As a trained chemist, I've long been a fan of Raven's silver molecule jewelry over at Made with Molecules. I like the idea so much that over the years I've made several attempts at creating beaded versions of these fascinating compounds, but all of my attempts up until now never got anywhere close to what I was aiming for. Gwen's recent work with 3D molecules beaded with CSRAW prompted me to try again. I started with the caffeine molecule.
My previous attempts went quite awry because I kept trying to use a round bead for each atom, but I couldn't connect them together in this structure because several of the atoms need to connect to (i.e. bond with) two more atoms. To do this in beadwork, while keeping the whole piece flat, is very challenging without bezeling around the round bead. When I did this, the resulting beadwork would be both floppy and too big for jewelry.
So I asked myself, how can I bead a structure that's both small, flat, and self-supporting? Well, fortunately one such structure was sitting on my bead tray:
Crystal Ball and Peanut Gallery beaded beads as well as in the work of several other bead artists. With this in mind, I put together a prototype that looked a lot like these snowflakes but without the SuperDuo and drop beads. It was still awkward, but it was definitely an improvement. My next attempt ditched the inner size 15° seed beads and stuck with mostly 11°s and some 8°s. Now I finally have something: