“We mustn’t search for perfection, for we will never find it.
Instead, we must search for someone whose broken pieces and jagged edges
fit together with our own, perfectly.” J.M. Grant
At the heart of the wabi-sabi aesthetic for me is the idea that the jagged holds the most promise, that the broken is beautiful. I love rust and naturally aged patinas. And I love the look of a sleek industrial machine hobbled by the ravages of the elements coupled with age. [For the inspiration photos and beads, please click here.]
For my necklace I wanted to mimic the vivid hues of those weathered cogs. I also wanted to make them fit together as if they were a working mechanical device.
I started with adding some texture to the multi-metal gear connectors. I hammered them all, front and back, with my ball-pein hammer. Next I used several colors of Vintaj patinas painted on for the great verdigris look. I used an olive green, turquoise blue, light blue, clay and metallic bronze. These patinas might be found in the scrapbook section of your local store. They are a Ranger product.
Don’t have access to these? Then you could likely use some acrylic paints. You will just need to seal them well after getting them to the color you like. That is the brilliant thing about the Vintaj metal patinas…they have a sort of toughness that acrylic paint would lack. They also have a bit of a sheen to them, which is not in keeping with my grunge-y look. So I used a sanding block to scruff them up and wear away a bit of the patina from the edges, allowing the metal of the cogs to show through.
Next I combined the cogs in clusters using jump rings. I wanted them to look as if they actually might work together. It is hard to tell you exactly where to put them, and how many. I find it best to lay the gears out and then anchor them together as I go along. In some cases I had to add extra jump rings to ensure that the pieces would stay where I put them.
In between these groupings of gears I strung some beads. Some larger single strands, and some with the smaller beads in double strands. This gives a bit of visual interest to keep your eye roving.
I also kept each beaded section slightly different in pattern to make it interesting. Then I realized as I went that I didn’t like the stark contrast of the shinier copper coils and spacers with the patina on the gears.
So after I strung them, I dabbed on a little bit of those patinas (careful not to get it on the neighboring beads) and then used the sanding block to bring back the highlights. With the coil beads in particular, it is really easy to get the paint down in there to add some character.
And thus, the Inner Workings necklace was born! I quite like it, but I might like it better if I added some long lengths of chain to the toggle clasp (repeating the same toggle on the other side for attachments). That way I would be able to wear it long or short, as the spirit moves me.
When I asked Miss Cathy Jakicic to be my partner this month, I knew that she would have a good reason to join me… to share her new book Quick & Easy Stitched Jewelry with the world. But I also knew that this could prove to be a challenge for her, when her favorite material to work with is seed beads, and here I sent her chunky agates and spiky cogs. But Miss Cathy does not shy away from a challenge, and she really rose to the occasion! She made several pieces that combine the industrial feel in quite a fresh way that I just know you will want to see more!
Hop on over to Cathy’s new blog, Couldn’t Bead Happier, to see more of what she did!
Part of the reason I chose this inspiration is because I thought I should be kind to my fellow team member, Erin Strother, and set her up with an inspiration that would be right up her alley. Not only did she get inspired by my choice of Pretty Palettes subject, but you will have to wait until TOMORROW to see the full reveal! You won’t want to miss it!
The gauntlet has been thrown down, as Erin P.H. set up this month’s challenge with subject matter I could definitely sink my teeth into. So, in the spirit of putting my money where my mouth is, I went a little over the top and did a whole, giant mixed media thing complete with gold foil, patinas, epoxy, wire, leather and chain. There is so much going on here, that I felt it deserved its own separate, more complete reveal with additional photos and a full description, complete with instructions. So, you’re all invited to come back tomorrow, (Thursday, April 28) so you can see the entire piece, and learn how I made it. No need to dress up or anything–it’s a super casual get together.
So now it is YOUR TURN!
I am super excited to see what you did with this wabi-sabi Pretty Palettes inspiration for April!
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Wow! I knew you’d pull out all the stops for this one! It’s amazing! The gears actually look old!!! Nice ‘add’ with the painting of the other copper components. Beautiful work!
I love the colors on gears and the copper beads. I have some of the copper left – I need to give that a try.
Love those painted gears! I have those same patinas, but somehow that idea to use them to paint the gears never occurred to me. I really enjoyed this month’s theme. :)
Absolutely beautiful! I am very impressed with the patina-work that you did with the gears, and the copper beads… the texture–and the composition–is perfect. I love it! :)
Obviously, we’re both geniuses, using the same Vintaj patinas on our gears. Now everyone is going to think I copied you, though. I didn’t even THINK about painting the other beads, however, so that was kind of a “oh crap, I shoulda done that” moment.
No. I think that it is more like “great minds think alike” sort of thing! I love what you did and it really did make for a unearthed-grungey-industrial-archeological-dig sort of vibe. Love it! Enjoy the day! Erin
What a fun challenge! I always learn so much when I play along and I love what you both did with the patinas on the gears!
I love what you both Created Erin and Erin! Especially how you patina-ed the metal and gave it a great “new” old look of lovingly being worn and used often. Adding the beads, both big and small, gave it so much more flow and direction. Thank you for the continued inspiration!! Enjoy your day!