Outside My Comfort Zone

by Lady Mockingbird.
(Upstate New York, USA)

I have a very good and kind repeat client, for whom I’ve made a few pieces over the past year. He keeps coming back, and so when he asked me to convert a pendant with high sentimental value into something he’d be more willing to wear, I agreed to give it a shot.

Titanium Men's Rune Pendant Bracelet

Embracing the unintentional asymmetry

My client never wears anything around his neck, so the original gift of pewter Ogham Rune pendant on a leather cord sat in his jewelry box. It had been a gift from his wife, who has a matching pendant, and she was hurt that he wouldn’t wear his.

Titanium Mens Bracelet

The Result of doing an elongated spiral to form the bundle is woven elements that remind me of a famous NY city sycraper. The Chrysler Building, I think it was.

My client knew that he favored some of the woven titanium wire pieces I’d done in the past, but beyond that he left the design completely up to me. Now there are two reasons this commission fell pretty far outside of my comfort zone.

The first is that I don’t do much which is well suited to masculine style. Most times even when I set out to make something for a man, it ends up appealing to my female clients. The second reason was the nature of the pendant itself. It is pewter, and luckily turned out to be a quite good match with the titanium wire my client likes.

Mens Titanium Wire Weave Cuff

If I rotate the cuff 90 degrees, the design looks to me a bit like an abstract sailboat on a night time lake.

The pendant’s shape also posed problems with construction as one end is significantly more thick in profile than the other. And finally, it started with only one large hole where the leather cord was threaded.

So, I had to come up with something that would be structurally sound, incorporate the pendant, be masculine in the finished appearance, and be fully comfortable to wear. Whew!

That was a tall order. I can tell you now that the pendant sat in a bag with another pending order from my client for more than 2 months, while I wracked my brain coming up with a concept that might work.

Eventually, I thought of a modified traditional wire bundle cuff, where half of the bundle would be pulled away from the other half at the middle of the basic cuff structure. That open area would then be the supporting frame for the pendant as a rectangular focal cabochon of sorts. But I had one more engineering issue to deal with.

Stainless Steel Jump rings and Clasp for the back.

Stainless Steel Jump rings and Clasp for the back.

My client specifically did not want there to be the traditional hook and eye clasp formation so often used with woven wire bundle bangles. That formation is a fantastic way to turn the open ends of the weaving bundle into useable design elements. But he wanted something with a traditional clasp and no open wire ends. Uh oh, what to do?

Solution, make a very large oval spiral to form the wire bundle. Only two wire ends to deal with on the base frame then. It turned out that bringing those to the center front of the cuff gave me a good way to stabilize the pendant and fasten it into place, before I started on the weaving. It was all closed weaving. And the weaving wire was 32g titanium so there was a lot of weaving.

In the end, although my client loves the piece, I was not 100% happy with it. I had planned more symmetry for it, but things shifted during the shaping and weaving process. I ended up embracing the asymmetry and used that to add in some different geometric weaving elements to the area framing the focal.

But there are too many little errors for it to be a sale-able item. So I gifted this piece to the client as a token of my appreciation for his continued patronage.

Lady Mockingbird
Mockingbird Lane Wire at Etsy
Mockingbird Lane Informational Website

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  1. I think you’ve created a unique, handsome piece of jewelry here. I’m sure your client was delighted! It obviously took a lot of creativity and work to make it so special. Who cares if it’s not symmetrical! Although I also need to make everything symmetrical, it’s very refreshing when it’s not.

  2. Sometimes the ‘imbalance’ actually creates the ‘balance’ in a piece and I think the cuff is extremely handsome and quite masculine!

  3. Gifting it to your repeat client was a brilliant solution: you stayed true to your standards and your client gets an unexpected pleasant bonus and further appreciation for you as an artisan.

  4. This is absolutely fabulous. I think it is quite masculine but without any of the cop-outs used in many masculine pieces. Well done!

  5. Zoraida, I always welcome your encouragement.

    Andrea, I don’t mind when the asymmetrical balance is deliberate. Just bugs me when I have to scramble to make unintentional imbalance into balance.

    Mary, staying true to my standards is a big thing for me. I’m glad you appreciate that, too.

    Tara, what do you mean by cop-outs in masculine pieces? I don’t do enough/see enough of things done for men outside of the big box jewelers to understand, right off the bat.
    Lady M

  6. This is incredibly beautiful!

    I had planned to say more in an praising the artistry and more. But right now the little gray cells are not working too good. Hopefully those little cells will wake up soon and I’ll input and intelligent comment.

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