Friday, May 29, 2009

the evolution of a thing


Memorial weekend was a wonderful time for me to work on some ideas for necklaces that have been banging around in my brain for quite some time.  I enjoy seeing and hearing other peoples processes, so I though I’d share how this all went down, since I can show you how the design evolved.

First of all, I sketch very little.  My rendering skills are terrible, and I only use drawings to capture VERY rough ideas, so that they don’t escape me completely.  Many people detail their designs fully on paper before they move to materials.  As my skill sets become more complex, I will be forced to improve on this.  For now though, I am happy to dive right in and try to figure out how to realize my ideas as I go along.

I became obsessed with vintage Lucite flowers very early on in my travels.  I found my first few in a lovely shop in San Diego (once I remember the name, I will share).  I then found several sellers on eBay that could supply me with these little lovelies.  I started out making sterling silver, wire wrapped pendants using them.  More recently, I’ve been working in copper, and wanted to incorporate the flowers into those designs.

I wanted to do something with a very organic feel, and this is what I came up with.

Utilizing copper tubing, ball chain and wire, the first couple were nice, but I felt they were stuffy, and over-composed

IMG_6477orange-first try

The 18 gauge wire was rather stiff, and I was wrapping it so tightly around the tubing that I was making it difficult for myself to attach the flower and other decorative elements.  I was also experimenting with how to deal with the chain.

IMG_6482orangeback1stcloseup In this version, I dropped the first link or so into holes drilled at either end and then hammered the tubing to distort the holes slightly, using tension to hold the chain in place.

On my next version, I wasn’t happy with how I had wrapped the tubing, so I removed it.  In order to reuse the wire, I annealed it (heated it evenly to redistribute the molecules and soften the metal), and discovered two things- heating had colored the wire in an appealing way, and the wire now had some interesting kinks and twists that made it more natural looking when wrapped onto the tubing.



A mistake I made in the beginning was drilling the holes in the first three tubes right off the bat.  I quickly realized that it was totally worth it to just thread the chain through the tube- those three inches of chain were not worth effort trying to secure the chain some other way.

IMG_6492stack of three

In the bottom example, I figured out to ball the ends of the wire, which creates a bud effect, and solves the problem of where to end the wire wrapping.  The end is now a part of the overall design.

I then decided to take apart the original orange necklace…


I am really happy with these necklaces.  The loose style is a departure for me- I am usually the meticulous wrapper, very anal- which feels very right.  I am also happy to have figured out how to use a bunch of these lovely flowers, which have languished in my bead collection for far too long.

Friday, May 8, 2009

Happy Day to all you Mothers!

My Mom will be in Florida this year for Mother's Day, so I thought I'd dedicate this post to her.

Knowing how you love those lilacs I cut a huge bunch of them...

I strapped them in for safety, and headed for home.

A side note here: I have allergies, and these past four weeks, they have been raging. I wake up every night at 3 am and have to use my allergy nasal spray, I take another medicine to control the rest of my symptoms and my asthma. Closing myself up in a small car with a bucketful (or actually a plastic pitcher full) of lilacs was not the brightest thing I've done this week.

I stopped the car at one point and contemplated chucking the whole mess out, but settled on snapping this pic instead. See how the flowers are stroking my shoulder in a menacing fashion? They did this the whole ride home, in addition to almost choking me with their granny-perfume.
Once they were in the house, with room for fragrance dissipation, they were quite lovely. I hope they make it to Sunday, as they opened a week and a half early this year, and are slightly past their prime.

In the end, they were worth the effort. Very much like having children, I imagine.
Happy Mother's Day, y'all!