Monday, September 5, 2016

3-D...a Little Tutorial for Labor Day!

by Patti Vanderbloemen

Recently, a friend of mine asked me if I could make her a necklace with a sort of 3-D effect.  Before I retired nearly 6 years ago, I spent 20 years as a Proposal Writer for Architects and General Contractors. One word that was constantly used back and forth between designers and contractors was - "constructability." Just because an architect can draw the idea, it does not mean a contractor can build it. That word still sticks in my mind with every single piece of jewelry that I create....How will it lay on the arm or neck? What type of clasp? Are the earrings too heavy?  How can I make something 3-D and not have it fall apart?

I ended up not using my friend's exact design concept, rather, I riffed.  I actually remembered to take pictures of each step (I apologize in advance for any blurry photos)!

She wanted mixed metal, so I started by drawing out a freehand heart on copper, and sawed out the shape.

The copper heart would serve as my backplate/base, so I used 20 gauge copper. After filing the edges smooth, I used the ball peen hammer to add texture to just the edges.

I then cut out a smaller version of the same heart shape with a scrap piece of silver that I had etched.

I knew I had to have something underneath the two hearts to raise the silver heart above the copper for that 3-D effect.  I could easily have used rivets - with tubing in between - but I did not want to deface the pretty silver!  I do not etch often, and my etch scrap is running low! So, I decided to use square wire to serve as legs and give me some height - similar to pilings on a bridge (see..I really did work with architects...who thinks of structural engineering and bridges when designing a necklace??)

A couple of weeks ago, I shared a video of my studio and I distinctly remember pointing out this tool - a miter cutting vise (link here). I truly use this tool constantly for sheet and wire. You just slip the sheet or wire into the tool, tighten, and then use a file to get a perfectly flush edge. The tool is steel and will NOT ruin your file.

After getting a flush edge on the starter piece of square wire, I cut (with a saw) 3 little legs, each approximately 2 mm long.

I then soldered (hard solder) these legs to the silver heart. I use Knew Concepts Titanium Clips (link here) to raise the silver heart so I could aim my flame underneath, though that square wire would probably not melt, as it is pretty thick.

First solder complete.

After pickling and cleaning, I made sure the 3 little legs were all the same size - a quick file and that was done.

 I then sweat soldered 3 balls of medium solder the top of the legs.

The next step was to solder the top, silver heart with legs to the bottom, copper heart.  This was my setup - again, the intent being to aim the flame underneath the copper base and not melt the "legs" or the little silver heart..

Pickle and clean.  I brass-brushed this sucker to death and then threw it in the tumbler for an hour - I wanted to make sure I had a good, solid connection.

 Side view

Of course, I forgot to take a picture of the back of necklace to show the bail placement.  It is just a copper ring, with a closed (soldered first) sterling ring on top for the chain.

Liver of sulfur, buff, and tumble.

I plan on making this again...I see an arrow shooting through there somewhere! :)

It is really not bulky and friend was very pleased!

I want to end this post by thanking everyone who is out there working on this Labor Day- Police, 911 Operators, Fire Men and Women, Doctors/Nurses/Hospitals, and especially all the Lineman who are working 24 hours a day to restore power to those who have lost it during the horrific hurricane / extreme weather that has hit this past weekend. Their work does not go unnoticed...and I am forever grateful!

Thanks for stopping by!


Bijoux Gems Joy said...

That little 3D heart is adorable. You definitely put that experience in the architect's office to good use. Love it

Carol Dekle said...

Constructability..I love that word! I once wanted to be an architect but then decided on Interior Designer. I have a feeling a lot of my designs would have not have passed the constructability phase! lol

I am in love with this 3D effect!!! Beautiful work Patti! I may have to get this a go.

I have to get me some of those titanium clips. I put my work on a tripod and screen and knock it over half the time! Really annoying when you have lots of components you've painstakingly positioned only for it to all flip over!

Harry said...

I am in love with this 3D heart. It look adorable. please do let me know where it would be possible for me to buy the same for me fiance?

Lynn said...

You continue to amaze me with your beautiful jewelry! No wonder your friend was pleased.

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