Beachy Keen!

It is fascinating to ask jewelry designers how they arrive at their final designs.  You hear everything from the slightly New Age-ish, “I let the beads tell me where they want to go.”,  to people who draw out detailed plans on paper first.  Some people have a definite color scheme in mind, others get out a color wheel and use it for guidance or inspiration.  Some people just start grabbing beads and somehow create something lovely with a seemingly random process.  None of these approaches is right or wrong.  They are just a reflection of our individual styles — just as each designer’s  jewelry reflects  their individual artistic voice.

Most of the time my designs are inspired by the focal bead(s) I have selected.  This was the case when I started working with the sand dollar beads I purchased from Jenelle and Daniel (see yesterday’s post).

I like to work on a Vellux bead mat, because it keeps the beads from rolling around.  So I laid out my 3 sand dollar beads on the mat, with the largest in the middle.  Four small spacer beads came with the set: two in turquoise, with sterling silver tracings and two in green.  I place the two turquoise beads on either side of the largest sand dollar.  I knew I wanted clusters of Swarovski crystals between my beads, but first I had to choose a few larger beads to go with the sand dollars.  Initially I decided to go with blue and green, but when I looked in the drawer where I keep all my green beads, I just saw the dark, dense greens of malachite, jade and serpentine.  I realized I needed the light, airy colors of sky, water and beach glass.  Looking in my drawer of turquoise beads I spied lots of pale turquoise amazonite:  Perfect!  I had amazonite in rounds, faceted ovals and carved tubes.  I can’t seem to compose jewelry in my head or on paper.  I just have to try it out.  I laid each possibility between the sand dollar beads.  It was clearly the carved tubes that looked “just right”.  I discovered, however, that using  two amazonite tubes on each side of the center bead made the bracelet too long, so I went searching in my stash for some smaller coordinating rounds.  Do you like my pick?

These beads are sometime called sugar beads because the texture on them looks like the tracings of melted sugar.  My last step was wiring it all together.  48 sterling silver wrapped loops on the Swarovski crystals took awhile, but I was so excited about how it was looking that  I could hardly wait to finish!  What do you think?