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Pre-Form Layout Problem / Carol M's Brazilian Agate

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Author Topic: Pre-Form Layout Problem / Carol M's Brazilian Agate  (Read 1420 times)
Carol M
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« on: June 24, 2013, 03:42:19 pm »

Hi guys,
I emailed Krystee [who has been a lovely mentor but now that she's got her 'dream job' she may be 'over the top' with things on her plate, so I'm sending this to one and all.

I'm FINALLY getting back to my first lapidary project and I'm stuck before I get 'off the ground'.   dunno

I sent her a pdf of the EBay slabs I bought, a while back and Krystee had suggested I try the Brazilian Agate for my first cab. 
I bought 2.
Anyway, one is about 5"L x 2"H and that's the one featured on the eBay cover page  [that's the one I want to start with].
Both are relatively thin, about 4-5mm thick.

I can come up with cab layouts that cover the main features but it uses most of the cab and will make a rather HUGE pendant.
I bought some very nicely shaped templates from cFc Jewelry Supplies.com, but one of them are nearly large enough to cover the whole 'scene'.
If I isolate any of the elements it cuts through the concentric grain in the middle.  bricks

Somewhat later - As I surfed around I started to notice that the 'concentric circle' thing actually, IMHO, looks 'cheap'.....[probably because there are a million cabs like that, in garish colors with concentric circles for 2 cents each].

Anyway, I started noticing that the 'made ya look cabs' were the 'less expected' arrangements.......so, I drew some possible preform shapes and labeled them A-F.    [see attachment]

Are any of these worth pursuing???  or maybe more than one.
Also, if there are any better options, please let me know.

Help!!!   help


* P1050376-002.JPG (435.34 KB, 1200x900 - viewed 21 times.)
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Carol M
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"Mistakes are simply a form of practice!"
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deb193
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« Reply #1 on: June 24, 2013, 03:52:02 pm »

I like E best, and F looks playful too.

the edges between colors here are a little diffuse. The Brazilian is a good hard clean material to train with, but I think you will enjoy working some slabs with sharper lines. Some Brazialians even have sharp lines.
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Carol M
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« Reply #2 on: June 24, 2013, 03:57:39 pm »

I like E best, and F looks playful too.

the edges between colors here are a little diffuse. The Brazilian is a good hard clean material to train with, but I think you will enjoy working some slabs with sharper lines. Some Brazialians even have sharp lines.

Boy, that was quick Daniel.  Thanks.
I was also thinking I could cut the slab [draw an imaginary line between B/C and down to between E/F] and not destroy any of the preform options. 
I have lots of lovely slabs I bought but that way I can work on several while I'm 'getting the feel' for my new Ameritool trim saw and Ameritool Flat-Lap.  I could also work on several at one grit before I change to the next disc.
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Ciao,
Carol M
"Pursue Your Passions....."
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lithicbeads
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« Reply #3 on: June 24, 2013, 04:20:38 pm »

E looks very nice to me and if you shrink the size of some of the others and move them around a bit they will look more dynamic. You got very good advice from Krystee as you need to worry about your cutting not the problems of the materiel. Brazilian always was the classic rough as it has very few problems that will emerge to ruin a cab . Another reason it is good is that it is very hard and that makes making mistakes more difficult as it is harder to overcut. I would suggest you shop for some slabs with a bit more dynamic pattern if that what makes you happy and look into Montana agate slabs for your next cabs as they tend to have more contrast yet have most of the same good characteristics of Brazilian .
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« Reply #4 on: June 24, 2013, 04:28:02 pm »

I like E the best since the shape has captured the pattern instead of just including it. When pattern and shape compliment one another you get more appealing results. On the opposite side of E you could get a nice kite shape. 
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Carol M
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« Reply #5 on: June 24, 2013, 06:39:21 pm »

E looks very nice to me and if you shrink the size of some of the others and move them around a bit they will look more dynamic. You got very good advice from Krystee as you need to worry about your cutting not the problems of the materiel. Brazilian always was the classic rough as it has very few problems that will emerge to ruin a cab . Another reason it is good is that it is very hard and that makes making mistakes more difficult as it is harder to overcut. I would suggest you shop for some slabs with a bit more dynamic pattern if that what makes you happy and look into Montana agate slabs for your next cabs as they tend to have more contrast yet have most of the same good characteristics of Brazilian .

Thanks for this info, Lithicbeads. 
What do you mean when you say 'shrink the size of some and move them around a bit they will look more dynamic.  I'm afraid I need something more specific to see what you're saying.  Can you give me a 'for instance'?? 
Which would you shrink and where would you move it too??

This preform part is way harder to do than I thought.  I guess that's why there are so many 'ho-hum' cabs in the world.  Doing a lovely job of cutting, grinding and polishing is one skill, but an even more critical, and less easily taught skill, is seeing what the slab 'might' become if you use 'this' shape and place it exactly 'that' way.

Are there any 'design tutorials' on that???
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Carol M
"Pursue Your Passions....."
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"Mistakes are simply a form of practice!"
"People who never make mistakes.....probably never do anything!"

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« Reply #6 on: June 24, 2013, 06:48:05 pm »

Looks like I'm in the minority here, but I like B the best for some reason. I think they'll all produce worthwhile cabs though and will say 'go for it!'
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lithicbeads
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« Reply #7 on: June 24, 2013, 06:53:32 pm »

 Contrast is a big problem with that slab . Contrast within a cut stone is a relative thing , it is not all black and white . You have a lot of dark tones that are so dark that you can't pull them up with your limited light tones . Maybe make your preforms smaller so you can incorporate just a touch of the very dark to help define you main interest the play of the lighter tones. When real dark tones are mixed with a lot of middle tones it is easy to read those big dark areas as just negative space  which can quickly detract from your intent. Sometimes you need scraps of paper to move around to obscure all the slab except the areas you need to focus on to understand them. The cabs are there but you must find them.
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« Reply #8 on: June 24, 2013, 07:09:39 pm »

I'ts hard to tell how large your cabs will be.  Try not to make your first cabs too large or too small.  Would you'all say between 20mm to 40mm?
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« Reply #9 on: June 24, 2013, 07:13:31 pm »

 Too small and your " turning radius" makes things more difficult as you have to rotate faster and too big makes it much more likely there will be a problematic flat area on top. Helene sounds right.
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« Reply #10 on: June 24, 2013, 09:16:25 pm »

You've been given GREAT advice!!!  I agree with Helene about not starting too big or too small.  I always go for color and pattern balance.  It doesn't always work for me but, this was what I saw:  (the white would probably be the top of the cab as the black looks "heavier")



Also, I would probably not start with points on your first cab since you will be metal smithing them.  Points can be tough getting the correct angle for your setting.  Somebody correct me if I'm wrong as I don't smithe!!!!!  hide
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~Krystee

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Carol M
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« Reply #11 on: June 25, 2013, 12:26:55 am »

You've been given GREAT advice!!!  I agree with Helene about not starting too big or too small.  I always go for color and pattern balance.  It doesn't always work for me but, this was what I saw:  (the white would probably be the top of the cab as the black looks "heavier")



Also, I would probably not start with points on your first cab since you will be metal smithing them.  Points can be tough getting the correct angle for your setting.  Somebody correct me if I'm wrong as I don't smithe!!!!!  hide

So, Krystee, would you just go with a basic 'oval' shape in that area for a start??
When people talk about making the shape of the cab fit the shape of the design.....that doesn't match with an oval on that location.
Is this an 'exception to that rule' or am I just 'missing something'????
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Carol M
"Pursue Your Passions....."
"Imagine the Possibilities!"
"Mistakes are simply a form of practice!"
"People who never make mistakes.....probably never do anything!"

Carol M
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« Reply #12 on: June 25, 2013, 10:10:56 am »

You've been given GREAT advice!!!  I agree with Helene about not starting too big or too small.  I always go for color and pattern balance.  It doesn't always work for me but, this was what I saw:  (the white would probably be the top of the cab as the black looks "heavier")



Also, I would probably not start with points on your first cab since you will be metal smithing them.  Points can be tough getting the correct angle for your setting.  Somebody correct me if I'm wrong as I don't smithe!!!!!  hide

Thanks Krystee, et. al.,
Re go for an oval because of the difficulty silversmithing it......I've done 'bought cabs' with points before and so I'm not too worried about that part.

My problem with ovals is that they only really work if the actual stone is fabulous.
I'm not expecting this to turn into either fabulous color or banding,  so think I want to go with a less traditional shape.

In reality, the whole reason for my getting into lapidary was because I wanted to learn to do 'designer cabs' so I can use them in my own jewelry pieces.

I'm afraid if I did this as an oval, I'd never make it into any jewelry, and it's at a nice place in the stone so [for better or worse] that's my reasoning.

[I'm telling myself, to avoid suicide] The whole slab wasn't that expensive [I got two slabs for about $5 total] so if I totally destroy them, life will still go on.

I think I'm going to pre-form all of the shapes and work on all of them together to do each phase of the cutting, grinding, sanding and polishing so I'm not spending all my time changing discs and maybe I'll end up with one reasonably decent one to make some jewelry out of.

Well, here goes nothin'!
Geronimo!!!   yes yippie
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Carol M
"Pursue Your Passions....."
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"Mistakes are simply a form of practice!"
"People who never make mistakes.....probably never do anything!"

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« Reply #13 on: June 25, 2013, 10:24:51 am »

I think that's an excellent idea, do them all!!!!!   yippie  I just drew an oval because that was a standard shape in Photoshop and easy to do on the fly :).  I usually do free forms though and a kite/shield shape instead of the oval would be pretty cool if the black were to remain at the top.

I agree with the others, I think E looks like a great cab!
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~Krystee

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Yesterday is history.  Tomorrow is a mystery.  Today is a gift, that's why it's called The Present.

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« Reply #14 on: June 25, 2013, 12:30:43 pm »

I think Kristee is right. Do them all! Go for it.....Look for balance in color and shaping. Do what feels or looks good. Learn as you go. Some things will work better for you than others. It is after all a learning experience...........:)
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Bob

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