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).

Saturday, May 31, 2014

Art Jewelry Elements May Component of the Month Reveal

Today is the day at Art Jewelry Elements when we reveal our designs created with lampwork glass components by the uber-talented Susan Kennedy of Sue Beads. Susan was always a lover of lampwork beads and started making them herself six years ago, and also now makes enameled components as well. I am so glad she decided to make beads, because I love them!!

Here is the delectable assortment that Susan offered for this month:
Flower Chiclets!!
And cabochons!!
I fell in love with the chiclets immediately (I haven't tried setting cabs yet and I was chicken to try under the gun so that might have had something to do with it--otherwise cab number 6 up there might have been mine!), and went for set number 4 up there (although number 1 was also extremely tempting):
I initially was going to do a bracelet, but I couldn't figure out how to weight it properly with the beads I wanted to use--I was afraid the lampwork beads would have ended up in a heavy section that would always be hanging under the wrist so that you'd never see them, and I can't stand that--pet peeve of mine. So I opted for a necklace.

I really wanted to keep the tone earthy and rustic, and I just happened to have recently acquired a collection of fabulous recycled and Indonesian glass beads from Happy Mango Beads that I thought would be perfect:
Of course this color scheme cried out for copper!

I looked through my stash of metal components and found a large textured washer I had made a while ago--I decided to do a front toggle closure (it's so easy to make a focal section out of the clasp). And it even had flowers on it! (I was starting to feel the need to stay with flowers).
I debated knotting it but the holes in the beads were too big to make it really work so I opted for copper links. Because these recycled glass flowers are kind of funky and odd shaped, I didn't think wrapped loops would really work, so I used simple loops hammered flat to make them seat better in the beads.
Here is the configuration I eventually chose:
I just love the subtle detail, and quietly whimsical quality these little chiclets add to a piece of jewelry!! And I'm a sucker for that tablet shape, I don't know what it is about coins and tablets...And the colors of the lampwork are so rich and saturated--I especially love that ocher one with the olive green flower, it really pops! These were really a pleasure to design with, just the right size--not so big that they overwhelm the other beads, but large enough to really stand out.

All the metal in this piece is solid copper--even the ball chain! I had some nice plated oval chain I could have used on the pendant portion to hang my green flowers from, but the purist in me rebelled and I used some of my own oval chain instead (I made a small amount once as an experiment). I made it kind of long, so you could layer it with copper chains if you wanted:
Pay no attention to the beer can behind the mannequin.

(I just love the bell shape of those tobacco-colored recycled glass beads.)

(You'll notice I used Melissa Meman's ultra-cool ball chain ends again! They are an interesting design element all by themselves.)

Sue has a lovely assortment of chiclet beads and cabochons in her shop right now (not to mention lots of other fabulous goodies!)--swing by and get 'em while they last!


This is a blog hop! Be sure to check out all the other participants' designs:

Kristen Stevens


  1. I've been eyeing those chiclet beads myself. Beautiful colors and shapes in this necklace - could look at it for a very long time. :-)

  2. I love your necklace. It's perfect. I just love the flat loops you've come up with to made larger holed beads sit better. It looks so great. The mix of beads and components is great.

  3. This is gorgeous Keirsten...love these colours - obviously since I chose the same set - just shows the versatility of the beads. I am so coveting those green glass beads too- they are just delicious!

  4. Oh, so yummy! I love the combination of materials and colors...that set was a favorite of mine as well. Thanks for the shout out! That flat loop tip you blogged about the other day is on my next list of things to try!

  5. Love the design - you are a master of combining bead elements with metal. The chiclet shape is a challenge; surprisingly adding the over-bead wire wrapping was a perfect choice. My eye just dances around the piece. I also like making my own chain and must try your flat loops as rolo chain is my favorite link, too. Thanks for the inspiration!

  6. Beautiful Keirsten, I love how all the elements came together in you necklace to make one stunning piece.

  7. A gorgeous necklace! I love all the elements and they all go together so well. This piece has wonderful color and texture.

  8. I bow to your design skills. Gorgeous, as always. The attention to detail is so evident in all your pieces, and this is no exception.

  9. OK - I loved the hammered loops fro large holed beads when you posted it on the AJE blog. Now to see the whole thing? Dee-licious. I like the scale of the piece overall, and the recycled glass beads are gorgeous. I also like 'em long for summer. You rock.

  10. Gorgeous! Love the colors, the long style. I can just picture all the outfits it would look great with...and those hammered loops such a great idea for large hole beads. Beautiful and inspiring design!

  11. Beautiful colours and components, it's another stunning design!

    I love your hand forged chains too, it's on my list of things to try after your AJE post! Thank you!

  12. Keirsten, I am always in awe of what you create, but like Jen said, your attention to detail sets you apart like no other! The hammered loops are perfect, love your ball chain ends from Melissa's tut, and you made my beads look aweseom in your design! Thanks so much for playing this month!

  13. I always look forward to seeing what you have made because of your attention to detail and all your wonderful handmade components. This time was no exception. I just love the wire wraps on the beads. And the balance of the whole necklace. Talking about hitting a home run.

  14. Gorgeous! Amazing attention to detail - delicate, feminine, flirty!