Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Start your Engines!!! Automotive Challenge

Hello Friends, Ryan here.  I want to start out by thanking all who voted in the Men’s Jewelry Challenge.   Having my work chosen to win among so many seasoned, skillful artists was a really a memorable moment for me.    I would also like to extend my appreciation to all who entered; it was great to see such a diverse environment of technique and approach to the common theme.  It is my pleasure to now be presenting everyone with the next challenge which I hope many of you will find interesting and be eager to participate in!

 I thought long and hard about a few ideas, but none seemed to grab me much as the one I chose.   
“Automotive Design”

…Before you dismiss the subject as “macho” or “commonplace”, perhaps give it some honest exploration.  This subject is one that is not only a great passion in my personal life,   but also is a great influence behind a great number of my jewelry designs.  While not everyone shares my interests, give this one a chance- Really give it some thought.  You might be surprised what an incredibly powerful avenue for inspiration this subject can be. 

Take a look back throughout history at automobile design.  Few significant personal objects around the world have been such a perpetual, universal symbol for someone’s lifestyle, personality, sense of taste and wealth.  Few things also, over the course of time, have been capable of so much elegance and mass-appeal for appreciation. If you think about it, it’s not much unlike jewelry! 

Automobile design, since the latter part of the 1920s, started becoming more than a mere utilitarian mode of transportation.  They became sculpture; mechanical works of art.  Straight from the showroom floor, or fresh out of a tinkerer’s garage, the car truly became an individual- To some, an object of pride or even a part of the family.  The outside body lines, the dash board, the wheels; even the upholstery began to take on aesthetics that distinguish one car from another.   American cars or European cars- It’s all the same.  Anything on a car can provide inspiration.  The flare of a fender to the bare, structural artistry of a frame or suspension component, the gauges on the dash board, the headlight shape or even the tread of a tire can get the creative wheels turning. 

The ornate dash board of a 1930s Packard; the aircraft-inspired elements of the 1950s; the vertical chrome grille bars of a 1932 Ford; The shape of the wheel centers, the mile-high tail fins of the 1959 Cadillac; the iconic rear trim flair of the 1957 Chevy Bel-Air… and on.

Themes can be examined:  the pure beginnings of automotive evolution of the 1910s-1920s; streamlined designs of the WWII era; stripped-down, utilitarian hot rods and drag racers of the 1950s; boxy, bold muscle cars of the 1960s… again it goes on.    The possibilities are endless!  

This challenge might not appeal to some, but hopefully it will convince others to think outside their normal approach to design and gather stimulation from a source of ideas they might have overlooked before- or might have overlooked the possibilities of.

Your job as the designer and creator is to find something that inspires you that can be physically traced to a car.  Anything is fair game that has to do with a vehicle’s unique aesthetic, structure, or overall intention of use (e.g. Drag racing).  You have to present this piece along with a little mention in the description of what exactly inspired you.   I hope many of you participate, for I am really interested to see what you all can come up with.  Thank you! 

Entries are due May 12th at Midnight! Upload your photo and explain your inspiration to the group FLICKR pool.

Official Team Challenge Rules….
To enter and vote you must meet the following requirements:
- Have an Etsy shop
- Be a member of the Aspiring Metalsmith team on Etsy
- Be able to post your photos to our Flickr pool without blocking them from download, so the blog master has access.
- Follow each challenge’s rules as to submission times, materials and/or techniques, or any other rule for that specific challenge.
- Make something NEW for the challenge….not something that you have in stock that fits the rules. These challenges are to push you to try new things, not just show off things you’ve already done.

We politely ask that if you do not meet these guidelines you do not vote either. These challenges are intended to be an internal, skill-pushing endeavor….not a popularity contest. We like to show off how well we’ve done, but really want our peers on the team to judge our technique and skill growth.

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