Art Jewelry Elements Component of the Month REVEAL! (and some other stuff too…)

Well, I have been quite the terrible correspondent this month. I promise you I have four very, very good reasons for this, none of which have anything to do with illness. Isn’t that refreshing??

Unfortunately, I can only tell you about two of them because the other two are deep, dark secrets that cannot be revealed until later this fall. No amount of begging will get you anywhere because my lips are sealed.

Oh alright. Here’s a hint.

And that’s it.

The other two things are neither secret or terribly deep or dark. The first is that I’m prepping for the 2013 Metal Retreat (I leave in just five weeks – whaaaaaaat??!) and I must say I am really looking forward to this. It’s going to be an entire week with a bunch of other creatives, eating amazing food in the very beautiful Pacific Northwest and spending our days enameling, hammering, soldering, pouring resin, casting pewter, playing with big equipment (rolling mill and hydraulic press – SQUEEEEEEEEE!), taking photos, making glass cabochons, and just generally having a grand old time. There may even be some sleeping in and sitting-on-the-deck-looking-out-over-the-water-ing involved. I’m packing up half my studio to take with me (rumor has it that Melissa Muir, my co-host, may be packing up more than half of hers!) and am deep in the throes of list-making so I don’t inadvertently leave something critical behind. If this sounds like a good time to you, we have two spots left (two wonderful gals had to back out – boo!) – and it’s not too late to join us!

The second thing is that I am helping my (very small) church and our wonderful pastor set up their financial systems, reporting, and processes. I used to do that kind of administrative management for a living and now I’m volunteering my time to get them squared away. We’re a brand new church plant, which means there’s a lot of time to put in on the front end so things run smoothly later on. It’ll get easier – it’s just consuming a lot of time and focus right now.

So there you have it – and as you might imagine, I left the July Art Jewelry Element Component of the Month challenge until the very last minute. Again. (What else is new, Francesca??!) AJE member Diana Ptaszynski gave us these beautiful little porcelain charms to work with – aren’t they lovely?

I received one of the blue orchid charms… and I’m going to be honest that I was a little confounded by it. I have never worked with these kinds of charms before, and the wire loop at the top proved to be a real challenge for me. (Let’s be clear: this isn’t the lovely Diana’s problem. It was all me, being all kinds of inexperienced!) In fact, it was such a challenge that while I was futzing with it, I broke the wire loop.

(“Futzing” is a highly technical term which originated in my childhood and does not mean “to break intentionally.”)

After hyperventilating and wailing and gnashing my teeth (because I had, after all, LEFT THIS UNTIL THE LAST POSSIBLE MINUTE), my dear friend Gail Stouffer suggested this solution, which made me happy. And relieved.

And then I was free to actually try to design something to string it on. Which was, you know, THE WHOLE POINT OF THE EXERCISE.

I dithered about that for a good long time and finally decided to stick to the very lovely blue and white theme of the charm itself. I used faceted rock crystal rounds, some creamy baroque pearls, a couple of denim jasper rounds, and my favorite blue Czech glass pinch beads. I added silver rounds in two sizes for spacers… and was quite happy with the result.

I still have to add a clasp (did I mention that I left this until the last minute??), but in the meantime you can head on over to the AJE blog to see what the other July challenge participants did with their charms. Hope you have a super Wednesday!

13 replies
  1. Linda Landig
    Linda Landig says:

    It turned out so pretty, Francesca! I really like the little loop-de-lou (another highly technical term) from which you hung the pendant. But I’m very curious now – if you broke the loop on the pendant, what have you attached your wrapped loop to? Obviously some solution is hidden beneath the large silver bead that sits atop the pendant. Inquiring minds want to know!! 😉

    • Francesca
      Francesca says:

      Linda, I wish I could tell you something new and exciting – but we just coiled up the broken ends so we could wrap a length of wire to them. We chose a large-hole silver bead to slide over the connection (though we had to do a little reaming and squishing to make it work!) and then wire-wrapped the top to the necklace link.

    • Francesca
      Francesca says:

      Thanks, Susan – it never occurred to me to glue a bail on the back. I’ll keep that solution in mind for the next time I break a COM! (‘Cause you KNOW that will inevitably happen!!)

  2. diane
    diane says:

    So very lovely! The added components are so gorgeous in themselves, while not detracting from the charm. What size is the necklace over all (16″, 18″?).

  3. sandi m
    sandi m says:

    What a perfect solution!! The silver ball and your loop-de-lou (technically borrowed from Linda) are such a perfect complement to the charm. Sometimes those at-the-last-hour creations turn out the best.

  4. Jenny
    Jenny says:

    I love seeing such diverse results with similar materials! The clay pieces are so earthy to me – and your necklace is so delicate and ethereal. I love the look, and what to me creates contrast…

    A+ for problem solving! And thank you for sharing the journey!

  5. Kristen
    Kristen says:

    Francesca with all you have going it is a wonder you got this far with this beautiful necklace! I wish you luck and fun with all your upcoming events!!!


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