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so i have a friend named Kenneth, who went to the same elementary school and high school with me— a friend that has always been around my life in one way or another. although we didn’t exactly grow up together, we somehow were always connected in a strange way. how so? how about the fact that my uncle married his aunt and we have addressed each other by “cousin” ever since? ^_^

and over the years, this “cousin” of mine has become not only stronger and taller, but happier ever having found the love of his love, Jenny. the cute couple is tying the knot in December, after 8 years of TLC! they have kindly commissioned me to make a special piece of jewelry for this big moment of their new life as one.

Ken & Jen

i cannot be more excited for them and so i start designing a metal bow tie for this very special friend and family member, and here’s the making of.

3,2,1 GO!

very very 1st sketch which i am not completely happy with. sophistication is the goal, but it seems to me that this screams overwhelming instead.

so after staring at the previous not so successful sketch for a while, i make a couple of paper models, and entirely change the direction. the final sketch that i approve at the end, is this one.

i usually play with lots of textures and contracts and all kinds of crazy little details in my designs but sometimes (more often than i would like to admit) less is more. and i think that especially for men’s jewelry, simple is beautiful. noted that when the right elements are applied, simple does not mean dull.

another paper model is made as a tool for me to figure out the right scale of the piece.

so this time i’m using aluminum, a material that i do not use a whole lot but is perfect for this job. it is super lightweight, so that Mr Ken can party all night long in style, without any irritation. and it also gives a silver color tone that he wants without, well, breaking the bank.

starting off with cutting down the big aluminum sheet into small 1-inched strips.

trim, file down sharp edges, and then i sand it in one direction to give it a satin finishing. (top: before, bottom: after)
thanks Erin Elowe recently Proctor, a fellow metalsmith for her tips on one of her favorite material. and oh, check out her super rad stuff too!

then i cut 2 strips of a pre patterned and color-coated aluminum sheet for the very important accent of the piece! (yellow part of the paper model)

i also polish the edges and expose the silver-colored aluminum underneath, creating a subtle outlining element.


i bend them into a curve that resembles a real bow.

all slightly different degrees of curves so that they’ll fit into one another for the next step.

coming together…

after some sneaky nuts and bolts action in hidden areas, i glued down a piece of genuine leather over them in the center.

while the glue is setting, i work on the last detail of the piece, the focal point. i punch out holes in various sizes and positions on another piece of aluminum.

trim and file down, clean and did the same satin finishing. this will go on top of the leather piece.

bend bend, fitting, bend bend

secured once again with brass nuts and bolts, in the back this time.


the punched out aluminum strip on top of the leather piece create a reverse color combination opposite of the color-coated patterned piece on top of the smooth aluminum—> black dots VS silver dots.

silver color edge details on coated piece

on the wedding day, Ken is gonna rock this with a tux!

hence the 16″ leather cord.

and then after the great show, he’ll be switching in between the 16″ leather cord and this 30″ metal chain for a more laid back style!

once again congrats and many kisses and hugs to the lovely couple!! can’t wait to see your beautiful pics!!!

love, Chloe