Oct 082011

Grand Prize Bronze Runner-Up in the Fire Mountain Gems and Beads 2011 Seed Bead, Glass or Acrylic Jewelry-Making Contest

My copper peyote stitch necklace with the blue Czech glass dangles was selected as the Grand Prize Bronze Runner-Up in the Fire Mountain Gems and Beads 2011 Seed Bead, Glass or Acrylic Jewelry-Making Contest!!

Jun 272011

Copper necklace with blue dangles

The inspiration for this necklace is a modern version of an Elizabethan ruff.  It is the next iteration in a series of experiments composed of variations on a peyote stitch chocker base supporting layers of ornamented wires.  It is similar to the Grey Necklace, or the Bronze and Prickly Necklace.  However, in this case I have used a wide flat band of peyote stitch rather than a tube and nine staggered rows of of blue czech bead dangles on copper colored wire.

Detail of the copper necklace's blue dangles

As with all projects, this necklace has been a series of missteps overcome.  Initially I had thought to weave the dangles through the peyote base as I did with the tubular necklaces, but with the weave flat, the wires created too much distortion in the peyote base.  So, it became necessary to stitch additional beads over the surface of the peyote stitch to carry the wires from which the blue dangles would hang.  Then there was the issue of sizing the wires.  If the wires were too thick, they wouldn’t drape properly, but if they were thin enough to drape nicely, they slid through the beads that supported them.  It became necessary to stitch over the wires in their bead supports to hold them in place.

The dangle necklaces are still a work in progress, however, I submitted this one to the Fire Mountain Beading Contest for seed beads.  This piece was selected as a finalist and I am awaiting the result of the final judging.

Detail of copper necklace peyote stitch band

Sep 302010

Herringbone necklace with beaded fringe

This necklace came about while I was playing around with colors that might go with copper and blue.  The supporting part of the necklace is done in herringbone stitch which also incorporates blue accent beads.  The question with fringe and the accent beads is always one of how much is too much.  So, the fringe is a series of variations and repeats.

Detail of the beaded fringe.

Jun 112010

Spiral Necklace

This necklace is a further exploration of the round peyote stitch spiral weave already shown in my Spiral Bracelet.  In this necklace, I tapered the  spiral to two ornamental “Dragon Claws” which create a transition from the spiral to the loop and toggle clasp.  I learned the “Dragon Claws” from a kit by Laura McCabe, but I was not fond of the colors she selected and so I ventured off into exploring other forms of color combination.  The shape Laura teaches is four sided and evolves from a combination of herringbone (Ndebele) stitch and peyote stitch.  I have seen it done in a two sided version which yields a similar, but simpler shape.

Spiral Necklace - clasp

Spiral Necklace - detail

Jun 112010

Triple Byzantine Weave Bracelet

Making chain is meditative, well, at least I find that to be the case for me.  I first saw the simple version of this weave done as necklace by Christine Dhein who teaches at the Revere Academy in San Francisco.  It has been about eight years since I learned to make this weave.  I believe I bought some books and sorted it out on my own, but Christine does teach a class in how to make it and there are a vast number of variations.

I have made a number of silver necklaces in Byzantine weave, including one for each of my nieces as a high school graduation gift. However, I had yet to make something for myself.  I wanted something heavier, bolder with a more opulent look.  I had considered doing something in gold for myself, but settled on sorting out how to do a triple  variation of the standard byzantine weave.  Which was just as well, because when I was half way through, my daughter decided that it would make a really nice bracelet.  So, my necklace became two bracelets, one for my daughter and another for a very fine friend.

The difference between the triple weave and the more simple standard weave is that if you view it from the end, in cross section, the standard weave looks like a square, more or less.  The cross section of the triple weave will look like a triangle.  I suspect this weave could also be done as a quadruple weave, but I have yet to try it.

Triple byzantine weave in 16 gauge sterling silver, with 3/8″ inside diameter links.

Triple Byzantine Weave detail

Jun 102010

Monet's Garden Bracelet

This bracelet is supposed to be reminiscent of the flowers in Monet’s gardens at Giverny and his paintings of them.  The colors of the flowers blend from one bed to the next and are surrounded by a white picket fence of tear drop beads.  This is another bracelet that is fun to wear as the beaded flowers continually fall  into new patterns as you move.

Monet's Garden Bracelet - showing colors

Monet's Garden Bracelet - detail

Apr 232010

zig zag necklace

This is one of the first necklaces that I made.  It is a pattern from “The Art & Elegance of Beadweaving” by Carol Wilcox Wells.  This is a wonderful book .  Using it I taught myself to do the flat peyote stitch that comprises this necklace.  There are two rows through the center of the necklace that are continuous.  The rest is composed of points made from increasing and decreasing as you work your way across the rows.  The result is that the necklace flows beautifully around your neck and across your shoulders, conforming to your curves and hollows.  It is very comfortable to wear.

An unintended result, that I discovered as I played with the necklace and how to wear it, was that it can be twisted, loosely or tightly, for another more multi dimensional  version.  The twisted variation is shown below.

zig zag necklace twisted

zig zag necklace twisted detail 2

Apr 112010


bronze and prickly

I started this necklace as variation on “Grey Necklace with Pearl Dangles”  shown in the first posting on this site.  I had a hank of incredible brown pearls that were and amazing complement to the light bronze bead I have used for the necklace base.  So, where are the brown pearls you might wonder? 

When you make anything, it is almost impossible not to have ideas for variations.  It is also utterly boring to do the same thing time after time, even if you are varying the colors.  There are always other new ideas flirting in your imagination and begging to be tried.  So, this started out similarly to the “Necklace with Dangles”, but I wanted to try something different.  I wasn’t entirely happy with the crimps in the previous necklace and I couldn’t find them in a gold-ish color in a small enough size.  So, I needed another method of attaching the pearls to the wires and then the wires to the beaded band, but first I needed a wire that matched the brown of the pearls, the bronze tone of the beaded band, and which was flexible enough to give the effect I was seeking.  I believe it took four orders of wire from various supplies before I finally found the color match I was seeking. 

 Now, having finally solved the wire problem, it was time to move on to the pearls.  With the large crimps not work well on single strands of wire, I decided to glue the pearls to the wire and then small beads on either side of the pearl wire to hold it in position on the peyote stitch band.  After about a week of gluing pearls to wires and wires to the beaded neckband I called it done and tried it on…disaster.  For whatever reason, the glue wasn’t holding and the everything was coming apart.  Clearly, I needed to strip all of the pearl and wire and start over. Happily, the glue was working so poorly it was quite easy to strip the pearls from the wires and the wires from the necklace. 

Well, by this point, weeks into the necklace, I was getting frustrated and cranky. Out of that ire an idea evolved.  Forget the pearls.  I was prickly, a veritable porcupine, the necklace would be prickly.  Slipping the wire through the band and doubling it gave the large crimps enough surface area to grip, so I was on my way. I still wasn’t fond of the look of the larger crimp.  However, in a happy convergence of need meeting tool, a new tool came on the market, which compacted the crimp into a small ball, resembling a bead.

So there you have it, the journey from “Grey Dangles” to “Bronze and Prickly.”

Ideas don’t disappear.  They seem to go dormant for awhile and percolate in my imagination. I still have the brown pearls, quite a few of them and I still love their color.  They made it into a pearl and turquoise necklace, but I am contemplating other possibilities.  Keep an eye out, they will show up here eventually.

bronze and prickly detail