Component of the Month Reveal! (times two!!)

It’s time for the Art Jewelry Elements Component of the Month reveal!!

And since it’s my first time posting about it here, let me explain what we’re doing: At the beginning of every month, one of the AJE contributors makes a handmade component for each of the other AJE contributors PLUS three lucky AJE readers (who are drawn randomly). Then, at the end of the month, we all post what we made with the component – and it’s so much fun to see what everyone came up with, especially since they’re all so completely different even when the components are very much the same.

AND: since I got so sick at the end of December, I never got a post up about December’s component, so I’m going to kill two birds with one stone and get them both out there for you to see.

So without further ado…

In December, the very talented Jenny Davies-Reazor made these gorgeous and unusual labyrinth tile beads for the Component of the Month.



I received a red tile, and since labyrinths always make me think of English gardens and I was in a Downton Abby frame of mind, I wanted something that looked like it could be worn with one of Lady Mary’s afternoon gowns – no bling, but something with an early 1900’s feel that would let the gorgeous tile take center stage. Here’s what I did with it:





I wanted to play up the warmth of the red glaze so the reddish gold of the copper seemed like a good bet. I also like that the roundness of the rolo links echoes the outer circle of the labyrinth on the tile. The red beads are pretty fire-polished faceted Czech rondelles in a deep cranberry – because they’re hand-faceted, they don’t have the identical feel or perfection of machine-made beads and that seemed right for the era. The deep red glaze of the tile has a few places where it’s more of a cranberry color, and these rondelles matched almost perfectly. Finally I suspended one more of the beads from a knotted wire headpin – the wire knot at the bottom references the labyrinth’s twists and turns – and finished it off with a simple forged copper clasp.

For January, the equally talented Karen Totten gifted us with these wonderful pie beads:

Pie Beads

She wrote a great post yesterday about how she made them – I was really floored by the amount of work that goes into each one. The bead I received is a very pretty orangey-peach color, and for some reason it immediately made me think of my childhood summers in Colorado. I set out to make something that would put that pretty bead right in the hollow of my throat – a choker feel without it feeling like a choker. Here’s what I came up with:





I was thinking about how summer fades into fall, and wanted to do something that hinted at the change of seasons. In my stash were some rhyolite rounds with peachy inclusions that perfectly matched the bead – score! They’re separated with silver-lined honey-colored 8o seed beads and then topped off with pewter discs and rusty red petrified wood beads for some contrast. The rest of the necklace is alternating stations of pewter beads and discs, more of those silver-lined honey beads, green 11o seed beads with a pretty luster finish, and faceted Czech glass fire polish beads with a Picasso finish in that same peachy-orange as the focal. It’s finished off with a hand-wrapped sterling silver S-clasp.

I’m keeping both of these, just FYI – I fell in love with the beads Jenny and Karen sent, and there was no way I was parting with them. Thanks, ladies, for the beautiful additions to my jewelry wardrobe!

Want to see what other folks did with their components? Head on over to Art Jewelry Elements and check them out!

13 replies
  1. Kristi
    Kristi says:

    Both beautiful pieces Francesca! The Ryolite (one of my favorite) are perfection with the soft peachy color of Karen’s piece. And I love the Red Petrified Wood, it all comes together beautifully!

  2. Jenny
    Jenny says:

    WooHoo! Fantastic! And you are keeping them – the ultimate complement… I love the chain with the labyrinth, and I appreciate eh simplicity that draws attention to the focal! Your choker with Karen’s bead – what a complementary, and pretty palette!. Glad you are back in action. loved seeing what you have done!

  3. Sharyl McMillian-Nelson
    Sharyl McMillian-Nelson says:

    Love the components you made, Francesca! I also really like the jewelry you made with the components you were given. I love the design of the first one, but it’s particularly smashing in the red color you have there. And love the beads you added to the pie focals from Karen! So glad I stopped by! 3 entries for the price of 1! ha!


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