Drawer 25: Iridescent

  Week 25/Drawer 25: June 21, 2017: “I Believe I can Fly”

 I’ve made perhaps ten of these complicated woven necklaces in my 22 years as a bead jewelry artist. As a beginner in the 90’s, I took lots of classes from a lot of fabulous well-known instructors.  I loved learning about other artists’ styles and methods, hearing their tips, fondling their samples, and buying their beads and books.  For me, there is no better way to spend time.

helen dietze (always lower case) gave classes in making “Ambassadors”—knotted woven seed bead chunks about 2” x 6” strung on thread which was tied in a knot and worn long. As named, she took them on her travels and gave them away.  She also taught her techniques, including an advanced class where the Ambassador was used to encase a beautiful extraordinary object preferably found in exotic places.  These creations were meant to exemplify the “more is better” theory.  This class was made for me!

 

 

 

 

So, helen, here is what you taught me 20 years ago, adapted to my style, and an appropriate challenge for Week 25, almost halfway to the end; almost to my 75th birthday!

 

 

 

 

A bit of a bio of helen: Born in perhaps 1919 (she disallowed discussions of her age); she studied art at the Rudolph Schaeffer School of Color and Design in San Francisco; was widowed in 1959; lived in a house in San Leandro, No. California, which was packed to the rafters with mosaics, yarns, looms, and beads.  Small of stature, she was tall in presence:  perfect make-up with signature red lipstick; hair up in a chignon; black clothing; and always a major necklace on her neck.  She was our Georgia O’Keefe.  helen passed away in 2004, at approximately age 85.  Needless to say, the crowds at her memorial were huge.

In closeup, above, in step 5.

To describe my necklace, I shall do it in terms of the construction process (usually called my design process):

  1. Go to the bottom of the necklace and find the knot of beads. This section, about 2” x 2” is the “Ambassador” starting point. I added the sterling silver fish and the pewter frog. Attach it to the 4” long shell with some holes supplied by Mother Nature.
  2. I weave and knot my way up and over the shell strip using multi-color beads of varying sizes. My principal colors reflect the iridescent shell—greens, pinks and greys in all shades. Blues and reds thrown in for punch.
  3. Practicing “more is better”, I add another shell, 2” at its longest. By now I am working with four strands of strong bead thread on each side.
  4. I start up one side. I string 2-3” on two strands and knot them. I string a new strand, add a few beads to one of the strand I just knotted. Repeat over and over. But I only go up 3-4” on this one side.
  5. Then I turn my attention to the other side, always consulting side 1 to assure balance by bulk and color.
  6. Note the Guatemalan fish dangles at about the 4” mark. Here I terminate one strand on each side so I can progress with three strands.
  7. I work narrower as I round the neck area, tie off and cut one more strand to finish with only two.
  8. The darling frog button gets attached on side 2 and I string medium size Czech glass on the loop side, completing the closure and the necklace. It took 22 hours by my best guess. Did you find the fourth fish dangle?

This woven necklace is 22.5” long. The centerpiece section is 7”.  $139.

Drawer 23: Black (Shiny)

 

“Midnight in the Gardens”

My Apothecary Chest: in 1994, it arrived via container to California from Hong Kong, where I discovered beading during an ex-pat assignment. Serves as the repository for my beads.  Handcrafted.  It has 52 Drawers, sorted by color.

2017 Challenge: Create a Necklace a Week, using only the Beads from one Drawer at a time. Voila!  52 Necklaces!

Week 23/Drawer 23: June 7, 2017: “Midnight in the Gardens”

These shiny black beads spoke to me because of their unique white line down one corner. These are vintage resin beads and their shine has dulled as many hands have touched them over four decades or so. They are a product of the 70’s.  I wouldn’t be surprised if the explanation for the white line had to do with the mold they were cast in and not some fabulous creative detail.  But we shall not know because I cannot find any info on these beads and if there was a story when I bought them, it is now forgotten.

 

 

Well, I’m a techie-in training, and I barely managed to draw orange arrows to show my readers the cool white lines, but I couldn’t get rid of the pesky “text” circle.  Oh, well, enjoy and chuckle!

 

 

 

 

There is a story in the white freshwater pearls: my friend Penny’s friend sent them to me to re-use.  I fell for their heft, solidity and the fine markings etched by their life in a shell in warm water somewhere in Asia.  They were re-used within a month of receipt; lightning speed for me who can hold beads for twenty years before finding a match!

I have undoubtably mentioned my need to personalize my creations with an interesting clasp so the view from behind is as creative as the front. I estimate that this is possible in half of the necklaces I produce.  This one features a black plastic elliptical circle with a black horn toggle.

Three bold components in this neckpiece: rectangular beads, hefty pearls and a strong clasp!  Just the way I like it!

This strand is 19.5” and comes with matching pearl earrings on a modified hoop. $79.

BROOCH FANTASIA

I will accept commissions combining your favorite brooch, contemporary or family antique, with my orphan pearls and appropriate other beads, probably seed beads and crystals.  The cost would be approximately $139.  We can exchange photos of your brooch and I’ll give you a firm quote.

I will accept commissions combining your favorite brooch, contemporary or family antique, with my orphan pearls and appropriate other beads, probably seed beads and crystals. The cost would be approximately $139. We can exchange photos of your brooch and I’ll give you a firm quote.

 

 

Time for something different! This is a beautiful Beadleful necklace and I am not ashamed of my pride because every time I wear it, I get many compliments. I shall tell you its story because I would like you to have the opportunity to have one of your own.

Over the years, when pearls, the freshwater variety I love to use, wouldn’t fit through my regular beading wire, I put them in a jar. Around the same time, I acquired this colorful brooch that my friend, Kyung and I bought in Christian Lacroix’ shop in the exclusive Carleton Hotel on La Croisette in Cannes. While we browsed, our husbands waited outside by the sea, watching the bathers. Needless to say, they weren’t bored.

We each found an irresistible brooch featured in Lacroix’ end-of-season sale. I used to wear mine to work on my suit lapel–so 1990’s. Fashion changed; I retired; the brooch went into my drawer.

Around 2010, my last year in California, I put the orphan pearls and the neglected brooch together. The pearls are of all sizes and shapes, drawn randomly from my stash, but strung on finer than normal bead wire. I used Japanese glass seed beads, fine and shiny, as well as crystals to add interest to the pearls. It takes five strands at a minimum to look good! I made an investment in a real gold or sterling silver clasp because this is a personal heirloom.

And I can do the same for you.

I will accept commissions combining your favorite brooch, contemporary or family antique, with my orphan pearls and appropriate other beads, probably seed beads and crystals. The cost would be approximately $139. We can exchange photos of your brooch and I’ll give you a firm quote. There’s only one disclosure; you must be aware that the fine bead wire I use means it’s fairly fragile, so handle with care.

 

Caption: This 18” long necklace of pearls and a favorite brooch is a show-stopper.

Precious Petrified Wood

 

 

I have paired the petrified bleached wood from Alaska with large baroque pearls (read interesting and organic shapes), and beige multi-toned glass seed beads woven in and out of the wood. The necklace is just shy of 21”.  It has a pewter-based gold-coated clasp and can be worn casually or dress-up.  Just remember, it is no longer precious; it is now a statement piece! The price is $175 which includes shipping and insurance.

Petrified bleached wood with large baroque pearls, and beige multi-toned glass seed beads woven in and out of the wood.
About 21”, with a pewter-based gold-coated clasp; can be worn casually or dress-up.It is a statement piece!
The price of $175 includes shipping and insurance.

 

Can you believe it was over ten years ago that I bought several pieces of petrified bleached wood from Alaska at the big fabulous bead shows I used to go to at San Mateo, CA?

Can you believe that I’ve held these precious commodities until now? What is it when something is so precious to us we are afraid to use it? Think of your grandmother’s crystal; your child’s first Mother’s Day gift purchased with his own money; that expensive designer blouse we splurged on? That is how I classified my petrified wood….until now.
Here it is, magnificent in its paleness, pure in its organic forms, and sustainably repurposed into adornment that we can wear and enjoy! I have removed it from the rank of precious and transferred it to attainable. Such a transformation!
I have paired the petrified bleached wood with large baroque pearls (read interesting and organic shapes), and beige multi-toned glass seed beads woven in and out of the wood.
The necklace is just shy of 21”. It has a pewter-based gold-coated clasp and can be worn casually or dress-up. Just remember, it is no longer precious; it is now a statement piece!
The price is $175 which includes shipping and insurance.

 

Trunk Show

Trunk Show December 6 & 7 2013

Hail West Coasters!

Hope to see you for my THIRD ANNUAL TRUNK SHOW…

 

How Do I Love Copper?

Let me count the ways. It is warm in texture and in color. It is different: not gold nor silver. You can actually find earrings in the retail world…or in my studio. Yes, copper has moved into the mainstream. I’ve been using it in my jewelry since the late 90’s and I remain firmly committed to this orange-y metal. Now there is a clue why I like it!

This necklace is named Anisoptera, the species name for dragonfly and which, translated from the Greek, means uneven wings. It is made in Mexico from Patty Healy (CA) designs and executed in copper and brass. What I find unique about her use of copper is that she has it heated with a torch resulting in a bright and warm red-orange color. Note also the brass accents soldered on the wings and those perfect brass bug eyes!

I wanted the necklace to stay with the copper color, so I used a coordinating strand of dyed freshwater pearls with a tad of apricot pearls as contrast.

I made the clasp from copper wire: I hammered the circle flat and hardened it in that process; the toggle is bent copper wire. I want my necklaces to look as good from the back as from the front! I made earrings to accompany the necklace. The earrings are 1 ½” long with copper ear wires.

The necklace measures 18 ½” long. The dragonfly is 3 ½” long and a little over 2” wide. “Anisoptera” is light and easy to wear, not to mention fun! The price is $125 and includes shipping.

This necklace is named Anisoptera, the species name for dragonfly and which, translated from the Greek, means uneven wings.  The pendant is made in Mexico from Patty Healy (CA) designs and executed in copper and brass.

This necklace is named Anisoptera, the species name for dragonfly and which, translated from the Greek, means uneven wings. The pendant is made in Mexico from Patty Healy (CA) designs and executed in copper and brass.