Tag Archives: wire

Collaborative Alien Project: Who Are We?

Got my little butt into gear and finally plucked up the courage to ask Grant Herron (a fellow Jewellery student) about possibly collaborating as I heard he was into Film props. He was well up for it surprisingly so we went ahead and got started a couple of weeks later.

We decided to take our own interpretation on a Sci-Fi Film ‘Alien’ by Ridley Scott. Both of us thought we should create some kind of arm piece. Grant, being more experienced in electronics, designed the upper arm which consisted of small LEDs, a small rotating satellite dish and hinged parts. This is what I also wanted to learn from him. For me, well I went all out making a silicone corset forearm piece (as I’d never really played with the material before but was very keen to), a prosthetic glove with ribbed tubes and long hinged creepy fingers, all made from latex of course.

As we were both passionate about film, we discussed perhaps making a short film which would be able to present our piece on the body, moving and electronics in operation. For that we would need a storyboard:

My buddy filling in the storyboard

Here are photos from the making of our pieces:

Grant’s upper arm piece in the making. The circular piece with small tubes protruding from (right of picture) is the joint so I can allow movement like bending my elbow.

 

 

 

The satellite Grant made. Also some LED lights you were able to turn off and on.

This sequence of photographs is me attaching my prosthetic latex glove using Pros Aide glue. You can only really glue prosthetics in stages to make sure you have glued it on properly.

Still loose flapping bits of latex.

After repeatedly applying the glue all the latex should be attached to the skin with no loose parts.

Here is the whole of my lower arm piece put on. The fingers are divided into 3 and there are 2 hinged joints on each finger so they can move. The finger tips are square copper wire soldered together and I have created clear latex windows on each so light can pass through.

Below this you can see tubes extending down from the knuckles which are made from latex and copper wire and lastly the piece on the forearm is made from silicone.

The Silicone Piece

I had to create a mould in plaster to cast the silicone in. It is very weird and squishy to touch which I thought went well with the nature of this project.

The Facial Prosthetics

Just experimenting where it looks best. I thought it would look good to exaggerate the cheekbone.

Samples of prosthetics. They kind of look like slugs to me.

Attached only using the prosthetic glue. You can still see that the edges have not been blended with the skin but that comes next.

The beginning of the blending process… but you can see that later!

Here is me and Grant and a few other helpers on the set just setting and cleaning it up.

Day time

Night time

My 20th time trying to put in contacts

Final Make-up

Midnight on the set. So so cold! Kept my dressing gown on as long as possible!

Just altering a wee bit

Final arm in the dark

Movie making in process

One of the Stop Motion pictures

Final scene

Such a good experience. Think we’ll be collaborating again for our final year as I think it is good practice for the future. You can learn a lot from each other and take things a step further. For me, I want to go into Prosthetics as I see it diminishing due to Computer Aided Graphics (CGI). Yes it can be extremely useful for big things but with it, you lose that sense of actually holding and feeling the object as it is all done on computer. Some makers use it because they are just being lazy and it saves time, but some actually use it for good purpose. For instance, in The Matrix when Neo dodges the bullets, that is a good example of well-used CGI.

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Wire Weaving

I have been having a good go at weaving wire this summer and have even ordered a wee batch of coloured wire for myself! Brilliant start.

What I have just finished is a purple necklace which I had weaved round and round a paint brush. Yes you can weave around anything these days.

The close-up detailing of the loops I think are pretty fancy. The necklace consists of a continuous looping technique which can be worked without needles. I have added small red bead embellishments to create more visual interest and intricacy.

Here’s another sample I have worked on which I am hoping to turn into some earrings.

Wire can be worked in so many different ways as I have discovered from looking at so many different designers. For instance Teri Howes uses a very similar technique to what I have just used. Processes Howes use include wire crochet, wire knitting with two needles, and wire knitting on a spool.

Howes’s inspiration comes from textiles, pattern, geometry, architectural and sculptural forms. Her designs are so intricate and delicate in appearance which I particularly like. Very feminine.

The jewellery looks reminiscent to that of the Victorian period: full of lace-like pattern. It is as if Howes draws with the wire.

I like the way in which Howes does not use machine when creating these delicate pieces. A quiet rebellion against the mass-produced products we buy these days.

Judith Brown is quite similar to Teri Howes in the way in which she also weaves and hand stitches in wire. She is a British Designer Maker and her jewellery possesses a delicate feminine note. Brown learnt how to sew and knit from an early age with her mum and thus, textiles has played a big part in her work.

This piece comes from Brown’s Vintage Lace Collection.

This dramatic bracelet is a combination of knitting and twisting techniques and is made of fine copper wire embellished with tiny glass beads.

Another designer who excells in using wire is Welsh wire sculptor John Bivel-Fauvel.

Large Jellyfish

Bivet-Fauvel is inspired by cultures from history (old and new) and nature, both from land and sea. Instead of just copying , he attempts to capture the quality and essence of nature. All his works are made from found and inessential materials: “the wire I use comes from inside slot machines, electric motors, transformers and any other sources I can find”, thus, all his pieces consist of recycled materials which I really like.

Octopus

His technique is knitting, initially using a knitting machine. However, for more difficult forms he rapidly began to construct his own frames, made all from reclaimed materials of course, to create his sea creatures. The range of work by Binet-Fauvel can be as small as tiny prawns to the great octopus which possess 1-metre long tenticles.

Small Jellyfish

Bivet-Fauvel uses his knowledge of sea creatures to make woven bags inspired from mussels and clams. In addition he creates headgear, body pieces and creatures.

Mussel Handbag
Spiral Form

Form observing works from other designers, I have understood more about how to create 3D forms, thus, hope to create some more experimental samples. Perhaps begin knitting and crocheting to achieve different patterns and holes in the piece.

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Catwalk Project

This project was pretty challenging. We were asked to design an extravagant and unusual piece of catwalk jewellery. The inspiration for the piece, being a particular culture or a specific period in history. We were advised to make use of scale, colour and form.

In the end, after spending a lot time researching different cultures and designers, Sarawak became my theme. Sarawak is a Malaysian region in north-west Borneo, and means a great deal to me because when I was young, my family took me trekking around there and we even lived with the tribe for a couple of weeks. What an experience. I focussed mainly on colours they use, symbols and tradition.

I experimented with weaving, which is a huge tradition in Sarawak, the woven art possess symbols and designs which represent certain animals like deer, birds, frogs, etc. These symbols are meant to protect the village by warding off bad spirits. You can see some etched tribal designs on the circular pendant hanging from my piece. In addition, I practiced weaving in wire and yarn and ended up weaving 2 long tubes of black wire which took me AGES. I could have machine knitted the wire but my intention was to keep up the tradition of Sarawak and keep weaving by hand. There are two colours running consistently through my piece (black and red), this is because red and black are used frequently in Sarawak art and textiles: red representing sacrifice, courage and determination; black symbolises rich natural resources and wealth of Sarawak such as timber and petroleum. The black weaved tubes are attached to both ears creating a feeling of awkwardness and weight. The reason behind this is in Sarawak, they consider lengthened ears beautiful thus wanted my piece to be more of an experience rather than aesthetic. To express the true pain of beauty and tradition in Sarawak. I have had people ask me “would this be kind of sore to wear?”, well yes of course, but this is nothing compared to some of the weights Sarawak women have to dangle from their ears. They can be up to 100 grams in weight each!


(Development: weaved coloured sires, weaved yarns, beadwork samples)

(Development: piece was going to be attached the hair to focus on awkwardness but issue with it staying on, thus replaced weight on ears)

Near the end of the project, we were taught how to use the photography studio. Man was confusing at first! Really enjoyed it though.

I really enjoyed this project as it allowed me to experiment with unfamiliar materials and different techniques (weaving, photography, etc). However, it still seems unfinished to me so will work on it during the easter break. I strongly believe jewellery should not only be aesthetically beautiful, but tell a story, have a deeper meaning. How, in some countries, beauty must be accompanied with pain.

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