Back in early March I was lucky enough to be one of ten people chosen randomly by Lorelei Eurto to take part in a design challenge using these fabulous glass and ball ended headpins from Anne at Gardanne Beads. We had no idea which set we would be getting and when mine arrived I was delighted to discover that I had the lovely rich iridescent toffee/butterscotch pair on the far right of the picture above. I knew immediately that I had a set of lampwork beads that would match these perfectly and that they would also work beautifully with my bronze elements.
So then...what to do with these beauties? For some reason the first thing that came to my mind was tendrils - absolutely no idea why but whatever I did I wanted to have tendrils in it. This was one of the rare occasions when I actually sat down to draw up designs before I started. Normally I just dive right in but I didn't want to start forming the headpins without a clear vision since there was little margin for error or for changing my mind mid flow - something I am rather prone to.
This process drew me in one direction only - a necklace with the headpins forming part of a central focal element and the tendril idea developed into a vine and flower theme. I'm pretty pleased with the outcome but the colours and the iridescence didn't make it the easiest piece to photograph. So here we go then, this is my necklace...
The necklace is structured around a yoke of heavy gauge bronze wire set with beautiful lampwork beads by Caroline Rhodes in shades of purple (much more so than is visible here), toffee and bronze, interspersed with bronze Miyuki cube beads. I've wrapped the headpins around the centre of the yoke, coiling and stretching the wires to look like vine tendrils whilst the glass heads create the effect of lush fat flower buds. Frustratingly, one of the the balled ends snapped off while I was stretching the coil (ever the klutz) which is a shame because I really like the effect. I am still pondering what I'm going to do about this ...
Between the headpins I've created a beaded pendant which includes some of my own handmade bronze pieces - a flower bud which mirrors the shape of the headpins, a purple iridescent Czech glass flower, tiny bronze leaves and a matching lampwork bead set on a bronze headpin with a bronze cap. These elements have a lovely sense of movement which contrasts nicely with the more rigid style of the yoke.
I didn't want to distract from the strong focal element of this piece so the yoke is suspended simply from a Plum silk string from Marsha Neal Studio (and from the colour palette I created for Marsha's silk color palette challenge) and I finished the necklace with a handmade bronze clasp.
I've called this necklace 'Shiraz' because of the vine like elements and because the Shiraz grape variety is known for it's blackcurrant and berry notes with an occasional hint of toffee!
So there you have it. I really enjoyed this challenge and would like to thank Lorelei for organising it and to Anne for supplying the lovely pins. To see what the other participants did with their headpins just click on the links below and join me on a mini blog hop...
And finally, may I wish you all a lovely Easter.