Thursday, October 30, 2008

Design ideas and development for a final accessory for Module 3 (better sooner than later, but better later than never!!)

Following Sian's suggestion at Summer School I started playing around with a spiral wire structure I had built for presenting my tassles and looking for ways to develop a neckpiece design from it. I love the idea of making a neckpiece that is daring, even a bit dramatic in a fun way, but still wearable, not too heavy or unconfortable to carry around. My other starting point was to use metal like I did in my structure to give it stability and a jewel-like shining appearance with the addition of fabric buttons or some other sort of fabric elements. I had already drawn a few tentative sketches of how the neckpiece might look like on a very basic bodice and on reconsidering these together with my tassle structure I started to see some things in common.
A neckpiece mock-up
I first tried to select a specific sketch from which to develop a design but after some unsuccessful attemps I soon decided it was better and much more satisfying to work directly on my dress form and shape a mock-up in a more dynamic and 3D way while looking at all my sketches lying around me as a group and moving freely from one to the other for inspiration. To find my structure I tried out several cheap wires (from gardening type - too tender - to electrical cable - too springy) and I finally used an economical hardware wire that kept its shape well but wasn't too difficult to bend. I then sprayed it with a gold car paint to obtain a warmer colour, more in keeping with my colour choice for this module.
To obtain my "buttons" or other decorative elements I combined old pieces of embroidered fabrics, padded them, added various metallic bits, threads, self-made beads etc. just to gain an idea of what the final neckpiece might look.
Here follow different views of this mock-up. It can be worn by simply passing it on the head.

I'm now thinking of modeling my neckpiece structure on the tailor's dummy in a rather free way and of adding decorative bits later, perhaps working them directly within the empty spaces obtained instead of creating them separately and attaching them afterwards as I did on the mock-up.
I believe this would help in obtaining a more organic neckpiece and would also strengthen the whole framework by creating additional joints.
So far so good, hopefully it won't take years to get finished. I know, I should definitely move on ...

A couple of more detailed views

A closer investigation of materials suitable for the neckpiece structure
Before going on my first thought has been to investigate which final metallic materials are most suitable to build a strong and pleasant structure for my spiralling neckpiece.
I wanted a more precious but not too costly wire in view also of my lack of experience in scary real jewel making, so after checking prices on the internet I left out gold, gold-plated silver, fine/sterling silver wire and opted for silver-plated copper wire which has many good qualities:
it's relatively cheap, very flexible, forgiving and easy to work with, is available in many different thicknesses and, of course, still retains a bit of magic thanks to its silver layer.
A good thickness is the 2 mm wire. I used cylinder shapes (tin cans etc.) and a pair of jewellery pliers to assist my bending. In the first photo, silver has its original colour, but in a jewellery book a found a magical product to create a warm patina, its name is liver of sulphur and is used by restorers to obtain different shades of golden to bluish to dark brown to pure black for antiquing frames and other objects (second photo).