Almost all artists keep sketchbooks. They are often day-by-day chronicles of the artist’s thoughts and inspirations. They are also the place where the artist works through the various concept, design and fabrication issues associated with the process of taking an abstract idea and making it into a concrete object.
Frequently, the process of making hides from the viewer of the finished object. And “process” is the very essence of the expression, “art makes the difficult seem easy.” We prefer “Art is Magic”, but we may be biased.
Behind the process is years of study and practice developing skills with tools and materials. The effect is that everything falls magically into place as if nature intended it that way. Trust us when we say, making something almost NEVER happens like that.
So, how does it happen?
A recently completed necklace commissions will provide a quick overview of our processes.
Our process starts with sketches. These can be one-offs to help solidify the idea or a series of concept and engineering sketches to work out the composition and mechanical issues.
Once we are clear about what we want to make, we assess the materials and methods, and who will perform each task. A staging table is set up to hold components that are complete.
The manufacture and sub-assembly of parts often incorporate a considerable range of techniques and materials.
As we work out joining and how the various parts will hang and interact, fittings are made for each component.
The process continues as shapes, colors, textures are compared and fitted as the piece begins to take shape.
The project called for a custom display case to house the piece. Once the piece progresses to a point where we can determine precise physical dimensions, we begin constructing the case.
In this instance, we wanted to create a stylized forest floor as an environment for the piece. This aspect of the project required considerable trial and error. We spent time exploring and photographing details of local forest floors, including collecting a variety of leaves to be used as models later in the process.
Research complete, the next step was a series of technical exercises to express the environments we had seen. We selected polymer for its creative flexibility as the best-suited medium for the job.
The next step is when all the parts come together, and final assembly and fit takes place. The fitting includes the piece itself, but also the piece within its environment.
The final step is photography of the finished item. As you can see above, we are also documenting the entire process as it happens. While process photography is often fast and informal, final photography requires much more time and careful attention to complete.
The finished piece in its custom case.
The project took two people ten weeks to complete start to finish.
The materials incorporated in the piece include:
Various kinds of Wood