Tuesday, July 1, 2014

She's Crafty | Morse Code Jewelry

Next Thursday, July 10th at 2:00pm I will be doing a craft program at the Manteca branch! My first craft program ever. I'm pretty excited about this bit of business.

I was asked if I could come up with something crafty for teens as a part of the summer reading program. Wanting to stick with the theme of science, I tried to think of something a teen might like to make that still had some element of science involved. Then I remembered a program Kaye did at the Mountain House Branch a while back: Morse code jewelry.

You may find this surprising but, Morse code jewelry is not only a thing, it's a popular thing. Check out Etsy, an online "mall" of handcrafted items, and you'll find loads of listings. While you're poking around on the internet, take a peek at all the pins at Pinterest devoted to the myriad ways of translating Morse code into wearable art. Fun stuff!

The dits and dahs of Morse code
For those unfamiliar with Morse code, it is a form of communication that uses electrical signals sent over wires. At one end, a message is translated into a collection of dits (dots), dahs (dashes), and pauses and tapped out on a telegraph key. Each letter and number of the message has it's own unique combination of dits and dahs. At the other end, the signals are received and interpreted into the intended message and can be sent over large distances. It was a breakthrough in long-distance communication in 1836.

A telegraph key
Working the design out
When I thought about doing my own spin on creating Morse code jewelry I wanted something minimal and stylish. I wasn't ultimately concerned with the readability of the code. Who wants to actually sit there and stare at someone while decoding their jewelry? Nope, not gonna to happen. Talk about awkward! Then I started to hone in on the idea of hidden messages in jewelry. Hidden messages that will be talked about too. The pieces end up looking like they have specific meaning, that they aren't completely random, and that will catch interest.

"Do those necklaces mean something?"

"Why, yes they do! This one says, 'My patronus is a kitten,' and this one says, 'Okay? Okay.' Cool, huh?!"

The first prototypes for the program ended up being a pair of necklaces that states, "Hello beautiful." I decided to represent the dits with one bead of one color and dahs with three beads of a second color. At first I added beads in between the letters and I didn't like the look. And this is the point at which I went for style over readability and chose to run all the letters of one word together. Looking back, I may go back to adding beads between the letters since I forgot what one prototype bracelet says and had trouble deciphering the code!

Hello beautiful!
This may be my first craft program and I might be quite nervous, that's just the type of person I am, but I think we're going to have fun! I want to provide enough instruction so anyone regardless of their experience with making jewelry can feel confident in their end product but also give participants freedom to play with representing the code. I hope it will be fun and interesting for all involved!

For now, I'm off to make informative handouts, yay!

Malia & Kaye

1 comment:

  1. Very cool!!
    Thanks for sharing!!!