September 30, 2007

Collaboration Exploration 2

You may recall that earlier this summer, I participated in a project that we called Collaboration Exploration. It was a great idea that Cindy Gimbrone came up with, where two bead artists teamed up with a jewelry designer, and all three made their own piece of artwork using the same sets of beads from the bead artists. It was such a great idea, and such fun, that we arranged another one. This time the two bead makers are myself and Heather Powers of Humblebeads. The designer is bead artist Melissa Lee. The group of beads we each had to work with are shown above...the porcelain beads on the left side are mine, and the beads on the right are Heather's polymer beads. The rule is that the finished work has to have at least one piece from each artist, but each designer can choose the pieces they want to use.
Here is the full view of my finished necklace! I used quite a few of the beads in the sets, as you can see. I decided to pass on the lime green colors and opted for the more mossy and grassy greens, with just the yellows and limes of the fairy heads as the contrasting brightness. I only used one of the tube beads, but it was in a creative way, I think.
I used bronze Artistic Wire to link the beads together and for the wire work. I found some lustery turquoise glass beads and some milky peridot beads for accents. I also dipped into my stash of wonderful raw brass drops and filigree for the metal. A piece of dyed silk ribbon is at the neck, to soften it a little bit and make the necklace adjustable.

When I got the beads, I was instantly challenged by the long tubes. I felt that would be a difficult shape for me to work with, so I really wanted to use them, and not just be safe and leave them out. After much consideration, I decided to use the tube in a sort of unexpected way. I wrapped a brass filigree component around the center of the tube and was able to bend it so I could use jump rings (there are 4 of them at the top) so that I could wire the necklace sides onto the brass.

Once I decided to do this, I knew I would need to do some drilling, so I made the decision, took a deep breath, and drilled a hole into the bottom of the brass component and through the center of the tube bead. That is a nice advantage of polymer clay, it can be drilled easily. I wouldn't have been able to do that with porcelain, not easily at least. So a headpin goes from the top of the center of the tube down into the brass and the fairy bead, and loops at the bottom. This forms a connection that needs no glue, it is all wire, and very secure. I added a bead on each side of the tube bead, with a wire threaded through horizontally and spiralled at each end, so it looked more finished.


So that is the design story of my collaborative piece. I really enjoyed working on it! I love the colors and the textures in the polymer, and the way its matte finish contrasts with my glossy beads. I learned some new things, challenged myself, and am very happy with the result! I hope you will check out what Heather and Melissa have done with their beads. Visit their blogs today for their own works and stories

12 comments:

  1. I LOVE the way you used Heather's bicone beads. I'm afraid the bicones defeated me - it seemed that every way I came up with to use them, Heather had already come up with a more beautiful version. This whole project was a great deal of fun - thanks again for inviting me to participate!

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  2. I also love the way you used that long tube bead. I've also found those very challenging! And drilling into the bead--how brave of you! I don't think I'm quite that brave yet. :)

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  3. Wow! I totally love this! You rule! I cannot believe how fantastic this is, and I love your explanation of it as well! GREAT!

    It is a really fine piece of work!

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  4. Thanks for the compliments, ladies! I made a point not to look at Heather's excellent examples just so I could come at it with a fresh mind. I am pleased with the solution too!

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  5. I too love what you did with the bicone, It compliments the piece perfectly. What a fun project. I can't wait to see what you ladies come up with next.

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  6. Thanks, Fancy~!
    Hey I would love to plan another Collaboration. If any of you want to participate either as a bead maker or a designer, let me know. It's so much fun!

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  7. Excellant!! Love the way you used Heather's beads. All the designs are so totally different, yet you can see each of your own unique styles. Great challenge.

    Rosanne

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  8. Really pretty and balanced. So creative! I loved the inventive use of the metal elements! Ok MacGyver! Here's some duct tape and stapels... Make us a necklace!

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  9. So that's how you secured the bicone! I was very curious when I saw it over on ABS. Such a clever idea, and it resulted in a striking necklace!

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  10. Thank you AJ! Yep, it is nice to work with materials softer then glass and ceramic, and to challenge myself to alter them a bit. It helps free the mind, ya know?

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  11. Wow, this is fabulous ! Love it !

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