Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Embracing Simplicity...

I was talking with a friend of mine, who was lamenting the fact that she has the most beautiful collection of lampwork beads, but does not have the time to do anything with them. I suggested that she do something simple with them and allow the lampwork beads to be the stars of the show. It may be very satisfying to spend hundreds of hours on a single project, but it is not the only option! To demonstrate this point, I've created five designs that are super simple and very quick to achieve. The fine folks at Auntie's Beads generously donated the lampwork beads featured in all of the projects in this post. Auntie's Beads has a wide selection of lampwork glass beads at very affordable prices. CLICK HERE to check them out.

These stylish earrings took mere minutes to make. The smoky grey glass rondelles accentuated with white swirls and dots dangle freely at the ends of these almond-shaped earwires (from Saki Silver). I like how the snowy arabesques enhance the feel of movement.

This necklace was even quicker to make and doesn't require any tools at all! Simply string large-holed lampwork beads, like these white glass rondelles with black lines and dots on a stainless steel ball chain necklace. Add as many or as few as you like.

If stringing beads on a ball chain is too easy for your tastes, why not embellish your bead with a decorative headpin? I dressed up this black glass oval pendant with gold foil by stringing it on a thicker gauge, extra long headpin. Once it was strung, I hammered out the end (not the ball end) of the headpin and created a fancy wire-wrap, hugging the contours of the bead. You can make the hammered part as long as you want, embracing the entire bead or partway as I've done in the example above. The embellished dangle was then strung simply on a ball chain and is perfect for switching out depending on the occasion or your mood.

The above bracelet, spotlighting three black and beige bumpy lampwork glass beads, is a little more time-consuming, but is still fairly simple. I am smitten with the earthy, organic look of this bracelet. I paired the lampwork beads with coconut shell spacer rondelles from Talisman Associates Inc. Everything is strung on Softflex Company flexible beading wire attached with crimp-tubes to a shibuichi toggle from my family.

Tip: Use your thumb and forefinger to capture several rondelles still on the strand at a time while stringing. This is much faster than stringing one individual bead at a time.

Another simple solution to creating fast and wallet-friendly jewelry to showcase your bead collection is heavy-gauge base-metal chain. The natural brass chain picks up the metallic glitter in this caramel-colored lampwork bead with silver foil and makes for a speedy bracelet project. Use jump rings to attach your toggle and bronze wire to wire-wrap the focal bead in place. The lampwork bead becomes a lovely link in this chain!

All of these designs collectively took less than 30 minutes to make. There's no excuse to hide your lampwork glass bead collection when creating polished, modern jewelry is just so easy!

14 comments:

jamberry_song said...

Ah, the simplicity of these designs is so elegant!

Jeni said...

So true Andrew! I love to put a lampwork bead on a headpin and hang it from a chain while I decide what I really want to do with it. Then it doesn't feel sad being hidden away in a drawer. Sometimes they make their way into other projects and other times it's nice just to have easily interchangeable pendants to match whatever I'm wearing.

Emerald Window said...

If your friend has n excess of beads, she could trade some of them for other types of jewelry and then see what the other jewelry artists make with her beads.
Cenya

Nicki said...

I think you are right - we owe it to the lampwork beads (and their artists) not to hide them. I will try my best to get better at it.

EB Bead and Metal Works said...

Love the simplicity of the designs! Though I am bad at hording my beads, though I am better with mom helping me with my problem. They are just soo pretty (and MINE!). Thank you for your design tips!

Alice said...

I just love lampwork beads and agree they should be showcased to let their beauty shine.

Your designs are great. So many times I hear my customers say they appreciate having statement pieces, but sometimes they just want something simple. I try to provide a variety.

horimarika said...

The bracelet with the caramel bead is my favourite! But the bead with gold foil!!! It's such and elegant and great solution.

kate mckinnon said...

You know what makes me happy as a clam in this post, right? Those crimp tubes tucked safely behind those little coconut shell spacers in your bracelet.

Right the hell on!!!!

It still stuns me, how many crimps I see jammed up next to clasps, with the wire pulled tight.

Your designs are lovely, and really help bring home the point that not all creation has to be such heavy weather. People obsess about complex creations when often the simplest treatment is best for handmade beads.

TesoriTrovati said...

Simple is divine, Andrew. I have to reign myself in. But I did with some glass that was created for me by Dora Schubert. Not only are her beads stunners by themselves, but they are quite pricey so to keep it wallet-friendly I just had to. Thanks for sharing your inspiration! Enjoy the day! Erin

Softflexgirl said...

:)

Kokopelli said...

Nice simple projects for special beads! Thanks for sharing!

Craftymoose Crafts said...

You are so right--the beads are the stars of these pieces!

Michelle Mach said...

The earrings are my favorite!

Anonymous said...

The beads are great. While I love many products from Auntie's Beads, my absolute favorite is the breadth of tutorials, both written and video.

KipperCat from BD forum