Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Making of final accessory for Module 3

After reading Sian's comments and suggestions on the mock-up I thought it was time to go on and work on the real thing. I reconsidered my earlier drawings and as I had already done for the mock-up I formed and arranged my spirals/swirls directly on the dress-form. My first step was to create the wire structure for the neckpiece and in so doing I aimed at following Sian's first tip to aim at more focus in the overall composition. I still liked the idea of an asymmetrical structure and I wanted an initially "heavier" side like I had done in many of my preliminary drawings. The main problem was to find ways to create a balance on the "lighter" side in later stages. Stage One I decided to use the 2 mm silver plated round copper wire I had already investigated and bent it mostly using my fingers with the occasional help of a round-nose pliers. I then hammered the final structure flat to obtain an irregularly square wire and also in order to work harden the metal and so strengthen the whole thing (this is a jewelry technique which I learnt recently). Here it is. Stage Two
Since I wanted a warm and slightly golden patina on the wire, I dissolved some liver of sulphur in hot water and left the structure in it for half a minute.
Using a smaller wire I made coils and blocked with them the main joints of the structure, crimping them on and around overlapping points. At this point the loops and shapes were stronger.
Following another suggestion by Sian I started wrapping different threads on selected areas of the structure in varying thicknesses.
You may see below a general and a detailed view of how the neckpiece looked at this stage. I had the feeling that the metal and wrapped parts still looked a bit separate and needed other elements that helped to connect them.

Stage Three

The following photos show these new elements added.
I used different beads, fabric pieces, thin copper/brass wires both on the metal and wrapped areas.

Stage Four At this stage I felt I needed something more on the lighter weaker side. I thought of creating just one special big "something" instead of the several buttons/brooches of the mock-up.
After playing around with different ideas (an elaborate piece of metal, a large button, a special clasp) I thought that a fabric element might match better with the wrapped woolly areas.
I made a sandwich of a self-dyed bluish silk prepared earlier in this module, metallic and embroidery threads, sequins, pieces of other fabrics and two layers of hot-water soluble fabric on top and bottom and machine-embroidered them all together. I cut up the embroidered fabric in smaller pieces and zigzagged around all of them.
This is how they looked with the hot-water soluble still showing.

And here are the same pieces after submerging them in hot water for a brief time. The dissolvable fabric has shrunk and they have now a bumpy texture with folds and valleys.
Stage Five
The next two photos show how different embroidered pieces were sewn together to form a sort of brooch on the right side.
I have also added a piece of forged brass under the small last loop. I hammered and worked folds in it on an anvil, drilled holes and stitched it in place.
I now hope to get my neckpiece finished and make a final post about it next week. I can't bear to look at it any longer, it's been too long!


  1. I really like what you have done to the lighter side, it "joins" the two ends together, I suppose "balances them" whould be a better way of putting it! Keep it up I'm looking forward to seeing the final stage.
    best wishes

  2. It's fascinating comparing this to the mock up and seeing how far it has moved on. It's a very exciting piece - definitely something I can see you wearing! I'm not sure I could get away with it. It reminds me in part of the wrapped pipe cleaners we made with Maggie - although clearly it's much bigger and more complicated. Please give an update soon!