Saturday, March 27, 2010

Deconstructing Pipas

My nearest and dearest are pretty unanimous about the fact that I've got an inherent tinkering gene - I can't ever leave well enough alone. This holds true for cooking, for music improvisation, and also jewellery.

This is also usually a recipe for some sort of disaster. Just so you know.

Many moons ago, when I was starting to learn that there is this thing called WIRE! which you can play with and shape, I got to know Corra of De Cor's Handmades. I was - and still am - in awe of her abilities to PWN wire with the best of them, and bought a couple of her tutorials to try and convince myself that maybe I could reach that level of skill.

One of the tutorials was called the Pipa Knot. My first attempts at it resulted in this mind-numbling embarrassing -thing- which has since been mercifully consigned somewhere out of sight except in photos:

The sheer magnitude of shame kept me from pursuing the Pipa Knot any further, until my mother's silver earrings two years ago. This time I stuck (more or less) to the original tutorial, and things went (more or less) just fine. That is, if you don't count the many wire breaks I had to hide due to my inexpert handling of the silver wire, and a misplaced belief in my ability. I gave them to my mother with the disclaimer that, should she ever lose them, I'll never make another pair. Cracked, bleeding fingers may have had something to do with this proclamation.

Yesterday, some demon of perversity drove me to revisit the Pipa Knot once more. Except this time, I decided I was going to deconstruct it and see what I could come up with, using more or less the same technique. This time I didn't refer to the tutorial, I just went on a vague sense of memory and lots of glue, hope and sunny cheer that it would turn out SOMETHING resembling ok.

The results are...still somewhat embarrassing due to the fact that I mucked up part of what I thought I remembered. Note to self: USE TUTORIAL next time, memory at my age is a bad gauge of accuracy. I'm sure this would ensure better results.

(I told you I was a tinkerer. I never said I was a GOOD one.)

Behold, the Deconstructed Pipa - just for you, Corra, for old times' sake!

Deconstructed Pipa: 20ga and 28ga artistic silver wire, fire-polish Czech glass beads, amethyst bead. Approximately 1.2 inches (3.5cm).

I tried two new wire-wrapping techniques that I'd seen but not used before, and I think they turned out fairly decently:

The Whole Shebang in Close-Up Technicolour, hanging from something:

So...I still have a long way to go to master this gorgeous knot (so Corra won't kill me when she sees how badly I've butchered her beautiful design.) However, looking (and shuddering in horror) back at what I -used- do to in the name of art, I think I've improved some and that, at least, is worth the embarrassment of keeping old photos.

If nothing else, I've learned to handle a camera better at least!


Wendy Sue said...

wow! this is so cool!

Kenny Mah said...

Dear Shuku, I don't see how your Pipa knots (the original attempt and the deconstructed version) are embarrassing - they are beautiful! :)

Corra said...

LOL Shuku - I am with Life for Beginners, it is pretty! DESIGN ARE SUBJECTIVE REMEMBER? *HUGS!!!!*