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).

Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Nightmare Insomnia!! AJE Design Team Blog Hop

Nightmare Insomnia
On July 1, I stopped by the Art Jewelry Elements blog, and saw a post by Jennifer Cameron featuring her "Nightmare Insomnia" bead series. I was utterly fascinated by these beads!! Jennifer was hosting a drawing to win five of her "Nightmare Insomnia" focal beads, the winners of which would then create pieces with them for a blog hop at the end of the month. Regular AJE partners would also be participating. I threw my hat in the ring and was thrilled to have my name drawn! I received the bead pictured above--and I think had I been able to choose from the beads featured in the post, I probably would have chosen this one! It was delightful to design around!

I was really wanting to do something dark and nightmarish with it--like really play up those spidery, gunmetal endcaps--but I just didn't have the right things. I contemplated using polished, annealed steel (which would echo those hematite-like endcaps and have this urban Underworld kind of vibe), but I like a heavier gauge wire, and my annealed steel wire was just too thin (plus if you could even find heavier gauge annealed steel wire, it would be too stiff to work with). I opted for sterling silver (I've never been able to do a sterling piece in a gunmetal patina. I Must. Shine. It. Up.)

I wanted to have a little more length descending from the bead itself, and it seemed like a faux toggle bail might be easiest to accomplish that with.

The sterling silver toggle bail, once in place, really drew my attention to the luxuriousness of the bead--as you can see, the endcaps really have an iridescence and shine to them, and the pattern in the center of the bead introduces a little bit of lighthearted whimsy into the whole design--they are seaside colors to me, and the pattern makes me think of confetti. So perhaps it was that advanced stage of insomnia, where you've gone without sleep for so long you're getting maniacally cheerful (right before you fall over).

I didn't want to add too much more color to it, as I didn't want to turn it into something sugary, so I stayed with the charcoal/black theme as much as I could. I had some awesome faceted Czech glass in a hematite color (they glitter, but, like, menacingly--haha!) that seemed perfect for the bulk of the design, and I liked the sea green accents best with the focal. A recycled glass bead in Coke bottle green from Happy Mango Beads seemed just right. For the extra length I wanted, I attached a short section of black silk string, with another glittery charcoal bead and a few faceted Czech glass rounds in Prairie Green (which I was thrilled to find matched my recycled glass beads--going to pair those up for earrings in the future!)

I finished it off with wide deertan lacing in black, nickel silver end treatments, and sterling silver chain and handmade clasp. My handmade sterling silver rivets on the leather ends turned out very rustic indeed. (I'm not very happy with the riveting block I bought, I think I'm going to go back to my vise for mushrooming rivet heads.)

Scroll down below to visit the other artists in the hop!

Beti Horvath: Stringing Fool
Gretchen Nation: Art Food Lodging
Karen Totten: Starry Road Studio
Kathleen Douglas: Washoe Kat's
Keirsten Giles: The Cerebral Dilettante
Kristen Stevens: My Bead Journey
Lori Anderson: Pretty Things
Rana Wilson: Rana Lea Designs
Shannon Chomanczuk: For My Sweet Daughter


  1. Great piece. I love the color/non color in this piece and the length added to the focal. Wonderful necklace.

  2. Love how the elements showcase the lampwork, especially the toggle bar. And how the metallic beads play off the glass. Beautiful!

  3. Somehow I missed that post at AJE. Oh well I've got enough on my plate anyway.

    Your necklace is stunning! I love the sterling toggle and the little touches of green in the happy mango and czech beads--just the right amount of color.

  4. I love this necklace! The industrial elements coupled with Jen's colorful bead are the perfect pairing. That toggle rocks too!

  5. Really, really beautifully designed piece. Love it!

  6. Another winning design! (Although there's never any doubt.) Stunning. Love all the handmade components, especially the leather ends.

  7. Absolutely stunning (but then, everything you make is!) I love seeing your silver work! And that's so funny about "must.shine.this.up" because that's me, too!

  8. I love the monochramtic look to this, with that muted pop of green in there. Perfect for Jen's bead. I bet this is loads of fun to wear!

  9. Hi Keirsten,
    I love the design of your necklace and the beads you chose to used really bring out the beauty of your glass bead focal. Beautiful!

  10. Wonderful use of the palette provided by the bead. Beautiful necklace!

  11. Love it. Dark and spare, very fitting for this bead.

  12. I love it...great texture..you were able to keep the dark theme in your design even without the dark wire. Fabulous!!!!!

  13. Oh wow! That is all kinds of gorgeous! I love how you did the toggle, the fringe is just ring for this style and the entire design isn't too "dark" and def not sugary ;-) the riveted ends you made for the leather are really cool and i never would have thought of that. I am thrilled you enjoyed working with my bead so much. It really shows.

  14. I am truly in love with this!!!! It is all kinds of gorgeous like Jennifer said! I love that you kept with the darkness. I am truly blown away!!!

  15. That is a freaking amazing piece!!! Awesome. Awesome. Awesome!

  16. What a gorgeous necklace! Original, stylish, and oh.so.shiny. :) I love all the elements you put in place to create this necklace, and I really like the look of those riveted ends!

  17. This is just so awesome. I love everything about it. Love the leather,rivets, touch of teal...all wonderful and marries so well to that amazing bead.