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Behind The Scenes

Erin Attacks Metal (Ever So Gently)

Having shown us her skills on the dyeing and weaving fronts, Erin Considine’s upping the ante and breaking out the saws and anvils: The tremendously talented jewelry designer dreams up and models each of the ornate brass pieces that she uses to add a bit of toughness to her soft, fibrous pieces. This is how she developed the geometric component that features prominently on the very awesome necklace she made just for us. Want to check out the finished product? Click here to see—and buy—the soft-but-structural edition Erin created exclusively for Of a Kind. “When I made this element, I was going through a bunch of art-deco architecture books and came up with this shape. From there, I drew it out and glued it to a piece of metal—brass with a low copper component. Then I sawed it out and filed the edges. I like rounded edges that are a little distressed looking—not too precise. I guess I’m kind of an unconventional jeweler in that way.” “I’ve carried this anvil to eight different apartments—this 55-pound anvil. To get this moonscape texture, I hammered out the brass piece on the crappiest part. The curved shape just naturally happens when you’re hammering it on one side.” “I wanted it to be a little thicker, so I added a layer of wax to it. Then I sent it to my caster in the city to create a mold for me and make 20 pieces. I use recycled brass. I love the color of brass—it’s really warm—and sustainably sourced materials are a huge part of my line.”
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Erin Considine Loves her Weave

Erin Considine is pretty adept with her yarn. “I learned to knit and crochet from my college roommates. Then I took fiber-arts classes in college, but I started knitting with wire, which led me to jewelry,” says the designer, who now incorporates woven elements into nearly all of the pieces in her detailed line. She gives us a look at an in-process spring piece—and a sense of where she’s headed. “This shaggy piece will be affixed to a bracelet structure—a cuff I’m working on. This is the first one I’ve done that is color-blocked. Normally I do more variation, more randomness. The peachy madder root is my all-time favorite color.” “I found this loom on a weaving forum. This lady was getting rid of it for twenty dollars. What I’m doing here is a rug-knotting technique. It’s very similar to Moroccan rug-weaving, and I originally got the idea from a latch-hook rug—you know, the kind you see at flea markets with Garfield on them. This is much faster than latching into a piece of burlap and affixing each strand.” “I save all of my scraps. I don’t throw anything away because I go through the trouble of dyeing it, and it’s all so pretty. So this allows me to use those smaller pieces. I knot them around every other strand.” “For this collection, I used plain-weaving, wrapping, coiling, knotting, and braiding. I’m starting to explore this kumihimo technique, which is a type of Japanese weaving. When I do it on the subway, people are like, ‘Is that a game?’ Or they think I’m carrying around a mobile.” Click here to score the piece Erin wove for us! And, in case you missed it yesterday, see how she achieves her amazing color palette right over here.
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Erin Considine’s Dye Job

One of the most enticing things about Erin Considine’s jewelry is its color palette of muted, rich hues—rusty salmons, denim-esque blues, mossy yellows. The Brooklyn-based accessory whiz achieves her distinct colors by dyeing yarn with natural materials that she sources globally or forages herself, like flowers, woods, and, hopefully soon, mushrooms. “You can find them upstate in the woods or even in Prospect Park,” she says. “The colors they produce depend on the soil, what region you’re getting them from, what’s been happening with the weather.” Here, she gives us a lesson on dyeing—one of three super-involved and captivating processes she’ll share this week. “The first step is unwinding a ball of yarn—a fair-trade pima cotton and silk one from Peru—onto this umbrella swift. It makes it into a skein that’s easier to control.” “After that, I soak the yarn for half an hour in water with a little bit of soap to open up the fibers, and then I put it in a dye pot. This bluish-gray color is logwood. It’s a bark that I get from the Dominican Republic, and they harvest it sustainably so they’re not damaging the trees. It’s basically a sawdust, and it’s what was used before synthetic dyes for blacks, blues, and purples. A lot of hosiery companies still use it to dye stockings.” “I add a little bit of this iron mineral, which turns the logwood into a rich, beautiful blue color. Sometimes I’ll let it sit overnight, depending on how strong it is. It’s about learning the process and maintaining the right temperature. It’s like boiling an egg. Once you know how to do it, you know when it’s ready.”  “Afterwards, I rinse it with some vinegar to clarify and set the dye, and then I put it in my dehydrator [pictured at far left], which is kind of like sitting it out in the sun. It fixes the color. I originally bought my dehydrator—the Excalibur—during my raw-food delusion, and it’s served me well.” The dyed-by-hand edition Erin made especially for Of a Kind is available right over here. Go now. There are only 20.
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