Sunday, October 26, 2008

Clear Depths and Twists of Fate

If you wonder sometimes how my wandering mind and hands come up with some of the crazy, impossible invented objects and faux-tiques that I make, this is an exercise in how it all happens, a little like magic and a lot of luck.

I posted the necklace to Etsy today, there are more photos over there, and here's the story behind how it was made.

I wish I could say that I do extensive research, many rough sketches and prototypes before I create the finished piece, but it rarely (how about almost never!) happens that way.

I might have been walking around with an idea in my head and an image of something vague in my mind, but most of the time it happens more organically than systematically.

I've had this image transfer in my workbox for quite a long time, several months. I wanted to use it for something special, because I really liked the way the image came across.

The three figures look like a father, grandfather and daughter. The girl looks too young to be a wife, and the standing man could be an older brother I guess. The mother is apparently missing from the photo. It made me puzzle about the people in the photo, what were their relationships to each other, what was their story?

Every so often I would pick it out of the workbox and try to think what I could do with it.

Yesterday I etched a bunch of copper to make shallow shadowbox bezels with. I made the shadowboxes various sizes, just kind of random.

I cut the copper based mostly on how the etching came out, so that the best images and the pretty visuals would show up in good locations on the shadowboxes.

And then I noticed that the image transfer was the same width as the box I was making. The back side of the box has an old, floral vintage design etched into it, and there was a stripe of bright copper on the inside of the box. When I put the photo transfer into the box, something went 'POP' in my head.

I didn't want the image all the way down laying at the bottom of the copper box, so I elevated it about halfway up. Before I put it in in permanently I glued on the front of the photo a clipping from the old shabby book I've been cutting apart that said 'one of the old-timers' because it seemed to fit the photo somehow.

I mixed up the resin and poured in two pours, to make sure the bubbles were under control. Once it started setting up last night, I covered it with a box to keep dust out, and let it cure all night. It's the only way to keep myself from messing it up by touching it before it's ready. I don't have a lot of patience - it's the same way with the fused glass in the kiln. Best put in before bedtime, so it's ready in the morning for a surprise viewing.

I drilled the three holes this morning. I had to find the right drill bit to fit the eyelets I wanted to use so I could string wire through to hang the piece. I polished the copper up, and lightly sanded the resin so it wasn't so very glossy. Then I started thinking about what kind of a necklace this could be when it was all assembled.

Sometimes I will post the bead and someone else can create the necklace. But this time I wanted to pull everything together, as the photo had been in process for so very long.

I used both steel darkened annealed wire and brass wire for the wirework, along with the copper in the box.

I decided to use as many of my handmade components on this necklace as I could. I had some fused glass beads that look like little gears, wheels and mechanical items, so I wire-wrapped those into the chain. And the polymer clay beads with red-and-black marbleized colors, I wire-wrapped them into the chain. And some hand dyed costume pearls and faux metallic beads.

I've spent most of the day on this necklace. I don't know why I'm so slow. But I finally finished it.

The necklace chain has an adjustable length, just by hooking the hammered brass clasp hook into one of the links of the brass chain. The dazzler at the bottom of the chain has a glass bead in the shape of a black cat - for some reason it made me think of fireworks. The necklace hangs very long when extended all the way out, but it's very fun and different.

Here's a photo of another of the resin pieces I made last night, it's a little brass bevel charm, with a replica clock face on it and some fun glass beads to turn it into a dangle.

I'm enjoying working with the resin, along with the etched metal and fused glass. I like combining all different components together to create the finished piece.

Drilling the holes was very fun, I used my dremel. The big drill came out of storage too, in case it was needed.

What's your creative process like? Are you a serious planner? Or do you reach into your bowl of beads and pull out what's on top and work around that?

I'd love to know what you think about these pieces, and whether you have a different way of creating that works for you.

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