ABS Challenge – Jan – Spring

The folks at Art Bead Scene Studio have been featuring awesome artwork every month, and challenging their readers to create jewelry inspired by the artwork — the only rule being that at least one art bead is used. I’ve been a lurker so far, observing the artwork, and admiring the Perfect Pairing showcases where ABS features a jewelry piece.

This time, I’ve decided to participate. Sometimes, a good challenge is what’s needed to get those creative juices flowing, isn’t it?

ABS Challenge Jan 2018 -- inspiration

January’s inspiration is an Art Nouveau piece, Spring, by Frances MacDonald. The first thing I noticed was that it featured Ultraviolet, the Pantone color of 2018. Then, the graceful forms of the women, the symmetry — these caught my eye.

At first, I thought of making a set of earrings and pendant that would also work for an upcoming wedding that I’ll attend. But the more I tried to make it work, the more it didn’t. Finally, since we anyway decided to use some jewelry that we already own, I was free to just let creativity guide me.

ABS Challenge Jan 2018 -- Polymer Clay beads

I made a Skinner blend from polymer clay in violet and green, the Pantone colors of this year and last year. (A nod to Janus and duality and all that. πŸ˜‰ ) I used it as the veneer for a long bead that reminded me of the elongated form of the women. I’d use this bead in a pendant. To add some interest to the bead, I stamped a pattern on it with silver Perfect Pearls. Since there was a bit too much scrap clay left, I stamped the same pattern on it too, and rolled two smaller beads from it paper-bead style. These would work for earrings.

After baking the beads, my plan of beading with the main bead didn’t really work, so I switched to wire. Symmetry in wire is hard for me, and I eventually ended up ditching the symmetry aspect; the beads are symmetrical enough! πŸ˜‰ Instead, I opted to be inspired by the element of waviness in the picture, and set the wire in wavy, interlocking shapes all around the bead. For the smaller beads, I didn’t interlock the wire, just made it spiral around them. As accessories to the clay beads, I added potato beads, also encased in wire.

ABS Challenge Jan 2018 -- Wire-Encased Polymer Clay Jewelry

I must admit I had no idea this is how the pieces would turn out until I actually made them, and the results are a pleasant surprise. Thank you, ABS, for a super-creative month-end!

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Wire Weave Bangle

Time for a wire weaving project!

I made a wire-weave bangle last week, with a pearl bead duo forming the focal element.

Wire weave bangle

Wire weave bangle

Or it could be a wire-weave tiara, if you ask my favorite model, Penguin. πŸ˜‰

Wire weave tiara?

For this bangle, I used three 16-gauge base wires and a 24-gauge weaving wire, both in a gold color. (Yup, I still use the thick wires that I ordered a long time ago.) I cut the base wires just a tiny bit longer than the intended circumference of the finished bracelet, because I wanted to add some small focal element in the end to actually finish it.

I kept my weaving wire uncut, since I’m still not good at estimating the length of wire I might need. I’d thought of measuring the wire as I unwind more and more of it, but somewhere along the way, I lost track. (This is what happens if you watch movies while working on projects! πŸ™‚ )

I left a margin of about 2-3cm (1″) when I started to weave. The pattern is an uncomplicated one — loop twice around bottom two base wires, loop twice around top two, repeat. The weaving itself was fun, since I also had the aforementioned movie-watching to accompany it. When I reached the end, I left the same margin as the beginning. At each end, I curled the middle base wire into loops, and bent its companion wires around it. That was the difficult part — since these are 16-gauge wires, it’s pretty difficult to make minute adjustments with them, and it was impossible to not nick the wires.

I then gradually curved the entire strip into an open bangle. To close it, I strung two pearl beads onto a length of wire, added eye loops at both ends of the wire and attached it to the loops of the bracelet.

I’m pretty happy with this bangle. πŸ™‚ My next bangle will have a new weave, of course, but I’ll also make at least one more of this one, maybe with a different color of weaving wire, since both my sis and my mom like it!

Wire Weaving: Inspired by Calligraphy Pendant

Wire Weaving - Calligraphy Pendant inspired

Wire Weaving – Calligraphy Pendant inspired

I was thinking I’d make my mom some jewelry as a gift for Mother’s Day (today) but she has specific jewelry tastes. I’ve been working so much with polymer clay (notwithstanding short bead weaving runs) that I’d almost forgotten about the weaving wire that I have. So it was time for some wire weaving!

Rather than try something on my own and end up with insufficient wire to finish the project, I thought I’d follow a free tutorial – The Calligraphy Pendant by the amazing Nicole Hanna. (Spoiler: I still ran short of wire in the end. πŸ™‚ )

Of course, my stash doesn’t include the gauges suggested in the tutorial, so I used the ones that I have — 18 and 24. Yes, I’ve learned that they end up really tough on the fingers. That’s one of the reasons I don’t wire-weave too often. πŸ™‚

Well, back to the project. I used an irregularly-shaped glass bead of about the same dimensions suggested in the tutorial. (I just love its color!) I figured the lengths of the base wires from the tutorial should work, but cut slightly longer lengths anyway. Strangely, they turned out really short. I probably needed at least 50% more wire. I don’t understand this huge discrepancy. Since there was no way to ‘fix’ it, I ended up cutting my project short and finishing it early. It’s not bad at all, but it’s not what I wanted. I couldn’t make another one since my fingers were crying for mercy already.

Turns out my mom too thinks it looks good. Now I’m waiting to see when she’ll wear it… πŸ˜‰

Pearl dangle earrings

I’d made a pair of wavy pearl dangle earrings a while ago, but noticed I wasn’t wearing them much. So I decided to give them a quick makeover. I twisted the waves into rings (still squiggly ones though) around the pearls. Heh, I really didn’t want to waste that wire even if it was slightly dented from my earlier bad handling. πŸ˜›

Pearl dangle earrings

Surprisingly, this small change makes the earrings cuter and more appealing to me. I’ve already worn them twice!

Background: My valet tray. Embellishment: Fringe from my macramΓ© ornament. Looks like my DIY items are wonderful props! πŸ˜€

Torus necklace

Remember the Torus pendant that I’d made a while ago? There are more of those metallic-silver tori in my stash — three, to be precise — and I’d really wanted to use them for something. Earrings were my persistent initial thought, but these tori are too big for earrings. I know my wrists are small for a bracelet with a torus focal piece, and I didn’t want to make another pendant. So I decided they would all go together in one necklace. Of course, they needed something else to add to the look, and what better company than some jumbo pearl beads from my stash! πŸ™‚

Torus necklace

Torus necklace

I’d also recently bought some bead caps online, and they turned out larger than I expected. (This is a problem with Indian online retail — there aren’t enough details provided to trust that a purchase would work out well, and sometimes, the return processes turn out to be painful.) I decided to keep them just in case I bought large beads that would fit. For my jumbo pearl beads, these were the only bead caps suitable, albeit slightly oversized. So, well, I used them.

I cut wire lengths for the pearl beads, threaded each wire through a pearl between two bead caps, and made eye loops on both ends. I didn’t fully close the eye loops yet.

I then cut longish lengths of the wire (around 15cm). I wrapped two wires per torus, each one around roughly-opposite points on the torus. The wrapping itself is a simple one, with one end of the wire turned into an outward-facing eye loop, and the other end turned into a spiral that lies on the torus itself. I connected the pearl bead eye loops to the eye loops on the tori, and shut all eye loops.

To finish the necklace, I attached the ends of a silver-colored chain to the end pearl beads. This just might be a statement piece for me. πŸ˜›

Wire-wrapped chunky beads chain

I’d always wanted to make a chunky beads chain, and now that I own some thicker gauge wires, what better than wire-wrapped chunky beads? πŸ™‚

Wire-wrapped chunky beads chain

I got the chunky turquoise beads to remain in place with the wire open inside. That is, there’s nothing attached to something else to keep the placement tight. It works fine because the wire is pretty thick and strong. I then made the eye-loop-like loops with the same wire strand — these loops would be used to connect to the other beads in the chain. I continued to wind the wire around the beads, turning it around the eye-loops. I’d intended the wraps to come out neater, but when the first one began to get untidy, I thought “Why not?” and made them kinda messy. I actually like how it looks, though I need to get better at making tidy wraps. πŸ˜‰

For the rest of the chain, I used glass beads — flat, translucent white ones and round ruby-red ones. I used smaller gauge wire for these, stringing them on the wire and forming regular eye loops at both ends for the chain connections.

I absolutely adore this chain!

First wire pendant

I tested out the new wire that I got recently — the test was mainly for the 18-gauge wire, since I’ve not worked with it before. The wire was hard to twist and bend initially, but as I got used to working with it, it became easier. I ended up making this pendant. (I held the loops together with some simple wraps with the 22-gauge wire, also new.)Wire pendantI toyed with the idea of adding wire wrapping between the two outermost wires on each side, but decided not to for now. I’ll get to it eventually, though!

I don’t really know what to name this pendant — it just brings a lot of things to mind, so I’ll just keep it unnamed. πŸ™‚