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.
These pieces were part of my resolve to try and make something a little more unique, although in saying that, they were inspired by some bridal wear I spotted while browsing etsy last year – such as this.
I’m sure you can see there’s a lot of potential for experimenting with the basic concept, and while my first two attempts aren’t quite as elaborate, I first wanted to get a feel for basic construction, where it might need support to sit the way I envision, and whether my first idea – a necklace with a “wrap” around the shoulders, was actually wearable for a decent length of time without becoming uncomfortable or continually displaced.
Obviously, I could still jazz this up quite a bit if I wanted to, but for my first attempt I wanted to keep it quite simple and used some pretty basic weaves in stainless steel. The diamond shape at the centre is Japanese 12-2, and the rest is European 4-in-1, interrupted with larger rings just for a little extra interest, and to help match the two weaves with one another.
All in all, I consider it a success, as it sits the way I wanted it to. I also wore it around the house for a little while and was pleased it didn’t get cumbersome or shift around when I moved. I also realised the chain that wraps around the shoulders can also go under the arms for a slightly different look, and used that to solve a problem I had when finishing off the next attempt.
I really didn’t have a set idea in mind when I started this, only that I wanted it to be more “interesting”. I started with making helm flowers in the purple, adapting them slightly (making the weave quite tight and firm, causing them to take on a more diamond shape). I ended up adding in the blue mobius rings after realising a chain with such a bold purple really needed something to break it up and contrast with, which the steel just doesn’t do. Ultimately, I just kind of threw ideas at it and kept what seemed to work!
What didn’t work was trying to make the lower chain sit at shoulder level – primarily because I’d used all the purple and blue rings doing what you can already see, and I couldn’t find something that would both complement them and keep it sitting higher up (the stainless steel one works, even though it only has one point of support, because it’s actually a lighter chain, and is balanced by equal weight at the back); plus, I really liked the way the lower chain zig-zags across the chest, and adding in more support would have meant it followed a rounder line like the necklace.
So, that’s a couple of the ideas I’ve been working on – I’d like to do something quite a bit more gothic with this idea…eventually!