I've been asked numerous times about the design process that I go through to make my jewelry.
I always have to pause and think, "Huh...what do I do?"
With my background as a landscape architect and years of making jewelry, the design process has become somewhat intuitive for me.
I think that most people who have been working with a particular set of skills eventually reach a point where they can make decisions without agonizing deliberations.
A personal history of successes and failures is very effective in streamlining the various decisions that must be made.
So...I thought I would be more conscious about the planning of a necklace that I began today.
It started with a large piece of jasper that I've had for at least 2 years.
I bought the jasper because I liked the veining and the variety of colors and thought it could become a nice pendant, but I would need to think about it for 2 years.
The jasper had a hole drilled at one end.
I could have done a wire wrapped connection directly through the hole, but thought that would be too abrupt and boring.
Sitting on my workbench were pieces of etched silver nickel that I had already cut, intending to use in a bracelet.
I took one of those pieces, drilled two holes, and carefully wrapped it over the top of the jasper, creating a collar/beadcap.
The wire wrapping now has a graceful connection to the bead.
I then began to select the other beads that will be part of the necklace.
I chose some small jasper beads that pick up and complement the brown/green in the jasper.
I think I only want a few of these small jasper beads because of the opaqueness of the material.
The rest of the beads that I've assembled (labradorite, honey jade, lemon quartz and smoky crystal)again complement the colors of the jasper pendant and they also have a degree of transparency that will keep the chain from feeling dull and heavy.
It's kind of similar to selecting colors for a painting...the transparent paints bring a nice luminosity to a piece.
The more transparent beads, especially those that are faceted, will bring some sparkle to the necklace, and who doesn't love a little sparkle?
I cut some strips and discs from other pieces of etched silver nickel to make a visual connection between the chain and the beadcap.
The 2 discs were cut from my melted mess a few weeks ago.
It's my plan to connect the beads with sterling silver wire and chain, but plans often get revised once the actual work gets underway.
I’m often asked where I find inspiration for different
things that I create. Usually, I don’t really feel like answering because the
whole evolution of an idea to an actual, finished product is often a very intimate
and personal journey.
But….there is always a rationale behind what I’m doing, and
sometimes, I don’t mind sharing.
I’m frequently percolating a whole cluster of ideas
that are in their own little orbits (yeah…it gets a little noisy and crowded in
my brain), seemingly unconnected when all of the sudden…BAM…some of those ideas
collide and I realize, “Yes…of course they belong together.”
This project began with three orbits.
Over a year ago, I found this great album of
black & white photographs at a flea market. I am slightly obsessed with old
photos and felt like I hit the jackpot.
Some photos have already been put to use in
completed projects, some are in projects that are in a seemingly perpetual
state of “hmmmm…I have to figure out just the right way to complete this.”
rest sit, waiting for the right idea to surface.
Last month, I found this great metal dish at a
local thrift store.
The pattern of cut-outs makes this an unusual find for me,
and I immediately started planning how I would make my own cut-outs for
The lovely woman who was at the register said, “Oh,
how pretty. You can get this replated and it will look like new!”
I said that I
thought that was a great idea, but what I was thinking was, “Great idea….not
for me, though.”
When I made my initial cut, I couldn’t help but
imagine the section as bars, as in a prison.
That made me think, “I have to think about this.”
A few weeks ago, I listened to an NPR radio program
about rape on college campuses. Hearing that 20% of female college students
are sexually assaulted left me feeling pretty heartbroken. A statistic like
that exists only because those who have the power and influence to demand
change choose not to.
The behavior of some students, even at respected colleges and universities, is alarming.
You can gohere (Huffington Post article) to understand how alarming...it's very disturbing.
I am very impressed by the courage that some other
students have displayed in their commitment to speak up and use their voices in
a loud, determined way, demanding more from their administrators in spite of
becoming targets of vicious verbal attacks.
Those different topics came together, and I
realized I had to make the pin that I was imagining…a photo of women from an
earlier generation behind bars that are breaking down.
A section of the plate was cut out with metal
shears and all edges were filed and sanded. A strip of copper was stamped and riveted in place.
Using the section of the metal dish as a template, I cut a second piece
of metal from a sheet of copper that I had etched last year and riveted a bar
pin in place.
After I secured the photo, the two layers of metal
were riveted together.