Sunday, July 28, 2013

Eye Candy

Pinterest board: Decreptitude
Isn't it so interesting how, at the height of our technological prowess, we as a society seem to be reaching towards the past for inspiration? And not just the past per se, but the poor, falling down, ready to return to nature past. The appreciation for 'Shabby Chic' focuses on not only old worn design elements, but on pants that simply must hang down to the lowest common denominator (born out of hand me downs from elder siblings), depression era oversized dresses (remember the dress clips we wore in the 90's? Just like they did in the dust bowl depression?), peeling paint, broken statuary, abandoned estates... the list could go on and on. 

It seems we love the aesthetic (me included!), but romantically delete from our frames of reference the actual living conditions and day to day hardships that people from the chosen era had to endure. Would reenactors really like to fight in a civil war battle if they had to rely on 19th century medical practices? Would we find ancient Roman and Greek sculpture so elegant if it were painted with the lifelike (perhaps garish) colors scientists have found evidence of? These thoughts are what drive my personal design ethic. They are what compel me to pick up bits and pieces of flotsom and jetsom, to use found objects in my work, and to decorate my home with architectural salvage and hundred year old family photos.

How do you feel about looking to the past as a way to inform the present?

Sunday, July 21, 2013

The Return of the Eye Candy

I spent a couple of hours today cleaning up and rearranging my Pinterest boards. I think I made my first pin sometime last year, and now I have 2,721 pins on 66 boards. Wow!  Very prolific. But as often as I find beautiful images to upload and re-pin, I seldom take time to review and renew their inspiration. Today's exercise was a treat. With a purring kitty on my lap, and so many images to re visit, I almost didn't want the organization to end.

I found so many stunning images that I had forgotten about, that I thought I'd share them with you. One per week, with a little added commentary. Now, don't let me tempt you into looking at all my pins! Anticipation is a good thing, and waiting to be surprised each week will bring it's own kind of pleasure. But if you find yourself with time on your hands and a sketchbook in your fingertips, Enjoy.

Niebla combeoides (syn. Vermilacinia combioides, "bouquet fog lichen")

I thought this image of lichen clinging to a rock somewhere on the California coast would be a perfect inspiration for a brooch or pair of clip earrings. Wouldn't those little floral forms be wonderful with some powdery enamel? Fabricated from bronze or copper a verdigris finish would add the perfect realistic touch. This image is from my "I see Jewelry" board.

Monday, July 8, 2013

A Jewelry Artist in Art jewelry

Many years ago I was asked to submit some photos to Art Jewelry, I no longer remember why. Well, they never used any of the photos I sent along. Until the July 2013 issue. Color me gobmsmacked. And delighted!

I originally made the copper focal element in a hydraulic forming workshop with Cynthia Eid many years ago, and it sat on my bench for a long while until I finally got the bright idea to use it in a class sample illustrating how to set an unusually shaped cabochon for the Level Three certification project. While this isn't a cabochon per se, it is an irregularly shaped object with a flat back - and that is all that is really needed.

This project is successful in many ways. Not only do the partial bezels and clay prongs function to hold the copper piece in place securely (which is the crux of the project), but the whole setting compliments the focal and repeats decorative elements, which reinforces the design. Notice how the spirals (made by curling a piece of wire and pressing it into the copper sheet) are repeated with metal clay syringe on the top of the silver setting, how the scalloped edges of the camera left side of the copper (perhaps obscured by prongs) are repeated in the scalloped edges of the bezels, and the scalloped edge of the backing piece, and a syringe squiggle is repeated three times on the upper right, upper left, and bottom center of the backing. On the back, I left a window in the silver, covered by a piece of thin glass, that reveals the underside of the hydraulic form.

All these repetitions create an inviting sense of rhythm and encourage the viewer's eye to travel around the piece. The longer someone's eyes linger on a piece, the more interesting they find it, the more they are drawn to it, and in the case of a potential collector, the more they may be inclined to want to buy it.

Using the principles of design in your work - balance, proportion, rhythm, and emphasis - will help you to create strong, dynamic pieces.