Tuesday, May 20, 2008

At last, my creation is complete!

Since this is a project with steampunk elements and inspiration, I felt that it was only appropriate that I do a little mad scientist title. Yes, that's right. Locked Away is complete! I spent pretty much all day today completing the clasp and attaching everything, and I am one happy beader. Although it changed quite a bit from my initial vision, I think the final necklace is even better than what I first planned.

One obvious change is that I did away with the rivolis. They didn't fit as well with the new design, and besides, I know that a few other participants are using them in the exact same color I was going to (it really matches the red beads well), and I like to stand out.

Another big change is that I was originally going to do a spiral rope for the neck chain. I changed that plan for three reasons. One is that I always do spiral ropes. Another is that I decided I wanted to let the pendant shine, so I wanted a visually simple chain. And the third is that I thought that this particular chain, with its resemblance to actual chain, fit the steampunk aesthetic more.

Now let's talk about the clasp:
(ooh, look! I used macro focus for this image!)

I knew that I wanted to do an adjustable clasp for this piece. I frequently make my necklaces too short, so I was determined to make this one long and adjustable. The easiest way to do an adjustable clasp is to have a hook or lobster type clasp and an extender chain, but I think that a beadwoven clasp looks best on the end of an otherwise entirely woven and embroidered necklace. Besides, I'd never done a beaded toggle, and I like to do new things for my LL-BFAC projects! I decided that I'd do three rings, because it's easier to have multiple rings than bars, and three is a good number.

As I mentioned before, pretty much all of my books and magazines are already packed away, so I had to figure out my own toggle design. I decided to use the same technique as a bezel for the rings. It's simple, attractive, and allows for the pleasant contrast in color between the 11s and 15s. For the bar, I was going to just do a brickstitched stack of more 11s, but then I was looking at the bugles, and I thought "Hey, they're shaped like bars anyway." Two bugles, flanked by seed beads, turned out to be the perfect size to go with the 30 bead ring I'd already made.

But the idea I'm really pleased with was the one to connect the rings with seed bead figure-8 links. This allows the rings to pivot, so the excess rings can dangle like charms, instead of just kind of being there and in your way. Plus, if the eventual owner decides that they only want to wear it on the shortest setting, they can easily snip off the extra rings if they want. And perhaps best of all, it echoes the design of the chain.

Now, I'd like to give some much deserved credit to some people who helped me out with this! To Melanie of Earthenwood Studios, for providing the keyhole cab and the earring accents. To Deb of Bead Indulgences, for giving me the drusy cab, even though neither of us knew what I'd use it for at the time (and also for constantly encouraging me!). To Heidi Kummli and Sherry Serafini for writing the excellent book The Art of Bead Embroidery, which helped me immensely. And to Barbara L Grainger, for designing the right-angle-weave chain I used here.


  1. That is terrific, AJ! The clasp fits so well with the rest of the necklace. Very effective!


  2. Absolutely gorgeous! It was great to watch as this was being made. Thank you.

  3. AJ, This is absolutely gorgeous!

  4. This looks great! Good job!

  5. Thank you, everyone!