We’re excited to welcome Erin Strother as a member of the Halcraft design team! Here’s her December Pretty Palettes project: Hoping for Disneyland
Happy New Year from Halcraft USA!
I couldn’t have been more pleased with Erin’s Pretty Palette theme this month. After all, mixing metals is as easy for me as mixing metaphors. I do it ALL. THE. TIME. (Metals, that is—not metaphors.) And I’ll let you in on my big secret of successfully mixing metals. Here it is: Don’t over-think it. In fact, don’t even think about it AT ALL.
My bead board looks like it came straight out of an episode of “Hoarders,” with loose wire and random jump rings and leftover ribbon and stray beads and bent head pins and scraps of paper with ideas scribbled on them, and dog hair and cookie crumbs everywhere. And I’m seriously, so lazy that I NEVER clean it off. I just use whatever happens to be in front of my eyeballs at the moment. So, like, there’s a 3” scrap of gold wire, and it’s about the right length for what I need, so I just grab it and use it. The next piece might be copper. Or silver. Same with jump rings.
This is what I sound like inside my own head, while designing a necklace:
Me: “I need a jump ring. I should probably open my well-organized, divided jump ring container and find exactly the right size and color. Blah. I’ll just use this one laying here, all handy-like. Oh, wait, it’s actually a link of chain—not a jump ring at all. Too late. It’s on there now. I need another jump ring. I should find a matching one. Nah. I’ll just use this completely random one, due to its close proximity to my pliers.”
So, stuff doesn’t always match, and I use a lot of stray, leftover beads and little weird scraps I find lying about. I’m sure some people think my work looks like I ran down aisle 9 at K-Mart, grabbed everything I could carry and threw it onto a necklace. But I kind of LIKE things like that. Life isn’t a tidy, symmetrical perfect thing. It’s messy and chaotic, and sometimes you have to make do with what you’ve got. Often, the best way to deal with it is to admit you’ve lost any semblance of control, and just go along for the ride and see where you end up. (Personally, I’m hoping for Disneyland.)
So, in that spirit, my necklace for this month’s challenge is a form of organized chaos.
I started with some silver chain, and a nifty silver and gold fleur-de-lys pendant. The pendant originally came with a nice heavy bale, which I promptly broke by opening and closing it too many times, due to massive indecision about where it should hang. (If you want to KEEP the bale, I strongly suggest planning ahead, placing it once, and sticking to that plan. Plans are good. Do as I say, not as I do.)
I added some cool, gold electroplated points, blingy faceted crystal nuggets, classic black rondelles, silver spacers, and of course, my tried and true stand-by, white pearls. (My motto: when in doubt, use pearls. Also, never wear a white shirt while eating lasagna, but that’s another story.) I made some nice dangles out of everything (except lasagna, which is not at all good for making necklaces) and started attaching them to links of chain. It started looking predictable pretty quickly, so I found a left-over scrap of leather lace, punched a hole in the top and attached an eyelet. (I love eyelets, don’t you?) Another scrap of leather cord got folded into a loop, secured with a fold-over cord end and wrapped in gold wire. I hung a couple of little dangles from this loop as well, so it wouldn’t feel dejected and left out. I could have stopped there, but where’s the fun in that? I felt like it needed some swingy chain for movement, so I threw some on in three random lengths, mostly because I don’t like measuring. You may also notice that my choice of metals for wire wrapping and jump rings are also pretty random, and I assure you, this was not at all carefully orchestrated, but totally a result of my “hoarder-style” bead board.
Finally, I used a simple lobster clasp to finish it, so the length is adjustable. This piece would feel right at home with a little black dress and heels, but would look equally great with a white T-shirt, jeans and black biker boots.
I’m pretty happy with how it turned out, and although I did originally consider naming this piece, “Hoarding New Orleans,” I instead, opted for the more optimistic (if not slightly ambiguous) title, “Hoping for Disneyland.”
I just love your design methodologies. I actually have the same practice (although today I actually am pulling every tripping hazard off the floor and vacuuming and putting things back and trying – Trying – to clean off a space to work on the table. If you don’t hear from me in 48 hours, call the authorities because it may have caved me in!). So glad you are playing along with me. It feels like a party when you are around, Miss Erin! Enjoy the day! Erin, the other ;-)
What a great eclectic mix of charms! Love your name, I’m not yet naming my pieces… I had a hard enough time naming my blog! :)
I like how your mind works and your design process was so inspiring! I have such a mess on my desk and instead of trying to clean up maybe I should just create. :)
I definitely consider messiness to be a “feature,” not a fault. ;-)
Erin I totaly love how this piece came together. It is awesome, whimsical and elegant at the same time.