RMIT Year 1, Semester 2, Silversmithing #1

7 02 2011

It has been a while since I wrote about my work from university. With moving home recently, and being very organised so that I packed files very early on in the process, I’ve only just unpacked my files to refer to …

First year, second semester, Silversmithing, project #1: ‘In and around the rim – a raised vessel

The intent of the project was to “design, raise and fabricate a vessel that uses a rim as a focus for decoration”; our lecturer for this project was Beatrice Schlabowsky.

I found the process of raising so enjoyable – methodical, monotonous, and tiring. Raising starts with a flat metal sheet, that is hammered (on wood or metal stakes) into a shape; hammered in concentric passes from the centre, annealed, hammered, and endlessly repeated.

raised bowl; original image by Mark Kral; not to be reproduced without permission

My design had no conceptual foundation, and somewhat unusually for me, came out of the first session of drawing for this project (usually I take ages to design when a concept is fighting to get out).

It’s constructed in two pieces: the bowl base and the rim, both of which were raised from 1.6mm copper sheet; the rim was then soldered onto the bowl (the joining edges having been filed at 45-degree angles); finished and then silver-plated. The finished object is 84mm high and 108mm at its widest point.

raised bowl; original image by Mark Kral; not to be reproduced without permission

Unfortunately the silver-platers weren’t as careful as I would have expected, and new scratches appeared on the object after plating … which is pretty frustrating, especially when it’s for assessment.

This project was enjoyable, and I found that I enjoyed what I could make even when it made me exhausted for days and days on end.

… last post in this series: RMIT Year 1, Semester 2, Jewellery #3





RMIT Year 1, Semester 2, Jewellery #3

27 10 2010

First year, second semester, Jewellery, project #3: ‘Sounds like?’

The aim of the project was ‘to make a sound, relate to sound, relate to the ear‘. The technical exercises attached to the project were earring hooks and butterflies.

I started with the idea of synesthesia – where people experience a mixture of the senses, particularly colour associated with music. I had wanted to experiment with translating music into colour on paper and in metal/enamel … but I couldn’t connect with it, because I don’t experience it myself.

The next idea was the cochlear implant … perhaps seems random, but the ear link was a necessary part of the project. I found this cool image while I was researching…

originally from http://www.bcm.edu/oto/jsolab/cochlear_implants ... but no longer active webpage

I wanted to make a metal shell, in fine thin silver and then cut it in parts like the image … but the only way seemed possible at the time was to use chenier and to form it was just beyond me in first year.

As I was trying to nut out the mechanics of possible construction alternatives (during an art theory lecture … they were awful!), I was doodling the contours of a shell and it dawned on me that the drawing looked like a collection of discs … like the piece I eventually made below.

shell pin; original image by Mark Kral; not to be reproduced without permission

I was in love with enamelling at the time, so thought that was the best way to add colour.

Unfortunately the weight of the pin is such that it’s not feasible to wear horizontally, and is best on sturdy fabrics (like jackets) … but I like the shape of the sweep of the pin.

shell pin; original image by Mark Kral; not to be reproduced without permission

… last post in this series: RMIT Year 1, Semester 2, Jewellery #2





RMIT Year 1, Semester 2, Jewellery #2

12 10 2010

First year, second semester, Jewellery, project #2: project in a day, ’Tag Me’

While we were given notice of this project (I think it may have been a few weeks so we could design and collect materials?), we only had a day to make our piece (5 studio hours). The concept was “to make a tag in a day which reflects the labels we use everyday as part of social commentary“.

The idea is more interesting to me now that I think it was at the time. I really felt the restriction of the day-only limit, and perhaps underestimated the skills I could have employed in that time. So in the end I was pretty disappointed in the outcome – too simple and not interesting at all.

 

Tag Me piece; amended copyright notice: not to be reproduced without permission

 

I found myself more excited about how others in my class interpreted the brief than my own direction. In particular, this is the project that I first saw Cassandra Chilton make a silhouette piece – layering beautifully hand-saw-pierced perspex to reference the Victorian silhouette portraiture; which later evolved to insects and such (her pieces are in Houndstooth restaurant in Fitzroy; she is also a highly respected architect; and one of the Hotham Street Ladies).

 

Cassandra Chilton; from a distance looks like flies; winner of City of Hobart Art Prize 2006; click on image to link through to original source

 

I envy that Cass was so creative and found an idea that really went somewhere.

… last post in this series: RMIT Year 1, Semester 2, Jewellery #1





RMIT Year 1, Semester 2, Jewellery #1

2 10 2010

Now, onto the second semester of my first year in RMIT Gold & Silversmithing…

First year, second semester, Jewellery, project #1: ‘Chained / Machinery / Movement’

I have written before about the piece that evolved from this work: the woven paper and silver pendant.

In another previous post, I’ve written about the background to this work (as it was the predecessor of many other works):
I immediately gravitated towards weaving machinery that proliferated textile production during the age of industrialisation. I recall feeling an affinity with machinery that replaced traditionally female tasks – though later realised that weaving wasn’t necessarily a female-only domain.
In figuring out the technique to use with cloisonné wire, and to avoid wasting metal, I used finely cut paper as a mockup. My teacher at the time really liked the paper and encouraged me to explore the paper idea instead of the all-metal idea I was intent on pursuing.
It turns out I’m pretty stubborn (who knew!) and I kept on with my original idea of all metal components. However, over the month or two I was playing with this project, I tried the paper and metal combination and was won over.

Apologies for the differently sized images – I usually like to have them similar sizes, but these were edited from photographs taken at the time of making them by an acquaintance, and after cropping they’ve all ended up different sizes.

Below is the first piece – the all metal weaving.

necklace; original image by Mark Kral; amended copyright notice: not to be reproduced without permission

… and some play-pieces using the same components … I like the antennae on the left one

woven rings; original image by Mark Kral; amended copyright notice: not to be reproduced without permission

… then the first paper and silver weave … you can see that when this photograph was taken I hadn’t yet realised that when using silk thread that it ought to be wet and ‘un-bent’ before use, instead of using it straight off the card (beginner’s mistake!)

scroll pendant; original image by Mark Kral; amended copyright notice: not to be reproduced without permission

… finally the most evolved piece of the group.

necklace; original image by Mark Kral; amended copyright notice: not to be reproduced without permission

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