Thursday, February 24, 2011

Winter Illuminations Necklace

I completed my piece for the latest round of the blogger program, this time in a "Winter Enchantment" theme:
To be honest, I was somewhat wintered-out after finishing the Wintery Mini Ionic Polyhedra set and my Ice Queen necklace last November, and I thought that I couldn't possibly think up another icy, wintery design before suffering from brain freeze. So I turned to another interpretation of wintertime:
Photo © Peggy Holsclaw 2011 

In Japan, several of the parks, shrines, and temples are lit up in the evenings during holidays and seasonal events (their Fall Illuminations are particularly spectacular). My sister Peggy is currently living in Japan and took some beautiful photos of the Winter Illuminations in the bamboo forests of Arashiyama, a district on the outskirts of Kyoto.
Photo © Peggy Holsclaw 2011 

Photo © Peggy Holsclaw 2011 

This photo really spoke to me: something about the combination of silvery bamboo leaves with the intense blue bamboo stalks communicates a fresh crispness without being overly cold. I used light sapphire AB Czech pressed glass lentil beads to mimic the shape and shade of the bamboo leaves, dark indigo AB2X Swarovski crystal bicones for the intense blue color, and a collection of black, hematite, and silver Japanese seed beads to complete the design. After a couple of attempts I created this beaded bead design, which is a cousin of the Double Pagoda beaded bead:
I made five of them total, and paired them with additional Cosmic crystals complete the necklace:
Finally, for a limited time Artbeads is kindly offering a 15% off everything coupon code to such awesome readers such as yourself. The coupon code is ZZ-DESIGNER-0211, and is valid until the end of the month. 

What wintery-themed pieces have you created this season?

Full disclosure: The swarovski crystals and Czech glass lentils used in this necklace were received as a gift from No payment was made for the review of these products.


  1. Your design is absolutely beautiful! The colors are stunning and the bead weaved balls are exquisite! I was drawn in by the contrast of the black beads against the background. My gosh, your photos are just..beyond words. I've pulled my hair out trying to get this same effect for my beaded necklaces. sigh, to no avail. How'd you do it?!

  2. I agree with Stephanie, a stunning design. The piece is absolutely exquisite.

    Looks super elegant. The black large beads combined with the smaller blue,silver and black bead bombs are wonderful.

    True craftsmanship

  3. Thanks so much to both of you! I really had a fun time putting this necklace together.

    Stephanie - I use a lightbox for my photos, self-built out of PVC tubes and sheer fabric. I also have three worklamps for the light - one on each side and the other near the top, sometimes pointed right at the piece. The bulbs are "daylight" CFLs (6500K) from the local hardware store. I use the smallest aperture possible on my camera (f8.0), which raises the exposure time, which means that I use either a tripod or a few books to keep the camera steady. I used to use my camera's timer to keep the camera steady during the exposure, but now I have a remote control to trigger the shutter.

    I used to have a Canon Powershot A95, which worked great for years until it suddenly died on me, so I upgraded to a Powershot G10. It has a couple of issues in low light, but for jewelry photography the high resolution + low ISO setting really helps to get crisp photos.

    For photos such as these with the white background, I use the custom white balance feature in the camera and set the exposure compensation to +1 1/3 to +1 2/3. I also do some basic color correction in Photoshop; I use the Set White Point tool to further color-correct the white background, and sometimes I use the Dodge tool to get rid of unintended shadows.

    Hope this helps! Thanks again!


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