Thursday, 24 July 2014

Hill End Gate Neck Piece

Drawing further inspiration from my time at Hill End my next jewellery piece was informed by the etching below. 

Study of a Hill End gate. Etching 2013

The gate was constructed in wood by cutting slots in the horizontal bars, and the vertical posts were fitted into these holes. I remember being quite taken by this gate design, as I had not seen anything quite like it in my travels.

I enjoy creating marquettes before commencing a design as this helps me work out the size and how the design works in space. Its also incredibly important when working in silver as this helps save costs that may otherwise be wasted through the design process.

So I chose to recreate it in silver, drilling holes through the horizontal bars. The intention of this piece was to pivot on a central horizontal bar, allowing the vertical posts to move with gravity. Below is my first attempt.

Gate Neck Piece #1 detail

Gate Neck Piece #1
Whilst soldering, the tube of silver (second horizontal bar), also filled with solder which rendered the rotating design useless.

Back to the drawing board for attempt and design #2.

The design changed slightly and the pivoting point is now central to the neck piece. I also decided not to solder the tube to the framework, rather, slotting it in and allowing it to be held with silver wire which threads through the piece.

Gate Neck Piece #2 detail
Gate Neck Piece #1
The fun thing with this design is the kinetic movement and sounds created whilst the piece spins. The design reminds me a little of music written on a sheet, and the sound is reminiscent of rain on a corrugated tin roof.

Thursday, 17 July 2014

Hill End Gate Brooch

My next jewellery project was to make a brooch incorporating the newly learnt skills and techniques of cold joins or rivets. 

Continuing to gain inspiration from the gates and fences from Hill End, I referred back to one I studied during my residency, and produced a non-toxic etching from the same subject matter. I was particularly inspired by this one, as it was held together with bolts, which would have a similar 'look' to rivets when recreated in metal.

Rose Cottage, Etching 2013

Inspired, I built a marquette using wood to get an idea of size and scale. 

Hill End Gate Brooch Marquette, 2014

The final brooch was completed using copper sheet cut into strips and all joins have been riveted in place also using copper. We were also shown how to set a bezel cut jewel in between two layers of metal, and so I incorporated this technique, using a pink cubic zirconia.

Hill End Brooch, copper + pink cubic zirconia. 6cm x 6cm

Thursday, 10 July 2014

The Fence Ring

I am amazed at just how much of an impact my residency at Hill End last year has had on my work.

Whilst I was there, not only did I sketch the interiors of the cottage I was living in, I also collected a lot of photographs of the fences and textures I came across on my daily exploration of the area. Some of these images were explored through etchings which were exhibited in Landscapes, Ladies and Literature at the Barometer Gallery in Sydney last year.

This year I have been learning jewellery making techniques and I used the inspiration gathered in Hill End as the concept for my jewellery designs.

Working off some quick sketches in my sketch book I made a marquette of the ring design using paper and string.

Fence ring marquette using paper and string
The ring is designed to be worn on two fingers, the ring and middle finger. It was important that this integrated with the design of the fence.

Fence ring made from copper
The first fence ring was made using copper. This was to make sure I could practice soldering the joins and make any tweaks to the design before committing to sterling silver.

Fence ring. Sterling silver. 11cm long  x 6cm high x 0.6cm deep

Thursday, 3 July 2014

Material Matters: Steel String + Wood

Continuing my exploration using wood as an alternative material to creating jewellery I found a stick covered with lichen. Its shape was delightful and I didn't want to cut it up like I had done with previous experiments. 

Wanting to keep the delicate lichen intact, I dipped the stick in resin which gave it a slightly shiny sheen. And looking to work with other metals, I chose to work with steel wire, string and slices of wood to assemble the necklace. 

Also continuing my work with sticks, at the eleventh hour I thought of this fun idea using sticks to create earrings. 

These earrings can be found on my online store

Thursday, 26 June 2014

Material Matters: Foraging for wood

I got such great results from slicing into found pieces of wood (see last weeks post about wood and resin) that I decided to continue working with this method of using wood collected in the bush.

I found a great piece that measured about 8cm in diameter with weathered, sun bleached bark that I thought could be interesting to work with. To my delight, when I started slicing it on the band saw, the interior was just, if not more, interesting combining beautiful wood grain with interesting patterns eaten out of the wood by insects.

I was interested to see what would happen if I combined the sliced wood with precious metals such as sterling silver chain. The chain began to represent all sorts of things, like the thick heavy chains that are used to keep the cars of the old bush tracks. And through using such fine chain, it also started to talk about the delicate balance of nature. 

A Stitch in Time

A stitch in time (detail)
I created a needle by soldering a length of sterling silver wire to the chain to assist with threading the chain through the slices of wood. Following on from my thoughts about time and the environment, this became a conceptual piece called 'a stitch in time'. I decided to leave the needle attached as part of the finished piece.

Hanging on by a Thread

Hanging on by a Thread (detail)

I also finely sliced and re-threaded a selection. They move nicely when worn and made a lovely soft rattle when moved.

I experimented and made some large brooches. 

And also some earrings. These are the beginnings of a new line of jewellery and can be bought in my online store

Thursday, 19 June 2014

Material Matters: Wood and Resin

Whilst walking through the bush I found a stick with a beautiful lichen growing on it. The colour of the lichen was such a delicate green and it was so lace-like I wanted to experiment with and preserve its exquisite qualities.

So I covered it in clear resin.

And then cut it up so that you could see the growth rings of the wood as well as the lichen.

 I threaded the slices of resin and wood onto an oxidised sterling silver rod with spacers to turn it into a necklace. Its currently attached to black cotton, but I think Ill attach it to some oxidised silver chain instead of the black thread to make it look 'finished'.

I was also curious to see what would happen if I cut a circle through the resin and turn it into a ring. The rectangular shape is surprisingly comfortable to wear and I was walking around the studio not even realising that I was wearing it.

The results were a lot of fun and I would like to continue to explore this idea. I particularly like that the pieces speak of capturing the essence of time.

I did find working with the resin was problematic because of the fumes. Ive been told that there is an EcoResin available that I must find out more about. Ethically I also find that working with resin also goes against my principles of using natural materials whenever possible.

For tips on working with resin refer to my previous post about resin and machine embroidery.

Thursday, 12 June 2014

Material Matters: Wood

After trying my hand at making things using paper in unusual and unexpected ways, the next challenge was to take this same approach and apply it to wood.

So I cut up pieces of found wood

And experimented with the idea of making wooden chain links. This is as far as I got, but an interesting idea to explore further....

 I tried carving into it....

 And weaving wire through it...

 And making kinetic pieces....

As well as cutting up a found bit of fence paling. I was most enamoured with the strong direction of the wood grain. And of course, I had to keep the rusty nail.

But I wasn't sure if any of these approaches was exciting enough to explore further. As Triple J comedian the Sandman says 'to be continued'........


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