Tuesday, August 26, 2014

The Rectangle Bead Collection

This was an exercise in using the same bead shape in different color combos. I've used this shape before, as part of a mixed lot; this was the first time I chose specific colors to create the same necklace in different colors. The necklaces are long enough to go around the neck twice or three times.

I started with black, clear, and silver - easy to wear dressed up or down.

Then I went to lavenders and blues, with just a touch of olive green - colors for a blond or redhead.

Turquoise and orange, strung in blocks of color - strictly summer!

And red-orange beads alternated with all sorts of colors - probably my favorite in the bunch!

Friday, August 22, 2014

Creating Collections - Chain Mail

I've been making chain mail jewelry for five years now, but it certainly doesn't seem like it! I think it's because every time I use different colors, it feels like I've just learned a new weave. Chain mail continues to float my boat enormously, and I had fun this spring putting a variety of color arrangements together. Plus, I added a new touch to my chain mail necklaces ... see below!

Two Byzantine chains: one in red and silver on one half, with the inverse on the other half; and one in good summer colors of hot pink, orange, and purple, highlighted with silver.

Here are four different color combos for the chaos weave, which may still be my all-time favorite!

The shop owner who requested these collections also wanted some chain mail pieces with pendants, and there are some very interesting glass pendants out there ...

The black and turquoise necklace has a 3 + 3 chain with a big flower pendant. I had to make the necklace longer so that the pendant rested properly on the chest - it really needed to be right at the top of the cleavage. (This is my pet peeve about jewelry at the moment - there seems to be a lot creativity without practicality. If wearing a piece is uncomfortable or difficult, then something is missing in the concept of the piece.)

This is an orbital weave in pastels to go with the pendant which is green with flecks of blue and copper.

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Creating Collections - Sautoirs

The Christmas market was wonderful ... out in the country on a farm, outdoor sculptures of all kinds, cookie workshops in the kitchen, very interesting co-exhibitors, visitors ready to buy (it was an invitation-only market), and Christmas carols sung by all as we packed up. My best sales ever!

In January, I went to the professional jewelry show in Paris, Bijorhca. It took me two days to see and absorb it all, and as I left, I was deep into thoughts about the process of creating a collection. For 25 years, I have made jewelry using materials that inspire me - I rarely sit down and think through how to produce a group of pieces with a coherent identity. But visiting Bijorhca took my musings down a different road ...

In the early spring, I was asked to create a set of pieces to leave on consignment in a local shop for the summer tourist season. (I did not in the least mind leaving them on consignment - even if nothing sold, I'd just be that further ahead with stock for Christmas sales.) The owner of the shop looked at what I had and then told me what he wanted. Working out how to create the collection was a new experience!

He liked the monochrome necklaces made with a mixture of vintage beads, and he liked them sautoir, or opera, length, about 50 inches. I also like that length, because the necklace can be worn doubled or tripled or with a knot - very versatile - and I know from experience that these always sell. SO ...

These are fun to create, because I can use all kinds of beads (although it is very difficult here in the wilds of France to buy old beads loose, so my stock of vintage beads is diminishing). I was in the shop the other day, and there was the client who had bought the green one - I think every craftsperson likes seeing his or her creation with the person who chose to buy it!