Friday, August 17, 2018

some new bracelets, and a technical advance

Just finished some new bracelets, and I like them a lot.  It also provided a start of a solution to a technical problem I've had with bracelets. 
  Up until recently, I have sort of avoided bracelets for several reasons.  One is that I don't wear them myself.  Like most everyone else, I start out by making something for myself, and I've just never been a bracelet wearer.  The second was the lack of a good clasp.I've written about this before, but I've finally found 2 clasps that work for me and don't use up too much of the bracelet length.
    It still left the major problem with bracelets--they have a very narrow range of usable lengths.  The difference between a 7" bracelet and an 8" one is pretty big.  When you are making modular structures, as I usually am, if you come out too short, you can't just add another module, or you'll be much too big.  Over time I've found out that 10 modules using 20mm lengths or 6 modules using 28mm lengths make a workable length when a short clasp is added.
    Now about the bracelets shown here--it started with the idea of a common Brancusi structure which is column with a square cross section that alternates small and bigger waists.  He did that a often and I wanted to reproduce in in a RAW structure.  My first attempt failed, because since my structures aren't rigid the way a wooden column is, they tend to straighten out on one side or another unless you exaggerate the in-and-out-ness quite a bit.  As you can see, the top bracelet is more exaggerated than the bottom one, but both of them work pretty well.  What I discovered, though, and thought was pretty cool, was that because of the zigzaging in and out on the inside of the bracelet, which is there when not stressed, but can go away if you push on it, the bracelet fits comfortably on a small wrist, but will also accommodate a larger wrist by straightening out the zigzag.  The outside distorts to allow that, but it looks fine either way.  Pretty cool. 

Wednesday, August 1, 2018

new work and galleries

I thought I'd do a post of what I've been up to lately.  Another piece where individual structures are interlinked to form a chain. For each link, I made an octahedron out of gold filled tubes, then added 8 long oxidized silver tubes to form another octahedron on the outside of it.  It took a while to get it right because so many tubes were ending at the same place.  Eventually I added a small round silver bead to separate the outer oct from the inner one, and that seemed to make it work.
The other thing I've been working on this summer is getting my work into galleries.  I traveled around and talked to places, and I've gotten a few new ones, so if you're in any of these areas, I hope you'll stop by and take a look:
Albuquerque--Mariposa Gallery, 3500 Central Ave,
New Orleans--Ariodante Gallery, 535 Julia St,
Chicago--Pistachios, 55 E Grand Ave,

Saturday, June 2, 2018

new collar with gold

I love this piece!  A few posts ago I talked about using some long beads on the outside of one of these collars and how it made the outside edge scallop. I had done it with stone and marble beads and didn't like the mix, but mentioned I might do it with gold tubes. Just finished this one and I really like it. I'm doing more these days with the gold (actually gold-filled) tubes as accents. and I think the contrast with the dark silver really works. For my own use, I mostly stick to the plain oxidized silver pieces, as they're less dressy, as is my lifestyle. But I do like making these silver and gold pieces. They tend to be simpler, and less funky, because when I piece has lots of different shapes and structures, then I think the contrasting color is  distraction.  But it makes a more classic piece pop.
By the way, after writing the earlier blog post about this structure, I forgot to read it before making this piece, and so had to redo it  after getting around 1/3 of the way around.  In the post the dark tubes were 28mm and the stone tubes on the outside edges were 20-35-20.  In this one I started out using all 28s except for the long 35mm ones on the outside, so no 20s on the outside.  That made the outside too long relative to the inside, so it curved was too tightly to fit your neck into it. So I changed the inside tubes to 31mm.  It's still a pretty tight circle.  If I wanted it a bit longer, instead of round, I'd make2 of the inside tubes in each side 35s instead of 31s.  That would add a bit more length, but mostly it would make the curve shallower at that point. There are 12 inside tubes, so I'd change 3,4, 9 and 10. Actually I might just change 3 and 10 (talking to myself here) because you really want to do it when the line of the necklace is 90 degrees from the center point, so you're making it just longer, not wider.

Monday, April 2, 2018

playing with tube lengths

This is a post that, more than most, is just me talking to myself to remember something, because it's about a piece I started to make, but don't like too much and plan to take apart.  I've always liked the piece pictured first.  It was made with 25mm tubes and quartz beads of around 20mm.  I recently bought some malachite beads that are a sort of pinkish tan, and wanted to use them on the outside edges, but I wanted to use 28 mm silver tubes everywhere else. This was partly to make the piece a bit bigger, and partly because I 'm low on 25mm tubes just now. But I found that that combination of lengths made a curve that was way too shallow (obviously, the tightness of the curve is just a matter of how much longer the outside edge is than the inside edge).  The outside edges consist of 3 beads in a sort of a straight line and then and then a shift to a new angle. So I went back and put a long(35mm) marble bead in the middle of each set of 3, in place of one of the pink ones.  I liked the way it made the set of 3 curve, so you get an interesting outline, as you can see in the bottom picture.  But I didn't like the 2 colors.  Too jumpy.  If I'd used all 28s on the inside I was headed toward a piece that was about 21" on the inside and 26" on the outside.  No Pythagorus here, I just laid it on top of a salad plate and the outside curve was pretty close to the outside curve of the plate.  A saucer (21") fit the inside. That seems pretty big, so I needed to shorten the inside edge some more.  I tried substituting a 20mm on the inside, but you have to do it in pairs, and 2 20mm tubes would have made the curve too tight (there's one 20 in the sample).  It looked like the curve with all 28s would have led to a piece with 9 units (maybe 8 and a clasp).  If I'd used all 25s on the inside that might have worked.  Or, to get a more oval, less round shape, 28s with 4 25s, to sort of make 4 "corners".  You could do it with gold tubes on those outside edges, and it would be pretty interesting too.

Sunday, April 1, 2018

Another neckwire piece

I liked playing around with shapes on a neckwire a few weeks ago, so I thought I'd try another.  I think the rectangles with gold zigzagging down them worked well.  makes for a pretty wearable piece, as well as an attractive one.

Tuesday, March 13, 2018

Developing an idea

 I've been making lots of pieces like the first one here: repeats of a structure like an oct, separated by biggish stone beads.  And I've varied it by using different structures, but always a repeat of the same one.  I've wanted to do 2 things--eliminate the beads and vary the structures.  Leaving out the beads means you don't have the color limitation, i. e. you're not limited to wearing it with an outfit that goes with red. There are 2 ways to do this.  One would be to put a closed ring between the octs (or whatever structures) Or they could interlink directly with one another.  Here I interlinked them. It means that you need to build more structures, as they overlap, but it makes the design tighter. I like this one, and I think pretty soon I'll make another one with the pentagonal shapes done in gold filled beads.
   As with most of my ideas, I start out being rigidly symmetrical, and then later I play with the idea in a freer, asymmetrical way.  Picture 3 shows me doing this design in that way.  I think its my best one so far.  I also think adding the gold makes the piece more interesting, without limiting the colors you can wear it with.  Now I'd like to extend that more asymmetrical, more random approach to some of my very structural pieces.

Sunday, February 11, 2018

A new inspiration

 I was looking at the current issue of Metalsmith magazine the other day.  They had an article about Betty Cooke, who's been a well known jewelry designer for decades now.  Besides loving her work, I'm interested because my niece Kate has worked for her off and on for several years at her shop, The Store, Ltd., in Baltimore.  Anyway the piece shown here is one of her better known pieces, and I've seen pictures of it before.  But the magazine picture was bigger, and I noticed that there are silver tubes over the neckwire at the bottom to control the spacing of the oval elements.  That got me thinking, and luckily I have some tubing large enough to go over 16 ga. wire.  Of course for me the tubes would be part of structures of some sort.  After playing for a while, I came up with the piece below.  I'm pretty pleased with it, although it's not quite as clean and minimalist as the other one.Actually, thinking about a more minimalist look, I experimented with what it would look like if I had left out the 2 small diamond shaped pieces that ard between the 3 larger pieces.  What I did was to take my photo of the necklace and photoshop them out to see what It would look like.  The photoshopping was really crude, but it did give me an idea of what it would be.  I decided I liked it better the way it is, but it was an interesting experiment.  I'll be doing more with this idea.