The Sea Level Necklace

Inspired by the waveform jewellery mentioned in this post and also by other pieces I’d seen on the internet, I decided to have a go at making my own, based on some of our historical tide gauge data. I decided to make a necklace and use high and low water values, as I thought the measurements would make a visible contrast and also still show some variation in a small piece.

 Scan of sea level readings from Georges Pier 1891

I took the high and low water values from George’s Pier for 23-31 July 1891 and converted them from feet to inches, and then to metres. To do this, I multiplied the number in the ‘Ft.’ column by 12, then added to it the number in the ‘Ins.’ column. I then converted the values to metres by multiplying by 0.0254.

This would’ve made a rather large piece if I’d left it in metres, so I decided to scale it down by treating the metres as centimetres. I then used a drawing programme to draw circles with diameters in centimetres that matched the height in metres.

Sea level necklace in progress

I printed out the circles on to paper. I then took some shrink plastic (available from craft stores and internet retailers – see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shrinky_Dinks) and traced the circles using a blue alcohol ink pen (I frosted the plastic on one side first using fine grade sandpaper to give it a key).

Sea level necklace in progress

When I drew the circles I’d made a mark in the centre of each, so I knew where to make a hole, and I just copied this mark on to the shrink plastic. I then cut each of the circles out. I punched a hole in the centre of each using a hole punch.

Sea level necklace in progress

Now here’s the fun bit. When heated, shrink plastic shrinks by about 60%, and also gets thicker. You can do this in the oven, but I used a crafting heat tool.

Sea level necklace in progress

Sea level necklace in progress

After I’d shrunk each circle (taking care to keep them in the correct order!) I then threaded each one onto some nylon beading thread.

Sea level necklace in progress

Even though that looked quite nice, and you could see the change in disc size easily (especially if you look at the smaller circles that represent low waters, they get teeny towards the end) I thought it didn’t really work as a piece of jewellery. I took the discs off the thread again, and then put them back on, but this time with some small plastic silver coloured beads between each disc.

I then put a crimp bead at either end of the necklace, after the last disc and silver bead, and squished it to clamp the thread in place, and prevent the beads from moving. I took a spring ring closure and tied the nylon thread through the loop on it. I secured the thread with another crimp bead. The other side of the nylon thread I tied onto the hoop piece of the spring ring closure and secured the thread with a crimp bead.

And here’s the final necklace! George’s Pier high and low water values, July 1891.

Sea level necklace in progress

Sea level necklace in progress

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