Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Custom Work - A Modern Sweet 16

I was asked by sorority sister of mine that I reconnected with on Facebook to make her niece's Sweet 16 present of a bracelet and matching earrings. We originally discussed animal prints, black & white, or pink and I made a flurry of samples. We then shifted direction to the teenager's favorite colors: purple, blue and green.

I must say, I struggled a bit with this palette. I had issues finding the right value of these colors to work well together. (Value for those of you that haven't studied painting is the difference between light and dark in a color. All good artwork takes value into consideration... you simply must have a good balance of light and dark!) I tossed more beads than I kept.

In the end, it was trial and error - more error than trial - that helped me find the right palette. These are all Bullseye glass, used for several reasons - more range in the purple and green colors and... because I decided that a 16 year old simply would not love the big clunky beads I favor, I needed to work small. So the extra stiffness of the 90 COE was appreciated.

About the Beads: I made lots of twisties in my color and value tests. Making a twisty - whether you use it in the beads or not is a good way to get a feel for how colors are going to play together in the finished piece. Once I have found the right values in the transparent range, I chose opaques in the same colors. My twitsy work showed up in only two beads in final piece.

Working small was also a challenge... I would need more beads if they were small! And I get bored easily so I really enjoyed seeing if there were new designs I could make and keep them small! My dot work got amazingly better because of the smaller surface! And I had just learned a few tricks about daisy beads and that shape ended up being prominent in the final design.

I can also say, I am finally on the road to mastering stripes! But I plan a whole blog post on that. I also attempted the smallest cupcake I've ever made! Along the way I tossed in a few of the usual suspects: sugar beads, swirls, disks and a funny little wrapped bead that I'm dying to explore further. It's the third lampwork bead left of the clasp in the photo below:

About the bracelet: It is seven inches and the clasp connects to a sterling heart chain to give an inch of growing room. The dangle at the end features Swarovski purple bicone and green daisy with a blue lampworked daisy. The beads are arranged with smaller ones in the back, building toward the bigger beads and focal. There are dangles made of Swarovski crystals and that little cupcake.

About the earrings: Measuring 2 3/8" long and are made of lightweight beads for comfort. The heart chain and daisy theme is reflected in the earrings with tiny beads dangling from the chain and connected to a daisy crystal. Figaro chain was also used to add interest. Rubber earring backs prevent the earrings from slipping.
Hopefully, this is a piece my friend's niece will treasure always.

1 comment:

Lauren said...

I'm jealous of the 16-year-old who will get to wear this! The bracelet is wonderful - I love it! And the cupcake is the perfect addition for a sweet 16. Nice work, Holly!