That mythology and history is built into the swirly, dreamy patinas I am creating which adds a layer of meaning and feeling. The affected surface reveals its process with its areas of pure silver contrasted to the patinated areas. This contrast creates a layered story where the reflected viewer is included. The mystical, mythological, and cosmic portal nature is what I am exploring with these pieces.
The seed for these mirrors was planted when I was living in San Francisco. Over the years I found a couple of mirrors left in the street that were aged and warped and beautiful. I took them home and with a little restoration to the frames they become my favorite pieces. Forward to years later I have been working with glass for some time and start to investigate the “mirroring” process that some of my peers are using.
The mirroring process is a process of chemical reactions which feel like alchemy to me. You start with a glass blank, in this case a piece of flat sheet glass. A very thin layer of tin is deposited to the glass which is then covered with a mix of a few different silver chemicals. The reactions of all these starts the developing of the silver. Within minutes you can see the surface changing. You get this super shiny silver mirror which at this point is very delicate and can be altered and patinated in different ways. I use a few different chemicals that each cause different effects, swirls, whitening, bluing, etc. Also I simply remove the silver in some parts.
After the glass is silvered and patinated a protective coating is applied over the silver. The side of the glass where the silver was applied now becomes the back and you see the mirror through the front of the glass. I use a black backing paint which can be seen through any thin areas in the silver or any areas where the silver was removed. The visible black adds another layer of visual interest and adds to the overall weathered/altered feeling. These mirrors end up being layered and nuanced inviting a closer and a feeling of curiosity.
Be sure to check out these brilliant works of art for yourself. While you are there, explore some of Heather’s signature handmade decor pieces like her Bubble vases and Nest bowls. They’re outstanding.