The Second Fitting & A Side Project

The last month has proven altogether difficult in the area of frame fitting. This difficulty became evident when the prototype frame I made for my client did not fit in any form or fashion…

Here are some pictures from the process of creating the prototype frame:

The picture above is a myriad of concept sketches–the graph paper is a sketch of the actual measurement from my client I used to create the prototype frame, which failed.

Above: cutting out the cardboard frame.

The prototype frame is made from two layers of a, Billy Ried, present box, which i have found to be excellent cardboard! (Don’t tell anyone but thats the same cardboard I use for the covers when I book-bind). Anyhow, the prototype frame, even if it fits right, is not something of beauty. There are no slight contours that enhance dimensionality or variegations of color. Its purpose is to give me a point of reference. Likewise, my prototype did serve its purpose to give me a point of reference and I am reluctant to show the picture because it fit incredibly poorly, but I’ve already promised to show you everything. Obviously, this is a learning process for me and I have never made more than one pair of glasses and only for myself. If I am to produce a professional bespoke product I have to be exact, at least to the best of my human abilities. My first approach in creating a frame for an individual was resting in hope and dream that the measurements would translate into a perfect frame, and they didn’t…

As you can see the length of the bridge of the nose is off, the width of the arc across the nose is to large in diameter and does not sit low enough, the the frame sits about a 1/4 of an inch too high, covering the eyebrows, etc. Also, the circular frame in its essence is bold, it makes a statement. A statement is not necessarily the goal of my client, which is why we are going to transistion into a softer design, something more approachable, i.e. the oval.

This pattern was in the making and hashed out before the second fitting, otherwise there would be a different length of the bridge of the nose, etc. This gives you an idea of what I will design in the next week.

Also, my client was able to choose the desired variegation of water buffalo horn from the four pieces I recently aquired:

The second fitting was a learning experience. I hit a large wall in the whole process of fitting the face. Leaving the second fitting I was pretty defeated, and it took almost a week and a half of problem solving to come up with a more precise technique than what I had been practicing. I discovered a solution when I was having a conversation with a friend. I explained to him the second fitting and how the prototype frame was poorly measured and how I lacked a means to translate proper measurements…in an exhale of exasperation I said, “If only there was something I could use, like a grid to see the proportions of the face…” Then it hit me! (I later thanked my friend for the idea) In my art class at New College Franklin, my teacher, Mr. Caleb Faires, had mentioned a tool used to see proportion in sketching landscapes, human forms, etc., essentially a piece of cardboard with a square or rectangular window that is lined with a wire grid. Holding this wire window at the same distance while sketching would allow you to see relationship of proportion the way it really is and not how your mind thinks it is. This concept was the beginning of how I knew I needed to measure the face. My first idea was creating exactly what I had known, a wire window to put up to the face, but this wouldn’t work since the face is three dimensional. The paradigm of the grid eventually led me to what I have to decided to test, the wire grid frame:

This wire frame on the face will allow me to see every critical dimension: I will be able to mark the heights of the eyebrows, width of the face, width of the eyes, the height of the pupils, length from the prominence of the face to the back of the ears, the distance of the eyelashes to the frame, and much more. The nature of the wire frame will translate to paper perfectly with the many holes in the grid. As soon as next week I will be able to test my idea and see if it works!

Right now I’m in the process of making the grid frame, next week I will post the process and hopefully a third fitting, as well as a blog of all the tools I use.

As promised here are some pictures of a side project: two chairs I reconstructed and upholstered for, Billy Reid

Hope you enjoyed! Advice and questions are welcomed.

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