For our first project in this course, we were assigned to design a piece of jewelry according to the preferences of our client. The materials could varied, but they must be designed in Illustrator and laser-cut. I was excited about doing this project since I had never used laser cutters before, and I had always wanted to make my own piece of jewelry.
I started with interviewing my client, Kayla. Hearing that she was from the Philippines, I was initially interested in doing traditional Filipino jewelry that tied back to her culture. Unfortunately, she did not really like that idea and preferred something different. The answers that she replied were a little bit vague, but I eventually got a general understanding that she liked animals, and her ideal style of jewelry was small and delicate.
Then, I began to sketch different bracelet designs that had the elements of animals.
Kayla was satisfied with the second design, so I scanned it and traced it in the illustrator. Unfortunately, if the design was too small, the deer horn would break easily. Therefore, I changed my mind into doing a necklace instead. Kayla also agreed about that.
I chose wood as the main material for this particular design because wood was associated with nature just like how deer was too. The burn marks left by the laser cutter also corresponded to the natural and organic style. In order to incorporate all three types of cut, I used raster engraving at the centre of the pattern to make a space to attach a piece of pearl. I chose pearl as the stone since the overall style was elegant, whilst the gentle creamy color made the wood not too boring. I also utilized vector engraving to cut Kayla’s name on the jewelry to make it seem exclusive to her. I attached it to a copper chain to maintain the antique feeling.
After seeing the finished piece on Kayla, I realized that the chain seemed to be over length. There were also some criticisms that the chain was too thin, but I like how it was delicate.
This assignment was important for me as this was my first time learning how to use basic tools in Illustrator, and translate my design into something that the laser cutting program could understand. It was fulfilling to see how something 2D on paper could develop into a piece of 3D jewelry. Dealing with a client was also a crucial experience.