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.

Wednesday, December 6, 2017

changing necklaces

This post is essentially an addendum to my last post.  I've done a couple of art festivals in recent weeks, and I'm reacting to some problems that showed up.  Basically, I tend to size things to myself.  I have a pretty small neck, so that means that what I think of as a short necklace is actually too short for lots of people.  For starters, the necklace I just wrote about, the one with octahedra and floating pearls--as I said, it was based on a necklace of 22 octahedra, but, because I was running out of 25mm tubes, I made this one out of 20 octs. Then I made up some of the lost length by making the tets at either end longer.  Mistake.  I've now redone it with an extra oct at each end that ends with a 14mm equilateral triangle to get some taper.  That gets us back to 22 octs, and I put a 20mm tet at each end.  Even for a small neck, it's a better size.  Then, to accommodate larger people, I added a 2" extender chain.  I'm going back and adding extender chains to lots of my necklaces.
I've also had a tendency to continue a structure or pattern right up to the hook and eye at the back, without any taper or change of structure.  This one is a good example. I look at it now and say "What was I thinking?"  It makes a good picture, but when you put it on there are these big elephant ears poking out  in back.  They don't want to lie flat the way the ones in front do, and they're just awkward.  More redoing.

Sunday, November 12, 2017

octahedra and pearls

  Recently I bought some pearls with holes big enough to slide them over my tubes.  I decided I wanted to make a neckpiece that was a simple series of octs, ornamented by the pearls.  I had made a similar structure using bright silver and colored aluminum tubes a few years ago, and wanted to repeat that structure.  So I went to my handy blog, where I keep track of my structures.  Here's what I found, from August, 2014:  "It's a simple chain of octahedrons.  But a chain of octahedrons would normally form a straight line.  In order to get the curve you need for a necklace I had to make the triangle on the outside edge longer than the triangle on the inside edge.
Here's where some trig would have come in handy in figuring out just how much longer, but I managed to figure it out with "lesser" math, and it came out right."
  It would have been really handy if I had written down just what the lesser math had given me so that I could have reproduced the shape.  That, after all, is one of the main reasons I write this blog.  Since I didn't do that I started and ripped apart the new piece over and over trying to get the curve I wanted.  As you can see I didn't get the same curve as last time; it's a little pointier at the bottom and straighter across at the back but I like it OK.  It's also just a bit shorter.  That's only because I was running out of 25 mm tubes, so I did just 20 octs instead of 22.  Then I made the 2 tets at the back by the clasp longer.  Also I now make my own hooks and they're longer than the one I used in the earlier piece.  So the overall piece probably isn't that much shorter, but I do think it's a bit shorter.
  So as not to make the same mistake twice I'll put down the plan for the curve.  The outside triangles are mostly equilateral 25mm triangles.  To get more curve I used 28/28/25 mm isosceles triangles at position 1 (at the center), 3, 9 and 10.  On the inside the triangles are either 20mm equilateral or, at inits 1, 2, 3 and 6, to tighten the curve, 20/20/25 isosceles.  It actually doesn't change things all that much.  If I didn't want it to be so pointy at the bottom I could have spread them out more.  Also triangle 6 is an equilateral 25mm oct.  I CHANGED SOME OF THIS AND WROTE ABOUT IT IN THE NEXT POST.

Friday, October 13, 2017


On a recent car trip to Chicago, I spent car time building some different structures that I wanted to use as building blocks for a necklace.  I wanted just a few elements and ended up with 3 front ones and a curve around the back of the neck .  I like it, especially the spiral in the front.  But it's kind of a lot of necklace, both long and wide.  On a whim I hooked the hook to the ring that's on the spiral,  leaving out the last zigzaggy element. Here I have (badly) photoshopped out the element that would be left out.  It makes the necklace more asymmetrical, as well as shorter.  I like the asymmetry, but it's probably just a bit too short. So if I do cut off the zigzag, I think I'll add one more unit to the curve that goes around the back, so that the end of the spiral element is a bit farther from the neck.
I'm still trying to decide whether to cut off the zigzag.  If I do I think I'll turn that element into a pendant.  But
looking at the pictures, I like the top one more than I did just trying it on. For one thing I kept trying to shift it around so that the 2 wide points weren't opposite each other.  But now I think that having them at almost the same height, but  also different shapes, kind of works. It's good to be able to line up the 2 pictures together and see how it looks either way (although taking a selfie as a 68-yr-old is not for the faint of heart).I'd love to know what anyone reading this blog thinks--long version or short?

Wednesday, September 20, 2017

local exhibit of my work

For those (few) of you who are in the Panama City area, I have an exhibit coming up at the Panama City Publishing Museum, on Beck Ave in St Andrews.  There's a Meet the Artist event this Friday from 6:30 till whenever.  The picture here is just one of the new pieces I'll be showing.

Thursday, September 14, 2017

Origami idea

Before I start the main part of this post, I'd like to tell you that I just updated to a new web page.  The address is still emiliepritchard.com, but the content and layout are new.  Check it out.  I'd love any comments.

This post is about another idea I've had kicking around in the back of my mind for ages.  I finally tried it and with interesting results, but they don't lend themselves to a piece I want to make right now.  So I'm memorializing it here for later reference.  The inspiration--and actually more than inspiration because it's more or less the actual design is a fountain done by Ruth Asawa that's origami done in stainless steel.  It's in San Francisco.  I've looked at it for a while, but only recently realized that all the triangles in it are right triangles.  Actually that makes sense, because it has to come from a flat sheet of, in this case, steel.  I reproduced the triangles in tubes and got picture 2.  Actually I made one change--I changed each pair of 2 smaller right triangles that are on the edges of the sheet to a single double sized one.  But, of course, this isn't origami, and there's no way to make the flat "sheet" of tubes stay "folded.
Then you get picture 2, which is pretty much like the origami structure and stays folded.  But the outside shapes are rectangles, and tube rectangles aren't rigid, so in picture 3 I made a pyramid out of each rectangle, and that makes it firm.
  There's one way my structure has an advantage over origami, in that I can adjust the lengths of my tubes to vary the structures.  Mainly I found that by shortening or lengthening the tube that is at the very center of each unit in the flat sheet, you change the angle of the curve.  A longer tube in that position gives you a tighter curve, and a shorter tube there gives a shallower curve, or, at some point, no curve at all.  So you could make a nice oval shaped necklace by varying the curve.