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I set myself a challenge to use beads my mom had given me and post my results on 3 March. I wanted to achieve two things: firstly to make something with a definite focal, and secondly to have an interesting clasp. This is what I started out with:

Mixed beads

I made a pair of simple earrings by way of a warm up and as part of my 52 earrings challenge.

Beaded Earrings

glass bead focal

Next I decided to focus on the focal. I stacked the two lampwork beads together, and gave them a belt of silver glass beads around the middle. I had a vague idea of making it into a sort of tassel pendant, but it lacked punch. So I framed this with the two large oval beads with the idea of making it into a bracelet. I used wire to make a rigid curved oval and had a chain running from each corner. Now while I loved the focal this proved hopeless as a bracelet – the weight of the glass beads meant it instantly slipped to the underside of the wrist when worn.

Beaded bracelet focal

So off with the chain, and because I am moving house* I discovered an old (broken) hair clip while unpacking. The broken hair clip was a kind of filigree nest to go over a bun with a stick to hold it in place. Some of the filigree had broken off from the nest but the stick was still fine and matched beautifully – magically my failed bracelet focal was the perfect hair clip.

Beaded hairclip

After this success I knew I wanted to make a pair of matching earrings. While making the hair clip I hadn’t had a clear picture of what I wanted to do and it had almost seemed to make itself, the opposite was true for the earrings. I knew exactly what I wanted (i.e. Art Deco Chinoiserie Lace) and it took many iterations of making, undoing and remaking to get something like what I had in mind. (There were many variations that looked like dreadlocks or spider’s legs!) I ended up making polymer clay beads to match the black oval ones in the hair clip and actually only ended up using the red beads from the original bead salad.

Black and silver beaded earrings

My next challenge was to make a pretty clasp. It would have been easier to make a toggle using polymer clay, but I was determined to use some of the salad beads. Again I struggled with this for a while until the coloured wire I had ordered arrived. Suddenly by using pink wire the green bead and wire toggle was pretty, the lampwork beads with pink flowers suddenly matched and their black cores made a link to the lava beads.

Necklace with lava beads and pink wire

And my baby daughter thinks the toggle is delicious!

Pink wire and bead toggle


*Moving house is also why these pictures are poor – I haven’t got my usual photography setup available (it’s 300 miles away).

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