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Last January, Allegory Gallery shared a full month of design prompts. I followed along day by day, and it was one of the most satisfyingly creative months I’ve ever experienced. They continued to share creative prompts throughout the year – weekly prompts, nibbler kits, and more. I am happy to say they have issued a month of daily prompts again this year! Here we go with my makes for the first few prompts.

Day #1 – Make a pair of earrings

I have been lucky enough to get some fabulous Swarovski crystals in the past year or so. I envisioned some of these dripping down together in a longer earring than I usually make. I’ve been experimenting working with sterling wire to make findings, so I decided to wrap these in sterling. The 20 gauge size I have was a bit difficult. I think 22 might be better. I ended up not making my own ear wires because I was afraid they’d add too much length. 

Each crystal has an amazing color and flash difficult to fully capture in a photo.

Day #2 – Create a new bracelet

I’ve become a chain enthusiast and have gotten some really wonderful chain. I am particularly intrigued by chunky chain. I got some vintage metalized plastic chain that really reminds me of Chanel. I had been looking at it thinking it would make a fantastic bracelet, so I cut some and looked at my clasps. I had so many that would work well! In the end, I chose a lovely elephant that seemed well suited for this fun bracelet. 

Day #3 – Put together a necklace

I am trying to be more intentional in my jewelry making. I often don’t lay things out; I just put them together from a design in my head, so I just gloss over things that don’t work since I don’t like to re-do things. That can mean I’m not always totally satisfied with a piece. This necklace is the second try at using some petrified walrus ivory in a week’s time. I also restrung the focal area multiple times until it was very pleasing. Then, I left it for several hours. That is especially unusual, but I know it made a better necklace. Giving it a rest allowed me to stop focusing on the finish line and take time to make multiple tweaks that improved it. I love the final design. 

I got almost all of the components for this necklace from Andrew Thornton: Project Destash. The focal includes petrified walrus ivory (legal because the fact that it is petrified means it pre-dates 1972, when buying and selling it became illegal), and Bali silver beads and spacers from a small stash I got from Andrew that I am still giddy about. I swear this strand of seeds, nuts or whatever they are came from the destash, but I didn’t label them, and I couldn’t find them in my files. I put a large silver seed bead between each one to introduce more silver into the necklace. Those are from Sondra’s Estate Beads Destash Depot. This lovely textured fine pewter leaf clasp by Fire Goddess is one of a few by that maker I got from the destash, and I can’t find that they are still selling, so I feel lucky to have these. This necklace was inspired by one Andrew Thornton made with some of the ivory he kept. Read his blog post about it and see a picture of his beautiful necklace. It is so fun to have some history about components in my designs.

Day #4 – Make a matching set of jewelry

I’m not much for matching sets in the traditional sense, so I thought about what else this could mean. I am intrigued by the idea of a line of jewelry. How would I make a cohesive line if I were to be that sort of designer? For day two, I made a bracelet from chunky chain. I made a second one of these that would be appropriate if I were making a full line of chunky, Chanel-inspired bracelets. I believe this chain is metalized plastic like the first one, and this time I chose a faux pearl box clasp. 

I love having a couple of really chunky bracelets that are lightweight. Sometimes I dream up fashion scenarios for my jewelry. This makes me think of someone who found a great vintage Chanel bracelet in a junk shop as a fun surprise, and now wears it everyday with their jeans.

Day #5 – Use at least three artist made materials

This is a fun design I’ve had in mind since I’ve collected the pieces because, coffee! The electroformed coffee beans are by Never Winter Designs. The three cups are by, from left, Inviciti (pewter), Joan Miller Porcelain and c-koop (enamel). The c-koop cup, which reminds me of a camp mug, is the first one I got just because it was so cute.

If you’d like to join in (for one project or a month’s worth) or see what others are making, visit the Allegory Gallery Design Challenges Facebook page or look for that hastag or #beadinthenewyear on your favorite social media site.