Reversible Pendant with Titanium
by Judy Dunn
I was intrigued by your titanium pieces, and decided the challenge was a good opportunity to get myself to try a piece out. I must say the pictures do not do the sparkle and color in the titanium
justice. It is very cool stuff.
The colors seem to call out for an opal.... Actually there was going to be three opals, but only one survived.... bezel problems! Too long of a story, but in the end, I think it would have been too
crowded, and I would not have experimented with the resin if I had incorporated all the opals.
I started out the piece by just laying the titanium on an index card and started doing sketches using some templates and trying to play around with combining shapes and layers. I was inspired in part by the piece in this month's Art Jewelry Magazine by Kelly Russell. I liked the frame idea, but I was worried about how I was going to fit the titanium piece in and allow for shrinkage... So I modified the idea. I eliminated the separation of the layers. I decided to do the tear away texture on both sides of the bottom piece, and then cut an oval in the top piece to create my cutout. Then the titanium was going to sit partially in the frame, and partially offset from it.
On the reverse side, I had cut out an oval shape, and flipped it over to show the texture on the other side, and then created a frame around that to hide the cut. This was inspired by Kelly's article as well. I made the frame around the edge of the large oval on the front of the piece with a rolled snake of clay. This was partially aesthetically motivated, and partially to protect the titanium, and cushion the wearer if it is worn with the titanium on the back. I then had to figure out how the piece was going to hang. And it had to look as good on the back as the front. The coils seemed to be the best solution.
The bezels were made with fine silver bezel wire, and soldered first, and then attached with oil paste after the initial firing. I had done keum boo on the back of the piece in the framed oval, and
then had to refire the piece because of bezel troubles. The gold diffused into the silver clay, but I found when I redid the keum boo and then used the LOS, that the gold that I thought had completely dissipated was actually still there. So there are two shades of gold in that oval on the back.... and it is from the keum boo rather than from LOS.
I was going to keep the cut out oval on the front empty, but when I had to remove the two smaller opals I had planned, the balance of the piece was thrown off. By offsetting the titanium a bit more
than originally planned, and exposing more of the oval, I decided to play with tinted resin.... a la Ivy Solomon, over the textured surface. I added some purplish holeless beads into the cut out area
before adding the blue tinted resin. This allowed me to echo some of the form, color and texture in the titanium. After the resin hardened I epoxied the titanium in place.
I had the pearls in different sizes and shades of gray, and they seemed to be the perfect complement to the various shades of blue, purple and silver in the piece. And they worked with both sides of the piece.
Other than how the bezels turned out, I was reasonably satisfied with how the piece came out. I have been swamped with work the last few months, so I would work on it here and there between other projects. It made the challenges along the way a bit less frustrating, and gave me time to work out solutions for the various design or construction issues that came up along the way.
This piece had lots of twists and turns in the process of its creation. Thanks for creating this
challenge for the titanium. It motivated me to play with it. Without a deadline, it would not likely have happened!
Sketched out the design on an index card, laying the titanium over the card to get an idea of overall scale and placement. Enlarged diagram by 20%. Cut out templates for large oval, small oval (cut out area), and flared rectangle.
Rolled clay out to thickness of 3 cards. Placed enough for flared rectangle onto tear away texture sheet, and placed another tear away sheet on top of the clay. Both texture sheets were lightly oiled first. Rolled over top sheet to impress texture in front and back. Pulled off top sheet, and cut out shape using template. Then cut out oval shape on one end and flipped it over, creating two textures on each side.
Cut out large oval, and then cut out small oval at an angle on opposite end from the oval cut out on the back piece. Let pieces dry. Joined with slip. Rolled coils of clay to add rim around large oval, and scroll at the top of the piece. Added frame around back small oval cutout. Used tool to create texture. Let dry. Sand. Fire.
Cut a piece of fine silver bezel wire to size for the opal. Solder seam. Shape to correct form for the stone, and then put in place with oil paste (ACS). Fired again. Keum boo on reverse side in the small oval area. LOS. Polished up. Put opal in place. Tinted resin with blue dye. Added some small purplish holeless beads to the recessed area on the front, and then filled with blue resin. Let set. Added titanium with two-part epoxy.