Monday, November 29, 2010

Jane Adam

This is the work of Jane Adam, she creates perforated jewellery as do I but she uses a different technique. Her perforations are quite different from mine as her patterns are very organic and irregular which she calls "counter intuitive" as she has to carefully think about where to place her punches; my patterns are very geometric, symmetrical and repetitve which, after a while creates a meditative effect. What I love about her work is that she makes each piece by hand and each piece is one of a kind.

One of a kind Mandala neckpiece

This is a neckpiece I have been working on in the past few days, frantically trying to finish before my jewellery gets examined for my B Tech portfolio.
I had created a few of these seperate Mandala elements which I was going to make into seperate pendants but I wanted to create a real exhibition 'show piece'.
I had an idea to make something like this and sketched it onto paper. After some thought I decided to go ahead and make this neckpiece which I felt was quite brave as I had a very limited amount of time to make it but I decided to just put my head down and do it. I am really glad that I did make it as I feel the outcome was really successful.
I feel that this piece epitomises my 'One of a kind' theme as each Mandala is different from the next; although some bear the same pattern there are still slight variations.

Handmade punches

These are some of the punches I have made...

To make these I cut long pieces of round tool steel to finger size with a metal saw. I then heat up the tool steel to a bright orange colour and forge it into a taper, when I have the right size or shape taper I forge the rest of the punch square which helps me to place the punch into the correct position. When the punch is square I place two vice grips relatively close to each other and create a twisting design in the middle by heating it and turning the grips in opposite directions. I then take the punch to the belt sander and slowly form the punch into the desired shape. Once this is done all that is left to do is sand, harden and temper the punches and away we go.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Rose window Mandala test piece in silver (first)

This was one of the first test pieces I created, it has been enameled which is what I plan to do to with these Mandalas when they're all ready and completed. I wasn't entirely happy with the punching, I think it may be due to the vast spacing between the punches and I also created this piece before I custom made the punches that I wanted to use specifically for these designs so this piece gave me an idea of the type of punches that I needed to make.

Rose window Mandala test pieces in silver

These are test pieces with different design variations of Rose windows, I have punched them from silver which has a much more successful outcome than than aluminium. There are still more to come as I have many different designs in my head that I still want to create, I am finding the success of these designs to be very exciting and motivating which is giving me many ideas for the jewellery I want to make from them.

Rose windows

These are some beautiful Rose windows from the Chartres and Strasbourg cathedrals, they are some of the windows I have based by designs on.

Rose window Mandala test pieces

These are some test pieces I have been working on, they are based on Rose window patterns. They are not exactly the same as the windows due to the fact that they are punched with different shaped punches which I have custom made specifically for this project. It was difficult working out how to arrange the punches as they are simple shapes such as square, marquise, circle and teardrop, where the rose windows contain complex shapes which would be difficult to shape the punches into, it would have been much easier to pierce out the patterns but I like the 'embossed' effect that punches create.
These photos are of my first aluminium test pieces, I don't really like the way the aluminum looks and reacts to the punching so I have continued by making them in Silver

Monday, November 1, 2010

Baobab earrings- Vetkat regopstaan

I designed these earrings for the Vetkat Regopstaan exhibition, Vetkat is a Bushman who creates Bushman art, I was intrigued mostly by his drawings of the Baobab and came up with this design after many test pieces.
My aim for these earrings was to create them with a relaxed approach (intentional carelessness), in terms of not being too fussed about little flaws that happened during the manufacturing process. My reasoning behind this was that I imagined Vetkat, being a bushman from a very rural environment, was not tied up in the westernised Ideas of ‘perfection’ and I felt that his work had a very down to earth, unrefined appearance which I wanted to portray in my work.
I used this ‘careless’ approach by stamping the bordering pattern without measuring the position and spacing of each punch. I also used a glass brush to emerge the light silver shade from the black patina in a ‘relaxed’ fashion. After roll milling a taper on the bar for the spiral shepherds hooks, I forged it slightly with the least caution possible and then bent it into a spiral shape, also quite carelessly so it deliberately had sharp curves and kinks in the metal to mimic the zigzag effect of the Baobab's branches. Again with the shepherd’s hooks I wanted to get an overall handmade feel to match the rustic Baobab elements.
When I look at these now, though at the time I didn’t realise when I was designing them, they encompass the characteristics of a Mandala which are a centre point, a circular design and some form of symmetry. Though not a typical Mandala, these earrings still bear the essential qualities of the Mandala.

Wabi-sabi Leaf earrings

These are silver earrings inspired by Vetkat Regopstaan drawings and asperity.
I designed these earrings for the Vetkat regopstaan exhibition, Vetkat is a Bushman who creates Bushman art, I made these in copper but never used the design and came back at a later stage where I created them in silver. These earrings I feel represent the true aesthetic of Wabi-sabi, according to Wikipedia these characteristics include asymmetry, asperity, simplicity, modesty, intimacy, and the suggestion of natural processes. These earrings remind me of aging leaves, the way in which they curl into a helix spiral as they dry. As explained by Young “Wabi refers to that which is humble, simple, normal, and healthy, while sabi refers to elegant detachment and the rustic maturity that comes to something as it grows old.”

Phi Silver Flower of life cuff

This cuff was part of the developmental series of flower of life repetition patterns; I created it keeping in mind the ratio of the copper flower of life cuff which has a ratio that closely corresponds to phi (1.618). I feel as though this cuff has a harmonious proportion which is evidence that the use of Phi or the Golden mean creates visually pleasing aesthetics.

Phi copper patina cuff

This cuff was part of the developmental series of flower of life repetition patterns, I had previously created silver cuffs with side bands soldered to it which produced a clean sophisticated look but I wanted to make one in copper for a earthy bohemian style. I fold-formed the edges before doming it which I found to be quite an enjoyable process and really worked well with the copper; the wavy edge contributed to its tarnished asperity and the patina further added to the earthy, bohemian look. The proportions of this bangle were considerably pleasing to the eye so I investigated it by measuring certain distances and relations such as the punched holes and widths of the bangle. I came to the conclusion that when I measured the bangle width and lengthways the ratio between the two was close to 1.618 (Phi) this may be a reason for its visual appeal. I have used this ratio with subsequent bangles.

Free hand creation pattern

I made this cuff to create a flower of life pattern with a distinctive handmade look. I did this by punching the pattern free hand without a template. Due to the fact that the punches were not spaced evenly, splits were created in the metal; I decided to ‘stitch’ the splits up with thin thread-like wire. This was the same concept as the Flower of Life repetition cuff with 18ct Gold granules which I had made previously and used granules instead of wire, it was derived from the carved wooden tea bowls of Korea which were created for traditional tea drinking ceremonies. When the craftsmen carved these bowls some of them would crack during the drying process which rendered them useless for containing tea. The craftsmen would stitch the cracks using wire which gave them an artistic appeal, thus enabling them to be sold as artwork.
I brought about a handmade appearance in other pieces of my jewellery by taking a more relaxed approach in the manufacturing process which I call an ‘intentionally careless’ approach. This approach for me was less of a meditation as I had to think about the placement of my punch.

Punched flower earrings

These earrings were derived from the basic component from the flower of life pattern. These earrings are a reflection of the handmade quality which I want to achieve with my jewellery. I have created these earrings using thin silver plate, I used a different alloy of silver containing half the amount of copper, I prefer this alloy as it seems to be whiter in colour and does not tarnish as quickly. When I created these earrings I kept in mind the flaws found in ethnic jewellery so I tried not to be too careful when I stamped the pattern into the metal. Although I wanted my punching to be fairly neat and accurate I wasn't bothered by it being out of place if I happened to misplace my punch. I also drew the flower onto the metal by hand to ensure a more handmade look and feel, as you may notice each petal is slightly different. Lastly, I used a punch/stamp which I made by hand to create the petal-like edge, I was also not too careful to stamp the edge perfectly by evenly spacing the punch.

Fan earrings completed

These are punched copper earrings with a blue green patina and criss-crossing silver wires with reference to patterns from shwe-shwe fabric. The shepherd’s hooks are silver with a simplified copper element to ‘marry’ the copper and silver
These were made a while after the platinum shwe-shwe earrings. I made them in copper so I could apply a blue green patina for colour and give them a slightly more casual appeal to that of the platinum or silver earrings. I have abstained from using the spiral shepherds hooks and created better proportions in terms of the ratio of the wires to the fan element.

Fan earrings 14

In this picture I have soldered silver wire to the fan element, this is just a prototype to see how the silver wire will look with the copper once it has been coloured with the blue-green patina, the silver will give it a more precious appeal.

Fan earrings 13

Here is the final variation, I preferred this more to the previous one but needs more developing as the proportions are strange.

Fan earrings 12

This was another playful variation, I quite liked the geometric lines that are formed by the cris-crossing wires.

Fan earrings 11

I think this is the most successful variant which is the same as the previous one but with a ring on the top. There is something about this design that I really like, it has a mystical feel the way the wires meander and twirl amongst each other and somewhat represents a mothering angelic figure. I will be working with and developing this design.

Fan earrings 10

In this variation I have used two separate wires which intersect and meet at a point, I prefer the pointed tip to the rounded tip in the previous variation.

Fan earrings 9

Here I have widened the loop which creates an appealing effect which somewhat resembles a fan-tailed fish shape.

Fan earrings 8

In this experiment decided for interest’s sake to cut the wires. This seems to give it a more finished look.

Fan earrings 7

I placed the wound wire from the large fan shape to see the effect it would have which I found quite interesting as it had a more elongated appearance. The wires extruded from the ends unintentionally but also had an interesting appeal to it.

Fan earrings 6

In this picture the wires happened to land in this position whilst I was placing them onto the smaller size fan. I felt that it looked really interesting so I wanted to draw from this arrangement.

Fan earrings 5

This prototype I sunk the looped wire to apply the Golden mean proportion to it which also created a more visually pleasing affect in comparison with the previous prototype.

Fan earrings 4

In this photo I coiled the wire twice around a mandrel which seemed more successful but looked a bit like a safety pin.

Fan earrings 3

This was the next step, I decided to use one continual wire where I created a loop at the top instead of soldering the two wires together. I found the loop looked too narrow and disproportional.

Fan eaarrings 2

I then decided to bring the Golden mean into the proportion as I am working with sacred geometry, so I worked out the proportions in terms of the length of wire touching the fan to the length of the wire running to the tip where the two wires meet. When compared to the previous wire length I find this one much more visually pleasing and proportional.

Fan earrings1

These are the earrings that I made in platinum for the anglo plat competition, I have decided to make them in copper as well as silver. They have a rustic African feel to them and I thought that by making them in copper and patinating them into a turquoise blue, it would further accentuate the Rustic feel.
This photo shows my first thought patterns as to the wire that I wanted to solder to the ‘fans’ so they can be hung from a shepherds hook.