Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Components as Inspiration

I was super excited to be contacted by Steven Weiss at Beadsmith.  They have a new line of clasps, Elegant Elements, and he asked if I might like to design using these clasps. Then, my work (and that of other designers) would be featured as a sales strategy for the new clasp line.  The product line was GORGEOUS!  And I said "Yes!"  Although I quickly discovered many of the other participants are my beading heroes, and I hoped I would find myself adequate to the task.

I have only just met Steven Weiss "electronically," but I am going to go out on a limb here and say the guy is a public relations and advertising genius.  This was a really brilliant way to collect great photos of the clasp line in action and I suspect most of us are really happy to be involved in the project.  A win-win situation if ever there was one!

I chose two beauties from the wide range of Elegant Elements clasps.  The first one I wanted to work with was a three-strand, golden nest box clasp, with snowy white pearl eggs.  I thought this piece could serve double duty, since the February Etsy Beadweavers theme is "NEST."  My first thought was to create a similar beaded nest for pearls to rest in, but after a couple samples, I found my work didn't really allow the clasp to shine.  The clasp is a soft, pale gold and although it has beautiful leaf texture, it's very subtle and super organized.  My samples were VERY textural, and one was a little disorganized, and neither suited the clasp.
I decided I needed to let the clasp lead the way for me, as I often do when I find other components I want to work with, so I analyzed it's basic design.  It sits neatly flat, and the pearls sit up off the delicate, flat, highly organized nest to be featured in their little bezels. So I began a search for flat, golden, subtly-textured components that might allow me to provide contrast to big egg-shaped pearls.  I bought some golden shadow rivolis, and those were lovely, but I really wanted something metallic to go with them.  Then one night in a parking garage in South Minneapolis, the answer jingled out of the payment station in the form of a gold one dollar coin.  I had just read an article about the reducing of production of these beauties, because they are not highly circulated, and considered to be an expense our government can eliminate.  But I just loved it.  And lo and behold, it was flat, pale gold, and delicately textured.  Just what I had been looking for.  But coins in jewelry?  And then the idea of a "nest egg" occurred to me, and it seemed perfect design concept for both of the tasks at hand.

I bezeled the coin and dashed off to the bank for more.  Turns out several different presidents are featured, as well as Sacajawea, but I liked the lady liberty backs, so I chose the ones with the best looking "tails" and got to work.  With several coins and rivolis ready I played with placement, and found a way to organize a triad of each (half dozen packaging, just like the clasp) to allow for a place for some of my big freshwater pearl drops to sit, and joined them together.  I played with several edge details, including tiny leaf shapes, but they still felt overwhelming and out of scale with the clasp, so I just netted in some bicones and found that to be appropriately scaled and detailed.

 I broke the edge detail to allow some of the pearl eggs to drip out of the nest as fringe, and to allow for a soft three strand pearl neckstrap, which joined both the focal and the clasp with big pearls again, to help keep the clasp focused as a major player in the design.

Although I frequently let components speak to me in my design process, I had never before considered the possibility of allowing a clasp to dictate a design. This line is more than worthy of  that kind of attention and I am really looking forward to working with my second clasp.


22 comments:

  1. It is even more beautyful on this pictures....

    (Glaselldesign) from Christina

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  2. Thanks Christina and Ilenia! I had a lot of fun with it.

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  3. The clasp is perfect for your necklace - those gold coins are an inspired choice!

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  4. In a word: exquisite! The coins are perfectly showcased and the whole piece, from clasp to fringe, just shimmers with elegance and glamour.

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  5. What a fantastic inspiration, Marsha! The coins are perfect - and your explanation of their serendipitous discovery makes for fascinating reading. Thanks for sharing this gorgeous jewelry piece with us, Marsha!

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  6. It is a very classy piece of Jewelry, Marsha! What a great challenge it is, isn't it?
    Love your work, dear!

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  7. Thank you so much ladies. Your comments and support are so appreciated!

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  8. This is a beautiful piece, Marsha! You have inspired me to get my coin collection out and look at it with fresh eyes!

    You were commenting about "allowing a clasp to dictate a design". The Elegant Elements clasps are so stunning that it's hard not to (in many cases) make them the actual focal point of the piece.

    I found myself choosing clasps which did not suggest a particular design and, despite the fact that the "jeweled" clasps are magnificent, all of mine are void of crystals and pearls.

    So many wonderful pieces from such talented artists! This has been a really amazing, inspirational experience! What a joy...

    All the Best in the New Year!

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  9. This is gorgeous! It's so exciting to be asked to design for a specific clasp line - congratulations!

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  10. An exquisite composition Marsha! Work of a genius nothing less. Steven Weiss is wonderful indeed. I just got my metal seed beads from him too. Very exiting, the size 15 24 karat gold plated seed beads look amazing, I can't wait to work with them!

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  11. Oh KINGA!!! I used those beads in this piece! I got them from Bobby Bead through the Upper Midwest Bead Society to test last fall. I think they are wonderous!

    Again ladies, thanks so much!

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  12. Marsha, this is a beautiful piece and very well thought out.

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  13. Extraordinary necklace, worthy of a "Kingdom crown jewels". Great inspiration.

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  14. What marvelous composition! Congratulations on a job very well done.

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  15. I love you clasp, if fits so well with your theme. Really, your whole piece is absolutely stunning!

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  16. Oh, my God!
    It's absolutely fantastic!!!!!!

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  17. One of the prettiest necklaces ever!!

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