Junior Year at Tyler- Part II

The Spring semester was all metals all the time for my studio classes. Junior Metals, Advanced CAD and Production Processes were enough to keep me very busy as well as two other classes, part of an art history class on Modern Craft and a Race Gen-ed.

We received both projects in metals in the first week, so most of the semester was spent multi tasking between the two projects. The linkage project involved designing a repeating link for a necklace and creating an additional element of some kind. I was very inspired by the neck bones of a goose that I cooked at Christmas. The bone design and the way they linked together got me moving right along in that project. I was also interested in experimenting with making my own silicone cord that would resemble blood vessels. The other project involved using a mechanism as the central design element or clasp in a piece. Here’s where I really stumbled. Because of the heavy winter weather and many snow days, we got all the way to spring break before I put together a CAD designed hook for this project that was also bone inspired. I began learning about dyeing parts that are 3D printed.

My professor pointed out to me that mechanism for this piece was actually too simple, though. I agreed with her and especially after the successes of the Fall semester mechanisms, I felt I needed to continue to work. I pulled out the original goose neck bones and found that they would be perfect for a bracelet. So I squeezed in one more project, making molds of the end pieces, casting them in wax and creating a box clasp in silver to connect to the ends of the actual bones. I then created some more silicon cord. It still needs some work, but I’m pretty happy with what I managed in the time I had left.

Advanced CAD picked up right where CAD II left off. With a ring. I played with the final CAD II design and created a few more. I sent it to be printed in silver and didn’t like what I got. I played with the ring design for most of the semester and received the final print in silver a week before crit. The second project was a two part ring and I created a spinner ring with different inter-changeable outer parts. The inner ring was printed in sterling silver and the outer parts were printed in nylon. I think I was inspired by my production work. The 3rd project was to disassemble a commercially available USB thumb drive and design our own. I embedded my USB in the rudder of a ship that was based on a lute. I’m still deciding how I want to dye this piece, but I’m quite happy with it.

Production Processes was one class that absorbed much time and energy, but I feel like I’m really getting somewhere with what I hope to do after graduation. The goal in this class is to design a production line, create the pieces, price the work and finally, market the work at a weekend sale at the end of the semester. Our sale took place the end of April and was a great success for the class overall. Although I’ve done some of this before with my own work, it was really great to get the additional feedback from the class and my teachers. My line was based on sawing sheet metal, bending and expanding it to create dimensional shapes, then using a powder coating process to color the metal. I also found some variations on my pierced work for my statement pieces. I feel like my work really progressed by leaps and bounds in this class and I’m working on expanding on some of these ideas already.

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