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Saturday, March 26th

26 Mar

This necklace is made of ceramic ‘fan’ beads and silk cording. The ceramic beads are all by Elaine Ray and the silk cording laces them together. The many dangling silk cords have beads knotted along the ends. The beads chime against each other when I move: the effect is either lovely or annoying, depending on your personal tolerance for noises.

I love that this necklace is both dramatic and simple. The construction is so basic: laced silk holds the pieces together, yet the effect is over-the-top in scale.

Tonight I wore this necklace with a favorite blouse and sweater combo. The necklace is a bit tribal for the floral blouse and cardigan sweater but I like that mix.

Friday, March 25th

25 Mar

Today I wore two necklaces. I have been avoiding this as I really want to stretch out my favorites but I had a big day planned and I really needed to feel comfortable and suitably adorned.
I wore these necklaces with a raspberry-colored shirtdress and olive green platform shoes. It’s kind of an odd combination but the dress seems put together and crisp, and the shoes are a bit funky. Seeing as how I have orange stripes in my black hair a vibrant color combo shouldn’t be completely unexpected now and then.

The shorter necklace was a gift from my friend Joan. The turquoise discs are very good quality, clear blue American turquoise. The vintage button clasps the beads and can be worn front or back.

The longer necklace features a vintage carved cat made into a pendant by Susan Reynolds of Bijoux Savvy. She created a tiny, sparkly beaded collar for the kitty. The sides of the necklace are made with Elaine Ray small washer beads strung sideways with gold-colored SoftFlex and dark raspberry-red Toho seed beads. The necklace is finished with leather cording and a brass clasp.

I didn’t realize how often I layer necklaces until I started this blog. Almost every day I want to add a second or third necklace but I haven’t until now. It’s funny, I almost never make multi-strand necklaces.

I wonder why?

Thursday, March 24th

25 Mar

This simple necklace consists of a Green Girl Shibuichi key suspended from a strand of Japanese Keishi pearls with a bit of hand-dyed silk ribbon.

I usually wear this necklace layered up with a few others but as I’ve dispensed with that device for the year it stands alone. The tiny pearls are strung unknotted on white silk and finished with 14k gold bead tips and a lobster-claw clasp.

This necklace is so simple: pearls, ribbon, key. I think it works because each of the three elements are a bit off. The pearls are very textured, the ribbon has a variegated dye and the cast key is obviously hand-made and not functional.

Tuesday, March 22nd

22 Mar


I like this necklace because it contains a mix of art beads by two different artists and the greeny-gold color looks good with just about everything. I made it with a figural bead from Lisa Daly (it is flipped over in the picture so the torso is just showing it’s rear end…how cheeky!) and a grouping of Elaine Ray beads. I also used a chunk of real Tibetian turquoise that is intensely olive green and black right there at the center. The length of the necklace is finished with some Japanese kimono cording with black, gold, green and red flowers.

This necklace started out much longer but as I worked on it I kept removing bead after bead. The Lisa Daly figural bead had been on my work table for a long time and I kept struggling with how to use it. It is a bead of a naked female torso, after all.  The front of the bead is  obviously female and voluptuous.

Maybe too much for mixed company.

I decided that a more monochromatic design would minimize the distraction of the figures assets while making the most of the pretty glass coloring. The design also looks good even if one or more of the beads flips over. I don’t like messing with my jewelry once I have it on.


Tuesday, March 8th

8 Mar

Today’s necklace is complex, layered and asymmetrical. I created it about six years ago. It is strung on Mastex cording, with chain, shell beads, an Elaine Ray charm or two. The head on the lower right-hand side is a Bakelite Cracker Jack charm from the early part of the 20th century. When you pull the dog’s collar it’s eyes bug out and the tongue wags. That carved ivory elephant was given to me by a Chinese bead vendor I used to work with. He spoke next to no English and we communicated mostly through calculations on an HP calculator he kept in his back pocket. One time when I visited him I told him I was pregnant (with my daughter, Cleo, now eight) by pantomiming a baby and a big belly. He laughed and dug out that elephant for me. “Good luck’ he said. Of course, I bought a big, long strand of the elephants but I saved this one for the necklace.

This necklace is an example of an unfinished object. There are long, loose strings of Mastex cording hanging down the back. There is a button and a hook for a proper closure, but I never trimmed the Mastex. I intended to add counterweight strands on the back, but the necklace isn’t really that heavy. Somehow I still can’t bring myself to trim the strands. I don’t know why. They aren’t especially attractive; actually they cause people to say ‘you have a string on your back’ at least once every time I wear the necklace. I should cut the strands or string them with beads to make the counterweights.

I should.

Monday, March 7th

7 Mar

Sometimes, simple is better. This necklace is made with a lovely handmade bead, a clasp, some chain. That’s it. I had intended to do a lot more with it but then I never added the other beads, or ribbon strand, or the charms. It just seemed finished.

I never really feel 100% confident in simplicity. Is it finished, or am I just lazy? Does the design really feel complete or do I just want to move on to the next thing? Have I achieved balance or just lost interest?

Sunday, March 6th

6 Mar

Today was rainy and breezy but I’m still in a Spring mood. This necklace features an Elaine Ray crescent and some lovely Japanese rayon kimono cording. I originally made this design for Beads 2009, an annual Interweave publication. The necklace is longer than it looks in the picture; I tied the ends up to shorten it in a very unprofessional manner. My new, longer hair hid the knots.

This necklace is busy; there are textures, colors, patterns galore. Even though I made it two years ago it feels very current to me. I wish I had a pair of wedge-heeled espadrilles with this mix of colors.

Tuesday, March 1st

3 Mar

This necklace is made from Elaine Ray ceramic beads and a bit of silk cording. I wore it to match a pair of shoes that I didn’t end up wearing; they are blue suede and there was a threat of rain.

The beads are knotted on blue waxed linen.