Part 1 – Research & Design

Nature has been a treasure trove of inspiration for my artwork over the years, with insects providing a particular fascination.

My ongoing interest in them comes from two main areas of study that forms the basis for much of my artwork.

  • An interest in the subject of ‘Growth & Decay’
  • Ongoing exploration of the line that separates the emotions of ‘Attraction and Repulsion’
  • Insects have a part to play in both of these aspects, so this, in addition to a fascination for their often incredible behavior and the essential role they play in life as we know it – ensures they continue as a source of enduring personal inspiration.

    And nowhere is amazing behavior better demonstrated than in the life-cycle of our latest piece – the Magicicada. Even in the insect world, where there is no shortage of ‘fascinating’ behavior, the story of the Magicicada is truly, quite remarkable 

     but before I tell you about that – let me start by explaining the process behind how the HEXAPODA Magicicada is made.

    The initial phase of any HEXAPODA design begins with research. From old reference books and the not-so-old internet, I’ll search for images that show the insect in its various growth stages and natural habitat.

    … I’ll also try to find an actual specimen to provide a clearer 3 dimensional perspective …

    Part of my research includes sketching the insect’s physical attributes. The interactive aspect of drawing, gives me a better understanding of these characteristics than I would otherwise receive from looking at images alone.

    This exercise is very valuable to me because even though HEXAPODA items are ‘depictions’ rather than ‘models’, my intention is always to capture the ‘essence’ of the subject in the pieces I create.

    The main purpose of my research to this point, is to help me decide the best way to present the insect and in which format it should be offered (Pendant, Brooch etc).

    With this established, I can then start looking at the design in more detail …

    For example, any attempt to re-create the Magicicada’s thin, transparent wings ‘literally’, would bring its own set of challenges and limitations. Instead, I re-interpret the effect using contrasting textures and relief, which creates the ‘impression’ of wings, without the fragility that would otherwise result.

    I also try to incorporate interaction between the insect and its surroundings, such as how it hangs from the cord on a pendant, or rests against a lapel, as a pin.

    … and of course, special attention must be given when incorporating long, thin, legs and antennae into the design!

    Because all HEXAPODA items must be comfortable to wear, weight must always be considered carefully – especially in larger pieces. Ultimately, the aim is to create jewelry items which are as comfortable as possible to wear, yet strong enough to cope with everyday use.

    Addressing the above aspects to a point where I am satisfied, can take anywhere from a few week(s) to several months – but once complete, I’ll have an outline design, which I can use to start modeling. Getting to this point, does not however, mean the design process is complete. On the contrary, each subsequent stage offers an important opportunity to fine-tune the design as it physically evolves.

    >> Part 2 – Sculpting in Wax

    Would you like a Magicicada smilar to the one
    featured in this article?


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