3 Dec 2010

Necessity is the mother of a new design

Anyone in the UK this week can’t have failed to have noticed the news and conversation dominating cold and snowy snap. It’s been unseasonably cold and with rather more snow than the UK is equipped to cope with.

Whilst making dinner on Monday evening, we found that we had no hot water coming out of the taps and the boiler was failing to fire when expected, resulting also in fast-cooling radiators. After wafting a warm hair drier over the external condensate pipes (lagged during last December’s cold snap when they froze and stopped the heating working temporarily) in the vain hope that was all there was causing it, but we couldn’t get the boiler to fire and it was now leaking water too and showing a fault indicator. Time to call in the experts.

Please click on any of the photographs for a larger view.

It ended up a somewhat unusual fault that took some finding and we were consequently without a working boiler for several days. It just goes to show how pampered we’ve become and how much we take such things for granted. I’m old enough to have lived before central heating was commonplace and yet find myself totally disrupted by the removal of on tap hot water and warm rooms.

So my work routine was somewhat interrupted this week – my usual work area was far too cold to work effectively and as I take photographs on the end of my work bench, I couldn’t even comfortably get on with my backlog of those either. Maybe I’m just soft, but trying to grip cold tools with cold fingers just wasn’t fun – and as a Reynauds sufferer, actually painful – and potentially dangerous. Time for Plan B.

So as I had a birthday gift I wanted to make this week and various as yet unopened supplies, I gave some thought to a project I could work on with minimal space and tools, sitting somewhere warmer. I had this idea in mind anyway, so gave it some more thought as it would fit the bill; something I could work on at the kitchen table whilst remaining on hand to assist the repair man who visited several times to try and fix the boiler.

I wanted to make something in antiqued copper and using some brown Lucite leaf charms I’d bought. I had in mind a random, clustered necklace with berries and copper buds – something vine-like and autumnal. I wanted it to be busy and full and tinkle when moving and I had an idea that I’d supplement the leaf charms with some copper leaves of my own making.

So I started tinkering initially with a scrap of chain and the design evolved. I wanted to make it a party type feature necklace that would sit well in the open V of a blouse or top, so worked on the shape to make the central section deep in the centre and tapering back to the chain.

The Lucite leaves have been supplemented with graduating sizes of wrapped copper leaf spirals and hand formed leaf shapes. The berries are carnelian, jasper, goldstone, sardonix and green opals. I chose to use large balled headpins so that the buds would also become a visual feature too. I used several wrapping techniques to add some variety of shape and randomness to the necklace. Random of this nature is not something that comes easily to me, I always end up with a distinct and symmetrical pattern and that is the case to some degree here, but I tried to loosen my grip a little on being too precise.

I hand polished and filed all the cut ends of the metal components and oxidised the whole necklace and hand polished it back to an antiqued finish, to enhance the textures of the wrapping and spiralling and show off the red highlights of the berries. I hope that she’ll like it. I have enough supplies left to make one more, so will enjoy making another to put on sale.

7 thoughts on “Necessity is the mother of a new design

  1. Thanks Twinkly – I haven’t give it to the recipient yet due to the bad weather, so my fingers are still crossed on that front. I wish you well with the boiler – yesterday was visit 5 trying to fix ours. I think they’ve now just about built a new one – it’s just developing one fault after another. They got it working, then it started leaking – then making a horrendous noise – that was because one engineer left something inside it!

  2. Such nice warm colours for a cold day. As a fellow Reynauds sufferer you have my sympathy and understanding when it comes to working in cold workshops.

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