Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Moonlight and Pearls - Rose Spray Necklace

I did it! I solved my little design challenge AND used up almost all the remaining beads from the four necklaces. So now I'll let you in on what the challenges were and how I solved them.

For this last piece I was planning a simple double strand floating necklace. Pearls always look great when strung this way so I created a 40" length of floating beads on white tiger tail. I decided to try out my magic crimping tool to turn the crimp tubes into beads so that they would match the mini silver beads from the original necklace. As I worked on it I kept thinking how crisp the white tiger tail looked against the pearls and silver spacers. It was hard work crimping those tubes into balls but it was worth the effort... it was looking really good! But when I tried it on I hated it: the white tiger tail made the silver beads look too dark and it had no focal point!
So a rethink of the design was in order.

I decided to cut the length in half and make a single stranded floating necklace and add a focal with dangles. I found the perfect flower pendant which I'd bought only a couple of days ago. It has quite a large bail attached at the top of it which would have been great if it was strung on a thick stringing material but not so good for tiger tail. So I had to figure out how to connect my length of beaded tiger tail to the pendant without the join showing. I couldn't just string it on: the bail was big, but not big enough to slide over the beads I'd crimped onto the tiger tail. Hmmm.... a conundrum!
At this point I walked away from the beading table for a while. Sometimes you need to mull over a problem before you tackle it. What I needed to come up with was a neat and secure solution. And then it came to me: thread both ends through the bail and crimp the two lengths on either side of the bail. A crimp cover hides the crimps as well as securing the bail in place!
Now for the dangles. I had to cut apart the other beaded length to get this idea to work.... it was a shame to undo all that hard work - it had taken more than a couple of hours to turn all those crimp tubes into beads! But there were no more beads to use, so there was no choice.

But first things first.... I need to secure a bunch of tiger tail dangles behind the flower so that the dangles will sit nicely. Lucky for the big bail after all!

I threaded them all through the bail and crimped them with my Mighty Crimper and a No. 4 crimping tube.
I don't have bead covers large enough to cover a No. 4 crimp but it still looks neat.

Now for the finishing touch: the dangles. I threaded the crimps and beads on in the same pattern I used on the floating strand.

but this time I crimped right near the end of each dangle.....

and then, right above the top bead to keep them all in place.

I love the way the dangles turned out.

And the finished floating necklace too.

This has been a great exercise to stretch my thinking laterally. Finding solutions to challenges like this is really satisfying too.

And now that there are so few beads left to work with, I think I will put this collection aside. And yes, I am officially calling Moonlight and Pearls a collection now: there are 6 pairs of earrings, one bracelet and three necklaces - all coordinating, all of which can be mixed and matched to tell a story and all designed by one designer. Yes, all the boxes are now ticked.... it's a collection!

'Til next time.....

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