Enamel motifs

A while back I wanted to try out using enamel to encorperate colour in my jewellery but didnt take the idea much further. Well now I am finally doing it and really enjoying the result. I think it has a very effective soft, lace-like look that works well with the wallpaper motifs I use. Here’s a test piece…

Red Eye Piece 2009 014

Method in my madness

In an effort to identify the method with which I work, I printed out all my blog posts labelled ‘design & work process’. In laying them out in order I saw a pattern starting to form which looked something like this:

Scan010

I often have an idea that I want to explore and end up making a couple of prototypes or test pieces. These are made with no intention of becoming a final piece of jewellery, but rather for the satisfaction of turning an idea into something workable and making something with an unknown outcome, and seeing where it leads.

More often than not, the unfinished pieces get placed somewhere on my bench or wall as I start working with another idea. What I have come to realise however, is that the threads of the ideas behind all these little test pieces feed other ideas and designs later down the line, linking up in a network of interwoven threads, slowly weaving a pattern.

For example; my idea of wanting to incorporate colour with ribbon earlier this year lead to a bunch of test pieces for interchangeable jewellery, then I carried on working with my metal lace concept for a while. After a few months, I found a test piece that seemed to link up with some sketches I had done and I ended up making ‘lace’ rings with coloured ribbon.

I guess what I am trying to illustrate here, is that for me the making of jewellery is an indulgence where I can explore the thoughts in my mind and tangibly work with and make sense of many of the influences and ideas in my mind. It is this making process that gives the pieces of jewellery I make value to me. Many of my little test pieces of metal I cannot bring myself to get rid of, yet somehow it is easy to sell a piece of jewellery. Where is the sense in that? Surely a piece of jewellery is more valuable…or is it?

Lace Ruffles

I am hoping to take part in the next Red Eye event happening in Durban in September. I will be making a bold ramp piece of jewellery which I am intending to make with layers of metal, lace and paper.

bigger collar

bigger sleavescuff

The ideas I have come up with take reference from the flamboyant lace ruffs, collars and cuffs that were part of the court costumes in the 17th Century. Needlepoint lace was worn as a display of luxury and elegance by both men and women to demonstrate their high class and wealth.

References:

http://www.marlamallett.com/l-needle.htm

The Greenwood Encyclopedia of clothing through world history, Volume 2, by Jill Condra



Thinking out of my box…

The time of the year has come for the Plat Africa competition. We have to base our piece on the courting traditions of a South African culture group. Coming from KwaZulu Natal it is apt that our pieces are based on the Zulu culture.

I have to admit that I am struggling to design something that captures our theme but still lies within my personal style. It has been a big challenge for me because my work generally has a very organic flow to it and I have worked through numerous designs and prototypes to try and incorperate it somehow into the structured geometric designs of the Zulu culture.

sketches 1sketches 2

sketches 3

The above sketches show me working through ideas to integrate what I’m doing with my personal work and our Zulu symbol that my group chose. I had an idea of using wire elements woven together to look like lace, but it did not fit with our concept and metal restrictions well. I do however, want to take it further to use in my personal work…

Platinum test piece 1

My next attempt was to incorperate ribbon to bring in the colour combination and the Zulu symbol we chose, but this was quite a disaster I think, the ribbon was too wide and the symbol got lost between all the weaving in and out…

Flavours exhibition 002

So now I am onto my next prototype, third time lucky I hope!

Ribbon Rings

Here’s the next step in my ribbon rings! These were designed in Rhino and cast which allowed me to cut the flowers out accurately in a uniform manner. I millgrained the edges because I thought it would soften the look but I still feel the rings could look softer….

exhibition 032

I like the colour and contrast of the ribbon integrated with the silver.

Ribbon ring

I’ve been throwing around ideas for a ring that looks like lace or material wrapped around the finger…

jewellery 015

After doing a few sketches I moved on to other things, then after a few weeks I came acoss a prototype I made a couple of months ago which seemed to run with the same concept of material tied around the finger. Fancy that!

jewellery 004jewellery 002a

A few days later I saw this lace and it prompted me to expand onto my ideas and make another prototype

lace 016ajewellery 024a

I like the idea of incorperating ribbon to bring in colour and another layer and texture. I think the contrast to the silver works well. I am busy cutting some out in Rhino and would like to add some millgrain to the edges.