Sunday, January 30, 2011

Evolution of a design

I had this gorgeous, large, burgundy Raku bead, and my original plan was to braid a simple beaded kumihimo rope to suspend it from.

But this design quickly became a study in problem solving, with problem #1 being that I didn't have any matching seed beads in a size that would work up into a beaded kumihimo rope.

So I decided I would fall back on one of my favorite beadweaving stitches, the spiral.

I had too many bead choices here, and had to play with them, and keep narrowing them down, so that I didn't end up with a overly busy or chunky spiral rope that would overwhelm the bead, despite the bead's size.

Because this raku cylinder bead was huge - almost 4 inches long, with a very large hole running through it.

This is the spiral I finally decided on: brown freshwater pearls, mauve seed beads, burgundy seed beads, olive green seed beads, and copper seed beads for the core. After stitching this 2 inch length, I came upon problem #2: how to cap the large raku bead?

I spent a couple of days working on this beadcap issue. I stitched a number of different attempts from seedbeads, in various sizes, and various patterns, but none of them worked; they needed to be relatively flat on the end, and then immediately flare out pretty widely, and then hug the bead.

And no ready-made beadcaps were anywhere near the size of this bead's end, so I kept stewing, and started looking around for anything I could use to cobble together a suitable beadcap.

I finally found a combination of Vintaj brass findings that I felt, theoretically anyway, could work.  I used metal punch pliers to punch 6 holes in a Vintaj brass ring, to correspond with the placement of the 6 petals on the Vintaj flower.

These are the 3 Vintaj components I finally settled on - the larger ring is a good size for the end of the Raku bead.

Here is how the 3 components stacked in my plan -  now I just had to get them to stay fastened together (and attach them to the bead!)

I made a number of attempts to wire-wrap the components together, but wasn't happy with any of the results.

So I decided to weave the components together with seed beads, and after several more tries, this is the (somewhat over-exposed, sorry) result. 

I then used 20g Vintaj brass wire to wire the caps to the bead, and then attached a length of spiral to each end.  The original plan, after settling on the spiral, was to have the whole necklace be a simple spiral, but by now I had so mych time and energy invested that I decided to glam it up, and added a short length of Vintage brass chain with fringe embeliishment comprised of Swarovski crystals and freshwater pearls to each side, before continuing on with the spiral rope.

Of course, I had to do some more embellishing, so I added fringe to one side, and some freeform peyote leaves to the other.

Then I finished with a Vintaj brass S-hook and extender chain, providing an adjustable finished length.


Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Very Sparkly Spiral Chainmaille Bracelet and Earrings

The spiral chainmaille rope is another of my favorite weaves. This set is woven with sterling silver half-round rings, so it is lighter in weight than you would expect, and the spiral weave allows the bracelet and earrings to catch the light with every movement. I just love this set!

The textured toggle reflects the spiral pattern in the bracelet, which is now available in my Etsy shop.

The matching earrings are also available in my shop!

And by the end of this week, I will have this bead embroidery cuff bracelet finished - or at least, that is the