Friday, September 30, 2011

Midnight Rhapsody - A Construction Challenge

It's two weeks since the Bead Soup Blog Party "reveal" and I've been steadily making my way around all the blogs, taking the time to savour each one. There have been some truly fascinating pieces, lots of different styles to enjoy and some ingenious solutions to solve tricky construction problems.

And that's what today's post is all about today; thinking outside the square when faced with design constraints.

I had what seemed to be a fairly simple design idea in mind; a double strand choker-style necklace with a central focal. But when I set to work to construct the piece, there were a couple of challenges which needed to be worked out so that the components would sit right.

Here's the end result: Midnight Rhapsody

It all worked out in the end but let's have a look at the design problems I came across.

My focal is a black 5-hole slider from Cousin Corp's Midnight Garden collection. I began by stringing the two strands of Crystazzi crystals through the second and fourth holes, but the design wasn't really working. After fiddling around with it, I threaded the two strands through the top hole and the third hole instead, and all of a sudden the necklace started coming to life.

By shifting the balance of the focal I then had an opportunity to add a dangle to the bottom of it. I chose one of the flower sliders from the necklace but I wanted it to sit like a diamond rather than a square. But this then presented two more challenges: firstly, how to connect the dangle to the black focal and secondly how to attach it at an angle.

The first challenge was quite easy; thread an eye pin through the fifth hole in the slider and create another loop on the other end. I bent the loops so they sat flush with the side of the focal and then hooked on a crystal connector to each loop. A jump ring connects the two together. Challenge 1, solved!

Challenge 2: how to connect the flower slide so that it sits on the diagonal. The problem here is that the slider has two channels running along the outer edges of it. My first solution was to drill a hole across the tip of the slider. Hmmmm..... that didn't work. My drill was no match for the metal. So, I moved on to Plan B; thread a head pin through one of the channels and create a wrapped loop at the top as a bail. Sounds simple in theory but it required bending the head pin this way, then that, and then creating the wrapped loop. My concern was that it wouldn't hang properly..... but it did! Challenge 2 solved!
To give my diamond slider a bit of bling I added a Swarovski flat back crystal to the centre of it. I also added one to the black slider to tie the two pieces in with the other components of the necklace.
At this point everything was sitting quite nicely but I wanted to keep the choker feel about the necklace so rather than continuing the beading around to the back of the neck, I used organdie ribbon and cord to add a bit more drama to the piece. I can't believe how well this worked. It drapes beautifully around the neck.

You can see I also added red crystals to the centre of the flower sliders to coordinate with the Dark Siam Crystazzi crystals -they add a bit of colour and passion to the choker.

I love it when a bit of lateral thinking allows you to use components differently to how they were originally intended. It can be quite a challenge... but the results can be amazing!

'Til next time.....

If you can't get enough of My Tutorials and you want even more inspiration, click here to find my books and printable pdfs

Would you like to comment?

  1. the vision is one thing but then the successful construction is quite another!!! Beautifully done and i totally agree about all of the benefits that we gain from the blog hopping aspect of the bead soup project!! the huge added benefit is meeting wonderfully talented and like minded artists!! Delightful to meet you!!!

  2. Nice to meet you too Elizabeth and thanks for your kind comments. There is so much more to the BSBP than just looking at all the beautiful creations; I've met some wonderful people, been able to study some styles which are new to me and discover some interesting solutions to design problems. This has been a great learning experience.


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