Monthly Archives: April 2010

More Pieces

So here’s an overview of what I’ve been working on this week: I’ve got a lot of “in progress” pieces right now (“in progress” meaning that they’re all finished except for putting a clasp mechanism on them, which I find dreadfully boring, albeit necessary!). I forced myself to finish off some of the in-progress pieces yesterday, but I still have 3 pieces waiting for me to figure out what kind of clasp I want to put on them. In the jewellery world, the type of clasp you put on a necklace is one of the most important parts of the piece- the more original and “invisible” it is (“invisible” meaning it blends into the piece and adds to it, rather than just being an afterthought), the more respect you get from the jewellers who look at your work. That’s been a bit of a challenge, but I’m determined to keep at it. Here’s the piece I finished the clasp for yesterday:

William Morris Necklace

Here’s a photo of it with the clasp undone: basically, there is a piece of tubing attached to the back of the oval agate- that bit of tubing snaps into the slot at the bottom of the brass oval to clasp it.

William Morris Necklace, open

The 4 large patterned pieces on the necklace are patterns taken from William Morris’ fabric and wallpaper patterns. I also added gemstones and beads in places where I wanted to “dress up” the patterned panels:

William Morris, detail

This is a photo of an “in progress” necklace: I spent several hours yesterday laser welding the silver chain together. I haven’t cleaned and polished the chain and connected it to the plaster yet, but the components of the necklace were finished enough that I could put it together for a photo- I’ll be working on finishing that one up this week, but I thought I’d go ahead and post a photo of it:

Lacy Necklace

The clasp was much easier to integrate on this piece: all I had to do was leave one of the scrolls open so it can be hooked into the eye of another piece.

Another thing I did was look at all the test pieces I still have all over my desk- when I was figuring out how to do all these new processes, I made hundreds (if not thousands?) of test pieces to make sure I could use each new process (image transfers, etching/engraving, colour washes…) consistently well. Yesterday I spent some time putting these test pieces into small compositions- I added other decorative elements (beads, found objects, things I had in my toolbox…) and created a series of “Collections”. I’m not entirely sure what to do with these Collections yet- none of these collections are big enough to turn into a necklace, so I’m thinking maybe I’ll make a series of brooches? Can’t decide… Anyway, I’m sure I’ll end up doing something with them soon and then I’ll be able to post photos of the finished product: here are photos of some of the collections I’ve put together:

Collection 1

Collection 2

Collection 3

Collection 4

Collection 5

Collection 6

Collection 7

Collection 8

Collection 9

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New Jewellery! (…thus the silence)

Well, the weeks have flown by and my to do list keeps saying “update blog!”, but I’ve had so many exciting new developments in the jewellery that I’ve spent my time making instead of writing. I’ve discovered that it’s hard for me to do both all the time- sometimes I’d rather be writing about my work than actually making anything, and lately I’ve been way too busy trying to make all the ideas in my head instead of stopping to write about them. But here we are, it’s Monday of yet another week, and I decided that before I went to the studio for the day I’d post photos of the pieces I’ve been making.

Before I post photos of what I’ve been working on, just wanted to say thanks to everyone who suggested colours I try for the chandelier necklace pieces- I’ve been working on those colour tests but haven’t had a chance to photograph them yet, so that should hopefully be ready to post in the next entry.

Rather than talk you through every single experiment and all of the advances I’ve made in the past few weeks, I’ll just give you a brief overview: I figured out how to transfer images onto the plaster! They’re chemically transferred on, so they don’t wash off and they don’t rub off if you try to scrub them. It’s opened up SO many possibilities. After going to the V&A Museum and being really impressed with their print collection, I started using their prints as image transfers- my favourites were samples of wallpaper and fabric, as well as some French fashion drawings from the 1930’s-1950’s, like these plaster pieces shown below:

William Morris Wallpaper Transfer

Marcel Fromenti Image Transfer

I did a lot of tests and had to experiment with a lot of little variables to get the image transfer process right, but luckily I had a lot of different wallpaper and fashion drawing images to choose from (I cannot say it enough- the V&A Museum’s online print gallery is amazing!).

Image Transfer Tests

Image Transfer Tests 2

As I was doing all these tests, I started thinking about how these pieces might look if they were combined. I started doing some Photoshop combinations, and really liked the look of them:

Combined Image Transfer

I used this combined image idea to make my first new piece: the oval-ish shapes depicting elegant females remind me of cameos, so that’s what I’ve called this necklace:

"Cameo" Necklace

"Cameo" Necklace, Front

Because the format of the necklace is very similar to a lot of traditional necklaces, I decided it would be fun to use the blank space on the back for a little surprise: embedded pearls and amethysts.

"Cameo" Necklace, Reverse

I also decided to make a piece using my own photos- I’ll probably start using my own photography a lot in these image transfers- this is a photo of a silk rose that goes with a dress that I bought recently.

"Rose Garden" Necklace

I have plans for improving this one and will hopefully have a few revised editions to show soon- I’d like to do one with the pieces set in silver and would like to do another that’s longer and can go over the head. I’ll get to those soon, hopefully.

I spoke with my professor last week and showed her the mountains of test pieces I had from my weeks of experimenting. She suggested that I not waste all the time I spent on my experiments and then just leave them in a box as “test pieces”- instead, she suggested I take all the successful test pieces and combine them in different ways and make a series of necklaces with lots of different elements in them. I’ve started making a few of those:

"Nouveau Night" Necklace

"Nouveau Night" Detail

"Fromenti Rose" Necklace

So that’s the new jewellery so far: I’m hoping to make a ton of new things this week and in the next few weeks before this part of the project is due, on 11 May. I’ll post photos as I can, and like I said, for those of you who suggested colour wash ideas for the chandelier piece, I’ll hopefully have those photographed and posted sooner rather than later.

I’d love to hear reactions to the new pieces- they’re SO different from the things I turned in for my last assessment! I’d love to know which of the new pieces is your favourite, any changes you’d suggest…. anything!

Back to the studio for me… my week will be spent making jewellery and dodging Icelandic volcanic ash. Bye for now-

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