Monday, December 6, 2010

Third Semester Metals-part 1

Ok, almost caught up to real time! So Fall 2010 ( brings my third semester of metals class. I feel like I've been doing it so much longer. Even Lauren (my teacher) had a moment the other day when she realized how "young" I am in metals. This semester I've really been trying to push myself both in learning new techniques and also in terms of content. 

So we jumped into our first project head first. Lauren had us suggest various content fields, like "love" and "culture". Then she had us each blindly choose 7 techniques from a hat (all techniques were ones that were previously covered) and two content fields from the hat. Our assignment was to use at least 5 of the techniques and use our content fields in some way to kick-start our sketching (which I don't really do...sketch). 

I use my sketchbook more for verbal ideas. I tend to write paragraphs and ideas, so I do sketch in a way, but it's not usually pictures. If I need to "sketch" an idea, I usually do it in air-drying clay or paper. I seem to have an easier time "sketching" in three dimensions. 

So I decided to push myself to use 6 (instead of 5) of the techniques. I wanted to explore the idea of identity, so I thought it would be nice to try and create fingerprint type shapes with each different technique. Since I was using 6 techniques, I went with a cubed form. It turned out pretty nice. I still have some finishing issues which I hope to fix over the christmas break. 

My techniques were-hollow construction, married metal, overlay, fold-forming, roll printing, and piercing. I also experimented with using solder to make a fake married metal side. The chain is a bought chain, but once I get better at chain making, I plan to make my own chain. The fold-form side (the side on the right of the bottom picture) is my favorite. It looks like fabric. 

Our second project was to make three rings that represented plane, volume, and line. They could associate with each other or not, as long as there was one ring for each element. Oh also we had to set at least one stone using a bezel setting. I had plane and line figured out pretty quickly, but unfortunately every idea I had for volume would have had to be cast, which isn't something we were doing this semester. Finally I decided to do a ring based on a school of fish after watching one of the "Planet Earth" episodes. I waited really late though, so I'm not completely happy with it, but it's ok.

This is my plane ring, though it could easily be interchanged to represent volume. It is comprised of three fold-formed leaf shapes that are tension fit together so they don't come apart. This was the easiest one. no soldering, no riveting, just hammering. There are two silver leaves with a copper one in the middle.

This is my volume ring about the school of fish. I drilled holes in the metal before I rolled it down so that the holes would become oval shaped. I hammer textured the metal, polished it, then sanded the top so the hammered divots would be shiny spots, like fish. This is the ring with the stone. I used an amethyst cabochon and I reverse bezel set it (which means I set it in from the back).

This is my line ring. I like to call it "Mondrian has a bad day" because I was inspired by a conversation I had with someone about Mondrian. His work is a series of white canvasses with blue, yellow, and red squares on it. It's the stuff people often look at and go "this is art??" He used the squares to represent the city of New York and so I thought this was appropriate to show the difference between NYC in the early part of the 20th century, when Mondrian was painting, to now. This ring caused me the most trouble and headache. I cut each  rectangle out of rectangular tubing (NO, I did NOT make each single rectangle!) and soldered them together, one by one. It took forever. Then I spent a lifetime filing out the inside of the ring to be a circle, since it was all jagged from the varying lengths of tubing. It's cool, but I have no desire to do it again.

We just finished project number 3, but that will have to wait for another post!


  1. My favorite is your plane ring. I would wear that ALL the time!

  2. Wow - these rings are just amazing! So many different techniques, so much precision...they're just breathtaking. I wish I could solder - all my attempts have been so sad:-( Just the equipment is such a major financial investment, I felt like it wasn't really something one could just "dabble" in here and needed a true commitment to it! I'm drooling over the Mondrian ring. How comfortable is it when worn? You could totally have it cast by a casting company and sell them by the truckload on Etsy!!
    Thanks for the link!