I'm sososososososo excited that this is finally happening! The hop kind of snuck up on me though. For those of you who don't know, I am a college student, and this reveal is smack in the middle of finals. I didn't actually know when finals were when I signed up because I just let them surprise me, but I would have signed up anyway. I did not let finals get in the way of me making lots of lovely things though! I created my little heart out. I actually finished the last piece less than an hour ago... so let's get started on this post!
My partner was the lovely, Andrea Glick. Blog. Etsy
I borrowed this picture from Andrea, but here is what I sent her:
I didn't write down for myself what all I sent her, so I would head on over to her blog to see better. I have to remember to write it down in the future. I was kind of in a crazy rush. I know for sure there's leather, pearls, ceramic beads, a copper clasp, a focal I made myself, some trade beads, tiger's eye, magnesitite, czech glass, kyanite, and three artisan pieces.
Here is what Andrea sent me:
Andrea was beyond generous in what she sent me! The gorgeous strand of glass beads and focal (center) are from Donna Millard. Andrea also sent me two beautiful strands of freshwater pearls. Then, (clockwise around the center starting at the bottom) a pair of calsilica stones, fancy artisan earwires from Tori Sophia, paper bead and swarvoski components by Sondra Jackson, a lovely handmade copper clasp by Jami Shipp, a drop-dead gorgeous lampwork bead by Marcia Seever, and an awesome double-sided polymer focal by Kerri Medlock- Dabney.
So, I got to work.
One major challenge I had is that I have never really worked with artisan-made beads before. I think you'll notice kind of a transition in these pieces. I am going to try to go in chronological order. I had trouble trying to think of the artisan beads as not always having to be a focal. Of course, they're lovely and deserve to be, but I wanted to try and be unexpected with them. I don't know if that makes any sense... I haven't really slept much this week. There will probably be a lot of typos in this post.
This is the first pair of earrings I made for the challenge using the Donna Millard lampwork beads, copper wire, trade beads, and waxed linen. The waxed linen is really just an accent. I felt like they needed something extra, so I added that. I took most of these pictures at my school. I found that they have the most lovely trees to take photos on even though I am super allergic to them. Fun fact: all the pictures taken at my school were taken on my favorite tree... there just happened to be a guy sleeping in a hammock attached to the tree. I never told him what I was doing. I hope he didn't think I was a creeper...
This pair came together quite easily. I don't know if I can really include these as a piece for the swap cause I only used some of the pearls for them, but I love them. The copper components I had ordered, and it said they were clasps on the website... but when I got them, all there was was the hoop and no toggle bar. So I thought they would be perfect for earrings. So I hammered some copper wire to hang the pearls on, and these earrings came together.
The calsilica stones threw me for a bit of a loop. I wasn't really sure what to do with them. They had so much color in them. I never realized that I tend to shy away from bright colors which I never would have thought of myself. Anyway, I went with some awesome copper filagree bits that I thought still let the calsilica be the focal without adding too much more color. I actually totally love these.
The Tori Sophia earwires were next. I paired them with a pretty pair of butterfly beads. For some reason they just told me they belonged together. More simple than I originally wanted to go, but I am happy with them.
I kind of have the same story for these. I wanted to go so crazy with these paper beads, but when I saw them wiht the crackle agate, I just knew it was so crazy that i loved it. I also threw some of the small pearls from Andrea in there to kind of mimic the fact that the paper beads are sandwiched between two crystals. I love these. They are so lively.
This polymer clay piece was the first challenge I could immediately see. It really needed to be a focal, but it had two holes in it, so I determined it had to be a bracelet. But then there was the additional challenge that it was double sided. I couldn't bear to cover up one side. Both sides were so detailed, and covering up artisan work like that would kill me. I had to make the bracelet reversible I decided. So I chose some leather and cut windows in it which I filled with lace, the white pearls, and seed beads that pull some of the colors from the focal. It has a lobster clasp and some cool beaded chain that I had, so it is adjustable. I really want to write more about this piece, but I forgot what I was going to write.
I made this piece with the toggle that Andrea had sent me in mind. I formed the copper wire shapes, and then wrapped them. And then sort of galaxy wrapped the large pearls with the tiny pearls. After all that, I realized my copper wire was a lot brighter than the clasp that Andrea sent, so I just fashioned my own clasp, but I still hadn't used the clasp which led me to make the next piece....
I'm so happy that this clasp didn't work for the last necklace because I really wanted to challenge myself and make the clasp a focal which the last piece did not accomplish. For this piece, I took three strands of waxed linen and tied it to either end of the clasp. I then knotted fair trade sari silk on top of it. I ran out of the black which is why I included the other colors, but I am so happy that I did because the other colors tie in the pearls perfectly. I also wrapped one end of the sari silk with a little copper wire. Hanging off the clasp are the majority of the small freshwater pearls that Andrea sent and some beautiful pearl slivers that I have (I think they are called hitachi pearls?). The coolest part is that I used a nylon cord to string the pearls, so instead of knotting, I could just melt the ends. Definitely a plus if I get to play with fire. I don't have a torch setup, so a lighter is about all the flame I get to use.
I really wanted to try to use as many of the pearls as I could, so I made this pair of earrings and paired them with some metal bits I had. I tried to make the earwires look kind of... I can't think of the word. I want to say amorphic, but I'm pretty sure that's wrong. Again, little sleep; please don't hurt me.
I have come to realize that maybe I just have trouble figuring out how to make focal points in jewelry. Or to single out one thing as a focal. I really wanted to do this Donna Millard lampwork bird justice. I actually had four options that I had to dangle off it. I sent a side by side picture comparison to about ten friends, and had them pick which one I should use. The leaf won out, and I'm happy it did. I had a lot of ideas for this bird originally, but then went in a completely different direction. It's the last minute ideas that always produce the best designs for me. I paired this gorgeous bird with a vintage metal leaf, some solid copper disc beads, some African trade beads, and then the matching lampwork beads. The rest of the necklace is a chain. I took all the pictures with a white background tonight in my studio where I don't really have a photo area setup... I pushed aside a bunch of junk and laid down a sheet of paper... fancy, right?
I know this is a lot of stuff, but we're almost done. And I 100% do not blame you if you only look at the pictures!
This is the last pair of earrings I made with my swap score. I wanted to use these lampwork Donna Millard beads so bad. They're so shiny and I love them! I made a pair of leather feathers to go with them, and I burned the edges to give them some extra texture so they wouldn't look stiff. I also included some of those freshwater pearls that Andrea sent me. I can't get enough of them!
Here is all that is left from what Andrea sent me:
I really wanted to use it all... except that phenomenal purple lampwork bead which I saw and immediately intended to hoard. I want to look at it a while longer before I have to put it in its home... it's selfish; I know.
But wait! There's more!
Okay. This pair was actually made with a pair of matchsticks from Numinosity Beads. No, you didn't miss something; Andrea did not send me these. I sent her a matching set. I thought it would be interesting to see what direction we each went in with them, so head on over to her blog to see what she did with them!
I hammered some copper wire into hoops for mine, and set them to look kind of like a galaxy or something. They look like whatever you see. I need sleep.
Thanks so much for sticking with me! I had so much fun!
Now I intend to sleep till noon, and then surf the other blogs!