Catching up and the Revised Nelson Necklace

Oh wow. I haven't posted anything here for about 8 weeks! Not that I haven't been making. And not that I haven't been thinking about posting ... the pictures were taken. But somehow it just didn't get done. Let's just blame summer time. So expect a little flurry of posts over the next while as I get caught up.

Mostly I've been making things with beads this summer. I like to be outside as much as I can vs. sitting at a sewing machine. And Mark and I are often on the road, heading out for a day or two at some fishing hole or a weekend away with friends, so beads are the most portable solution to the need to be making something all the time. I can grab a few tools and some beads from the stash, pack them in my handy little travel kit, toss it in the back of the car and head out.

Here's the thing about my extensive bead stash - sometimes (OK a lot of the time) I forget what is in there. So going looking for something often results in finding something else. That was the case for this necklace.

The lampwork focal bead was a gift from my brother-in-law Ken Predy last year*. It was made by a local glass artist in Edmonton.

It's very unusual in that this big black lentil appears to have an internal light source! No matter what lighting conditions you view it under, the red spot appears to glow. Cool. And there is triangular dichroic patch and little black bumps that bring more points of interest to the bead. This bead is about 4 cm across and the two sides are slightly different as you can see by these first two pictures.

I'd worn the bead alone as a pendant for a while, but that never seemed to fully show it off and so I'd tucked it away in the stash. Fast forward to this summer and me looking for a couple of beads to fix another piece. And there it was, glowing away all by itself. Time to turn it into something with impact.

For this piece I committed myself to only using beads from the stash - no new additions. In the design I've played with contrast and similarity.

The main part of the necklace is made from narrow oval glass beads that look like raku fired pottery. They are smooth and flat and feel like silky river stones. The raku effect mimics the dichroic glass in the focal bead and their flat finish contrasts with that bead's glossy surface.

Initially I strung just these beads with the focal, but they were too bunched together and you couldn't really appreciate their shapes. Also something was missing. So back to the stash and the discovery a precious few red Japanese Miracle Beads.

These are amazing beads that have a coloured core with a silvered coating and then many layers of lacquer on top. When light passes through the layers and is reflected they actually seem to glow. When they were first introduced years ago they were really expensive. I don't see them in the bead shops much anymore, but they are readily available online and are very affordable. They are not the same quality as these original ones however and seem to have a graininess to the inner bead.

A couple of shiny black glass disks and glass seed beads (all from the stash) round out the supplies.

Here's the finished Nelson Necklace. Impact achieved I think!

Thanks Ken!

* View from 2012 birthday breakfast by the harbour at the Prestige Lakeside Resort in Nelson BC. Hence the "Nelson Necklace". I had steel cut oats with fresh berries and maple syrup that morning.

It was a truly great trip for Mark, Hilary, Ken and me. Sometimes we forget that Canada is so beautiful.


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