Thursday, January 30, 2014

Circles of pearls

I've been playing some with freshwater pearls lately.  I made the first, larger circle using cubic RAW, alternating cubes with triangular forms to get the curve you need to make a circle.  My intent was for it to be the focal of a pendant.  I didn't like how much thread showed.  Part of the problem, I think, was that, because the pearls are quite a light gray, I used white fireline instead of black, and I think that was a mistake. The black would have disappeared into the shadows of the pearls better than the white.   Still, in either color, there's a lot of thread.  The second one was done (with black fireline) using the hexagon as a base, as I learned from the beaded molecules blog.  It's smaller, but I like it much better.  I like the openness of it.  Also, if I were making a series of them for a necklace, which I probably will do, the weight is less (54 pearls instead of 65), which I prefer.

Saturday, January 25, 2014

interlocked cubes and scaffolds

Several months ago I did a few posts about some work I had done with interlocking cubes made of seed beads.  The last post (In May) was about a set of cubes with rounded corners that I had done.  At the time I said I'd like to do a whole necklace of them. There were 2 problems with that, though.  One, it would have taken forever.  I do lots of things that take forever, though, so that probably wouldn't have stopped me if I'd been really happy with what I was getting.  The bigger problem was that it was so very dense, I had the feeling that wearing it would be sort of like wearing those high starched ruffs that Spaniards used to wear.  Lord knows I like a piece that has some 3-dimensionality to it, but this was just going to be too much.  So it sat on my work table, partially made, for several months.  Then I thought about using my oxidized copper scaffolds to open it up.  That's what I did here, and I think it's a big improvement.  On most anyone's scale, it's still a pretty dense piece, and it won't be to everyone's taste.  But to my eye, the open areas break it up just enough that it doesn't seem like you're drowning in it.  If anything, as I look at the picture, I think I might go back and make the scaffold at the 4 o'clock position a bit longer to open it up just a bit more.  Anyway, I'm glad I waited and stared at it for a while.

Thursday, January 2, 2014

keggin and keggin-ish structures

    I'm on a 2-week break, since the store that my husband and I own is closed for the holidays.  Just when I had lots of free time, the beaded molecules folks ( posted a set of pictures that set me off on another structural journey.
The structure is called a keggin structure and wikipedia says it's the form of certain acid molecules.  I confess to not being much interested in the chemistry of it, but only in the geometry.  Geometrically. the structure is made of groups of 3 octahedrons that serve as the triangles in a larger structure.  The top  picture shows one such unit.  You can see on one edge (the top in this pic) there's a big triangle, and on the other edge (bottom) there are 3 small triangles that meet at a point in the center.   4 of these units, with the 1-triangle side on the outside and the 3-triangle side to the cente, form a  tetrahedron-ish thing.
    In thebeaded molecules site they showed 5 versions of this structure, identified by Greek letters that I don't have the font to write.  Picture 2 is the alpha version.  Till I made it, I couldn't tell how the others differed.  Turns out that in the alpha version, the triangles on the outside all line up with edges parallel to one another.  In the beta version one of them is point-to-edge.  Each of the others has 1 more triangle arranged point-to-edge till all 4 are that way.  But I had to see it in front of me before I understood it.  It's really hard to show a 3 dimensional structure like this well in a flat picture.  Even more so for me because I don't have 2 colors of bugle beads in the same length just now.
  Anyway, that's it for the Keggin structure.  But for me, since I'm dealing with it just as a geometric structure, not as a chemical thing, it seemed that the next logical step would be to take 8 of these triangle-ish units and make an octahedral version of the structure. So that's picture 3.  Then I took the 8 triangle version and made all the triangles point-to-edge instead of edge-to-edge.  That's the last picture.  I also improved things in that one by making the seed bead accents on the outside a different color from those on the inside of the structure, so that it's easier to read what's going on.
     A person just a little crazier than I  could also take 20 of the 3-octahedron units and make an icosahedron, but I think I've just about exhausted my interest in this.