Friday, August 17, 2012

Design by Error and Trial

Usually, when I create a new piece of jewelry or an accessory, I have the design pretty well figured out in my head.  Sometimes I make a sketch.  Sometimes, before I start, I try a couple of new stitch or bead ideas to see if they will work.  When I created my Opalescent Wire, Fiber, and Bead Circle Pendant Necklace this week, the design process was, unexpectedly, much different from the "usual".  I had in mind to create a pair of earrings, featuring crochet covered rings with a beaded edge.   I would create an abstract design in the center of each open ring, using beads and the same fiber used to crochet around the ring.  I would then attach the rings to silver posts by using a beaded strand loop. Sounded fairly simple.  Something different for me.

I then chose the white plastic rings I wanted to use for the earrings and I chose a multi-strand metallic embroidery thread in a shade called "Opalescence" to crochet around the rings.  I also chose some complementary glass beads.  After I crocheted around the first ring and added the beaded edge, I realized two things: (1) I had drastically underestimated the amount of thread it would take to cover each ring and did not have enough to do the second ring; and (2) the ring, once covered, looked too large and thick to make a suitable earring (at least in my opinion).  But, I really loved the way the ring looked, covered in crochet and with the beads along the edge, and I also really loved the colors -- sort of an iridescent shimmering blend of mauve, gray, blue, silver, lavender, rose, and a hint of gold.

There was a multi-strand tail of the thread left where I had finished the crochet at the edge of the ring, about 8 inches long.  It struck me that this could be worked into a beaded tassel hanging from the ring.  In fact, it would make a great pendant for a necklace.

This led to a total re-think of the design.  What would I attach the pendant to?  I thought about creating a single chain with beads, but it didn't seem substantial enough for the pendant idea. I liked the idea of multiple strands, done in the opalescent colors of the original thread. That, however, then raised the question of  how I would attach the pendant.  It would look strange attached to just one strand.  I considered running all the strands through the center of the ring, but it just didn't look right in my imaginary view of the finished product.  I thought that I could use a bail, but the opening at the top of the bail would not be able to accommodate all the strands.  This in turn, let to my decision to create the crocheted wire band, with a loop at the bottom to which the bail could be attached, with the other end attached to the ring pendant.

The most enjoyment came in choosing the wire, fiber, and beads to keep the opalescent color theme going throughout the piece.  Once I'd finished the strands, I considered whether I should still fill in the center of the pendant ring with the abstract beaded design I had planned for the earrings, but I thought it would just be too busy.  With the multiple strands of differing design in the necklace, the addition of more strands and beads within the open ring would have been overwhelming.  So, I decided to leave the simple, open circle as the focal point.

Here is the result of my "earring design gone wrong":

I was happy that my circumstances led to this design.  It was probably not something I would have thought of as a potential design or come up with using my usual process.  But it is lightweight, comfortable, and can be worn with many different colors because of the multiple subtle shades and reflective quality of the materials used.

I thought I would also add a photo of the finished necklace that I was working on when I wrote last week's blog.  There I included some photos of my work in progress, using Swarovski crystal pearls and Gioiello yarn.  Today I added the completed Almond Crystal Pearls Nestled in Crocheted Spiral of Gray, Taupe, Gold to my ArtFire shop.

Next weekend I'll be showing and selling my jewelry and accessories in my favorite venue -- The Artists' Market at Leon & Lulu in Clawson, MI. Lots of wonderful artists, beautiful handcrafted items, and proceeds benefit Cass Community Services, helping the homeless in Detroit. Hope to see you there!

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