Sunday, January 24, 2021
so many short tubes and doesn't have such acute angles. But a cube, since it isn't made from triangles, isn't rigid the way something like a stellated tetrahedron would be. However, I found that if I made a cube using my stiffest 10 lb test monofilament, and went around each of the square faces an extra time, the cube came out almost as stiff as something made from squares. And since it's just floating, and so has no strain on it, it turned out to work just fine. I love the asymmetry it gives to each earring.
Friday, December 11, 2020
not to stellate them too sharply, as you can have a real probem getting
your needle down into the valleys of a piece with tall stellations. I did
One last thing I wanted to do: the icosidodecahedron I had started out
Tuesday, September 8, 2020
I mentioned in the last post that I redid my arrow-ish piece without the colored zigzags because the anodized aluminum colored tubes were 25mm long and without adding a seed bead at each end, these were too short to be diagonals in a right angled octahedron that used 20mm tubes for the sides. Obvious because the hypotenuse for a 20x20 right triangle is roughly 28mm. So I did a right angle weave version with no angled pieces, just squares. I really liked the piece, but I still missed the color, and I had all these 25mm colored tubes, wanting to be used. So after many failed attempts, I finally realized that if I just switched from a 20x20 square to a 17x20 rectangle, the colored tubes would be long enough. Duh.
So I made the piece out of octahedrons with triangles on the sides of 20/20/10 and cross sections of 17/17/10. The ones at the junctions of a horizontal row and a vertical one had to be 17x17 squares, and so there I had to cut down the colored tubes, but that was no problem. And I kept the extra curved arrow that I had put into the plain silver piece, which I liked a lot. I lost the wide arrow heads, which were cool, but with a triangular cross section I couldn't do them the way I had been able to do with a rectangular cross section. And the piece is much firmer. I got rid of the seed beads at each end of the colored tubes, which had made the diagonal wobbly, because in recent years I've come up with a much better way to deal with the larger diameter tubes. I make the piece using just the tubes, no seed beads. Then after it's made I go back and take a thread just through the colored tubes, zigzagging back and forth, and I add a bead between each tube. The thread going on a much more direct path through the piece actually does quite a bit to tighten up the piece, instead of making it looser.
All sounds pretty straightforward, doesn't it. But it wasn't. Because when I had initially moved from an octagon structure on my first necklace to the RAW structure in my 2nd one, I had dropped one unit of width to make the piece a bit narrower. I liked that so when I went back to an oct structure I kept it narrower, at 7 units of width instead of 8. Big mistake. I long ago realized that with an oct structure you want an even number of octs so that the center of the piece is not an oct but the face between 2 octs. This will keep the zigzagging symmetrical. Since I had the 2 arrows going on opposite directions I hadn't thought I had to stick to that rule. So I had made the whole piece up to the point where the yellow arrow started to taper and curve around the neck. And I found that on the left and right sides the zigzags were parallel to one another, instead of mirror images. Doesn't sound like a problem, but when you start to taper and curve each shape, it's just about impossible to get the left and right sides to taper and curve symmetrically unless they're mirror images. So I ended up tearing out the whole yellow arrow and part of the dark green curved one so that I could add in an extra oct to get the zigzags moving in the right direction. This is why I never answer when a customer asks how long it took to make a piece--because for every one that goes smoothly there's one like this. Still, all's well that ends well.
Friday, August 28, 2020
Since there's not a lot happening just now by way of sales (galleries mostly closed, shows cancelled) I've been spending some time redoing some older pieces. Sometimes there'll be a piece that I almost like but something seems a bit wrong. Often it takes me a while to decide just what it is that I don't like, or, once I figure that out, how best to fix it. Sometimes it just takes a small tweak and sometimes a major redo. Here is one of each:
When I made this pendant I had just figured out the square and circle (hexagon actually) shapes, and I've used them several times since. So I liked the shapes, but I didn't quite like the shape of the pendant--too wide and flat, sticking out way beyond the chain.
One of the recurring problems I have is that I make individual units, often not knowing just how I'll arrange them till after I've made several. Then when I've decided I have to attach some sort of rings in the proper places as attachment points. I could do this easily with open rings, i.e. ones that aren't welded shut. But since I have thread at each joint, my worry is that a thread will find its way through the inevitable space where the 2 ends of the ring meet. So I always want a closed ring. But a closed ring has to be put in place as you're building the structure, and you often don't know where you'll want the
join to be. In the first iteration I joined the shapes by putting a pair of tetrahedrons between them. But that meant I had to join them at the places where the edge of the shape was a crosswise tube, not a point. And that made the overall shape of the piece so long and wide. For the second version I came up with a way to join a point on the square to a crosswise tube on each circle and I like that better.
The problem I had, though, is is that without the seed beads at each end,the colored tubes were too short to make octs that wouldn't zigzag, and I wanted them to run straight. And I can no longer get those aluminum tubes, so I couldn't cut longer ones. I could have cut a whole set of silver tubes in custom lengths to make the existing colored tubes work. Instead I redid the whole thing in RAW and eliminated the color. While I was at it I made the arrow heads more pronounced, added an extra arrow, and made the necklace one unit narrower and the back more wearable. I like it a lot, but I still miss the color, and I'm working on a way to do the new design in octahedrons with color. More on that later.
Thursday, August 6, 2020
Friday, July 10, 2020
Friday, May 22, 2020
Sunday, May 3, 2020
Friday, April 24, 2020
Since I didn't want to do repeats, I decided to do a series based on a single idea and see where it took me. I often do 3 or 4 pieces based on an idea before I get hijacked by another idea/structure, but this time I decided to stick with one for a while. It's a tetrahedron structure that I've used a lot and written about before. The earlier posts were in January, 2015 and March, 2016. But I decided to really beat the idea to death. One inspiration, for those of you who, like me, keep old copies of American Craft magazine, is a picture in the Feb/Mar 2011 issue. It shows a series of well over 100 glass vases by Dante Marioni. All are similar in overall size and made of clear glass with black accents. Within those tight limits he goes crazy. To me it's like a theme and variations in music. Even better, it's like a Chopin etude, where you take something that is basically an exercise and make it beautiful. Anyway, I really love it. I'll never do a series that big, but this is what I've done so far. Most have gold accents that don't show up well in this picture. The first 5 will be focals hanging from chains. #5 (top on right) has 1 fat tube at the back that I'll insert a handmade safety pin-type structure to make a brooch. #6 will be a pendant focal, or I'll add a fat tube (although it would cross the circular open space in the center, and I'm not sure I want to do that). The last 3 could be used separately or together, not sure which. I really like them together, but it makes a pretty big group. Time will tell.
Saturday, March 28, 2020
Friday, February 14, 2020
I wanted to make a pendant of the square shape, but I wanted it to be bigger than what I had. The square I had so far was a bit over 2" on a side. But I found that if I turned it 45 degrees so it was a diamond and then added 2 right angle tetrahedrons on each edge I'd get a square that was almost 3" on a side, which was more like what I wanted. I also changed the arrangement of gold tubes, putting them on the inside star shape and on what used to be the outside edge, but was now an intermediate diamond.
Finally, I wanted to make a whole necklace using the square as the focal point, but I wanted to go still bigger. As I've worked out the tube lengths that I want as stock units, I've
As I've said, my ratios are close, but not exact, particularly between the 2 series. So it took a fair amount of trial and error, but I finally found that if I scaled everything up 1size on my tubes except for one on the outside that I left the same, I could make a square that was the size I wanted, almost 3.5" across. Then there was a fair amount of trial and error to get a good curve that got gradually smaller so as to not be too bulky in the back, but I'm really happy with the result, and with all the steps along the way as well.
Monday, February 11, 2019
Above is a single warped square made into an earring, and another earring with 2 of them. I said my way of working gives me more flexibility, but on the other hand my "stock" lengths are sort of set to be able to build right triangles. For example, I cut lengths of 10, 14, 20, 28 and 40 mm. Each one is more or less the one before it times the sq root of 2. So 10/10/14 makes a right triangle ( or would except that the sq root of 2 isn't 1.4 but 1.4xxxx to infinity), as does 14/14/20 or 20/20/28 etc. I also do 17, 24 and 34mm lengths, which fill in the gap and work the same way. But to jump to 14/14/24 makes a very warped square,
(similar to what's in the earrings, which use triangles of 10/10/17) and more than I wanted. So I decided to try making squares where just one of the outer edges was 24 and the rest were 20s.Here's a double row of these squares.
I liked it, and thought it could make a good bracelet ( you can see on the left end an additional structure I added where I could put a clasp). But there was 1 problem. There are 2 versions of the square. If you arrange the "plane" so that the tube on the bottom is horizontal, the tube on top can either go from high on the left and low on the right or vice versa. Since the triangles are theoretically rigid you can't change it once it's made. In this way it's different from the peyote triangles which are inherently flexible. In the top pic I arranged the squares so that each is the mirror image of the ones beside it, which is the way it would have to be for a bracelet. But since the hyperbolic-ness ( hyperbolicity? no idea what the proper word is) is fairly minimal, if you push on one of the high points in the center of the structure you can flip it, and then it turns into pic 2. You can just as easily flip it back, but a potential customer wouldn't know that and I didn't want to get bogged down in long explanations. So I changed it, making essentially warped rectangles, where the outside edges were 2 20s and 2 24s. That made the bumpiness more extreme and hence more stable.
I also tried a structure where the warped squares didn't go back and forth between the 2 versions, but were all the same version. That made the warping spiral. That's the last picture, but you can't see what's happening very well. In order to make it work, I'd need to replace 1 tube in each square with a gold or colored one so that you could see it spiral around.
There's another way to make a hyperbolic plane. Instead of adding length to the tubes that make the perimeter of the structure you can add an extra triangle, i.e, where 4 right triangles would make a flat square, 5 of them would make a hyperbolic pentagon. That's the sort of structure that will get progressively more wavy in the way of a lettuce leaf. But doing it with 5 right triangles was too extreme. Each pentagon was very non-flat. And if the first row had n structures the next would have 2n, and then 4n etc. Again too extreme and fast a progression. I did it several years ago (you can see it in a post on hyperbolic planes from that time) using equilateral triangles, and where 6 would make a flat hexagon, 7 makes a hyperbolic heptagon. And each row will have 4 units for every 3 units in the one before, so the progression is still fast, but not so very fast. I really liked the one I did in colored glass beads back then, but had some trouble with the glass cutting the thread. I'd like to try one in silver tubes, possibly bright silver, but haven't gotten it done yet.