This tale begins with an e-mail from Lorelei Eurto, a jewelry designer I met this spring. She traded one of her lovely necklaces for some of my beads (that she took and transformed into “The Convertible” a necklace which will debut in The Best of Stringing, due out on September 22). She and Heather Powers had cooked up a bracelet exchange--a la A Charming Exchange, a book by Kelly Snelling and Ruth Rae--that featured artists collaborating on various jewelry pieces. It was tremendously inspiring and looked like a heck of a lotta fun! Now they were inviting ME to play with them! along with Erin Prais-Hintz of Tresori Trovati and Erin Siegel of Every Heart Crafts .
Alternately thrilled and nervous-- would I sing out of key in this “band” of artistic sisters or lose the collaborative beat in the flow of my own ideas? Due to blips in my personal schedule, I chose the caboose position on the Bracelet Train, an exalted or a hellish position, depending on your point of view. Most of the design was already in place--would my editions to the final product add or detract? Well, I was up for the challenge-- I might be scared but nobody ever said I was a quitter!
We started by supplying something to get the process started-- a bead, a section of chain, a clasp, some fiber-- the items were as individual as the artists. Then, beginning with Heather, each person added to the bracelet as it was sent on to them. In order for you enjoy everyone's point of view of the process, visit the blogs of the participating artists (see links, above) for their comments on their additions. I'll discuss the final additions and present the completion photos here.
Lorelei's bracelet came with a wonderful color scheme—lemon-lime-- based on the saucy little bottlecap bead that she supplied to start. I decided to keep that color going using one of Cindy Gimbrone's slinky chartreuse glassblown links, connected with some antiqued bronze chain. To add a little tension to all the curvature, some bronze cubes joined the party. Finally, to partner the large circle link proclaiming “Motivation”, I built a hook from a copper-coated flat forged donut from Jatayu with a polyclay slice in my Apocalypto colorway. I've fallen in love with 50s-era copper jewelry and this was my homage to the work of Marjorie Baer (see my post "A Good Nose For A Deal", July 28 ).
Erin Prais-Hintz supplied an incredibly elegant start to her piece, a wonderfully embellished button clasp with wirewrapped goodies and resin. It was my intention to add my “signature” to every bracelet so I made up some mokume gane clay I call “Erin's Mokume” in shades of pear, deep lilac, cordovan and gold leaf and made a couple of roundelles with it as dangles. Lorelei had contributed a round brass locket so I put a tiny circlet of Erin's Mokume inside as a surprise! Two color-fumed Czech flower trumpets peek out beneath her clasp and I added one of my signature swirl beads in bronze. I think my additions are uniquely my style yet enhance the whole without overwhelming what had been added previously-- my goal throughout my process.
On to the other Miss Erin, Erin Siegel of Every Heart Studio, and the woman I knew the least about. But I did know she used beautiful, vibrant colors in her clay pieces and I was getting a strong color direction from the other additions. I have lately fallen in love with Picasso-finished seed beads. The fine chain and black waxed linen cord seemed to beg for some color to play with so I strung some stone amethyst color no. 8 Toho beads between the strands. Staying subtle but wanting to add some shine, next came a couple of labradorite chip stacks, dichro-dotted glass beads and a silver-washed pewter spike from Jatayu. I forged a figure-eight clasp end from silver and saluted all the bracelet's colors by adding several purple/tanzanite swirl half-Picasso finish roundelles and an “Erin Mokume” roundelle to play off Heather's. The result--lovely, intuitive colors in a soft, informal stringing style.
Heather's bracelet reminded me of an adornment to celebrate Midsummer's Eve in Lothlorien! Shimmery silver tones everywhere, fairies and dragonflies and swallows and splashes of blood-red color paired with jade green baubles. I would have to channel the Lady Galadriel for inspiration on this one! Many elements in interesting variety were already in place-- what could I possibly add to enhance this eclectic yet magical mix? I pondered for days and finally the Muse came to my rescue-- one night the moon was circled by a misty ring of ice crystals, and an idea was born! I looped two fine strands of polished steel in a bezel around Heather's bead and looped on Karen Hill Tribe molten silver drops, tiny carved silver rounds and sparkly no. 11 seed beads to halo her amazing disk. A few soft gray pearls with silver spirals rounded out the tones and I was content.
My own bracelet came back home to me as well, my starting element of a simple faux jade bead transformed into a strikingly colorful, woodsy and wonderful symphony of form and texture! Technically and artistically, it was complete. Did you notice that all the pieces had a word included in some clever way-- a hammered disk, a forged ring, a resin charm? These were the brainstorm of Erin of Tresori Trovati, who asked us all at the beginning of the process to supply one word to describe ourselves. Well, my word was “transformation”. I decided to transform my bracelet into a necklace! I used several strands of different antiqued brass chains from Vintaj and a bronze ring from Michael's to balance the ornate antique button that Lorelei had crafted into a clever clasp. After repositioning a few elements so they would hang properly in their new orientation, I had an adornment that was not only handsome but something to make me smile every time I wore it, remembering the happy and challenging collaboration we five shared. If you get an invitation to be part of something like this, jump at it! You won't be disappointed.
Thank you ladies all! I celebrate your creative spirits and generous gift of your time, thoughtfulness and skill!