Tuesday, 3 May 2011

On the trials of new designs

Making new designs takes time, and time isn't something I always have. However it's interesting to see how some designs seem to organically grow from old techniques and new ideas, whilst the really hard ones to work are the ones I design backwards from knowing how I want something to look, to then figuring out how to make it!
Today I've once again been battling with shaving brushes. For those who don't know, the 'old' style had a metal finial which the brush (or 'knot' which is the correct term apparently) fitted into, then the glass handle fitted onto that. The problem is I cannot get anymore of these, as they are no longer made. I spent a few weeks, and a can of expensive silicone mould resin, trying out casting them in pewter, but I really wasn't happy with either the results or the look. The ideal thing would be making an entirely glass handle and fitting the knot directly into that, making a more seamless look, and removing the potentially troublesome metal to glass bond.

Easier said than done! Today I've made only 4 handles, and one failed lump. The best one being the first, which then cracked. Thinking I was on to the right idea I carried on, and I think the last one is nearly right. Realising it would be a bit of a slog I stopped using colour, and have been working with just clear as I work out the shapes and process, and thats been quite a happy idea as they look really good with just a touch of colour.

At the opposite end of designing are the happy organic pieces that grow out of existing techniques used in new ways, rather than the hard designing of having the finishing product in mind and working backwards. One of these was from a chat on the stall with a chap buying a calligraphy pen, who suggested chop stick holders to match would be great, as he used them to rest pens on. I made a few rectangular style ones, but coaxing glass into in-organic squares isn't ideal, so I tried a leaf design. I like making leaves, they are very free form, and each one is always different.

As I made more I found that some rocked, and I liked the way they seemed to 'tremble' like leaves on a tree, so I've been making them all like that. As they are all boro, I think they'd be ideal for tableware too! I'll try and list some on etsy soon!

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