Thursday, November 15, 2007

Collaboration Exploration! AKA, my secret project!

At long last, my secret project is revealed! Last month, Melanie from Earthenwood Studios approached me to be part of a Collaboration Exploration. She and one other bead artist/jewelry maker would provide beads, and then all three of us would make jewelry using those beads. I love the challenge of working with beads that someone else has picked out (such as the Layne's Legacy -- Beading For A Cure challenge!), so of course I jumped at the chance. The fact that I love Melanie's beads and had been daydreaming about playing with them some day certainly helped my decision. The third partner for this fun experiment turned out to be Pam Brisse from The Blue Between, a new-to-me artist, even more reason for excitement!

When my beads arrived at the start of this month, I was inspired right off the bat. I knew that I wanted to stack the lampworked flower, the poppy shield, and the poppy faerie to form the focal. At first I wanted to use the links as stations between sections of woven beads -- maybe a spiral rope -- but after a little bit of thought, I decided that was too obvious. Sure, they're meant to be links, but what if I used them as dangles, and hung accent beads from the second loop? I quickly decided on a Nepal chain, as it really compliments the floral theme of the beads. After that, it was just a matter of picking out the beads to use!

My first thought was to use black for the base, and do the flowers in purple and red, because I don't normally like to put green with red and purple. Then I said to myself, "Self, don't be a wuss. This is a challenge. Challenge yourself!" So green it was for the base. I've had these green metallic iris beads, with hints of red, for a while, and they were perfect for this piece.

One thing that I really like is how the lampwork spacer dangles ended up looking like pomegranates. Pam's spacers are rounder than most, which gives them the lush look of ripe fruit. I think that the whole piece has a decadent feel to it. I was going for a Victorian look that would be at home with Gothic styles, without yelling, "Hey! Look at me! I'm SPOOKY!" I think The Lady of the Manners would approve.

Partially inspired by Melanie's post earlier this week about her inspiration for the poppy beads, I've dubbed this necklace "Keeper of the Garden of Forgotten Memories."

Please visit Melanie and Pam's blogs to see their own beautiful inspirations with these beads!

(PS: The current photo is bad, but my camera is out of battery juice so I'll have to take a better one later! I'll edit it in when I get the chance)


  1. AJ! That came out JUST BEAUTIFUL!!! I love it - what a great job you did!!!

  2. You girls ROCK! I love what you all did with these beads, congratulations the three pieces of jewellery are just gorgeous! :o)

  3. Thank you very much, Pam and Louise!

  4. Marilee J. Layman11/15/07, 2:52 PM

    Wow! Everybody made something very unique and very nice! I'm telling myself I don't need a poppy flower.

  5. Thank you, Marilee! If you'd like a lampworked poppy, I'd be happy to send you the one I didn't use. But if you want a poppy shield, you'll have to talk to Melanie :)

  6. Gorgeous job, AJ! I love it!

  7. Oh, that is just beautiful! I love the way you used the links, and the little clusters that drip from them. And the necklace chain itself! I adore beadwork like that but have never done it myself. You do it so well.

    Thanks for participating!

  8. Thank you, Melissa and Melanie! This project was a lot of fun and I'm so glad that it turned out as well in person as it did in my mind :)

  9. Brava, AJ! Your Lady of the Manners came out so fine, I'm sure she would honor any Goth or just plain person who wore her! I really enjoyed your explanation and inspiration piece, as well. You did a marvelous job!