I recently got a jointed mermaid tail pendant from Brooke Bock. Before I even received it, I had a design in mind. I had seen a tutorial by Andrew Thornton for an amulet necklace. I have been collecting meaningful charms, and intended to make something very close this his design, and I still will. But I have also come to love working with fibers, and I’m thinking of different ways to use them because I only “need” so many fiber tassel necklaces. I envisioned a more square shaped frame with mixed fibers hanging like seaweed, and the mermaid tail in the middle.
I used Andrew’s tutorial to help me figure out how to make the frame since I don’t work a lot with wire and often manage to twist it the wrong way, get frustrated and quit. It really came together quite easily with the instruction. I also used the tips about texturing the sides of the frame both to flatten it and then give it that hammered look to be a little fancier.
I often shy away from adding “too many” things with a pendant because I worry it will take the spotlight off the art bead or other special component. However, that means my designs are not always as complex as I would like. I decided to let that concern go and proceed with my vision. The mixed “seaweed” look is something I’ve used before in artwork. I just really like the flowy feeling and ability to use a variety of colors, patterns, and texture.
I’m really happy with the bold, arty look of my finished necklace.
I love the work of Sarah Kandell from Slate Studios Supply. I see her work mostly on the Facebook group Ceramic Art Bead Market. I got a wonderful lotus pendant from her. I really like the matte nature of this pendant along with the colors that look like she’s sketched it with artist pastels.
Whenever I get an order from Suzanne Branca’s Famous Bead Hoard Liquidation Destash, she includes little extras. It can be a real thrill because sometimes it is a small amount of something I wanted, but I didn’t want to buy a full lot. That was the case with these amazing cobalt vintage sequins, the perfect color to complement that middle color in the pendant. I got the metal spacers at the front from a Joan Miller destash, the salmon beads are vintage glass from Allegory Gallery, the (Czech?) glass rondelles and fire polished spacers are from a Jill MacKay destash box that she was selling as she packed up her studio preparing to move. The copper toggle clasp is also from Suzanne Branca. I’ve had the chalcedony that I used for a drop in front for a long time. Not sure where I got that.
I’m pleased I was able to include a lot of interest but still have the pendant pop.
I had a three day weekend, so I made multiple things. I rested on my first day off, designed on my second day and made on my third day. Employers note: adequate time off can help us be more creative (including problem-solving.)
I like to look at Jes MaHarry jewelry. I get emails from her company, and one think that isn’t in the catalog, but I’ve seen layered in some photos is a nice set turquoise heart pendant. I’m not going to be able to get something like that, but I saw some turquoise chips in Christi Friesen’s shop around the same time Allegory Gallery showed some bezels, including one heart bezel I was lucky to get. I thought setting turquoise chips in the heart bezel with Apoxie Sculpt would give me a similar look in a way I could afford. I was super happy with how the pendant turned out. I thought long and hard about what to add to it for the necklace. I ended up hanging it from a vintage chain. I didn’t want to take attention away from the pendant.
I made another necklace inspired by a movie called So You Said Yes on Hallmark. I like to watch romance movies while making sometimes since I don’t have to pay a lot of attention. Of course I scrolled back through it to try to find the necklace so I could take a screenshot, and I couldn’t find it. Oh well. It had a sort of 1920s flair. It was longish and had a rectangular pendant with dangles. This pushed me to try to work with some tin. I want to work a lot more with tin, so this was a simple beginning project to boost my confidence.
It’s longer than it seems here, but it’s always hard to show a necklace that has a lot of chain. I cut the tin out of an old lid. I debated whether to age it more, but since it’s a relatively small piece, I didn’t want the whole thing to be too grungy. I really had some other vintage metal dangles in mind, but of course I couldn’t find them. I did find a couple of earrings I bought in a destash. Each had three of these nice dangles. I just remembered I was thinking I could use the 6th dangle on the back near the clasp. I didn’t end up needing a clasp since it is long enough to fit over my head. I might change it to be adjustable. If so, I can add the dangle then.
I made two pair of earring for the upcoming Artists for Animals Auction. My auctions will benefit Madison Cat Project. It is coming up May 2 – 8, 2022. I had bought some really pretty chain and crystal dangles from Famous Vintage Bead Hoard Liquidation Destash. I have an idea for it in a necklace, but when my Mom saw it, she said it would make great earrings. She’s right. I made sterling silver ear wires, hung a dangle from each and done! The photo doesn’t look nearly as pretty as in person. They are fancy.
The other earrings are the result of me looking through my vintage metals for the dangles in the second necklace. I found some vintage metal filigree rounds. I used marble Vintaj patina and then use the Vintaj relief block to bring back a few metal highlights. I added Preciosa crystals and vintage glass beads. I think they turned out really pretty.
Making is so calming and satisfying. I really, really need to clean in my studio, but whenever I’m in there, making just calls out to me.
I really like design stories. So here is the one of the necklace featured in this post. I’ve noticed the streaming services I watch have a limited number of commercials that run frequently. One I see/hear often is for something called The Real Real, a consignment business for high end goods. I am not their target audience, and I say “see/hear” because I’m often listening to TV as much as watching it. The commercial seemed to be the same one, except one time when I actually was watching. It was a different version, and I’ve never seen it again. One model was wearing a necklace I got a glimpse of for maybe a few seconds. I suspect it was part of the styling for a jacket or another part of the outfit, rather than the featured item itself. But it was the necklace that caught my jewelry-loving eye.
What I took in (which is not to say this is what it was actually like) was that it was super long, the fibers of the necklace seemed to be a natural material, the bead at the bottom was large, there were just a few other beads, large but not as large, and the colors were yellow, blue and red with maybe neutrals. I immediately thought of two large Indonesian (I think) glass beads I got from Allegory Gallery. My course was set.
I chose beads and put it together on several strands of natural 7-ply waxed linen. I included recycled glass, wood, resin, amber (not sure about those two), metal, and a blue Moroccan pottery bead from The Bead Chest.
I love how it turned out, but the linen didn’t feel comfortable on the back of my neck. I was thinking about different ways to remedy that, but most of them involved needing to take it apart and ordering more waxed linen to remake it. I was showing it to my parents on FaceTime to see if they had any suggestions since they also make jewelry. As we talked about it, we came up with this idea of strap leather at the back for comfort (and it fits with the design) knotting the cut ends of the linen through the leather and then cutting off the ends when it was the right length.
I thought I would knot some small beads on the ends of linen hanging off the knots, but I didn’t like how floppy it was, so I cut it short. If I had thought of it before knotting, I might have seen how I liked a flatish bead against the leather behind the knot. It might have added too much depth, so I’m happy with it.
I like working in conjunction with others to figure out design challenges.
This weekend, I am watching The Great Bead Extravaganza Spring Fling. The Great Bead Extravaganza (TGBE) was the brainchild of Andrew Thornton of Allegory Gallery and Sara Oehler of Soft Flex as a way to help creative small businesses during the pandemic. It has turned into a wonderful online bead show that they have several times a year. It benefits the audience and presenters alike. I found myself all teary with gratitude this weekend because I’m enjoying it so much. Sometimes I worry when I get in a creative slump that I’ll never feel that creative again. The antidote is a wonderful show like this. Because here’s what happens.
One of the presenters is Kate Richbourg. She works with Beadshop.com. I did buy her bracelet kit but I rarely make the projects during the presentations because I like to watch the presentation first and then watch it again to follow along when I make so I can pause and re-watch as necessary. However, at the beginning of TGBE, I followed all the social media for any presenter I wasn’t already following. I love learning about new creators and suppliers, so that’s one of the many benefits of a bead show. I hadn’t been following either Kate or Beadshop.com before this. During the lead up to this weekend’s Spring Fling, I was paying extra attention to Kate’s Instagram and saw a fabulous multi-strand necklace that was a kit project some months ago. I was enraptured and during TGBE breaks yesterday, I was watching the instructions. I realized that even though the kit is gone, I have many of the ingredients and got a few more from beadshop.com using their coupon code for the show. So while being inspired about making that necklace, she briefly showed another necklace I fell in love with. I found another video on the beadshop.com YouTube channel that talked about this necklace and some associated techniques. I also realized I had beads for that necklace, and that’s the one I started to make.
It’s all related to TGBE because I wouldn’t be following Kate or Beadshop.com without TGBE! I often go down rabbit holes online, but this one was certainly fun and productive. Not that cute cat videos don’t serve a purpose…but I digress.
Above is a screenshot of Kate’s necklace. This was from a Free Tip Friday video series called The Bead Doctors are IN! This is part of what made me all teary with gratitude. It wasn’t just TGBE, but the amount of help and instruction these and other folks offer us. I will be forever grateful to Lorelei Eurto, her blog, and the way she identifies bead artists in her listings for educating me about art beads. In hearing Kate talk about how, even if you aren’t ready to string a necklace like this, if you like these types of beads, you can start collecting them like she and Janice (beadshop.com owner) have for many years to have a stash when you are ready. That made me think about how I will be forever grateful to Andrew Thornton for his Andrew Thornton: Project Destash that over the years was a major contributor to educate me about beads and giving me access to build my stash with beads like this so I had them for this necklace.
Here is my version in process. The closure is very cool but something I’m going to have to watch the video for a couple of times. I want to get it right. Here is where I got (or think I got) some of these beads. Starting from the left, it is likely I got the long fluted red glass bead (just like Kate’s!) from Andrew, along with those blue Vaseline glass. That large blue and green speckled glass bead is from The Bead Goes On. It was bigger and heavier than I expected when I got it, but if you save stuff, it always finds its project! The vaguely bicone shaped tan clay bead is from an Allegory Gallery kit. The gorgeous large hammered bead (it’s hollow) is from Lennis Carrier. I’m sure I squealed when I opened it because it’s just my kind of thing. The old green bead is an antique Hebron bead from Andrew. I was surprised how little African metal I have. I think maybe I believe I have a lot so I don’t buy it when I see it. Next is a Buddha prayer bead with gold leaf that I think I got at Planet Bead in Milwaukee. The red bead is from now closed Jade Mountain Beads in my town. I specifically remember buying a few of those beads because they were so different from the crystals, sterling and more modern beads I had been buying.
The large resin pumpkin bead I got from Andrew’s destash. I was (and am) so enthralled with it. I bought some of those black beads with the metal band from beadshop.com this weekend since I saw them in this necklace. Then when I was looking through my stash, I realized I already had a strand. Keep track of what’s in your stash, people! But they’ll come in handy. There are several African recycled glass beads in the necklace. I’m not sure where I got any of them, but it’s good to get them when I can get small amounts in different colors just to have on hand for a project like this. The tube bead is bauxite, also from Andrew’s destash.
This was a longer post than usual, but it was fun for me to go down memory lane a little bit while designing this necklace. Even Daniel Tiger enjoyed going through my beads!
I’m really wishing for spring at this time of year. And not real spring, because that’s here now. Where I live that consists of temperatures anywhere from below freezing to 60s or even 70s. Lots of rain, melting now, then more snow. There was even a little sleet/hail the other day. I want movie spring when it is sun and budding plants. So I have to make my own.
I’ve had some wooden butterflies with beautiful floral accents for a while from Porkchopshow. That shop on etsy is closed, but if you search for it, similar shops come up. I was inspired to buy them after seeing a cool project by Anne Potter. I used a variety of Czech flower beads from Allegory Gallery, and some frosted white AB rounds from I Can Make Jewelry which is having a massive sale.
I knotted it on waxed linen. I’m anxious for nice weather to get here, along with butterflies and flowers. Until then, this will have to do.
The next Artists for Animals Auction is coming up May 2 – 8, 2022, so I’ve been making things on and off to get ready. I usually just randomly make things, and then closer to the auction, I take inventory and figure out how much more I should have ready. I’m always surprised how much I’ve already gotten done.
This necklace features a purple flower pendant from Denise Peters Galloway of Crystal Emporium. I’m anxious for spring, so I used flowers, leaves and butterflies with a variety of other Czech glass and a few stone beads.
I also made myself a necklace. I saw some inspiration in a magazine and was looking for a specific pendant in my pendants box. But instead I found a brass feather. I got out my Vintaj patinas and gave it an ombré look using marine, blue fluorite, verdigris and lapis with a little aged bronze for an accent.
I knotted turquoise with tiny faceted sodalite beads. So pretty!
I don’t make a lot of holiday related jewelry. I usually forget to wear it and/or can’t find it. However, I really loved this beautiful crystal four leaf clover. Also, it does not have to be just for St. Patrick’s Day, although I will try to wear it this coming week. I need to get more v-neck or scoop neck clothing for some of my shorter necklaces.
I got a nice selection of pinch bails from Candie Cooper. I always want to have the right findings for projects, so I’ve been trying to increase the supply in my stash. I added chain and done.
I also made a bracelet. It was inspired by a Jes MaHarry bracelet, but I can’t find it on the website. I seem to always focus on things in the emails that aren’t on the website; they are just background! Anyway, everything on the website is eye candy, so take a look anyway. I’m probably attracted to the layering pieces because I can make something like them. I don’t have the high end materials to make something more like a Jes HaHarry piece. I really admire her style.
I used a couple of types of rosary chain and a little set glass charm. I’ve been wearing bracelet stacks lately, and this will fit right in.
I need to focus on cleaning my studio. It is really out of control. I have three surfaces. None are really workable. It makes it difficult to create. I got a baker’s cart with baking sheets to hold in progress projects, but I have to clean a surface to have a place to put a project sheet!
I know I am not alone. Heather Powers of Humblebeads had a contest that involved people posting pictures of their studios. But I know I will feel more creative and have more fun and enjoy my studio more if I get it under control. It’s an on-going process. I get it organized, and it gets messy again. This can be my spring cleaning project. I’m going to create an art wall as part of that process. Even if it is just cleaning, I enjoy being in my studio.
I love the mix of colors in it, so I used a few beads with that blue in addition to a variety of stone, jasper, agate and a couple of different shapes of carved beads. A couple of the larger beads have a shape similar to the pendant.
I knotted the beads on waxed linen. The faded mauve/mulberry bead above the pendant is one I got from Candie Cooper‘s 25 Beads of Christmas. It’s fun when I can work different treasured beads into a piece. I used a Hands of the Hills toggle clasp.
The soft colors are all very lovely together. I’m really happy with the final necklace.