06 October 2011

the evolution continues

It's been a week of experimenting, trials and triumphs.  A few pieces have come together almost instantly, others over days.  Each element is tested, assembled, taken apart, reassembled, hung on my in progress wall, where I leave it rest overnight and come back the next day to see if it still works.

Hanging against my inspiration and where I am as of this morning .........

And, of course, if you've been with me for a while, you'll know how I struggle with cordage and the vehicle for assembling my pieces.  This collection is no different, although it's been a much less painful road.  Remember, I had decided on my color palette, the starting point being my beautiful sweater's ochre and linen.  Black and dark brown are always an easy option and readily available in any fiber I might desire.  Ochre or antique gold, not so much.  Tuesday, I decided I needed ochre cord or thread or something.  So I trotted down to my local chi-chi yarn store and fancy fabric shop in search of my vision.  Zip, zero, nada, squat ... nothing at all.
I already had 'plan B' in mind ... purchase some white Habutai silk yardage, cut into ribbons and dye the fabric.  Head over to the cheapo fabric store to buy dye and they've got a very minimal selection of basic old Rit dye.  BTW, I could have gone downtown to the real fiber store and bought fancy dye, but I wasn't up for that much of an adventure.  Alchemist Kathy goes to work ...

It took a while, but after a couple of tries, I got from "golden yellow" mixed with varying amounts of "dark brown" to this ....

The cord on the right was my inspiration.  Recycled sari silk that was the perfect look and perfect color, but beware - that stuff has literally no strength and I easily ripped this cordage in two.  While I was at it, I chucked some taupe Habu silk in the pot to see what would happen.  I knew I was in for a big mess, but I secured the little bundle of yarn as best as I could and went for it. 
Not quite the mother of all tangles, but close ...

Side note ... I'm one of those people that actually likes to untangle things.  I can remember way back in my teens when I was working at a department store and the jewelry department got a shipment of chains that arrived in a big mess.  Everyone took turns trying to untangle the enormous pile.  Not so sure anyone else was enamored with the challenge, but I loved it.

Okay, back to my cord choices.
After much deliberation, I decided that, even after several washes with extra rinse cycles, I was still concerned about the stability of my dyeing efforts ... maybe I should have gone to the real fiber store after all.  All right, so it's not like I didn't already have a pretty decent assortment of options on hand.

Right now I'm okay with using several different fibers for the cord and so far they're all pendants.  I still want to do some 'not pendants', but I'm running out of components.  This is most of what's left and I've still got bracelets and earrings to consider ...

I've also been working on a lot of different ideas for closures.  One thing with the pendants, the cord will be long enough to just slip over the head, so there won't be a clasp.  Some of my test closures ...

I've decided to go with the waxed linen wrap, second from right.  One little detail I like is the way I can include my KVK tag when I make the cord - very clean and minimal solution.
So I need to finish up here and get back to work.  But, of course, I want to share two of my favorite pieces.  Every day that changes.  This one reminds me of an ancient stone henge ... the way the two center pieces of fossilized bone fit together so beautifully.

How is it that pieces that look so simple and minimal take so long to compose?  For me, it's all about editing.  I put pieces on, add on, subtract, change the size of the accent component.  There is asymmetry, but it is balanced.  Still, it always surprises me how long it takes to get to this point.
And then this piece ... oof!  I played around with those long curved steel elements all week and then yesterday this piece came together.  It took a good part of my afternoon, but I'm so very pleased with the result ... especially the way the fossils mirror the shape of the steel pieces and the way I wrapped the cord to secure the fossil in place.  This is steel, fossilized bones and Roman glass on hand plied nylon cord.

Rightio!  There's work to be done, more jewels to create and plots to be plotted ... all happening with my  evolving ambient/Stephan Micus Pandora station in the background.  One thing I love about Pandora is discovering new artists ... my new fave, Bonobo.

l i g a - kvk

p.s.  apologies for the erratic spacing ... something going on with Blogger won't keep my edits ... annoying.


  1. Thank you for sharing your process! I love seeing how these things come together for other artists.

    And my favorite is the last one! Gorgeous!!!

  2. Thank you for sharing your process! i love seeing how things come together for other artists.

    and my favorite is the last one. Gorgeous!!!

  3. Whoops! Sorry for the double post. Your page timed out and I thought the comment was lost. lol

  4. I like to untangle things too! need yarn ripped out, I'm there. Chains, string, kids ipod cords, whatever.

  5. Absolutely fascinating, Kathy. I love creativity, especially in jewelry-making, as that has been my favorite hobby for so many years. It makes me feel so good to see what you have done. Keep on doin'.
    vickie in kc

  6. These are breathtaking! I have my eye on three and I am hoping that you post these on etsy. I love where your creative forces are taking you!

  7. Hey THANKS kids! I've never done a 'blow by blow' before and I'm enjoying it ... glad it's mutual! I've got ideas for so much more than I have components ... gots to get busy.

    I'm not sure where all this work will end up ... part of my 'plotting' and strategizing ... keep checking back, 'cause y'all will be the first to know where it all goes.

    "Shibui" another one of my favorite words ... I'm wondering if this sort of skill showed up on that aptitude test I took in high school. :-)

  8. I'm with you on the detangling - there's something so quietly satisfying about doing it!
    The stonehenge piece is my favourite.
    The creative process is a real journey and you are really brave to share it here! I'm not sure that my line of inspiration is so tidy!

  9. Thanks Lesley! My favorites change daily, but that piece tends to stay on top. And it is strange to write about the process while 'in' the process ... an experiment for sure.


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