Monday, June 02, 2014


I was asked to participate in a project for Beads of Courage.  Soft Flex Company is hosting a special Design Challenge.  The young participants in the Beads of Courage program were asked to design beads for various positive affirmations.  The designs were then given to glass bead-makers, who created pieces based on those original drawings.  After the beads were made, they went to designers who were asked to create pieces of jewelry out of them.  The one criteria was to incorporate Soft Flex flexible beading wire or Soft Flex Craft Wire into the designs.

I was given the "Life" bead to work with.  It was designed by Gilina Voon and was made by Robert Simmons. It features a bright, happy butterfly.  It was a challenge for me, because it's so different from what I normally work with.  I had to think about it and percolate on it for awhile.  (I also had a few different versions going, before I finally committed to this one.)

When I thought about the construction of the piece, I knew that I wanted it to be a shorter necklace.  Shorter, because I wanted it to be comfortable to wear, have the bead not flip, and have the bead clearly be the main focus.

To form the base of the necklace, I took eight different colors of Soft Flex flexible beading wire and created a knot-braid with kumihimo.  I selected the colors from the rainbow of colors of the bead.  I wanted the kumihimo braid to symbolize how we are all connected and our lives weave in and out of one another's.  I then loosely braided it with two strands of flexible beading wire spaced out with Swarovski crystals crimped in place.  This symbolizes the ups and downs of life.  From there, I added dangles.  I used glass pearls, recycled African glass, and vintage flower headpins for the dangles.  It gives the piece a little bit of playful movement.  To close it up, I selected a butterfly clasp from Nina Designs.

It was an honor to participate in this project.  They'll be displayed in Milwaukee during the Bead&Button Show, so it'll be nice to see it again in a few short days.  I wanted something that was fun and a little showy, and I think I accomplished that.

1 comment:

TesoriTrovati said...

That is such an awesome piece, Andrew! I need to post about my piece (gave a sneak peak of it a few weeks ago). Hopefully I can get a post put together before I leave for Bead & Button on Thursday. I was honored to be selected to participate and even more humbled to be with designers that I am in awe of and admire so greatly, like you. I look forward to seeing all the creations at the show and hope that the bidding will bring in a lot of money for such a worthy cause! Enjoy the day. Erin