A chronicle of the meanderings, false starts (which in retrospect, while sort of embarrassing turned out to be highly instructive), epiphanies, selective apathy (still evolving), wild mood swings, opinions (subject to frequent change), and life lessons of an inveterate dabbler (and her latest dabblings).

Sunday, April 1, 2012

The Lady of Shalott

Or at least one of her go-to necklaces. Before she goes all moony over Lancelot and dies in a rowboat. Drama queen.
Neckwear for Tiresome Medieval Drama Queens
I bought this fossil coral pendant at a local beadshop years ago. I loved the colors and patterns, and how it was weathered and chewed up, like an eons-worn fossil in an old specimen cabinet. I've taken it out several times, intending to do something with it, but couldn't decide how to hang it. I didn't want to just string it, or just put hanging loops on it--I wanted it to have some presence. Yesterday I had a little idea, and enjoyed trying it out.

I wanted just a band of copper around the top of the pendant. I made a pattern with some cardboard from a Mary's Gone Crackers box--just cut a strip that looked like about the width I wanted, laid it across the top of the pendant where the holes were, folded it around, marked the ends against the pendant edges with a pencil, trimmed it up, and then felt for and marked the holes with a big sewing needle.

I used this to cut out my copper strip and punch the holes. (Of course, I forgot it would get bigger when I textured it with my coin and hammer, but that all worked out anyway.)

I annealed, textured, and annealed again (and there was some pickling and antiquing and polishing, etc.). It was nice and soft when I folded it around the pendant. I threaded some 18-gauge wire through the holes and created wrapped loops on either side.

I burnished down the edges with my burnisher. It reached around the back a little too (it got longer when I hammered it), so I smoothed that down with my burnisher.

It was looking kind of medieval/Renaissance-y to me, so I decided to stay with that. I found two matching (hey! cool!) textured rings in my stash, and created some textured bars with hammered ball ends. (I am loving liver of sulfur gel so much, by the way, I would almost marry it, but it's not legal in my state to marry a bottle of toxic gel.) I added a couple little rhodonite rounds, and finished it off with lots of chain.

It's about 28.5" long--I pictured it with a long medieval-style tunic. Like with maybe leggings and suede thigh boots. Like if Lisbeth Salander went to a Ren Faire.

Somebody should have given Ms. Shalott a bunch of beads and some string and wire and stuff. She'd have been like, "Lancelot who?"


  1. Fantastic work! I would have loved to see the back of this as well.
    You crack me up - Drama Queen indeed!

  2. Tu sei sempre un passo davanti a tutti!

  3. What a wonderful piece, Keirsten! You continue to amaze me :)

  4. Wonderfully innovative design and great post!

  5. Fantastic! I really enjoy hearing about your process and I like the story too.

  6. Methinks you've outdone yourself with this post. Not to mention the necklace.

  7. Too funny (the story)! Too beautiful (the necklace--although one can never be too beautiful)! And too clever (the solution)!

  8. That is simply gorgeous! Love the post too.

  9. ooh, i love it! I found it on Pinterest, and I'm glad I read the whole post, because it really looked like a little pink velvet purse... although, that would be cool also!

  10. Fantastic, great pendant, technique and story!! Love it!

  11. i pinned this awhile ago and find myself looking at it again and again! really stunning. i just love it!