I’ve shown a couple of pieces recently using helm flower units, but this was one of my first ideas for how to use them, although I originally wasn’t going to use colour. I recently bought a bunch of mixed anodized aluminium rings (random sizes and colours), which pretty much resulted in thinking of things to use them for, looking to see if there were enough rings for my idea, start making it regardless, and seeing what happens.
So, this happened when I decided to apply randomness (in as much as could), to an older, more structured idea – helm flowers in various colours and sizes, connected with little flower links, plus some butterflies thrown in – chaos and gardens go fairly hand in hand with butterflies.
I always feel that unique pieces like this need a name, so this is Serendipity (not exactly original, I know, but it’s apt none the less). The colours were determined by what I had in the right ring sizes and amount, and placement was mostly random, though as I had more pink and blue than any other colour, I did try to space them out a bit, and the design itself is symmetrical, so there’s an underlying uniformity to it all.
I still have a heap of different AA rings left to play with, so I’m sure there’ll be more colour experiments to come.
The last couple of weeks I’ve been looking at ways to play with metal itself as well as design and I’ve been very fortunate in that a fellow jewellery designer is both willing and able to heat treat some of my finished chains.
The above example is a Jens Pind Linkage 3 chain made from 316L stainless steel and as you can see, there’s quite an array of possible colours – my photo doesn’t really do it justice as there’s some gorgeous blues and purples that don’t quite show, but that’s the result of essentially cooking the chain in a fire furnace. The different colours are a result of the metal reaching different temepratures; some of them quite matte and rustic looking, others almost glossy.
These two European weave bracelets were subjected to the same treatment – the first one is a heavier gauge European 4-1 in 316L stainless steel, and you can see that the clours are quite similar to the JPL. The second one is a European 6-1 weave in 304L stainless steel, and while the colours are similar, I think there’s a notable difference in the lustre, particularly in the darker colours.
I also decided to experiment with oxidizing copper after reading it could be done with boiled eggs (due to the sulphur in the yolk). I decided to use the byzantine bracelet I posted last time, which originally was quite bright.
To treat this chain, I hardboiled two eggs and, as soon as they were out of the water, placed them in an airtight plastic bag (ziplock or press-seal, depending on where you live). I didn’t bother taking the shells off, and it doesn’t really make any difference if you do, but I quickly realised that it’s wiser to as once they’re in the bags the eggs need to be crushed up quite well and the sharp points actually tore holes in the plastic (which I only noticed when crushed egg started oozing out on to the floor).
So, once safely sealed in a new bag, I tossed in the bracelet. The article I read said half an hour would do, but there was absolutely no discernable difference in colour after only that long, and even after an hour I could only see tiny spots where the copper had started to darken.
I periodically tossed it around and turned it over for about 3 hours in total in order to make sure that the eventual colour change was even, and this is what I ended up with.
Not really a huge difference, but a noticable one none the less. I suspect that it would gradually get darker the longer it’s left exposed, but I don’t know if more eggs to start with would have made the process faster, or whether fresher or older eggs are more effective (mine were a little past their use-by date, but definitely not spoilt). Of course, this was covered in small globs of cooked egg when I took it out of the bag, and was a bit of a pain to get clean, but still a worthwhile experiment and a handy alternative using something just about everyone has at hand.
I was experimenting with colour combinations when I made this, although blue and gold isn’t really something out of the ordinary, but I’m not actually the biggest fan of gold as a colour, so wanted to test how far I could push it for my own liking.
The weave is a very simple Hana-Gusari (Japanese 2-6, or at least it would be if I had woven a wider strip, in this case it’s a 1-2), using 18 gauge, 3/16’s (4.75mm ID, AR is around 4) in glossy royal blue anodized aluminium rings and 4mm plated copper wire rings (they’re about 20 gauge, so an ID of around 2.4mm, or AR 3).
I tried to use a few different beads to adorn the chain, but none of them worked nearly as well as these translucent yellow topaz coloured crystal beads (4mm bicones).
All up I thought the result was a little flashy and bold, but still quite elegant, so a successful experiment I’d say.