Sunday, 5 February 2012

First steps away from symmetry

Last summer my friend A who made the ice bracelet gifted me a blue-green maxi skirt that I'd really liked when we'd been shopping together. In return she asked me to "design a necklace for her". She wanted a long necklace - longer than I'd ever made. It was really great to get the chance to do this, because it really stimulated me to think about the design process itself and how to make the beads work together as best I could.

Being challenged to "design" something gave me the courage to take some tentative first steps away from strictly symmetrical designs. I do like symmetrical designs, but I think that some asymmetry can really highlight the special element of handmade jewellery - it really emphasises the fact that it's not just something picked up from the high street.

I chose blues, greens and purples because those are colours she likes (and, as you may have gathered, they are also colours I like too - so I had a lot of choice of beads!). Also I decided to use some jump-ring and chain design elements because there are some chain-maille-like elements in one of the jewellery items she already has. I decided to make it using an extender chain so that she could alter the length slightly to go with different sorts of clothes. Also this was my first excursion into using crimp covers - a lot of commercially-available handmade jewellery sold in shops (I'm not going to link to the sites...) frequently has the crimps in plain sight, but I thought I'd see whether crimp covers were any better. For this necklace, I think they were better, but only because they were "designed in".

The overall design - overall symmetry of major features but with some variation in the smaller beads
I was especially pleased to be able to use some mock turquoise beads that my middle sister had given me as a present from the London Bead Shop, and which I had been waiting for an opportunity to use:

And I used a dichroic glass bead for the main focal pendant because of the way it reflects light so nicely:

The rest of the beads in the necklace are Czech glass, other glass (some handmade), abalone shell, silver-plated spacers, and some other pewterish beads upcycled from a piece of vintage costume jewellery. The little leaf beads were from my visit to the Bead Show one year previously; they had been waiting patiently ever since then in my stash for their turn to be used. I still have a few left - you will probably see them in future posts on this blog.

Anyway, I hope she likes it - and I hope that other friends and family members will ask me to design things for them too, because I really enjoyed the challenge!

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