Friday, April 26, 2013

Fly Away

Sweet freedom whispered in my ear 
You're a butterfly 
And butterflies are free to fly
Fly away, high away, bye bye 
Elton John

On May  3rd and 4th I will be helping fellow AJE team member, Kristi Bowman, with her booth at the Whole Bead Show in Lynnwood, WA. I'm looking forward to spending a couple of days with Kristi and getting a behind the scenes view of what it is like to be a vendor at a bead show.

In preparation, I have been making some jewelry to wear to the show, using Kristi's metal clay components.  I took pictures of each step of the design, so I could share my thinking, as it developed during the process. I began with Kristi's bronze clay butterfly.  I've been hoarding this for awhile, so it was time to put this little beauty to use.

My first step is the jewelry design equivalent of brainstorming.  Anything goes.  I think freely and creatively at this point and pull out all the beads that could conceivably be used in the design.  In this instance I wanted a peach and turquoise necklace.  Here's my brainstorm pile of possibilities.

I bought the burnt orange leather cording on the way home from work yesterday.  Unfortunately, it was only available in a 1 mm size and I was worried it might be too thick.

My fears were well founded.  Only the large turquoise beads fit on the leather.  Drat! After some thought, I figured I could string about 5-6 inches of beads on either side of the butterfly, using brass colored stringing wire.  Then I could use the rust orange leather to complete the back of the necklace.

So with this new plan in mind, I started editing my beads and organizing them.  I was looking for beads whose size would be proportional to the fairly small butterfly pendant.  I also wanted a variety of shapes and textures. I chose oblong, textured turquoise beads and round peach beads that are part opaque and part  translucent.  I added some light peach teardrop shaped beads that create a zig-zag pattern and some slightly darker turquoise cube shaped beads.

I decided I wanted some dangles on either side of the pendant, so I threaded some beads onto ball end brass head pins and laid them out by jump rings that I attached to each wing.

At this point I had some tentative designs floating through my head, so it was time to get started.  I attached the dangles to the jump rings and crimped on my stringing wire,

I came up with two possible designs and strung them both to see which I liked best.  I chose the one on the left, although, in the end, I tweaked it again.  Once I decided on the final version, I strung both sides to match.

Then it was time to add the leather.  I tied largish loops on the ends of the leather and made a small loop of the stringing wire around the leather.  I crimped the stringing wire and covered the crimps with crimp covers. On the other end, I tied knots as close to the ends of the leather as possible and then glued the leather inside the brass bead caps.  I added the clasp on one side and a short chain on the other side, so the necklace would be adjustable.  I made a little dangle to decorate the end of the chain.

Now I'm all ready to help Kristi at the show.  Well....not quite ready.  I still need earrings.  Come back to the AJE blog on Sunday for our earring reveal blog hop.  I'm making earrings to accompany my new necklace!


  1. Beautiful, Linda! Love this idea, too, of posting a step by step guide to what we create! Great job, my friend.

  2. Your necklace turned out beautifully! The colors are perfect and do the lovely butterfly justice. Can't wait to see the earrings.


  3. Gorgeous necklace! And I especially loved seeing your design process.

  4. Yummy necklace! Thanks for showing us your process!

  5. LOVE what you created with this butterfly, that component is a blast from the past for sure. I'd forgotten how beautiful it was and I love what you did with it!!

  6. Cute necklace design. And I love that you use cupcake wrappers to hold your beads.


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