4 Variations on a Box
I can’t believe it’s been so long since my last post, but we had spring break and taxes and a social life, so things get put on the back burner for a little while. I worked on my rings during this time, but I didn’t get a chance to photograph or finish them. I started the first one by making a box. I’ve always wanted to make one out of metal, and I was always scared to try it: maybe it would be too hard, maybe I don’t have the precision skills to do it, or maybe it just won’t look good. Well I was wrong!
- Burst Ring (52.13) So I started making my first box without much of plan to get me thinking in “box” mode, and by the time I made the first groove in one of the sides I knew exactly what I wanted to make, so I stopped and sketched and planned a bit…I thought it would be a bit boring just having a copper box, just like a cardboard, so instead, I wanted it to be bursting at one corner with jewels spilling out of it.
The box construction is fairly straight forward. You make 2 L-shapes by filing a groove in metal sheet, then bending at 45° angle, then soldering the 2 Ls together and finally soldering the top and bottom – but first flaring the sides of 1 corner a bit to make the box look like it’s bursting. After I finished the ring construction, I set it aside because I didn’t know how to make the “jewels” part and didn’t want to mess it up, so I figured it would “come” to me while I was making the second box ring (that I thought of while making the first box ring – doesn’t it always work that way!)
I wore the ring without jewels for some time, until I finally decided what to do with it.
I crushed up some bad peridot beads, got some cubic zirconia in different colors and epoxyed the whole lot to the ring. That came out really good! Nice box!
- Peek Ring (52.14) While I was making the burst ring, I started thinking it was not too subtle. I liked the ring, but felt it was a bit over the top, so I thought to shrink it and make only the lid flared out a bit, just enough for one jewel to be wedged in there. Good idea!
This ring came together super quick. For one I didn’t use as thick a sheet as the first, and I also scaled it down quite a bit (the box measures 8mm as opposed to 15)
I rubbed the box with 320 sandpaper, oxidized it with liver of sulfur, then brushed it again with the sandpaper, but only loosely in vertical and horizontal directions. Selma squealed when she saw the ring, so of course it is now hers!
- Escher Ring (52.15) So I got the boxes down. After having successfully made 2 of them, I was feeling confident to make something a bit more complex: A box frame.
I made the whole ring with 2mm Sterling silver square wire. The process was very tedious and time consuming. I had to file the individual pieces of wire very slowly to a fraction of a millimeter, so that the cube would not distort. I think this is the most precise ring I’ve ever made – the cube measures 10mm and would have been a lot harder to make had I used thinner wire, or had I tried to make it any smaller.
The finish is 220 sandpaper in a random pattern. I oxidized the inner surfaces to give it some dimension. Mark said it looks like an Escher drawing – hence the name. I absolutely love love love this ring.
- Frame Ring (52.16) Maybe I should call this last ring of the series the “Edit Ring”. It is a combination of the 3 rings so far and is the most minimal of the three. With each ring, I edited the design down to this one. It came out exactly how I imagined and I’m very pleased with it.
It looks really easy and effortless, but isn’t. Working with 1mm Sterling silver wire is not as easy as with thicker wire. I also originally soldered 2 tiny squares on the copper L shape, but didn’t like them, so I took them off, which left solder smudges on the copper (and I liked that a lot!)
I did not want to sand and polish and clean this ring because I thought it looks great as is. It’s a framework, something to build on and grow.
So now I’m all caught up on Ring a Week. I learned a lot and I enjoyed the break. It actually allowed me to develop this box theme and push myself a little bit.
- To get a really crisp edge on a box, file the 45° groove down, all the way down until there’s almost no metal left.
- Sometimes, taking a distance from work can be really beneficial (we knew that, right?)
- My design approach is laid out in this series. I always start with something fancy and grand, and then whittle it down to a simplified form. I really had not realized that before, but it is absolutely true. Good Lesson!
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