Yes, I know, I'm late with this challenge piece! This could be a long blog post :)
So are you sitting comfortably? Then I'll begin!!
Last weekend I was teaching a one-to-one Art Clay Level 1 Diploma certification workshop (well done Frann Healey on passing!!). The very first piece made is a fairly straight forward textured pendant with a stone set with syringe. The problem with teaching these workshops all the while is what to do with the pieces I make when I demo. Sometimes I don't fire them and reconstitute them, but on this occasion I made the centre piece of this pendant. During the workshop I also made a top piece with a bail on the back, and some raindrops which were attached with chain. The top piece had a little bit of gold added with the keum boo method after firing.
If you are following my challenge this year you'll know I have a list! Well fairly near the top of that list is making necklaces using beading wire and crimp beads. I've never done this!! I have read up on it often, and really struggle to get my head around those daft little crimp tubes being strong enough to hold a necklace together properly to make the piece saleable!! Whenever I have contemplated going that way, I always end up reverting back to wire or chain for necklaces. (Better the devil you know??!). I know the system must work!! There are many amazing artists out there stringing stuff together. My good friend Lynne Glazzard does it, and boy, if there is anyone who would be sure the system worked securely before using it then I know it would be Lynne. If in doubt on the strength of something she'll hit it with a hammer to check first!! ;) She probably added a one ton weight to the end of her first strung piece to check it!! lol
So there was my nice little pendant waiting for a strung necklace. I debated, looked at it, found a load of other things to do, generally procrastinated, and started another challenge piece!! I even photographed the pendant (above) on a ready made necklace and wondered if I could get away with it as my challenge piece!! It is a fairly simple pendant though, where was the challenge in that?
During the week Frann and I were in email contact after her workshop. I had told her my plan for the piece she saw me make, and she kept asking how it was going!! Yikes, I felt I had to do it!! So today, with the next challenge piece already in the kiln firing, I decided it was time to stop being a wimp and to get on and make a necklace.
And guess what... these things are soooo much easier if you just start them!! Why hadn't I done this before? It wasn't a difficult thing to do. And now I think I might do a lot more, because I really enjoyed it!!! Ha, ha, ha...you can see why I started this challenge for the year.
I pulled out a load of beads of suitable colours from my large (but mostly untouched!) bead stash. Of course, having never done this before there was a learning curve.
Firstly, I now know I need one of those plastic bead board things. Beads rolling all over the table is not good. I also know that it is not worth crawling around the floor for each seed bead dropped, the hoover can have them!! :D And I know I seriously need to sort out the bead stash!! Too much rummaging through plastic bags.
As I had no sensible way of laying the beads out I just went for it on a design. I did have sufficient forethought to put a matching bead into a dish for every bead I used though. This meant once I added the pendant in the centre the second side was much easier to make replicating the first one. I wouldn't claim it is the most wonderful necklace, but I learnt a lot and thoroughly enjoyed myself. The necklace is really quite sparkly, but I just couldn't manage to capture that in the photos.
I was especially pleased to include the four large flat freshwater pearls. They came from a bag of pearls I bought when we were on holiday in China in 2003!! I've never used any of them before! The mix included real pearls, Swarovski pearls, Swarovski crystals, seed beads and handmade lampwork beads by Laura Sparling.
On the plus side while I was messing around and not getting on with this I started my next challenge piece. It is already fired and now needs finishing, so yay, I'm back up to date again! Next challenge post will be Sunday/Monday time :)
I mentioned earlier that I made this pendant while teaching. I love teaching one-to-one workshops, and Frann did so well on her Level 1 Diploma. She even had time to made a more elaborate brooch based on my mask pendants. We adapted the making techniques to fit the Diploma criteria and I think she made a great job of it!! Here are all the pieces that she made.
If you are interested in doing a workshop with me do get in touch!! :D