The ultimate purpose of making these necklaces was to create meaningful gifts for two people close to me. The secondary purpose was to explore the materials and learn by solving problems as I went along.
The bird is a chunkier remake of a mother-of-pearl necklace I have had since I was a child. I was interested in how it might represent flying into the cold unknown of the sky, and that the pursuit of freedom can lead to peace and the finding of a true path. It is made of an offcut of purple heart wood, a tiny remnant of my dad’s bow-making.
The glass was collected by my grandfather. When we cleared my grandparents’ house, an icecream tub of stones was found in the loft. The majority are small pebbles which appear to have been selected from beaches for their aesthetic qualities, along with some specimen stones which have been purchased. I pick up stones all the time, but I did not know my grandfather also did this.
The wood was sawn, filed and sanded. I had previously developed a way of working on aluminium- would it transfer well? Yes. I was able to create the shape very quickly. The grain of the wood creates a surprise feathered effect. I visited my dad’s workshop to ask about techniques for polishing wood, and he directed me to a buffing wheel used in a pillar drill. I enjoyed the tranformation of the surface of the wood: both the texture and the colour changed dramatically.
After I had made the bird, I marked up the remainder- could I squeeze two more birds from the offcut? No. I discovered this during the cutting- this was a false economy as the tiny piece of wood broke along the grain.
Securing the glass with silver was a process of trial and error. One side of the glass had a slight notch- would this be enough to prevent wrapping from sliding off? My preference was for a soft material- a circular plait made from very fine cord and tightened around the glass. However the notch was too shallow and this slid off: a more rigid, resistant material was needed. The wire worked well, but I was concerned the metal would fatigue at stress points. This was solved by adding a chain link to put the necklace cord through, rather than creating a loop from the wire itself. The problem of how to finish the wrapping was solved through use of a silver crimp. This looks unusual but decorative- I feel it adds balance.