Roy Lichtenstein untitled head

For our first jewellery project, we were to make a necklace pendant (from scratch of course). We had to use cold connections (e.g. rivets, bending, tabs, slots etc), base our design off of a sculpture of our choosing and take the dominant element and principle from said sculpture and to represent it in our design.

Before I share with you what my chosen sculpture looks like, I wanted to share with you my first impressions of my chosen sculpture, when I first saw it at the National Gallery of Australia in Canberra, as part of the exhibition titled “Roy Lichtenstein: A retrospective”.

“His chiselled face was acutely angular with facial features resembling abstract shapes. Some lines were curved, others were straight, but both sides of the face were perfectly symmetrical. It was one damn fine looking face! I gazed into his eyes and they sparkled back. He smiled. I smiled. We had a moment.”

Being a huge fan of Roy Lichtenstein, I chose “Untitled Head 1” and identified line and negative and positive space as my element and principle. Now that you know, what my chosen sculpture looks like, I hope the first impressions I shared with you were an accurate depiction! :)

During the term, we drew up a different designs and variations for our proposed pendant. When the design was finalised with our concepts teacher, I experimented with different materials – gilding metal, brass and eventually decided on titanium. Strong, yet incredibly light – I would come to know the more challenging things about working with titanium.

1. Your saw blade will get blunt after using it for 34 seconds and you’ll have to keep changing it. (That’s if your saw blade doesn’t break within the first 34 seconds of having changed it)

2. Filing titanium is a whole world of fun too. Especially for those tricky, small areas such as slots and angles for bends!

But, in having said this, I’m glad I worked with titanium and that it was challenging. Now, using most other metals will seem like a cakewalk.

As you can see in the process shots below, the polygon portion of the pendant was made of a flat piece of sheet metal, bent entirely around. Having spent hours and weeks on saw piercing, practising cutting slots, meticulously calculating the angles and how much material to file away and filing in general, it became really nerve wracking near the end when I had to begin bending the angles. It was make or break. Literally. Too much force (or wiggling around) would mean, the metal at the bends would become too weak and break off.

With a bit of luck, no bits fell off (phew) and here we have it, my first piece of jewellery made completely from scratch!

Process shots: Chiselled - the necklace pendant

Completed: Chiselled

At the end of each year, all the jewellery and object design students host an exhibition and some (or all of the pieces) we create during the year will be available for sale. Maybe this bad boy will be sold and end up in your jewellery collection? Our teachers have said to never sell the first piece of jewellery we make… I suppose with the first piece, we realise how much time, energy and effort goes into it… perhaps I won’t be able to part with it in the end of the year?

The next project we’re doing are rings! Yaaaay!

(Image credit for sculpture:


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