August 1, 2016

'Carnivale' Wire Statement Necklace: Halcraft Pretty Palette Challenge

During the month of July I finished my second piece for Halcraft's monthly Pretty Palette Challenge. This month the inspiration for the challenge was a beautiful photo of a star-filled twilight sky fading from blue to purple to orange over a forest of treetops.

I had completed the wire-wrapped silver focal elements several months ago and then reached a mental block--I just couldn't find the motivation to put them into a necklace, so I put them aside until this challenge kicked my bum into gear.

I chose to try to translate the actual image itself into the design of the necklace, rather than use the colors or nighttime sky imagery simply as inspiration for an abstract piece. I'm boring like that architecture-trained brain finds it easier (and often more aesthetically appealing to me) to directly translate pictures into shapes and color schemes rather than try to design a completely abstract creation inspired by suggestions or ideas. I think these silver wire focal elements are evocative of both trees and stars with their conical end shapes and many points. In weaving the strands of beads between them I hoped to convey the feeling of both stars in a fading twilight sky and the sky growing dark through a forest of treetops.

I love, love, LOVE the ombre twilight color scheme and was super excited to finally have a reason to pair these colors together in a necklace. If you know me you know I don't shy away from bold color in my jewelry. But can I just tell you how difficult it is to find translucent cobalt colored beads in 10mm - 12mm sizes?? I finally found these beautiful 10mm blue glass beads at Michaels as a great substitute for the semi-precious stone beads I usually prefer to use in my jewelry, since I couldn't find ANYTHING similar elsewhere with the right color. I almost never use glass beads in my jewelry (the exception being glass pearls) as most of the inexpensive glass beads I come across these days are clear glass beads with a colored coating on top, rather than being actual colored glass all the way through. And unfortunately, the colored coating seems to often contains small amounts of latex. I am allergic to latex, folks. I suffered for this necklace. But it was worth it (if that doesn't prove my devotion to the art of jewelry making, I don't know what does. Ha ha!).

As usual, all of the wire-wrapped components are handmade, including the focal elements, side connectors and the toggle clasp, and were created using silver-tone German style wire in 20-, 24-, and 26-gauges. The focal elements and toggle were created using the same processes as the focals and toggle clasp I made for my Queen Anne's Lace necklace.

The beads consist of a mix of agate, dyed jade, quartzite, aventurine, and glass, and all of the silver-tone beads are silver-plated. All of the beads (excepting the orange beads and tiny blue beads) are Halcraft brand and were purchased at Michaels. The embellished chain links around the back of the necklace are also handmade with German style wire.

I have to say, this is one of my favorite necklaces I've ever made! The funny thing is that, while it was inspired by the image of the evening twilight sky, now that it's finished it makes me hear samba music in my head and think of wild Carnivale nights in Rio. Hence my titling it the 'Carnivale' necklace.

Do you enjoy bold colors in your jewelry? How do you translate imagery into inspiration? Do you know of a good source for translucent (non-opaque) bright blue beads??? I'd love to know!


Possibly linking up with:

Show and Tell Link Party at Flamingo Toes
Your Whims Wednesday at My Girlish Whims


  1. This necklace is absolutely beautiful and inspiring!! And I love the colors of sunsets. So very talented

    1. Thank you so very much for your sweet compliment, Sylvia!

  2. This toggle clasp is beyond gorgeous.I previously never thought of adding seed beads to the toggle bar like this

    1. Thank you very much! This was my third attempt at a created-from-scratch toggle embellished with beads and it was definitely still a learning experience. Each new toggle gets a little cleaner and better, but the colors in this one make it one of my favorites even if it's a little messy!


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