Did you have a chance to sit out under the stars this month? If you did get outside, did you marvel at the beauty of the inky expanse? Did you spot any shooting stars? Or did you spot your favorite constellations through a telescope? Were you able to camp under the heavens, or at least shut off all electronics and just be… in the dark?
I didn’t get to sit out as often as I like (my son and his friends sort of took over the best fire pit nights) but I am hoping for some more cooler nights to sit under the stars.
But I did manage to make my vision for this month’s Pretty Palettes beads a reality! (The secret is to sketch it out as soon as you get the beads!)
An asterism is a pattern of stars. These patterns are what make up the constellations that we see in the night sky. Constellations have been a part of every culture in every age throughout time, but our current list was developed by Claudius Ptolemy, a Greco-Roman astronomer, who came up with a list of 48 major constellations that we still recognize today.
The one that I always look for in the night sky is the Big Dipper, also known as Ursa Major, or the Great She-Bear. This is the easiest one to connect-the-dots with for me to find. It is the one that makes it easy to locate the North Star up in Ursa Minor above, the star that shows us the way.
When I spotted those round crystal and silver sliders, I immediately thought of how much they reminded me of stars. And I knew that I wanted to find a way to make a wearable constellation for the July reveal of the Pretty Palettes.
So I created the shape of Ursa Major with 19 gauge steel wire because it is a strong wire that will keep its shape, bu you could use something else. Then it was just a matter of wrapping a 22 gauge silver wire around the frame with the sliders as the main cluster of stars interspersed with the soft grey glow of the glass rondelles (I am quite smitten with those beads). Then it was just a pattern of the remaining beads to make this asymmetrical necklace I call Ursa Major. Incredibly hard to photograph, but absolutely celestial loveliness on!
Adding to the set is a pair of earrings that I call Shooting Stars. I had two of those sliders left and used the wonderful beaded fringe chain connected to the bottom. Two tiny hematite stars are at the end of the sparks.
And then I decided to do something I don’t normally do…make a ring. This North Star ring is made fairly simply with about 3 feet of wire wrapped freeform. I knew that I wanted that last slider to be the center, the soft grey glowing rondelles are like the lesser stars. I didn’t have enough of the hematite stars to encircle the ring entirely, so I decided to just make an arc over the horizon. A great way to use up those leftovers at the end of a project!
My Pretty Palettes partner for this month was randomly selected from our faithful readers. Marianne Baxter.
I asked her to answer a few questions so we can get to know her…
1 :: What unexpected place do your find inspiration for your designs?
I find inspiration in textures that I see either in nature or on materials you might find. I also am a color fanatic so the more colorful the better.
Wait until you get a load of the necklace that Miss Erin Strother made for the Pretty Palettes! It perfectly embodies the starry night sky and I want to make one!
There’s something mysterious and almost literary about the color combination of black and purple. Like, if the scene from “Macbeth” with the three witches, or “Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil” were colors, I’m positive they would be black and purple. So I set out to create something with a hint of starry sparkle, but also a bit strange and spooky, to evoke the feeling of a brooding night sky
I ended up with a tangle of black wire with floating sparks of silver, blue and white, punctuated by an eye of amethyst running through the middle. I was originally planning to do a bracelet with matching earrings, but after connecting a few links, I decided a necklace would be much more decadent. You could easily create a few more links and make the entire necklace this way if you prefer. I purposely didn’t do that because I don’t like the feel of a lot of stuff going on around the back of my neck, so I tend to keep things simple back there. Also, I’m admittedly pretty lazy and wanted to get finished as quickly as possible so I could watch “Last Week Tonight with John Oliver” while eating a giant bowl of pasta.
Your turn! Let’s see what you came up with inspired by the beauty of the July night sky.
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Erin P-H- this may just be my favorite set that you’ve made! So imaginative and very impressive execution ! Thank you for being such a creative spark for me (and many others, I’m sure)!!
Erin S- as always, I can’t wait to read your commentary! Always fun! Oh, and your necklace is cool too! ;-)
I absolutely love the constellation necklace! Wow! So impressive and lovely… I am blown away. In fact, everything is lovely! (I also love the combination of purple and black, and am definitely loving the purple-and-black necklace. Those links are awesome!)
I love the design concept behind this constellation necklace–so clever! The beautiful beads really make it elegant. And the tiny stars at the bottom of the earrings? Such perfect details!
The black wired necklace with amethyst beads is so intriguing–the tiny beads and tangle of wires really make you take a closer look so as not to miss any details. Delicate and industrial at the same time! I love it!