May 10, 2018

Southwestern Thunderbird Necklace: April Pretty Palette Challenge

I haven't participated in Halcraft's monthly Pretty Palettes Challenge in several months, but when I saw April's palette and theme I knew it worked perfectly with a design I'd already had tumbling around my brain for awhile.

The theme for April was 'Spa Day', and the palette had a very southwestern feeling color scheme. 

View the Halcraft Pretty Palettes Challenge here.

This was a perfect blend (for me), as the one and only time I've been to a spa was when I lived in Santa Fe, NM. There's an amazing spa there called 10,000 Waves, and I was lucky enough to receive a massage there as a Christmas gift one year. So in my brain, 'spa' immediately conjures up image of the southwestern desert. And what's a better symbol of the southwest than a Native American thunderbird? I love Native American jewelry and motifs, and I hope I did even a tiny bit of justice to them with this design.

I used the pale green, pale aqua, and warm pinkish-brown colors from the palette to embellish the wire focal components. For the sides of the necklace I wanted to create a tribal design that would really contrast with the focal components, so I used the white and dark gray colors from the palette to create a geometric pattern.

I stuck with my standard German style wire (copper core) for this piece, and all of the focal components, side connectors, chain, and toggle clasp are handmade.

Beads featured in this necklace include agate, crazy agate, tiger eye, aventurine, amazonite, quartzite, smoky quartz, opal quartz, glass bugle beads, and silver plated beads. All of the beads are Halcraft beads from my local Michaels, except for the smoky quartz beads and the amazonite briolettes which are from Fusion Beads in Seattle.

Fun fact: the wings and tail feathers are all hinged, so they actually move like real wings. Here's a little video of their movement:

I really love how this necklace turned out, although, as usual, no matter how hard I tried to keep it a bit smaller it still turned out rather big. Like all my necklaces. Big and bold is apparently my only setting these days. Ha! It's definitely a statement necklace--more of an art piece to be worn on special occasions than a daily necklace.

I'll leave you with a few last detail shots.

What do you think of big and bold necklaces? Are you a fan of Native American themes in jewelry?
I'd love to know.

Possibly linking up with:

Your Whims Wednesday at My Girlish Whims
Flamingo Toes

October 24, 2017

Dia de los Muertos Mixed Media Art Necklace

After finishing my fiber-inspired Boho Tribal Collar Necklace I knew I wanted to try my hand at more thread-wrapped jewelry. I had been mulling over an idea for awhile that paired a wire-wrapped focal element surrounded by some sort of dimensional flowers. So, I decided to try my hand at some thread-and-rope flower components to pair with the wire focal element and go for a bold, artsy, mixed media creation full of big and bright color. And with Dia de los Muertos quickly arriving, I knew just the theme to choose.

I didn't know much about the holiday until I spent three years living in New Mexico, and I can't honestly say I know a lot more now. I am more familiar with the iconography now though and I love the colors and the artistic elements that abound with the holiday, so I used them as my inspiration.

I decided that a "sugar skull" (or calavera) would be my primary focal element, so I created a colorful wire component from a free-form sketch (no wire jig with this piece), then embellished it with some beautiful beads in shades of turquoise, pink, and purple and accented with silver.

The skull features howlite, agate, quartzite, tourmaline, lepidolite, crystal, and silver plated beads and the frame is created from and wrapped with German style copper wire.

Once I had the skull finished I created several fiber flowers using various sizes of cotton and cotton/polyester rope, wire, and brightly colored embroidery floss.

Around the back of the necklace I used a single strand of wire-wrapped faceted glass beads and silver plated beads on either side, and closed the necklace with a handmade wire-wrapped toggle clasp embellished with crystal, nebula glass and silver luster glass beads and created from silver tone German style wire.


To add the finishing touch I added some silver luster glass dangles to each flower and to the sugar skull, and then connected all of the elements together into one giant necklace.

I love how colorful and vibrant this necklace is! And these flowers were definitely a work of love, folks. So many layers and pieces and delicate details to each one.

 And just for scale (this necklace is huge), here's the necklace on:

Yep, it's big. And bold. And bright. And definitely artsy. I'm not sure what I'm going to do with it--it's too 'theme'-y to be worn regularly, and I'm not really a Big Artsy Jewelry wearer. But it was a fun experiment and it definitely pushed the boundaries of my creative inventiveness.

Do you wear holiday-themed jewelry? Would you wear something this big and bold? Have you created mixed media and/or fiber jewelry? I'd love to know.


Possibly linking up with:

Fabulous Party at Lou Lou Girls
Show and Tell Link Party at Flamingo Toes
Your Whims Wednesday at My Girlish Whims
Link Party Palooza at Tatertots and Jello

September 26, 2017

Boho Tribal Collar Necklace: September Pretty Palette Challenge

When I saw the inspiration photo and color palette for Halcraft's September Pretty Palette Challenge I immediately fell in love. The inspiration for the month was this beautiful 'fade' of yarn (photo below), and the color palette was right up my alley.

Click here to visit the Pretty Palette Challenge page on the Halcraft Blog.
The inspiration this month was a bit different in that it was textile rather than a design style, theme or visual inspiration. So, I decided that in order to incorporate the inspiration in more than just the color palette I wanted to use some sort of textile or fibers. I chose to work with rope and embroidery thread, as well as beads, to keep a textile feel to my project. This took me down a route quite different than my usual wire jewelry and I ended up with a very bohemian, tribal style collar necklace that I'm totally in love with!

(Side note: I've worked with thread in my jewelry on a couple of previous projects, but not on this sort of scale. To see some other projects incorporating embroidery thread click here and here.)

To create this necklace I pretty much just made things up as I went. I foolishly thought it should be an easy project...I mean, wrapping thread around rope sounds simple, right? Well, let me tell you. It takes quite a bit of planning and measuring and forethought and inventiveness to create all those wrapped pieces and layers without knots and hanging threads and no glue whatsoever.

Then, after finishing all the thread-wrapping and sewing all the rope strands together I thought I'd finished the hard part and adding beads would be easy. Let's just say I have some tender fingers from pushing a needle through layers of rope to firmly secure each bead.

I definitely learned a lot during this process and I have so many ideas of variations on this design and new color schemes that I'm itching to try...but at the same time sort of dreading because this project was actually kind of stressful. Ha!

A quick run down of materials used include cotton embroidery floss, cotton/poly blend piping rope, plated silver findings including bead caps, chain, and a toggle clasp (yes, I admit it...I didn't make my own findings/chain/toggle for this necklace), nylon beading thread, 22- and 24-gauge german style wire for the dangles and end caps, and beads in an assortment of howlite, agate, labradorite, aventurine, amethyst, and silver plate. All of the beads and bead caps except the labradorite rondelles and the faceted amethyst rounds are Halcraft beads from Michaels (the labradorite and amethyst beads are from Hobby Lobby).

Above you can see the necklace on for scale, and I'll leave you with a few more detail shots.

Don't forget to check out the Halcraft blog to see all of the other yarn-inspired jewelry projects on the Pretty Palette link up! You can find the link up here.

Have you ever incorporated fibers or textiles in your jewelry? What do you think of the boho tribal jewelry trend? I'd love to know.

Possibly linking up with:

Fabulous Party at Lou Lou Girls
Show and Tell Link Party at Flamingo Toes
Your Whims Wednesday at My Girlish Whims
Link Party Palooza at Tatertots and Jello