Sunday, March 6, 2011

Frost on the Lilacs

My last post was about honeysuckle. This one will be about lilacs. It sounds like I'm pining for high summer. I finished a new necklace this morning: I had spring on my mind when dreaming up the color combination, so it is filled with soft hues of lilac, dusty pink and shimmery silver.

I spent last week making the three Cellini* beads that are the focus of the necklace. They are the kind of thing you can do while watching TV, as long as you're not watching anything with subtitles. I had experimented with making these beaded beads before, but could never figure out how to make them hang right on a necklace. Even if you do several decreases at both ends, you will still wind up with a fairly substantial hole, and the bead dangles off-center from the stringing wire.

I came up with what I thought was an ingenious solution: I had some rubber tubing that I snipped off to a length slightly shorter than each beaded bead, and I glued a bead cord end (the kind of thing you might put on the end of a braid; it has a hole in the center) on each end of the tubing segment. Let's call this segment a "tubette." Then I stuffed the tubette into each Cellini bead and threaded them onto the beading wire with the other beads. The wire was now perfectly centered inside the bead, and the tubette was not visible at all.

When I was making the beads, I envisioned combining them with some large clear crystal rounds and pearls. But when I was rummaging through my supplies, I didn't have the large white-white pearls I envisioned. I tried making the necklace with the Cellini beads and some 18 mm crystal rounds alone. The necklace looked gorgeous, but it was so heavy I though someone might shy away from buying it. I mixed in some silver-painted wooden beads I had. The crystals/painted beads pairing didn't work, so out came the crystals altogether. The final touch was to add two lampworked beads (from Fire Mountain Gems) of a dusty pink with purple swirls to the combination.

There was one last bit of ingenuity required. I had planned to put decorative bead caps on each end of the Cellini beads, to finish them off nicely and hide the tubettes inside completely. I have a fair number of bead caps of various designs, but all were too small. I found some domed filigree bead caps made for a, say, 8-10 mm bead. I thought, what the heck, these don't cost much, so if I ruin one experimenting, who cares? I took a pair of pliers and gently started flattening it, working round and round the bead cap. Within a few minutes, voila! I had a perfectly flat disk that looked like a daisy and fit the end of the Cellini beads perfectly.

I call the necklace Frost on the Lilacs because of the pale purple and silver combo, although I suspect getting actual frost on actual lilacs would require rather freakish weather conditions.

Here's a closeup of the Cellini bead and one of the lampworked ones. In real life, it does not look this grape-y; it really is a soft lilac. But it's a dismal rainy day here and I couldn't get good natural lighting. You can just make out the flattened disks on each end--can you believe they started out semispherical?

*Cellini bead--a bead made from a peyote stitch called Cellini spiral. 
The pattern uses beads of graduated sizes in a way that causes an undulating, 
thick-and-thin spiral. Mine uses five kinds of beads, from size 11 to size 6.

I had two more of the pink lampworked beads after using two in this, so I made simple matching earrings with them.  My apologies that this pic is a little blurry.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.