I talked in my last blog about how designs come about and that I see the design process rather like a tree – ideas branch out and grow and sometimes overlap other ideas and merge with them.
The design process for me is one of evolution, one thought often cannonballs into another and takes you in another direction – often without any conscious intention or control whatsoever – in fact, for me, this process is sometimes so energetic that keeping it under some modicum of control is the tricky part.
I don’t think, perhaps beyond the age of about 12, I have ever uttered the words “I’m bored”. The concept is totally alien to me. I must have about a million things on my ‘to do’ list – things I want to work on, things I want to try, things I want to learn, books I want to read, places I want to visit – that life is way, way too short to squander any of it in being bored.
That’s how it has been this week design-wise – one idea morphing into another and some ideas I had on the back burner, bubbling away in my subconscious, suddenly gained momentum when brought into contact with some new thought.
I’m still not entirely done with the spiral links I’ve done a lot of lately. It’s such a versatile unit to work with that they take on different guises depending on the size you make them and the finish you give them. This week I went much smaller with them than the links I’d used in bracelets and they come out lovely and delicate and deliciously fluid when worked together and finished and polished to a high degree.
Hammering them smooth and then polishing them gives a reflective, tactile chain that you just want to stroke. They can be used singly as connectors with interest, or collectively as a chain. See photos above.
I’d seen some fabulous work in copper this week using lots of wire wrapping – this is something I admire, but perhaps don’t have the patience or technique yet to work on anything extensive, but I had some ideas I wanted to work through too – my initial idea was to make a large spiral link, as above, but wrap the bottom open section with beads.
I was trying to ascertain a methodology for attaching beads around the outside of the shape with wire wrapping and wanted to work with balled head pins and came up with this technique, which I worked out on paper first and seeing that there were flaws in my original ideas, they needed working out. The pendant above was the result of that process – the pins needed anchoring in some way to prevent them from being too easily bent away from the master shape they were wrapped around.
This pendant was the next incarnation along my ideas branch. It was made initially as a leaf (soldered and hammered into shape), that I was going to wrap with small green aventurine beads like the round pendant above, but I decided it was going to come out too large with beads as well, so wrapped it with just the ball ended pins and connected the fine chain in the wrapping as I went.
Having suspended it on the chain the way that I have and without the green beads I was intending, it now looks rather more like a heart than a leaf. I’d made the ball pins as a rosy colour and deliberately allowed this to remain as I antiqued and polished the piece.
Continuing along my branch of ideas, these earrings came about after working the heart/leaf without beads, I sketched some shapes that would work well with that particular wrapping technique – it needed smooth round outer curves or straight lines ideally and this shape allowed me to get a ‘circle’ without soldering, as I wanted to only part wrap the shape and this balanced the bottom detail and intense texture with further interest at the top.
I decided that to balance the round earring, the earwires needed to either be round in shape, which didn’t work as nicely as I hoped, or in some other way reflect the details. So I went with a long straight drop earwire, to drop the wide earrings well below the ear and mirrored the wrapping with a wrapped loop rather than an eye to connect the earrings.
After oxidising, I decided to only polish back the wrapped details and leave this highlighted against the darker gunmetal finish of the scroll and I also highlighted the wraps on the earwires too. I think, having taken that particular evolutionary journey this week through these designs, this is the one I like best.