Simple/Elaborate | ABS Challenge

The folks at Art Bead Scene Studio have extended their July challenge into August, and as a result, there’s no August picture. However, a while ago, they’d published their intended set of pictures for the whole year. Since I’m already done with July, I thought I’d try my hand at August from that earlier set, though I have no idea of the painting’s history. (That would have been an interesting read.)

ABS Challenge Aug 2018 Inspiration

August’s picture is of a woman bedecked with jewelry. What caught my eye was how each component in the adornments was pretty simple, but all put together, the effect is that of showy elaborateness. Now that’s a good idea to work on!

I didn’t want to go too simple, though, so for my beads, I thought of trying out a polymer clay technique that’s still a bit of a challenge to me – the Sutton Slice. The basic premise is to (a) press well-conditioned clay onto a texture sheet, (b) slice away all the clay that is not in the recesses of the sheet so you’re left with a clay pattern in the recesses, (c) press a clay sheet of a different color onto this clay so that the clay pattern sticks to this sheet, (d) admire your textured pattern. The process went much better this time – at least the slicing did – which I’m incredibly happy about. It did take me a while, though.

Simple/Elaborate earrings | Anita

I flattened the texture just a little bit, and made barrel beads with this sheet. The pattern cracked (as expected) while I curved the sheet to form the beads, and that gives a weathered effect.

After baking the beads, I applied a couple of layers of Vintaj Glaze onto them. When I’d experimented with this glaze last time, it’d turned a bit tacky, but that didn’t seem to be the case this time. Maybe it’s because I applied thinner layers now and waited a longer time between layers? More experiments are needed for this one.

For the earrings, I’d thought of using a couple of glass beads that I own, but they didn’t fit the clay beads. After a lot of trial and error, I zeroed in on some metal components, including wire. Just some tweaks to the components – bead caps facing outward vs. inward makes a lot of difference, and so does the addition of a basic spiral of wire – did justice to my idea of simple contributing to elaborate.

That’s it! How do you like the earrings?

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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. 😉

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! 🙂 )

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. 🙂 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!

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. 😛

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 macramé ornament. Looks like my DIY items are wonderful props! 😀

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! 🙂

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. 😛

Scrappy earrings

Scrappy because they are made of fabric scraps and look disorganized as well.

Scrappy earringsI tore out strips from unused brown/black fabric, and cut some pieces of leftover brown yarn from my old knitting projects. I made two hoops from silver-colored wire. I created each hoop this way — first, I made a loop about 1cm in diameter; then an eye loop from one end such that it circles around the other end; finally an eye loop from the other end just below the first eye loop. The second eye loop will turn out perpendicular to the first. (Wish I’d clicked photos of the steps, but it was a random experiment.) I made sure the second eye loop was large enough to fit in it a bunch of the fabric strips and yarn.

So you now know what the next step is. 🙂 I took a bunch of the strips and yarn and ran them through the second eye loop. I checked that both ‘arms’ of the bunch hanging from the eye loop were similar in length. I gathered both arms together, smoothed them out and made a knot (not too tight right now, though!) right where the second loop is. There, that hid both eye loops because of the thickness of the fabric bunch.

Before tightening the knot, I moved around the strips and yarn slightly so they look haphazard but not too much.

To finish the earrings, I added a finding to each hoop.

Stone pendant

I have this collection of medium-sized irregularly shaped stones that come with holes pre-drilled into them. They’re of varying shapes and sizes, and they’re a bit heavier than traditional jewelry ingredients (they’re stones, after all!) So earrings, necklaces or bracelets were out. Making pendants of them seemed like the thing to do.

But then, there are only so many ways in which irregular shapes can be turned into pendants. I’m not a fan of encasing them in nets, so that’s out. I decided to start out simple for now, and think more later. This is my attempt on one of the stones — this one’s shaped more regularly than the rest:

Stone pendant

The overall process is simple enough. I cut two lengths of wires. In each of them, I made a loop at around the center, and twisted the arms into spirals. (That’s four spirals overall.) I then inserted a headpin through a seed bead, a bead cap and the stone. The two spiral wires came next, followed by the topmost bead cap and a final seed bead. I then made an eye loop with the remaining length of the headpin. Tada!

Not bad, though the upper bead cap doesn’t sit very cozily due to the irregularity of the stone. It’s still good enough for casualwear.

Macramé ornament

I was in the mood for macramé recently, and sat down to make something. I had all this remnant yarn lying around from my past knitting projects, and thought I would use a couple of them for this.

Macramé  ornament

I first made a wire-based yoke from my 18-gauge copper wire. Since I didn’t really have anything planned, I just cut about 50cm of yarn (I think it was that long… The more I wonder, the more I’m unsure) — 8 pieces of each color. I started with reverse lark’s head knots on the yoke. Then I just… went with the flow with double half hitch knots. The yoke made for oblique macramé lines, so I quickly straightened them out. When the lines got horizontal, I realized I want some beads in there, so out came some metallic beads. I really need to buy more beads with larger holes for macramé — the beads I have are either too big or are meant for smaller cords / wires.

Anyway, I started keeping cord pairs from the side free so I can thread in the beads eventually. When there were only only two cord pairs remaining in the center, I started incorporating the beads. I also began to re-add cord pairs from the sides into the knotting. My cords were getting used up now, so it was time to also think about the finishing, and I began leaving out cord pairs from the center as the knotting moved outwards. Here’s where I noticed that my tension has improved much, but there are still areas that I need to work on.

When all the knotting was done, I made a long fringe by folding the piece in half along the vertical axis and roughly hacking off the cords diagonally. I finally secured the carrier cord with some glue.

For an impromptu project, I feel it’s turned out quite well! 🙂