I AM doing better at not creating Zombies - much better. I used to start projects left and right, casting them aside a few days (or weeks) later for something newer and shinier. Now, I make a concerted effort to finish one project before starting a new one...but sometimes, stuff gets in the way. Know what I mean?
I was just about to take it apart and redo it, when I was chosen for the 5x5 challenge - I set it aside on my workbench, in a safe place - and .... 2 weeks later (seems like 6 weeks!) - forgot about it!
It never made it to my box of Zombie projects in the Zombie cabinet, but trust me - I completely, totally forgot about this piece. Yesterday, I was itching for a new project, wandering around the bead shop looking for ideas and inspiration, and decided to wander back to the workbench for a stronger pair of glasses, and caught sight of this pendant.
I spent some time yesterday afternoon trying to extract the cabochon from its bezel:
prying the bezel open like a sardine can - the stone is still stuck tightly in place!
finally: the cab is free!
Today, I'll get busy with this redo - starting with measuring and cutting the bezel wire. This was actually the hardest part last time, because of the irregular shape of the cab.
Stay tuned - I really will get this pendant finished. Soon. Fingers crossed.....
I know it looks like I've been ignoring my blog, slacking off ... not true!
A few weeks ago, I was selected to participate in the 5x5 challenge over on Artisan Whimsy. For this challenge, 5 designers were each sent 5 metal components (we were all sent the same 5 components - shown below), and our challenge was to play with them, test them, and design with them. Easy, right?
metal components for 5x5 challenge
The challenge ends today, and our designs will be published in next month's Bead Chat Magazine - so I can't reveal any more details until after the publication date. But trust me - I haven't been slacking! Creating with some of these components was quite challenging!! But I love what I came up with ... stay tuned.
In the interim, once I completed all my challenge pieces (I finished on Tuesday, with 3 days to spare!) - I had 2 left over, orphaned, tourmaline nuggets. Some of their gorgeous brothers and sisters had found their way early on into one of my 5x5 challenge designs, and then the remainder of that strand was adopted by one of my dear bloggy friends (*waves at BackstoryBeads*).
Then, late in my challenge design process, I saw a perfect opportunity to use more of the tourmaline nuggets in a second one of my design pieces - their deep teal green color was perfect! Fortunately, I had squirreled away TWO of these strands for myself, so I still had a full strand left. Yay! After completing my piece for the challenge, I still had quite a few left, so I made a matching bracelet and pair of earrings. After all this creating, 2 little nuggets remained - these 2 were a little lopsided, and both were drilled crookedly, so they needed a little special care.
I decided to make a simple spiral rope bracelet, using one as a focal, and the other as a dangle:
spiral bracelet with tourmaline focal
spiral bracelet with tourmaline focal
I didn't have any prefabricated beadcaps small enough for this rope (I used 11/0s as the core), so I made my own, with galvanized purple 15/0s. I had forgotten how small 15s are, until I tried to do tubular herringbone with them! But I love the result:
15/0 herringbone beadcaps
I topped the beadcaps with 4mm faceted amethyst rounds.
Making the beadcaps:
beginning of the herringbone beadcap
one beadcap attached, and one orphaned tourmaline nugget, waiting to become a dangle
I finally got away from trying to use a tangle as a string - I kept trying to make this work, and was never thrilled with the result. I looked back through all my completed tangles, and discovered I really love these random string ones better!
My awesome overlap is too tiny - I learned it needs to have a larger scale for the details to be appreciated.
I really wanted to color in the tornado, but I wanted this tangle to be all black and white - so I'll be bringing tornado back in a future tangle, next time with color!
Another tangle where I used a tangle (Brigid's cross) as the string:
In addition to Brigid's cross, other tangles I used include:
This one has a very geometric feel, and as I was working on it, I kept having deja vu. Once I finished it, I looked back through my other completed tangles, and saw why: it bears a striking resemblance to this one from December of last year:
It's a coincidence - I swear! Although, my brain really does gravitate towards these geometric shapes.
I have decided to take a break from beadweaving for awhile, and get back to working with metal!
I started this pendant on Sunday, and it is almost finished (it needs the final ultrafine buff, to really bring out the shine in the silver):
Contemporary Sterling Silver pendant with Mojave turquoise and CZs
The Mojave turquoise cab is just gorgeous - nice pinks and purples, and beautiful veining. It would make a gorgeous piece all by itself, but then I put it next to these 8mm lilac CZs, and - wow! I really love this combination!
Mojave turquoise and lilac cubic zirconia
I started playing with designs on paper, and what you see in the 1st pic above is very close to my final drawing.
Freeform cabs are a little harder to work with; here is the soldered bezel:
Fine silver bezel
Getting the bezel the perfect length was quite a challenge, given the irregular shape of the cab!
The irregularly shaped bezel really didn't want to lie flat on the sterling silver table, and needed a little (a lot) of encouragement from the t-pins. Notice all my solder paillons, lined up and ready for the torch!
Bezel on table, with solder paillons, ready for soldering
Despite my best efforts, the t-pins changed the bezel shape a tiny bit during all this maneuvering, but once soldered, I was still able to get a good fit with the cab.
Next, I added the wire support for the CZs - I used 18 gauge wire for this (a decision I now regret)
18g wire soldered to bezel
The next step was to add the pronged settings for the CZs - I soldered these to each end of the 18g wire.
I forgot to take a pic of the finished piece before I set the stones - sorry!
Here is the back of the completed pendant, showing the bail:
Back of sterling silver pendant
Here is the front of the pendant again:
Pendant front - Mojave turquoise and CZs
I am not thrilled with the outcome - I love my design, but there are a couple of flaws in the execution. For one, I should have used a thicker wire for the CZs - when these are bumped, the wire moves and bends. Not really what I was going for!
The second thing I don't like is visible at the top of the cabochon - where you can actually see the wire along the bezel. Notice how it isn't visible at the bottom beside the bezel. This has happened because the cabochon narrows to such a sharp point there at the top, and when I was setting the stone, I had to push the bezel more there at the top to get a good snug fit, and when I pushed the left top side of the bezel over as far as I needed to, it revealed this wire. If I had foreseen this, I would have figured out a different way of soldering the wire to the bezel. Live and learn, right?
As I said, this piece still needs a final polish (and tumble) - if the wire hardens more, I may decide to live with the design. If the wire doesn't harden more, and keeps bending, OR if I just can't accept the way the piece looks at the top of the bezel, I will probably take it apart and redo it.
freeform netted necklace in citrine and bronze hues
detail - freeform netting
freeform necklace toggle closure
Wanna know a secret?
The necklace pictured above is NOT the WIP in all the previous pics on this blog - for example - this pic:
freeform netting WIP (iteration 1)
If you look really closely, you can spot the differences - here is a cheat sheet, pointing out a few of them:
the ends of the WIP are wider than the finished necklace ends you see in the 3rd pic above
the WIP contains a lot more large pieces of citrine (big nuggets) than the finished piece
the WIP contains faceted hessonite garnet, in a burnt orange color
Here's what happened:
At about the time of my March 14 update post, the ends of WIP had reached the width I was shooting for, so I stitched up the toggle bar you see in the finish piece, and attached it AND the Swarovski Cosmic Ring to the ends, so that I could better gauge the finished length of the necklace.
Then I moved in about 5 inches from each end, and started adding more width and chunkiness/fullness to the center of the necklace, in a graduated fashion - in my mind, I saw a sort of a V-shaped overall silhouette to the necklace, with it being widest at the center front, and coming to sort of a "V" when worn. So I moved back and forth across the center with my stitching, while moving further away from the ends with each pass, so that the necklace width kept growing symmetrically in the front.
I was about 30 minutes away from being finished on March 26, which I mentioned at the bottom of this post. The necklace was about 3 inches wide in the very center, and almost had the "V" I was shooting for. Just a couple of more stitches to add. I was so excited!
And for some reason, I picked the necklace up to survey my results - I think I was looking to make sure my last few stitches got exactly in the center. But something bad happened. Very bad.
I call it "turtling", but simply because I refuse to call it by what it really reminds me of.
You know how when a cockroach dies, it always seems to die on its back?
Well, this freeform necklace I had been stitching for weeks "cockroached" on me when I held it up: the thick, wide, chunky center section turned face down, revealing its un-embellished backside - and I imagined it would look like nothing so much as a sparkly feedbag when worn, lying there underneath the chin, waiting to catch crumbs:
Sorry - In my despair, I didn't get pics of my cockroaching necklace.
I tried several things to stabilize the center, but the necklace now had a life of its own, and wouldn't behave at all. It was too heavy, chunky, and wide, and it just lay there, like a hammock. So after about an hour of fretting, I grabbed some sharp scissors, laid the necklace flat on my bead mat, and cut my way right up the center of it, severing all the strands right up the middle. Then, one at a time, I picked up a severed half, and "milked" all the beads off the severed Fireline and into a tupperware container. And then I started sorting them. And then I started stitching all over again.
So the new necklace's silhouette does not "v" in the center, and you can bet I checked how it was lying frequently while I was stitching!
I have been exploring the use of tangles themselves as strings, and here is another attempt:
For this design, I used "Eyelet + Ribbon" as the string. This particular pattern presented my hardest challenge - trying to make it look like a ribbon coiling back on itself. I have ZERO formal art training, and no skills at 3-D rendering or perspective, so these are really hard for me. I threw 3 loops into my eyelet lace, and am not really happy with any of them. Plus, the eyelet lace effect is really lost now, with all the tangling around it - when it was the only thing on the paper, it really did look like lace (except for my pitiful loops!).
Other tangles I used here:
I especially like the podz (lower right corner)! I still need to work on my punzel. And cracked (lower left) was tons of fun! I just wish my lacy ribbon showed up better!
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