Sunday, 17 May 2009

Idea development...

In response to some helpful contructive criticism from a customer at the craft fair, I have begun developing  ideas for a new generation of my felted, beaded and embroidered necklaces.  

The comment was that my current necklace style:
...was too geometric for a necklace, and would work better as a brooch.  The suggestion was also made that a necklace with a more curved shape, to echo the curves of the neck and collarbone, would be an interesting idea.

So, I started thinking about how I could adapt my exisitng idea along these lines.  I like the general size of the necklaces as they are - not too big to work, but big enough to be able to fit in detail and interest without breaking my eyes!  The next consideration then is the curve.  A 'U' shape?  A more shallow curve?

I tried a few different shape ideas out on paper:
I liked the shallower curve with roundable corners best, so that is what I have decided to try out first to see how it goes.

Here is the shape at the embroidery and beading stage - I mask it out with paper to make sure I keep my threads and stitches within the perimeter.

Once the shape is decided, next comes the issue of the backing.  At the moment, the oblong necklaces are mounted onto a brass or aluminium metal tag cut to shape for me by Bopper of Etsy.  I figure it will be much more difficult cutting metal on a curve though, so I started thinking about alternative backing materials, and their pros and cons:

Polymer clay - easily shapeable but not sure it goes with the felt
Air-drying clay - again easily shapeable but probably too brittle
Wood - able to be curved (at least by my Dad ;D) and organic - but possibly not heavy enough?
Felt - easily shapeable, but again too light?

The two I have chosen to prototype are wood and felt.  That is felt baize to be precise - it's thick at 3mm and would give the necklace a bit more substance.

I decided to prototype 3 different lengths, to see which looks best as a finished piece.  My Dad cut these beautiful, thin, smooth wooden blanks for me (thanks Dad!) - the top 2 are Sycamore and the bottom one is Ash.

You can see the cut-out felted, beaded and embroidered necklace shapes on the left.

Here's a cross-section view of the felt on felt baize - pretty thick!
The idea is that for the felt baize, I would whip-stitch around the edges and the baize would form the necklace back.  For the wood, I would whip-stitch round the felt piece only and then set it onto the wooden blank.

I'm still working on these prototypes, so watch this space!  Any other suggestions or comments very welcome, as these ideas are very much a work in progress :) .

I also had a play around with some old necklace blanks to see if it was feasible to change them into brooches.  I've found some super-duper-superglue that seems to be strong enough (and not too messy!).
So the next stage is taking one of my exisiting necklaces and seeing if I can succesfully convert it. 

Apart from idea development, my crafty project to-do list is trundling along.  Here is a closeup of the beautiful Noro yarn I've been using to knit (yes, knit!!  amazing!!) a birthday present for a friend.
Mata ne~!


Lin Moon said...

I just love all the fabulous texture on your brooches and necklaces. When I read your customer's suggestion of a curved shape, a paisley immediately came to my mind. I don't know if that would be to difficult to back and all, but it would make a good brooch shape. Have you ever considered using fiber (like ribbon) for your necklaces, in place of chain? Just a thought.... Your color sense and textures are so great!

The crafty Kaeru said...

Aahh, a Paisley shape is a great idea! The great thing about making my brooches is that it's easy enough to make them any shape, as long as it's big enough to take the brooch finding, because their backing is felt.

Ribbon for the necklaces is a really interesting idea too. Lots to think about - thank you so much for your comments!
Kate x