Marshawoods and Forged Suspension

by michaeljohnson on February 22, 2012

I had mentioned in a previous post that I was exploring the art of making eyewear. I have a fantastic optometrist who has been showing me around his world a bit. Since wearing glasses is very new to me, and I knew very little about lenses, except the minute bits that I have picked up in my studies of photography and telescopes, I have appreciated him walking me through the basics of how prescription lenses and eyewear works. There is much to be taken into consideration.

Marshawood Frames - Sterling silver, paladium, amethyst and rhodolites.

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This was a commission for a patron named Marsha, who just happened to need a new pair of specs, just as we started down this road. She really loved that first pair that we made showcased in the post called “Making a Spectacle for Myself.” And, as I was researching frame designs I just loved the Marshwood frames that John Denver made popular in the early 70’s amongst the folkies. A play on words, Marshwood – Marshawood. So, I just took the lens shapes and played with adding a bit of my folklore to the design. Marsha, digging my serpent designs that I had used in some of my other work, wanted a snake right between the eyes. I liked the idea, but I also didn’t want to make a destraction for her. (Note: lawsuit in the movie The Jerkwhere Steve Martin’s character lost everything because the customers of his eye glass modifications went cross-eyed) So, I tried my best to integrate the serpent as best I could without making it distracting. “If it were a snake, it would have bit you.”

Detail - Marshawood Frames, showing the serpent.

She also wanted nose pads, not being sure if the bridge support as it the “Making a Spectacle for Myself” pair would be comfortable on her nose. This was an eye opener, and I started noticing that not all faces had the same types of nose bridge. But, this was an easy fix with a bent wire support for a pair of push-on pads. However, she preferred the metal bridge, and I think she ended up clipping off the pad supports.

Detail - Marshawood Frames, showing off the nose pads.

Then, after discussions with my optometrist and a few incredibly knowledgeable metalsmiths and metallurgist on a facebook group for jewelers who are interested in making eyewear, I decided that although I was certain (IMO) that the sterling silver could be hardened enough top take the wear and tear of that the hinges and rimlocks would have to endure, they also had to take the massive torque and wear and tear of the optometrist who has to place and replace lenses over the lifetime of the frames. So, I went with a palladium for parts that needed the strength and hardness. And, to blend them in, I soldered a veneer of sterling, since I knew that these would have a patina.

Detail - Marshawood Frames, the hinge with a faceted amethyst tube-set on the end of the temple piece.

Marsha has green eyes and wanted purple and burgundy stones to accent her beautiful eyes. So, I worked in amethyst and rhodolites.

Detail - Marshawod Frames, a close up of one of the flowers on the rims. The vines had to be carefully draped on the front-side of the lenses.

Detail - Marshawood Frames

I have also experimented with some other aspects of frames…

Forged Suspension

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These were inspired by the architecture of bridges and the bridge piece is actually set with rivets pinning the torque of the top of the rim to the arch of the bridge, strengthening the frames. As I get more and more inquiries on custom frames, I am holding off on making custom frames via distance or email at this moment. I will make an announcement as soon as I can find a way that makes setting up individual PD (Pupil Distance measurements) and bridge placements more expedient and less confusing for the patrons. At the moment, I am producing more hand-made frames and working with patrons who can come into the shop for custom frames, but online distant orders for custom work will have to depend on a better means of sizing via emails. Oh, and I made myself a pair of new magnifiers to replace my Optivisor. I added a couple of smaller magnifiers for stone setting. Thanks to Dr. Schifanella, my optometrist, for making the lenses for me and sharing some of his knowledge with me 🙂

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{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }

michaeljohnson February 24, 2012 at 1:34 pm

No, I should thank you, Brian, for helping me with my questions and for making such a great facebook group for us. Thank you.

Brian Adam February 24, 2012 at 5:23 am

Good work, Michael. Lots to think about making frames isn’t there?
Thanks for writing such detailed notes, and also for posting on the ‘Eyeglasses by Jewellers and Metalsmiths’ group.

michaeljohnson February 23, 2012 at 12:44 am

Part of my motivation was trying to find a pair of frames that I liked for myself. It seems that fashion dictates that men are stuck with a few choices of lens shapes with mostly plastic as a material. Thus, the wheels slowly began to slowly start to turn for me.

Bentiron February 22, 2012 at 11:06 pm

Bold new direction for you, love the frames. It’s about time for a distinct type of eye ware!!!!

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