Archive for the ‘Jewelry’ Category

Sharing your 3D design work has always been a bit ,well, awkward. You pour your heart and soul into a model and all people see is a flat representation of it. There are various web GL viewers available, but those always require downloading plug-ins which, let's face it, is not something you want to spend your time doing. For a short while now, Sketchfab model embeds have been natively supported within Wordpress blogs. So, ta-daa; here's a test piece - an apple blossom bangle model that hasn't made it to the production, but demonstrates the functionality well. All fellow 3D tinkerers can join through this link.

https://sketchfab.com/models/a90a9f4668c64a08af30824185a76f51

Recently, I got an assignment to create custom work for two music teachers. Personalized and reasonably priced were the only guidelines. Otherwise I was given free rein and let my creativity go wild. Well, not that wild, but I had fun. The obvious choice for custom personalized jewelry was to create 3D models and then get them 3D printed.

In the picture above, you can the see cufflinks for a piano teacher with initials TH. Each letter is surrounded by two octaves of miniature piano keys. The material is silver plated polished brass.

DG-AltoClef

The other piece was a pendant for a viola teacher. It had to be delivered as soon as I got it from the service bureau, so the picture below is a rendering. On the note lines you can see the alto clef which is also called viola clef because it's often used with viola music. Also the notes, D and G, represent her initials. This pendant was made with 18K plated polished brass.

 

 

This is the first post in the upcoming sporadic series of DESIGN LAB. I will experiment with new manufacturing methods and techniques. Results and pictures, good or bad, will be posted here. Some of these sketches may eventually find themselves in production and the web store, but mostly I’m just playing around.

For the longest time, I’ve been wanting to try laser cutting. Though the laser cutter is pretty old technology, the price point is still very high. It is not in my radar to purchase my own machine quite yet. So, I turned to a service bureau; Ponoko.

Ponoko carries a vast catalogue of materials from leather and wool felt to acrylics and plywood. The prices for materials are reasonable, but price for an individual design may hike up fast, if the design is complicated and specifically if it includes lots of engraved details. This makes balancing between designer’s and consumer’s happiness tricky. Seemingly simple designs may end up carrying a hefty price tag.

This time, I chose to work with white melamine MDF, Cherry Veneer MDF and natural cardboard.

rowPendant

Cherry veneer has a nice sheen and works quite nicely for jewelry. Here, I made a simple pendant by utilizing a ready made silver setting and designing a piece to fit in. The lesson here; Fonts need to be bold. Otherwise, the result is too subtle with the natural wood grain. The “CHILL” text on the bracelet below is barely visible.

chill I was particularly excited with trying the “live hinge” method. Stiff material, such as wood, can be made flexible by cutting  a pattern of vertical lines. Each thin part will give in a little, just enough to for a nice bend. However, for jewelry purposes and heavy usage items, this is just too brittle. It might be possible to use some kind of enforcement. For the bracelet below, I used duck tape :). For this to work, it needs more R&D.

liveHinge2

Laser cutting is essentially flat design. With some construction, one is able to expand it to 3d. Here is a simple egg pendant which can be shipped flat and assembled when received.

pendant

The white melamine picks up detail really well. Even the thinnest lines will read clearly. Also, the material  tolerates high heat pretty well. Therefor, it was my material of choice for this trivet.

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One last material I wanted to experiment with was cardboard.  These earring display cards will easily fold flat for gift boxes.

packagingOver all, much fun to play with and definitely a learning experience. Next, I will try leather and felt for some bags and cases.

Oh, and a word of warning: All natural fibers and organic materials such as wood, leather or felt will be smelling like smoke. Laser cuts by burning. Eventually, the smell fades, though.

screenshots

My web site for Annamari Mikkola Adornments was barely two years old and it was definitely time to redo it. Mainly, I needed to introduce a new theme that would accommodate web store functionality. Embarassingly, it was lacking the elementary responsive functionality. Now the site navigation is easier to use through all mobile devices.

While I was doing all these coding changes, I thought design could as well be lighter and more airy. Additionally, it was necessary to separate my web design business from the jewelry design. Those two sides of my split personality, desperately needed individual branding. I still need to put together the web store. In the meanwhile, you can visit the Etsy store for limited selection or contact me for special orders.

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Thanksgiving and the recent uncovering of a bird’s nest in my garden made me think of a talisman I made almost 10 years ago. Talismans are objects which are believed to have magical powers. Unlike Amulets, which are for generic purpose, talismans bring good luck for a specific purpose. They also need to be charged with energy by a person who makes them.

Mine was a bird's nest made out of fine silver. I rolled each little twig out of precious metal clay and little by little formed a nest. It was then sintered in kiln which burned off the binding materials and after polishing, a tiny brilliant nest emerged. For eggs, I added two shiny oval shaped freshwater pearls. It could have been used as a pendant, but I just wanted to look and hold it.

At the time, we had already had several painful years of  trying to get  pregnant. It was probably on an unconscious level, that I made this symbolic nest in lieu of building a nest for a human baby. In any case, my thoughts were mostly (as they had been for ages) focused on the void in our lives. When I was concentrating on rolling out those tiny twigs,  I was charging each one of them with lots of hope. As it often happens, once you direct your energy somewhere else, the unimaginable happens. I got pregnant with our gorgeous son.

I got pre-occupied with my rounding belly and the hectic life in Manhattan. The little talisman was forgotten for years until we moved to suburbs and I learned that a dear friend of mine was struggling with the same issues I had. The cynic in me says it was our persistence, modern medicine and our skilled reproductive endocrinologist that deserve all the credit for the success. However,  I would like to live in a world where it’s ok to believe in magic, at least a little bit. So, I handed the bird's nest to my friend in a little box and told her the story about making it. Her son was born less than a year after that.

We decided that it would be great to create a pay-it-forward talisman. So, she gave the nest to her friend S who gave it to her friend K. So, far we have four silver nest babies, all boys by the way.

Oh, and what happened to the talisman next? S has it back on her bed side radiating hope, happy thoughts and energy for number two.

 

When it comes to their own identity, graphic designers are their own worst client. Never happy, always tinkering and rarely have time to sit down and brainstorm. In my own case, I am not only one but two whiny un-paying clients. In addition to the start-up jewelry business, I also have the established graphic and web design studio. Both require different identity and cater to very different people. To make things more difficult, both really ride on my own name and are part of the same company; Annamari Mikkola Creative.

While researching custom packaging options for my jewelry, I decided the old (or not so old, actually) Annamari Mikkola Creative logo will not work as monochromatic option. Paying for two color foil stamping for boxes was not an option either. At the price point I am selling the jewelry, packaging then would have been disproportionately expensive. Since the jewelry business really needed a separate identity anyway, I had to sit down with my sketch book again. Here’s the result:

AM-adornments

A lot happier, a bit cutesy and definitely will work as one color option as well. It will also cover possible new accessory lines, such as scarves. Or what do you think? Comments welcome.

The old logo will mainly liveon the long neglected and soon to be redesigned Mikkola.net site. That will have a portfolio of my 2D graphic design, advertising and web work. The new logo will show up first on the Etsy Store (yes, it’s kind of open and will have more items soon!). Once I get around opening my actual web store, it’ll be seen there as well.

Confused yet? So am I, but it will all be more clear soon. I promise. Just need to sit down with a difficult client first.