Wednesday, March 2, 2016

Triangular Pendant Story

Three triangular forms, in different stages of completion, have been on my desk for nearly a decade.  A heavy glass dome on a marble base (I call it a cheese house that I got at a tag sale), keeps them safe from harm in my studio.  I take them out from time to time and try to pull them along but up until this year I always become stalled in the process.

Triangles are hard. Although the live edge does add to the design, it can also cause construction problems in a symmetrical triangle. Its organic quality makes it more difficult to see and harder to measure. Add in piercings, which remove surface area that you might well need in placing your hinge and catch, and they become that much more of a challenge.

During the past several years I have been working to develop a simple PMC hinge making technique for people who want to employ them in their work, but have trouble with the precise placement of the knuckles in a standard hinge. This difficulty is understandable, as making a hinge tube, cutting it into knuckle segments and placing them precisely, are challenging techniques. 

The triangular pendant uses a hinge design that is both easier to mount on the piece, and decorative.  It is not a commonly used hinge, and this series is the first time I’ve employed it. This technique also offers an opportunity to use a different colored metal for the hinge pin, which adds some contrast. Here I am using patinated copper.

I like to be able to see my work laid out and the beginning and end of each day. This allows me to plan out my day’s strategy and seed the pieces in my imagination. Often I wake up in the morning having worked out construction or design problems during the night.

Making a triangular form requires precision, the three walls must be exactly sized, and true. Adding a live edge makes this even more challenging, but worth it. A simple shape template aids in this process.

The hinge assembly and name tag

Double-stick tape helps the three walls balance during construction.  Alternatively you can use sand paper taped to your surface.

The tight roll of paper keeps the top and bottom oriented while I’m working out the details of the fit.

On this triangle, the live edge makes it more difficult to measure for the center, which is where the hinge needs to be. The piece sits on the tear away texture I used.

Here again the asymmetry of the spiral adds to the design of the piece but can also make placement more difficult.  It needs to compliment the form and allow the pendant to hang well.

I wanted to incorporate both movement and sound into this pendant; I made the cone, the triangle, and the lentil to hang from the bottom of the piece, hoping for some jangle and swing.         

This is 960 sterling, made from mixing equal parts of PMC3 (fine silver) and PMC Sterling.  I fired this piece upright, not assembled, in a little vermiculite.  It’s patinated with liver of sulfur and there’s a gold scroll inside.

My next post will show the finishing touches: The beads at the bottom, the finished hinge and the finished side catches.

Please see “Schedule” on my website for more information about my upcoming classes for 2016:

- Celie