Friday, November 24, 2017

The Simple Neckline Necklace

It has taken MONTHS to get to working on this simple neckline necklace that was one of my last assignments from Diane - my coach - and in the end, I am choosing to be finished with it as opposed to finishing it, taking the lessons and moving on. It is entirely possible that it refused to co-operate because it already knew it was a piece of junk - LOL. Everything I did only seemed to make it worse and prolong the agony. It is - however - a learning curve to be revisited.

The assignment was to create a necklace that fit into a simple neckline. This curved neckline shape is the one I use most frequently so I started by tracing an echo of the curve and marking the middle and end points.

Because I wanted to maintain the shape, I started by hammering and bending a larger gauge of wire and then curving the ends upward and creating loops to attach the chain. In retrospect, this may have been where I first went wrong. It was difficult to build the parts on top of this surface rather than compose and then form them to the desired shape as I've done in the past.

With a pendant, the goal is achieve visual balance in the design as well as physical balance so that it hangs correctly. I didn't want a perfectly mirrored piece and I wanted it to evolve and develop step by step so I started at the left side and worked toward the right. This will hopefully be a way of creating wire work that I'll perfect over time but I quickly discovered that it was beyond my current skill set. I think that's a good awareness because I want to develop my skills bit by bit and and at the same time I want to push the edges somewhat to keep growing... with a little push not a shove over the cliff.

Once I added the stone, I seemed to fight with the piece even more. Its curved outline was a good match but every attempt I made to integrate it and have it look like something more than a stone just sitting there didn't work out.

Looked at separately, the two sides of the pendant are both quite interesting. I couldn't repeat this series of wraps in a million years. There was no plan and it shows. The piece began to feel like an exercise in throwing everything but the kitchen sink at it.

When I realized that I was simply adding more and more detail in an attempt to pull it all together, it was time to be finished with the piece.It is - IMHO - an ugly learning curve and since Start With Ugly is one of the lessons I used to teach in my Self Expressions workshop, I know it could be a great starting point. I will most likely cut out the center bar and see if I can evolve the two side sections into something else but as is, it's not wearable. It has neither balance nor good design BUT...

I learned a lot.
And that's the main thing.

I kept the template of the simple shape and will try this exercise again sometime soon giving more thought to how I choose to follow the shape.

I bought these wooden buttons at a local art show this past weekend. They are made by a local woodworker from his left over bits. I've bought some three years in a row now and each year the price goes up. I don't think he realized how popular they would be at first. However, at $2.50 each, they are stil inexpensive. I especially love the five birch ones in the foreground.

Talk soon - Myrna

Grateful - lessons learned


  1. Myrna have you thought of letting the copper turn darker or use something to encourage it to get a verdigris patina? Your work is amazing - I don't think I would have the patience. In one of the pictures, before the piece is finish and the wires lay across the stone I see a hint of a way to integrate - wires on top of the stone and wrapped around it?
    I do admire your persistence and your sharing as you work through things. The best to you!

    1. Normally I use liver of sulfur to encourage a patina. I agree it would make a tremendous difference but I'm waiting on that because I know I'm going to evolve the piece further. Next time, I may try starting from the middle and working out in some sort of back and forth manner. It's fun learning something new.

  2. I agree with unknown, the stone needs to be integrated into the whole, right now it seem completely isolated. Or draw that color into the copper. That is just too much effort to let go. I really applaud your creative endeavors, you are always an inspiration.

    1. It definitely needs to be integrated but it also refused to co-operate. I'll be moving forward with it at some point and that will involve a radical reshape but for now I'm taking a break. I'm glad you're inspired. I'm thankful to those who taught me how to work in this way.

  3. Have you tried beading? A copper-colored seed bead bezel frame could integrate stones with your copper work.

    1. That would make a fabulous bezel but it wouldn't balance the two ends of the design. I'm not abandoning it. I'm just giving it a break before I take it in new directions. It'll work out eventually. Thanks for the suggestion.


Thanks for commenting. I appreciate the feedback and the creative conversation.