Wednesday, May 11, 2011

What's Old is New Again - ArtBeads Blogging Project

A Comedy in Three Acts
Act I
ArtBead's blog theme, What's Old is New Again, immediately sent my thoughts to my coveted stash of champagne caps.  These were sent to me all the way from Belgium by my friend Sigrid.  Selecting materials is almost as much fun as working on the project.  I've literally spent all day browsing the shop, oohing and aahing at all the possibilities until I've narrowed my selection.  Keep in mind, at this stage I only have a rough notion of theme, the design often doesn't evolve until I have the materials in hand.  This can create challenges when something doesn't work, but that's part of the fun.

I selected materials that reminded me of vineyards, grapes, and imagined sipping on a mimosa while shopping (alas no champagne in the house to make an actual mimosa).  I wanted to try some of Artbead's new Kabela filigree pieces so that's where I began my selection.

From My Stash 

Although title Saint Andrews Fire, this awesome link reminded me of Demetrius, god of wine.  I select two of these beauties and intend to put one on each side of the focal piece to be the major component of the necklace.  I also selected one foot of chain and leaf hook and eye closure to complete the neck piece.

I interrupt this design for a story....a funny thing happened on the way to the pre-school.  One day a friend asked me to pick up her son from pre-school.  I was happy to help and my daughter and I drove off and arrived at the school with only a little confusion (mainly which door do we go in).  With the children secured in the back seat, I pulled out of the lot and proceeded to turn the wrong way.  I got about a 1/2 mile before realizing I wasn't heading towards home.  My daughter pats her friend on the arm and said "don't worry, mommy always gets lost, daddy never gets lost.  Daddy doesn't like to turn around, but Mommy always has to turn around."  True story, I kid you not!

Act II

You can see from the picture above, these links were not going to work as planned.  My directionally challenged brain forgot to take into consideration that I'd need a mirror image of the link to be able to place one on both sides of the focal as planned.  This mistake totally messed up the design. I toyed with using one link for an asymmetrical but I didn't have enough chain to complete the neck piece.  Also a link of this size needed a counterbalance on the opposite side.  

In the meantime, I'd noticed that the hook end of the clasp was missing.  Duchess Erickson from Artbeads could not have been more accommodating.  I've always had excellent service from Artbeads and it's one of the many reasons I frequently shop with them.  Duchess offered to exchange the clasp and links so that I could rework my design.  But I love nothing more than challenge and I just couldn't ask her to go through the trouble.  I didn't really have a concrete design, just a rough idea and oftentimes a problem leads to something better than what I envisioned.  Plus I loved these St. Andrew's links so off they went to my little box of pits and pieces from these blog designs.  I already have a couple ideas in mind for them.  And, lets not forget, there was that very cute story about my directional impairment (I'm missing the sense of direction gene, I'm sure).  Despite my protest not to go to any trouble, Duchess sent me a replacement clasp as soon as it was available (these components are provided to me free as part of the blogging program so this was a very nice thing).

I began working on a revised design and pulled the following out of my stash.  

All of these components were purchased from Artbeads for another project that I hadn't yet completed.  I had purchased the filigree with no project in mind, just to play with molding it around a cabochon.  It fit the champagne cap perfectly and a bit of wire was all it took to add it the Vino filigree center piece.  The edges molded perfectly into four grooves along the side of the cap (where the cage holds to cap to the champagne bottle).  The only regret is the filigree is so pretty its a shame only a little bit shows on the front.

I love these antique brass chains.  They come in a multitude of styles and I attached one long chain to allow me to place it over my head while I worked on the focal piece.  I need to see how it laid while on to make sure I was getting the components placed correctly.


I just happened to take the emerging necklace along with me to a family Easter dinner celebration.  My niece Brittany asked if she could put it on.  As she was admiring the chains, I told her that I planned to put a clasp in the back and shorten the length.  "Why" was her response, "I love long necklaces."  "Can I have it when you're finished?"  Thus, began the third evolution of my design and Brittany's Choice was born.  Had I used the clasp, shown to the left, I probably would have shortened the neckpiece and the  chains dangling from the focal piece.  Brittany loved it the way it was, and I plan to give it to her when we visit again.  I now have a gorgeous clasp to use with my other project (a Full Sail bottle cap design) and with the St. Andrew's links, renamed Demetrius, perhaps soon to be renamed Poseiden.  

Disclosure: The above mentioned beads from were kindly provided free-of-charge by, within the frames of blogging program. The author of this blog has not received any payment from above-mentioned company. The post above represents only personal opinion of the blog author.  You can find additional participating artists and their blogs on Artbeads' facebook page. 


shibori girl said...

You did a great job on these! I'm a big fan of the kabela brass designs.


Beads said...

Art Beads sell some great pieces for making exquisite jewellery. If you mix and match around Beading shops on the internet, you'll get a great mix of designs.