22 Jan 2012

All copper and earth tones this week

I don’t seem to have been able to get my teeth into much new lately, all of my orders have been for re-makes of existing designs. Absolutely nothing wrong with that whatsoever, but you do get the creative itch to be doing something for the first time and my head is always bursting with ideas wanting to take form.

Lovely translucent oval Jade beads spiral wrapped in antiqued copper.

A young couple who have been my son’s closest friends, for what must be something like 10 years, asked me to make a necklace for his Mum (and she’s my friend too) for her birthday this week and wanted something in ‘earth tones’ for her. I showed them some designs and we honed it down to close to what they had in mind.

A smaller version of my spiral coils necklace – the coils are a slightly smaller gauge and shorter too – we thought that she might not suit the heaviness of the other ones I’d made, so I scaled it down a little. This one may well remain with me, I was promising to make myself one with some of these gorgeous blue green Indian Fancy Jasper lanterns.

But we were a bit up against it time-wise, so I suggested that I should make a few new pieces that fit their brief, from which they could choose the one they like best and the rest would simply be new stock for my shops.

Whilst digging through my bead stash for ‘earth tone’ beads, I found several that I liked but were too small for the designs I had in mind, so I fancied the idea of one with leaves and berries, so this necklace features a random toning selection of copper and earth green leaves and berries. I intended it to be a short length in the centre of a collar length necklace, but wondered if a heavier central feature bead might cause it to fall into more of a V at the neckline, so added this large Rhyolite coin in the centre with some rosy copper buds above it.

I’ve found that it’s often quicker to work that way than try and thrash out all of the details before picking up the tools – just depending on the nature of the piece they want and how fixed the customer is in their ideas – and how many ideas I have!

Once I got into the zone for the colours and style they wanted, the ideas quickly flowed and I ended up with the 4 designs shown here for them to consider, which thankfully they liked well enough that they were stuck to decide and did indeed go for the one I had placed my little personal wager on.

The necklace they chose; with Indian Fancy Jasper lantern beads spiral wrapped between hammered copper washers.

They thankfully stated their preference a couple of days before they came to collect it, which gave me the opportunity to make a matching pair of earrings as my gift for her too.

The earrings I made to go with them. She doesn’t often wear long earrings, so I wanted to keep them as short as possible, yet match the design, so I put them on a hammered paddle pin which allowed me to continue the spiral into a couple of wraps below the bead.

Talking of jewellery gifts reminds me to include a bracelet that I made for a Christmas gift – it was a variation of one of my standard and regular selling designs; a solid copper double wrapped link antiqued bracelet – which I normally close with a large hook clasp. In this case, I felt the recipient might struggle to fasten the clasp on her own, so opted for a toggle clasp instead.

There’s clearly more time and work in making the toggle, which would certainly increase the price, but I think I might add this variation to my shop too. In fact, when I am more flush and can justify using the materials for myself, I’d like one like this in Sterling silver, I think it would make a good everyday ‘go with anything’ bracelet that would be easy to wear.