Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Summertime Necklace

For Artbeads.com's latest "Summertime" blogger partner theme, I decided to sample a completely different jewelry component than I usually work with. Out of the vast selection of pendants available at Artbeads.com, I chose this large floral pendant that reminds me of a great big bunch of sunflowers. I also picked out some smooth and faceted glass roundelles from Artbeads' glass beads category to match the colors in the pendant. I then paired the set with some of my own handmade beaded beads, some fire-polished round glass beads from my own stash, and a sterling silver clasp.

At nearly 5 cm long, this pendant is much bigger than the other kinds of focals that I usually work with.

When I color-match beaded beads to focal beads or lampwork beads, I sometimes make a prototype beaded bead with different colors on each face. For this design, I experimented with a variety of combinations of brown and white on each eye:

I even went so far as to make this beaded bead in yellow, red, and cream:

..But I eventually decided to go with the yellow, red, and brown color palette, to better-mimic the look of a sunflower. I'm still not sure if I'm happy with my decision... Clearly, working with yellow isn't my strong suit!

To compensate for the lack of brown on the pendant, I wove the bail out of brown seed beads using peyote stitch. Normally I would try to make the bail out of wire, but in this case peyote does the job just fine.

Full disclosure: The stoneware pendant and glass roundelles used in this necklace were received as a gift from Artbeads.com. No payment was made for the review of these products.

Friday, June 4, 2010

Gold and Glass, and Silver and Pearls

I finished a few new pieces, which feature design and color variations on some of my previous pieces.

The first is a pair of mini Disco Ball earrings in purple and gold. This pair arose from a continuation of my Royal Purples color phase, although the purple Czech firepolish beads in these earrings have a goldluster finish, which tilts them towards the red direction on the color wheel.

This next piece arose from another color experiment, only in a color combination I don't usually work with. It's a pink and gold color variation of this necklace, only the lampwork beads are from the Czech Republic. I wove the Squared Circles beaded beads in colors to match the lampwork beads, and I used some Swarovski bicones as spacers.

This necklace turned out much more gold and pink than I had expected. I think it's because I usually don't wear so much pink or bling myself. If I could find these lampwork beads in red and gold, it should make a fancy holiday necklace.

For this last piece, I experimented in making 5- and 6-fold prism variations of my Double Bubble Jacks design, with peacock pearls and the appropriate design modification for pearls. Both variations worked! I used a 6-fold version strung though two points for the focal, accompanied by two 5-fold versions. I think that a 6-fold version is the limit for this design though; I tried making a 7-fold version but it didn't turn out very well.

I used Bali silver beads and green and purple round pearls to string this necklace, and I was amazed at how the green round pearls bring out the green and red colors in the peacock drop pearls in the beaded beads. Margie Deeb talks about this kind of color play all the time, and boy is it the truth!

The earrings and Squared Circles necklace are available for purchase in my Etsy shop, along with tutorials for all three beaded bead designs. As for the pearl necklace... I don't think I can part with it :)
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