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'........

Thursday, 5 June 2014

Material Matters : Paper Jewellery

I have been playing with paper, pushing boundaries and materials in an effort to discover new ways of working, and ultimately new ideas and concepts for creating jewellery.

Here are some of the experiments:

Stitching paper together using bookbinding techniques (coptic binding stitch)
Holding paper together using string
Dipping paper in resin
Riveting paper (left) and tie dying paper (right)
Constructing 3D forms with paper 
Wrapping with embroidery thread and held together with pins and coral

After many experiments I combined copper with paper and ended up with the following finished pieces:

Burnt rice paper held together with a copper rivet

Detail of burnt rice paper and copper rivet
Torn rice paper, riveted with copper tube, black patina
Torn rice paper, stitched with copper wire, green patina

Many of my experimental pieces would be fun to translate into metal...... all I need is the time *sigh*


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