vieira4The pilgrims of Santiago de Compostela usually wear a scallop shell in order to symbolise their pilgrimage to the site where the apostle's remains are kept. The pilgrim's scallop acquires a spiritual significance. Several legends are told about their origin as a lucky charm during the pilgrimage. I will only state what I like the most, and which is more inspirational in this design: the undulations of the shell stand for a radial convergence of trails aiming at the same meeting point, from several different points of departure. In this case we have designed a silver scallop digitally which, however, will have to be manufactured by means of traditional techniques, why?

This silver scallop differs from the natural one because it can incorporate other lucky charms. The ties of the silver scallop work as a clip where the pilgrim will be able to clamp other lucky charms. This implies that the silver ties must have a certain flexibility so that they do not get bent and they hold the clamped objects.

In this case digital technology is not convenient, as it needs 3D printings in wax which will later be melted in silver, and the metal of the pieces obtained by casting lacks temper. Without elasticity, the silver scallop will not work as a clip, its ties would be bent. We would obtain a plastic and non-elastic piece.

It will have to be manufactured by means of traditional techniques, resorting to a slightly tempered silver wire which will be manually modelled with pliers until the scallop shape is obtained. The prior temper of the string is attained through means of wire drawing. It is parted from a larger gauge wire, it is softened by means of thermal annealing, and then it is drawn and extruded into strips whose section is reduced at the same time that the metal is tempered. A mildly tempered wire must be obtained from the process, otherwise it would break during modelling.

The digital study of its design allows us to estimate the final weight of the piece or evaluate its aesthetic effect. And we are reminded that there are certain designs which are better modelled by hand, and certain paths which are better to follow on foot.