Psyche Inspired: Monica Moreno
Institution: Pasadena City College
Psyche Inspired Class: 2019-2020
Orbit Kinetic Ring
Major: Jewelry/Metalworking, Fashion
Genre/Medium: metalwork (sterling silver, bronze, brass, cubic zirconia)
About the work: Created using bronze, sterling silver, brass, and cubic zirconia, this piece was inspired by the main objective of the Psyche mission: to explore. We are sending a small spacecraft into outer space to explore something much bigger. The fact that we can do something like this is still amazing to me, and the possibilities of what we may discover about the Psyche asteroid is beyond exciting. This wearable sculpture pays homage to the traveling spacecraft and to the asteroid that we want to learn more about. It was difficult to scale down the dimensions of something like an asteroid or spacecraft to fit a tiny ring, but I hope that the main idea behind this tiny sculpture is apparent.
To create this piece, I began by carving wax into the shape of the ring shank and embedding tiny clear and black cubic zirconia into the wax. The asteroid was then modeled using a softer wax. Both the ring shank with the cubic zirconia in it and the asteroid were transformed into metal using the lost-wax casting method. The ring shank was cast in sterling silver, and the asteroid was cast in bronze. I later cast a carving in a charcoal block and sawed sterling silver sheet metal to create the tiny spacecraft. All these individual pieces were then soldered together and assembled. On the ring shank, I added a brass rod to hold the asteroid and to fit the tube at the end of the spacecraft’s arm, allowing the spacecraft to orbit.