I had three pieces to make as there were two late-comers to the party that I could not would not turn away -- I am NOT that kind of hostess!
First, my piece made with beads by Libby Leuchtman. I've long been a fan of Libby's flowers, so when she asked me what I liked, I secretly longed for one. I told her I really loved all her work (and I do) but I told her I have trouble designing with donut focals.
So she sent me a donut focal to make me push my designing skills. Smart girl.
Her work is stunning, and I loved the challenge I had. I told her that I love pink and purple and blue, but I always have trouble with yellow -- another design challenge (and I love a challenge)! There's nothing quite like working outside your box in things that aren't what you normally would have chosen, with things that are gorgeous.
Here's the result (click the photo for a larger shot).
I've never quite worked with donut beads other than sling them on leather and call it a day. Of course, with this beauty, that just would. not. do. So I dug out some seed beads I had in my stash, created a holder out of them, and then used some of the bead soup for the neckline. The trick was not to go TOO overboard with the beads since there's a fine line between the desired funky-beyond-all-reason effect and the ouch-my-eyes debacle. So I made the top of the necklace less bright than the bottom -- besides, the back of the necklace hides under most people's hair, anyway.
I had some beads left over for earrings -- one pair was in my ears at photo shoot time.
Thank you, Libby! You can visit Libby's blog at LibbyLeu and Glass, Too.
Next, a mix of gemstones from Dee. She sent dyed jade, horn, silver, and moukite. Moukite is one of my favorite earthy stones and I was excited about using it. I knew EXACTLY what I was going to do with that faceted focal as soon as I saw it.
I wanted to stretch my wire skills so decided to make some components that I have never done before. First, a herringbone weave I learned from Eni Oken ....
Next, a J-section I learned from Connie Cox...
Next, a smaller component that I've used and taught often with larger focal beads -- this time with much smaller beads....
And the final result (click for a larger photo) .....
Not only do I love the deep cherry reds in this piece, but I love how this forced me to finally get off the stick and learn some wire techniques I've been wanting to learn for a long time. I also pulled out the liver of sulphur gel I got from Fundametals.net and oxidized the entire thing, then brushed the high points for depth. Like?
Thanks, Dee! You can see Dee at Runako Designs by Dee.
Finally, a piece that traveled all the way from Korea. I used to live in South Korea, so I have a fondness for this one. Dale sent me a mix of metal pieces she made and some pretty bead soup. She gave me instructions for how the parts were supposed to go together, but when I couldn't find the screws I needed, I got a brain storm as I dug through my watch bits and bobs.
I've long been interested in the steampunk craze, and have a nice collection of old watch parts, but have never used them. I mean, we're talking TINY gears and such. So I pulled those out and used them to connect the frame to the sandwich of silver and brass. See how she stamped "PRETTY" into the silver? Then, I dug even further into my stash and found a Volcano Swarovski crystal to go with her green and purple seed beads and crystals and filled in the frame.
I can't tell you how tickled I am that I even thought of this. I am NOT this type of jewelry designer at all so this really did stretch my horizons. I love it!
It's going to take up permanent residence in my office, on my dressmaker dummy. I made the length of the necklace out of a huge bowl of bead soup I already had, using bits of Dale's green and purple to make it all come together.
Thanks, Dale! Dale can be found at Flights of Fancy.
So there you have it -- my contributions to the party. I hope you liked them. Now go to www.prettythingsblog.com and see what the other 80+ participants made!