I’m challenging myself in 2017 to create one necklace a week using the beads from one drawer of my 52 drawer Apothecary Chest. Welcome to Drawer 5.
This week was fun to look forward to: Drawer 5 had so many shades of green from the lighter end of the spectrum that, before I knew it, a large pile had accumulated. Pulling out four harmonious strands plus spacers, seed beads and a few accent beads was easy. More difficult but so delightfully intrinsic to the creative process was moving the beads around my design board until harmony emerged. Only then could I start stringing.
I worked until I had four strands of 9—10” on each side of the centerpiece. Then came the challenge of conforming four straight lines into a necklace that hangs around a neck in a flattering way. My model is Ada, a turn-of-the century mannequin I found in a Lisbon flea market in 1965 and put into service in 1995 as a neck model for multi-strand neckpieces. I pin the strands on her velvet form and figure out how many more beads are needed to fit each strand to where the clasp sits at the back of the neck.
A word about the centerpiece. Luminous and glowing green on top and opaque and creamy on the bottom, it is a fat lampwork glass circle which is perfect for gathering four strands. Artist-made and acquired in California twenty years ago, it found a happy home in this necklace. A strand of green and cream Japanese ceramic beads which I have had equally as long are also featured. Taking them out of Drawer 5, I noticed an old paper tag which said “Made in Japan”.
Starting in the 1920’s, the U.S. Customs Bureau required imports to be labeled or marked with the country of origin. In 1952, paper tags were mandated, launching an era of collectibles referred to as the Golden Age. The tag is attached to those beads in this necklace.
Other special beads are the vintage six-sided Italian glass canes, the square Czech beads from the 1940’s and the faceted sparkling vintage Italian seed beads between the canes.
I chose a gold clasp to reflect the warmth of this necklace. I also made 2” long earrings to accompany the vintage beads in the necklace.
This four-strand necklace is 22” long. $139.00