Sunday, May 16, 2010

The Lunar at Night

One of my best friends ever visited me at the end of March. I've written about Jeremy before in another post, and he remains one of the only friends from my university days whom I actually -see- on a semi-regular basis. All right, so two years isn't really semi-regular, but given I haven't seen my entire batch of crazy US friends since 2003 - well, you get the picture.

In between juggling work and catching up, I sat through several RPG gaming sessions with Jer and the Bloke, and one day I actually brought along some wire to fiddle around with while we played. Not having a very clear idea beyond 'pendant', I free-formed it and wrapped away with a cheerful optimism that should have been an advanced warning.

Well. The pendant took about a week to complete because like a typical dimwitted ninny, I miscalculated the curvature of the two frames I was wiring together and it turned out lopsided. The result was an imbalanced piece of nicely wired crap which bugged the daylights out of me because it wouldn't hang straight. This lopsidedness got even worse when I wrapped the -heavier- half of it with silver beads (yes, very smart I know. What was I thinking --oh wait. I wasn't.) In the end, I had to add some silver beads to the other side of the frame to compensate - but even then it wasn't quite enough to offset the weight disparity. Finally, I ended up hanging a focal bead and a curved silver piece from the centre loop and that more or less did the trick.

Moral of the story: Calculate your frame right to begin with, and you won't wind up with a design headache like I did. Just saying.

Because I'd used anodised steel wire and silver beads for the pendant frame, I wanted to call it something Dark and Gothic and Night-like. When I put in the blue focal pearl, I thought it looked rather like a hanging moon - so in honour of the game, the character I was playing and the fact that I'd worked on it while gaming, the piece got christened Lunar.

Lunar: Anodised 18ga and 24ga steel, pewter beads, 20ga artistic wire, blue cultured pearl.

See how the frame gets lopsided? Yep, kids, don't try this at home. It makes you crazy. It still doesn't hang straight enough for me despite the fixes.

I thought I could get away with not wrapping the top loops but they looked too bulky and uncouth so they got covered up.

I'll consider this a prototype and see if I can't refine it any further. Anodized steel wire is a joy to work with; I should really give it a bit more attention.

And next time, I -measure- both frames and secure them -properly- before I start wrapping away like a crazed cat for cream.

Friday, May 14, 2010

The Strange Attraction of Opposites

Some months ago, I was commissioned by a friend to make a bridesmaid's jewellery set. Her only stipulations were that it be simple, elegant and fuss-free.

Given that the bridesmaid dresses were fuschia and white, I thought Swarovski pearls might add just the touch of elegance necessary. I also wanted to use whatever I had on hand in the interests of keeping costs reasonable, and also because I've been trying to exercise more creativity in the reinvention/upcycling/recycling of materials that might not otherwise be seen as 'jewellery components' at first glance.

My friend is a big proponent of recycling and being environmentally conscious. Digging through my stash of stuff, I discovered I had leftover metal washers from a previous project, and enough headpins and eyepins to last about fifty years (all right, I'm exaggerating, but I've got quite a bit of those things lying around). I also had a sheet of aluminium that's been crying out to be used for a bit since I got my jeweller's saw at the beginning of this year. I'd been wanting to experiment with texturing as well, since I've got a chasing hammer that's only been used for flattening metal up to this point.

The result was aptly named 'The Strange Attraction of Opposites' in honour of pearls meeting metal washers. I gave it an adjustable 52cm (approximately 20")chain that could be set to either matinee or choker length, depending on the dress. The earrings measure about 6.5cm (just a little over 2.5") and the pendant is 2.4cm (approximately a little over 1") in diameter.

The Strange Attraction of Opposites: Swarovski pearls, rhodium-plate jump-rings, silver-plated eyepins, metal washers, hand-cut and textured aluminium pendant.

Pendant detail, with a bit more of the texturing visible.


Earrings, another (slightly more artsy) view.

Oh yes, my friend loved it. Even better!

Friday, May 07, 2010

The Dream and the Dreamer

Once upon a time, when dreams were plentiful and less prone to being blasted out of existence by reality, there was a little girl who loved to sing. Morning, night and noon, she'd be warbling like the birds from sun up to sun down, and all manner of hours in between.

What do you want to be when you grow up, the teacher asked at the end of each school year, and made the class write it down. The little girl wrote 'Singer' for maybe three of her twelve-plus years in school, before she was told that fairies weren't real, that believing in fairies couldn't make you fly, and that dreams couldn't sustain you in reality.

The little girl became a big girl, and her dreams drifted further and further away, like lost balloons - till she hurt her voice so badly that she didn't think she could ever sing again. So she buried that particular dream, and went on with the process of growing up.

Years later, the big girl joined a choir, never thinking that it would be anything more than something to pacify a ruined dream. What she didn't know was that even broken dreams could repair themselves and grow bigger and bigger, till they became reality.

The choir got stronger, and the big girl kept singing just because she loved it - until one day, she was asked to sing with her friends in one of the biggest events in the world, and she couldn't believe it till she actually saw the invitation.

And that is how the little-girl-turned-big-girl came to rehearse and get ready for the Day of Choirs at the 2010 World Expo in Shanghai, China - and also to compete in the World Choir Games with her adult choir, and the quartet she'd been singing with.

And that is where I've been for the past few months, preparing for the competition and raising funds for the trip. Which is why my updates have been so infrequent, and may be a little more sporadic than usual. Still trying to register that we'll be singing in Shanghai, I keep having to look at the invitation to believe it's real!