Necklace. Sterling, 18k. 20"L. photo: Doug Yaple
Graduated Saguaro Necklace.
Every process in the jewelry or metalsmithing studio has its advantages. Casting is a wonderful way to transform an organic material into metal. The central elements suspended in the hand forged sterling circles are sections of coral-like sea fan (or sometimes cactus skeleton) that I embed in plaster investment and burn away. The cavities are then filled with 18k gold and those cast golden elements refined and then soldered into the frames.
At left is the first piece that I built in the series. Here is one of the smaller Saguaro pins.
Ocular Series: Saguaro. Bronze, sterling, 18k gold. 2.5"
Bronze, sterling, 14k, 18k, 22k, diamond.
Central element 3"H. photo: Doug
The surface of this neckpiece is made by fusing sterling sterling and bronze filings directly to bronze sheet which was rolled, fused and rolled again. The hive or comb of cells at the center is fabricated from sterling tubes and domed sheet gold. The little diamond was spin set--lathed into its tube.
Naked Comb (below) is a smaller brooch in the series.
Neckpiece. Salvaged steel scrap, copper,
18k, stainless. Central element
2"W. photo: Doug Yaple
State of Affairs
State of Affairs was fabricated from scraps of rust-riddled, thin steel sheet collected by a friend from the shores of Lake Michigan. I had mailed her a box of stinky, road-kill porcupine quills and I received a smaller package containing these artifacts, along with a short note in return. I had the form in mind for some time and began working on the neckpiece within minutes of opening the box.
I approached the steel as I would nonferrous metal, soldering and even pickling it and leaving the results up to chance. The hook was forged from a bit of stainless cut from a coil that has been laying around the studio for years.
Neckpiece. sterling, 14k, plastic chickens and pearls.photo: Doug
Chicken Choker is a neckpiece built for the recently published book Humor in Craft (Schiffer). It was accompanied, along with the Ring-tisserie and Unscrewable , by the essay And a Chicken Shall Lead Them... which I wrote--also for Humor in Craft.
The pun has been termed "the lowest form of humor" but I love 'em. This particular one was just too saucily delicious to ignore: the piece just had to be made. From the person who strung the pearls and chickens to the photographer who snapped the image, the neckpiece drew immediate (if sometimes puzzled) smiles. It's really all about the reveal.
The headless chickens were riveted into their tubes with 14k gold.
Sterling, shibuichi, bronze, gold, lens,
diamond. Pendant height 3". photo: doug
The lens at the aperture of Bling magnifies the small mellee diamond at the base. The trick was to build in the perfect focal length between the lens and the diamond.
Watching what happens once someone in a crowd catches sight of the lens in the piece is the real fun. They can't help themselves as they violate all sorts of social boundaries and reach across personal space to snatch the pendant up, peer through the opening and do a little focal-distance-dance as they reconcile their own eye with the lens-- all the while tethered to the person wearing the neckpiece
Bronze, sterling, 14k, 18k, copal, diamond.
Pendant elelemnt 6"H. photo: doug
I bought a string of copal beads, graduated from very large to small, at a jeweler's yard sale. Copal is an "unfinished": no longer tree resin, but not quite amber. I carved and poiished each bead- they smelled sweet and delicious.
The sterling chain is hand fabricated and the "stem" between the beads is forged and fused in bronze.
Sterling, bronze, 14k rose and 18k
yellow gold, pearls. 2"W.photo:
I love the idea that mass, volume and strength can result from the accumulation or accretion of smaller units. This is one of the things that draws me to the Hymenoptera --bees, wasps and hornets. A comb, nest or hive can begin with a single elelemnt and then grow until it engulfs whatever it is built on.
The Colony pieces grow organically, cell by cell. Each sterling tube is tapered in a collette punch block. The degree or slope of taper is determined by the block that I use and that in turn determined how the brooch or neckpiece will grow: a more severe taper will lead to a tighter and smaller form. Some tubes are compressed or otherwise tweaked, some are filled or capped and some just left empty.
I always have an idea where the piece needs to go but I am always surprized by what I get.
Sterling,18k yellow gold, diamonds, neck
cable. Ball diameter: 1.75".
photo: Doug Yaple
I wove this ball from strips of striated textured sterling (rolled in the studio. My Whelk earrings led to this neckpiece which in turn led to the Sargasso Server.
Sterling, copper, ping pong balls. Hangs to waist. Pendant element
Double Parasol Neckpiece
The ping pong ball cones have a hammer-like surface (carved with a bur) and the sterling stalks from which they hang are fused and forged. The hand-made sterling chain can be shortened and lengthened, depending on where the catch is hooked.
Sterling, bronze, enamel on
Fletch was built for the exhibition Red. The enamel is set in from the back. Entirely fabricated by hand, including the sterling chain.
The background enamel -- several different reds--was torch fired onto copper and the yellow enamel arrow then sifted through a stencil and kiln fired.
A companion brooch, Pierce , is pictured below.
Sterling, pearls, plastic, magnet (clasp), guitar
Chicken Choker 2: EggStravaganza
The original Chicken Choker originally appeared in the book Humor in Craft (Schiffer) and traveled in the exhibition of the same name after which the neckpiece sold. The exhibition is again traveling so I decided to replace the original choker with a new, amped-up version.