I’m working on a piece commissioned for a special client. This one is an absolute blast because it’s one of those instances where I’ve been given a lot of lateral room to come up with something cool. Basic instruction was
“A necklace. Vaguely Mayan. Not too big. A skull.”
Right up my alley.
I should say that on the topic of necklaces with pendants or medals or whatever kind of big feature piece that might be used for the design, there’s always a danger of making something that’s very dated. We all have that image of someone walking around with a fake tan, an open kimono, and a big gold or silver medallion nestled in a forrest of chest hair.
That’s right. If you’re not careful, this will happen to you:
I’ve got a solution to this and it works great. If you’ve seen my post The Irishman, you know that you can actually put a massive pendant as a slider on certain types of chains and have it look completely modern and badass. (The names of my left and right fist. Kidding. Or am I?)
This mounting system gives the pendant total freedom to slide up and down the chain as you move around. Also just looks great.
Now the Mayan skull is a lot smaller than that massive shamrock/maltesecross-ish looking thing above, but the same system still applies. Here it is in wax:
You can see the necklace (provided in this case by the client) runs perfectly through the mass of the skull’s forehead. I still have detail work to do on this baby, but you get the idea. Should look great by the time I’m done with it.
The only downside to this is that it can be hard as shit to carve. You can easily shatter the wax after putting in hours and hours of sculpting. After all, that chain has to fit in there somewhere and it can’t be too tight. The result, however, is a necklace that hangs ON the chain instead of below it. It just looks better.
I think the only time a pendant should hang below a chain is if it has a distinct linear shape to it. Like a bullet, a dogtag, or a tooth. Those shapes can work. If the thing is even slightly round, however, I’d suggest going to someone with the skill to pull off this style of pendant.
I’m not a fan of traditional necklaces anyway. Even the Solo Joe (Seen unfinished below) puts the feature piece IN the chain instead of below it.
In fact, the only necklace I’ve done that hangs traditionally is Jimmy’s Bob Dylan skull:
I did this for a number of reasons. First off, the pendant wasn’t shaped right for a slider and would be too heavy to hang through the eyes. Second – if I gave Jimmy a piece and said “Hey, man, this is more modern” he would probably stick a knife in my gut. So anyway, that’s a rare one.
Stay tuned for more images of the Mayan. I expect to have it finished by early September. Much sooner than that will be the first images of the ITGM class rings. First batch should be done tomorrow or the next day.