Surprisingly soft and always shiny beaded creations for your neck.
Gonna level with everyone here. This is the result of doing things I deeply do not enjoy. Don't get me wrong, I really enjoy them! But the process... no. Just, no.
It started with the choker. Which I didn't even really plan to be a choker; just a couple of inches of a brick stitch demo with these incredibly lovely scale/spike beads because I wanted to try out other shapes and textures. And let me tell you, I had no idea I would dislike brick stitch as much as I do (and yes, I know it "looks better" with uniform beads, but I really wanted to play with the slightly "chunkier" ones for texture reasons). But it looked good and I... just kept going even through the mental grumbling. And of course near the end one of the beads turned out to be fragile and broke, so I had to go through hoops to replace it and there's one row at the back that looks crooked, but it's in the back and if anyone complains they're welcome to do it all over again themselves. ...Ahem.
After that harrowing experience, I then decided, "You know what else I don't like doing? Plain strung necklaces." GIANT SHRUG, I have no idea why this seemed like a challenge to take on, but it did. I dug through my bead drawer and came across this hematite pendant I'd had for years, just part of a random grab bag of things, and designed around it while keeping the look of the choker in mind. Instead of just one or two threads, there are five holding the weight of the pendant and holding the necklace itself together. Because I never trust single-thread necklaces.
Like I said, I'm actually really happy with the result. I just. Never want to do this again.
Well beyond our cultural memory, there was a long line of queens--warriors and scholars, from "proper" and learned to rough and feral--who abandoned their names to take on their country; and with it, a symbol of their status. The Legacy jewels have been stolen, bartered, hidden and, if the stories are true, were once melted down only to miraculously re-form in the hands of a True Queen. Clearly the legends differ from region to region, becoming more grandiose as time passes. The fact remains, however, the Legacy jewels do remain intact, perhaps waiting for their next queen...
As is usually the case, I didn't mean this project to be quite so... extensive. I'd gotten these gorgeous little "slightly imperfect" seraphinite beads a long while back with the intent to do a necklace of some sort, and it seemed like the right time to finally get around to doing that. And that seemed pretty simple, really... then I decided to add just a little bit of extra dimension by making it "not quite flat", which wasn't really a problem. Of course I followed that up by electing to develop a method with would make relatively thin beaded pieces extremely strong while maintaining flexibility and a bit of "stretch", which was more time-consuming than I wanted it to be... then came the thought, "Hey, you know what this needs? Earrings." And. Um. Well. This.
I learned. I learned a lot. As a result, the necklace is flexible and comfortable worn either as a choker or a double-wrap bracelet, and the ear cuffs are surprisingly comfortable even while I was trying them on with glasses. Weird. I'm also quite fond of using the non-pierced rings as the "actual earring portion", because it gives more flexibility to exactly where on the ear they get worn.
"Hey Jude, don't make it bad/ Take a sad song and make it better..." - "Hey Jude", The Beatles
I'd waited quite a long time to get around to using this epically gorgeous seraphinite cabochon. So it was with dismay that I'd decided all it really needed was a simple sterling silver wire wrap, only to find... it snapped in half as I was setting it. Solution? Make it better, of course. I "glued" the broken pieces back together and then coated the entire pendant with clear enamel, waited until it was cured rock-hard (harder than the stone itself, it would appear), then beaded and built around it with an additional tiny seraphinite bead. "Hey Jude" was playing in my head pretty much the whole time I was working on this project, hence the name.
Could I have hidden the break altogether? Yes. I could have. I did not.
Legends insist that the Five Great Desert Temples are guarded by nine dragon siblings; two to each directional temple, the eldest one in the center. They are fair dragons, now, and certainly would not do harm to anyone who approached without mallice in their heart; but they will defend their land and each other from fools. The treasure, you see, is what changes with every telling. Is it gold? Jewels? Knowledge? Power beyond human comprehension? No one has ever managed to return to tell.
Last time I was in Georgia, I went dragon hunting. Which is to say that my (very patient, supportive) partner in crime and I spent 15 minutes combing through a huge bin of cloisonne beads just to find these tiny articulated dragons that I had never seen anywhere before. I had to have them! They were all just a touch beat up, and I kept one that had been broken (he's fixed now, though). The ones used in the necklace were cleaned up a little and reinforced, but all of the little nicks and bends were kept. They've got more personality that way.
I don't really want to talk about how much time it took, because I just plain did not start counting and I refuse to look back and see how many days I was working on it. The upper part was a very "I wonder what would happen if..." thing that took way longer than I expected due to reinforcing absolutely everything for stability, and then the netting that lead down to the dragons... just kind of happened. And of course I wanted to practice more with beading around cabochons, so. Yes. Um, I don't know what happened, but at least it's shiny?
Normally when I do this kind of netting, I go over every diamond meticulously to get them all to be that perfect diamond shape... but this time, I left a few "loose". It's a stylistic choice; the dragons themselves look like ancient treasures, so I wanted the rest of the necklace to reflect that. It's not any less strong or solidly built, it just looks "a little old". The same "stylistic choice" exists with the ever so slight angling of the fiber optic stone so that it catches the light more easily. It's supposed to be magic, after all.
The one problem with having a scrawnier neck than anyone you know is trying to model a collar that's technically just a little too big for you even on the tightest setting. Ah well, I tried.
Sometimes there is something even more wonderful, even more radiant, even more unimaginably magnificent hiding just beneath the surface. Go ahead and tease them.
It started with a button. A beautiful, strange, utterly irresistible button. I bought it the moment I saw it because I could not fathom walking away from that button. And then those two cylindrical beads to either side, mirroring the button's peacock hues while throwing in a few tricks of their own. The other beads just sort of... gravitated toward it. I can't explain; I've had these elements for well over two years and it finally decided to come together now. Who am I to question?
There is some serious freaking sparkle here. There's just no way to get the full extent of how amazingly shiny this button-turned-necklace-centerpiece is or how everything else just seems to drape perfectly off of it. It's over-the-top and elegant all at once. Glamo(u)r-punk? (Seeing as how I was on a steady musical diet of The Killers, The Psychedelic Furs and Planet Funk while I was making this...) I'm just so happy it all came together.
I will be completely up-front, however. At times, no matter how careful you are, how many precautions you take, a glass bead will still decide to shatter at the worst, possible, moment. That happened here. At the end. After everything else was reinforced. And so I sought a creative solution. And since I'm willing to bet no one can see the mistake, and it in no way affects the stability of the piece itself, that's all I'm going to say. Success.
After the successful Shadow Portrait experiment, I wanted to try something a little simpler... and what better than a classic symbol of both magnificence and hilarity?
Made up of 213 glass beads individually woven together by hand, then backed in such a way as to make the panel itself sturdy but still flexible (so there are no hard edges).