Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Engineering a piece

I thought I'd post something about the way I design a piece, which is a very slow, trial-and error process.  I've been doing more with my idea of a structure that goes back and forth between the hex-based structures for round beads and the triangle-based tube structures.  I've done several along the lines of the one in my last post, where the necklace is a chain of polyhedrons, going back and forth from stone shapes to tube ones. Here I wanted to vary that a bit, and create individual "links" that combined tubes and stone, and then join them together.  I started by creating the stone shape (what you see is actually the 3rd version).  At each end it has a triangle of 3 10mm tubes and that becomes the base for a tube octagon.  The problem, then, was to join the 2 octs together to form a round shape and then link those shapes together.   You can't join them with an octahedron, because in those the triangles on opposite sides point in opposite directions, whereas these both have their point on the bottom.  You could use a chain of 2 octs, but that would entail lots of short tubes, and I didn't think that was what I wanted.  So I simply joined them with 3 parallel tubes at the top ( that's the one on the left).  But all those parallels, as I should have known, allow lots of wobble--rectangles becoming parallelograms, etc.  In the one on the right I added 2 more parallels down at the bottom of the tube part, but still had the same problem.
    After some screwing around I realized that there was a way to make the structure out of 3 tube octahedrons.  If I changed the shape of the ones coming off of the stone form so that they touched each other, then you could have an oct in the middle because you wouldn't be attaching to triangles on opposite ends of it, but to triangles that meet at a vertex.  It makes the "donut hole" smaller than I wanted, but that's what I ended up with.  I think you can see that I've taken advantage of the flexibility in the stone part of the link.  The stone structures in the top and bottom pictures are the same, but in the bottom one they look longer and shallower than in the top one.
    Another issue is color.  I think it dates back to my rugweaving days, but I always tend to think that if 1 version of a color is good than 5 are that much better.  That is, If I'm using green stones, I want each iteration to use a different green.  In designing these stone-and-tube pieces, I've so far fought that urge.  For one thing, I think a piece looks less formal when it uses several colors than when all the stones "match."     Also I'm beginning to think that just because a piece of jewelry is necessarily small, at least compared to a rug, more cohesiveness might be good.  However, in this piece, just because the color brown is itself so neutral, I went back to my old ways and used several browns and brown-reds.

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