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Today is the reveal for the Allegory Gallery Mermaid Lagoon Mystery Challenge! Artist Andrew Thornton curates wonderful kits available through Allegory Gallery.  He includes Mystery Components that he hand makes and lucky participants use these materials to make whatever they want.  It’s fun to see the differences (and sometimes similarities) in what people make when they start from the same materials.

I actually remembered to take pictures of the kit this time!  Good thing because, as a mystery challenge, there wasn’t a picture of the kit included in the blog post.  The materials were a secret even to participants until we received the kit. This poses an extra challenge for me because I often design by looking at the picture of the kit.  Here it is:


Andrew made two mystery components for this kit:


I am often drawn to one thing from the kit and work with that first.  This time it was the white teardrop beads.  I wanted to make a fringe front necklace.  I added a turquoise bead below the teardrop and a shell bead above it to make the dangles.  I put those on some chain.


Initially, I was going to add a few beads on each side and finish with chain. Then I thought why not use the chip beads.  I thought the long, white swath around the neck would be elegant.  But then I thought about all the lovely small mixed seed and other beads in the Luxury Blend.  I decided to use those in a random manner.  I like it; the strand looks like a collection of sea glass and other treasures picked up during a walk on the beach.  I struggle with blue and also water themes.  I’m not a beach person.  I like the pool, but the beach is all about bad smells, sand sticking to me, live critters I want nothing to do with, and too much sun.  I know that is not most other people’s experience!  So when I can make something that doesn’t bring me any of those unfortunate associations, but still has a beachy feel, I’ve met the challenge.

Next I made some earrings.  These came out of my “try whatever is on the bead table” aesthetic.  I think it really worked.


I loved these blue pieces of shell from the kit, and they look great with these floral patterned beads that were on my table from a failed earring design.  I added two light blue crystals from the kit and voila.

I love the Mystery Components Andrew made, and I wanted to make sure I had time to use at least one.  I have a desire to make a chunky necklace, but it just wasn’t working with my mermaid.  I looked around and saw some labradorite with a lot of flash.  Mermaids are very magical creatures, so that seemed right. I added in some sea glass various seed beads and more beads from the kit at back.  A sweet little hook and eye clasp finished it off.


These labradorite cubes have a lot of beautiful flash that I didn’t capture at all, but this is the best overall picture of the necklace.  But in person, the sparkle leading down to the beautiful mermaid makes the piece.

As I was digging through the kit beads to find enough matching seed beads, I saw two little opalite-type dangles.  Earrings!  There were also two pieces of rough apatite (I think – there’s something I always get mixed up with apatite, and it could be that) and a couple more pieces of shell.  I had my lovely ocean treasure earrings…until I broke one apatite bead wire wrapping it.  No worries. I had some similar in my stash…and broke that one too.  I’m very willing to take direction from the universe.  Mismatched it was.  So I used a similarly colored tube from the kit.


I used dark purple craft wire which amused me even though you can’t really tell. I know it’s purple.

As usual, I got a lot of inspiration and had a lot of fun with this kit!  Please visit the Allegory Gallery Design Challenge Facebook page to see what everyone made!