One-a-Week Five: the wrap-up

For the full play by play, there are more complete notes over at Flickr in the Week Five photoset. Click on thumbnails below, or if you just want the overview check out the slideshow.

In summation:

The challenge: explained here

Source of Inspiration: this story about Charles Darwin and his lesser known work with plants

Excerpt from article:

Visitors who stop to ponder this display will also be able to see, in the garden library, the wispy, primitive drawings Darwin made as he studied plant movement and insect eating. Dr. Kohn said the drawings, which remind him of time-lapse photography, are among his favorite items here even though, as he noted, “Darwin was a terrible drawer.”

In his orchard at Down House, Darwin established a “weed garden” by clearing a patch of sod and tracking the germination and growth of every seed that sprouted there. The Botanical Garden has done much the same thing with a small patch in the conservatory.

Most seedlings in Darwin’s weed garden vanished, Ms. Falk said, losses he attributed to slugs. (“That’s a gardener for you,” Mr. Forrest said, “always complaining about something.”)

Visual source material: Lessons with Plants: suggestions for seeing and interpreting some of the common forms of vegetation by L.H. Bailey, Mount Pleasant Press, 1914

Materials used:

  • paper
  • shrink plastic
  • inkjet ink
  • matte fixative
  • base metal pinbacks & tie-tack
  • E900 adhesive

Tools used:

  • sketchbook/pencils/eraser
  • computer/Photoshop/printer
  • lightbox
  • embroidery scissors
  • oven/sheet pan/oven mitt/parchment paper
  • steel bench block

Thoughts on the wearing:

I really like dual nature of the pins as both individuals and as members of a sequential set. Some of them (fig.’s 5 & 6 in particular) have pretty strong individual ‘personalities’. Whereas others (fig. 1 at the most extreme) make very little sense if seen alone. It seems to me that wearing fig. 1 by itself would be almost a tease, i.e., an almost certain invitation to conversation, which is intriguing especially since it is so small and simple. Fig. 6 on the other hand is pretty comprehensible once one discerns the drawing, though perhaps still perplexing as a piece of jewelry to some.

It has occurred to me that one could do a sort of performance/installation with them, either wearing one each day, progressing from fig. 1 to fig. 6, or by adding them progressively, fig. 1 on day one, fig.’s 1 &2 on day two, etc. It would be a nice way of playing out the series as a variation on time lapse photography or a flip book. Hmmm…. it occurs to me now that this idea could also have been played out as a flip book pendant…so many ideas

Things I did poorly:

  • forgot to charge up my camera battery thursday night
  • used an idea which had already been incubating in my head before the challenge
  • tie tack finding on fig. 1 needs to be redone. I burred a divot in the plastic to give increase the contact surface between the pin and the plastic, but I think I need to get some fresh two-part epoxy and try again
  • tie tack finding makes fig.1 a bit bulky to wear on thinner fabric. Perhaps a small pinback like the others would be better.
  • application of the matte fixative was not ideal. I had the windows open for ventilation, perhaps I didn’t dust the pieces off properly first. The result is dozens of tiny fibers which are now firmly affixed to the plastic. They are maddening obvious to me when viewed in person. ( And I couldn’t help but take the time to photoshop them out of existence in the pics…so silly.)
  • perhaps simply a result of the pieces created and technique employed, but this week resulted in far fewer photos than last week.

Things I think I did well:

  • chose an idea appropriate to my energy level and time available
  • executed the idea with plenty of time remaining
  • predicted well how material would work for the idea
  • embraced simplicity
  • used materials and tools that were already on hand
  • tried an idea that had been rolling around in my head for a while
  • got inspired about other possibilities

Evaluation of final piece:

  • wearable?: yes, other than fixing the finding on fig.1
  • durable?: yes.
  • visual appeal?: I’m rather pleased with it. Still, I’m insure as to how appealing it would be to others as everyday jewelry.
  • concept?: It came together even better than I had realized it would. It was actually only after I decided on using those preexisting sketches that i realized how close the connection was to those particular paragraphs from the article cited above; i.e., the references to Darwin’s own drawing, and their connection to time-lapse photography. I’d originally thought to do something with primroses, which are mentioned in the first paragraph of the article. I only grabbed onto the idea of tracking the growth and germination of seeds in the ‘weed garden’ because I already had the sketches and I saw that I was pressed for time. Fortuitous, in the end, I think.
  • if given that issue of the NYT, could someone guess the muse for the piece?: I think almost certainly.
  • appeal to the inspirational individual?: hard to say. As pins, they are certainly more wearable for a man. And as drawings, I think they would appeal to a scientist. Whether Darwin would be the sort to wear jewelry at all, I’ve no idea.

Any input/constructive criticism on this or any other week’s challenge would be welcomed.

(It’s hard to know if one’s own critique is accurate…)

It looks like next week’s challenge, week six, will be our final challenge for now. The challenge will be announced Monday.

For more on the challenge, see this weeks photoset
or all the One-a-Week Five posts here

Leave a comment


  1. That you did answered this challenge with individual pieces that were also part of a growing set was just perfect, even if parts of the process had crossed your mind before the challenge was unveiled. I can’t wait for the next one.

  2. Love the logical order of progression and scale when worn… another visual delight to wear!

    see you, g

  3. i really love the progression of the brooches. i would totally wear a bunch of them at once. maybe in a cluster rather than a line? also, they would look really good mounted in a shadowbox when not being worn.

  4. susan and gracia,
    Thanks so much for your kind words! I’m so glad to have you both follow this along.


  5. alisa,
    Yes, a shadowbox is a great idea! I might used that! As for the wearing, I agree that a looser arrangement might be better for wearing more than one. By the time I realized that, I was kind of sick of taking photos of myself! 🙂



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