Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Prototype Gertrude

Around Christmas, my friend Colleen came over bearing Kenneth Branagh's magnificent Hamlet, which we watched. I was enthralled, but not so enthralled I didn't get distracted by a quick glimpse of Queen Gertrude's beautiful choker, which she was wearing in exactly one scene. I started thinking about shapes and colors, and beautiful queenly necks. Then I had to figure out how to make an open diamond, which counter-intuitively enough, ends up working only if started as a square. That took a week to figure out.

But then I had the basic shapes, stitched them together and promptly stalled out trying to figure out how to extend the piece around the neck. I decided on smaller diamonds, and then the necklace said to me, quite loudly and a little rudely, that it needed to be reversible. Reversible? Are you sure? It was sure. So then I stitched up doubles of the diamonds, and tried to attach them to the backside of the diamonds already in place.

The lesson there was that the time to make a necklace reversible is when it's still in a little pile of components on one's tray, not after said components are all stitched together. But it worked okay. Then there was the matter of a clasp. Which I decided would only work with the elegance of the rest of the piece if it was completely symmetrical and detachable (which also gives plenty of room for size customization, a little collection of 3 or 4 different length clasps is going to give you 3 or 4 different necklaces).

Then it was a matter of draping the wing parts, and dropping the dangles. That's when I realized that my diamonds were too big- or too big for my neck, at least, because the wings don't hang quite the way I envisioned- they sort of pool around the clavicles, which is a nice enough look, but not what I wanted. I think my next take will have the large central diamond, then decreasing diamonds all the way around. We'll see where this takes me. But here's the prototype.