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, July 15, 2012

Jewelry Designs from Nature Challenge

Twilight Woodland
Dreamily over the roofs
The cold spring rain is falling;
Out in the lonely tree
A bird is calling, calling.

Slowly over the earth
The wings of night are falling;
My heart like the bird in the tree
Is calling, calling, calling.

"Twilight" -- Sara Teasdale

I was thrilled to find out I was one of the lucky winners in the ArtBeadScene Jewelry Designs from Nature Challenge drawing on May 30!  I received this charming pendant focal by Heather Powers, entitled "Woodland," along with a beautiful image of a solitary bird silhouetted by branches at nightfall, and this evocative poem by Sara Teasdale.

Because of the colors in the focal, I knew I wanted to use antiqued brass, and beads in olive green and violet. I wanted to create some kind of yoke or bail for the pendant that evoked branches. I fashioned this from three lengths of heavy brass wire, the ends balled in my torch, lashing it together with finer wire. In the end, it looked more Japanese to me than branch-like, which was fine by me, as I have always associated trees and blossoms with Japanese gardens.

I wanted to keep the palette fairly dark, in keeping with the picture, so I let my brass darken a long time in the ammonia fumes, and eventually settled on some dark violet leather for the necklace portion of the piece.

I kept it fairly long, so that the two beaded links attached to the yoke would hang straighter:

I like how the matte finish of the clay contrasts with the soft shine of the metal and the transparent glass.

Check out the other participants' fabulous designs, and view today's ABS post here!

Alicia Marinache
Shelby Foxwell
Lisa Cone
Marlene Brady
Cece Cormier
Amy of Amy Beads
Marlene Cupo


  1. You nailed this one. Stunning necklace.

  2. Perfect! I love the colors, textures, shapes and length!

  3. Love it! You have such a unique way of combining elements that is breathtaking.

  4. Really pretty! I'm glad you showed in on the model. I was picturing it much shorter, but love the longer length! Gorgeous!

  5. I love everything about this piece! The deep hues are perfect and the metal work is stunning! I was surprised by the length, as I was picturing it much shorter as well - but I totally love it! It inspires me to want to play with metal (something that I am NOT proficient at). Simply beautiful!

  6. I'm kind of blown away with this piece. It's completely amazing! I love the brass branches that you used to hang the pendant. Every part of the design whispers twilight to me, it's perfect. The purple leather was a wonderful way to finish the necklace. The length works so well to show off every part of the design. Great job!!!

  7. Gorgeous! Every element works perfectly, and the colors are beautiful.

  8. Beautiful! I love how you constructed the branch bail. The bead and leather colors mimic the colors in the pendant nicely.

  9. Just totally fell in love with this!

  10. Wow! I am just blown away by this necklace. It is just incredible.

  11. I like the new direction you went in with this piece--color & simplicity of the design. The linearity of the branches in contrast with the oval and the dangles is really striking. The length just emphasizes all of that and makes the proportions really pleasing. (And that is my favorite of all your amazing bails lately.)

  12. Really gorgeous, Keirsten. Love the color and the organic feel.

  13. I love the metal, leather, crystals and polymer. Wow. I particularly like how you didn't continue the leather around the neck, but balanced it with the chain. Beautiful.

  14. The colours are beautiful - they evoke a quiet night indeed! And the branch piece - perfection! Lovely piece

  15. The first thing I noticed was how nicely your bail picked up the pattern in the pendant. Love that and love the length of it.

  16. A fantastic design that works oh so well with the challenge presented to you. Congrats!

  17. What a beautiful design. Love the color combo and all the detailing that really lets the focal take center stage. The brass is the perfect metal. Congrats!
    ps - The Midas black/brown patina from Rio is the best for brass coloring.

  18. Goodness Miss Keirsten! You never cease to amaze me! Those branches are perfect. I love the violet colored leather (I need some of that!) and the fact that this is long. There is something so tranquil about it, the way the branches are balanced and the shape almost reminds me of a temple roof. Nature is a great muse and I love Heather's book. Thanks for playing along and being so inspiring! Enjoy the day. Erin

  19. Your branches are a stroke of genius, they are perfectly suited to the pendant. Your danglies look to be fairy globes in the forest!

  20. Hello Keirsten! Guarda cosa sono riuscita a fare con i tuoi preziosi consigli sullo stamping!!!!! Grazie ancora!