Friday, 5 August 2011

Tartan necklaces? It really CAN be done!

My latest challenge: tartan jewellery for a wedding themed round a very unusual tartan - 'muted' or 'weathered' MacKenzie, which is a lovely soft olivey green and grey-blue with thin stripes of red and white.

Initially, the bride asked me to create a wrist-cuff using blocks of just those basic colours in Swarovski crystals.  It wasn't successful.  Although there are only half a dozen thread colours, as they inter-weave with each other, they produce more colours.

Eventually I selected some 20 shades, around half of them AB to add to the 'texture', and including some translucent ones.

Woven into a firm band, exactly matching the rhythm and weave of the tartan: the finished necklace forming a pointed vee at the centre front.  It was lovely, but - frankly - still didn't look like tartan.

So, we abandoned the attempt at matching the actual weave of the tartan and, instead, concentrated on the colours.  I went back to my analysis of the cloth sample and worked out what percentage of each colour was needed and threaded them more or less randomly.  As the strands were assembled, it became apparent that the crystals were in fact too bright: in the final design, the irridescent clear rocaille were replaced by matte gunmetal grey ones.

To give the bridesmaids more wearing options after the Big Day, the strands were assembled as one- three- and five-strand groups, each attached to a ring connector with a tiny lobster catch so that the girls can choose any permutation of groups and so wear anything between one and nine strands at a time.

The girls each wore two four-strand elasticated bracelets rather than one very wide cuff to increase daytime wearability after the Big Day.

The end result?  A delighted bride and bridesmaids, and some unique and very wearable jewellery.

Price guide: £250 for a long (50cm) 9-strand necklace and two four-strand bracelets, including all colour research and sourcing to match any chosen tartan.

Tuesday, 17 May 2011

Fish-tail re-vamp

A real "signature" piece - striking and unique

If you have a necklace you've grown tired of, or a pendant you are fond of but has become unfashionable, all is not lost: it can be reworked into something new.

The centrepiece is a silver-metal and abalone shell pendant which my daughter brought me from 5th Avenue a couple of years ago.
The huge heavy lead crystal rounds come
from a broken necklace picked up at a
jumble sale 20 years ago and hoarded
jealously for special occasions.
The brownish-grey shades of the abalone
shell are picked up by the Swarovski
crystal pearls in Platinum.

Finally, a neat lobster catch and chain
extension, finished off with a teardrop
and another rondelle of vintage crystal.

Friday, 3 December 2010

Multi-way modular necklace 'recipes'

Have finally got round to working through photos of some of the strands available for my  new multi-way necklace - pretty much the sky's the limit, which is the beauty of the design.  Strands generally cost £10-£15 but occasionally more, e.g. the lapis lazuli / silver chain below.

7mm brown freshwater pearls (dyed)
+ 4mm Czech fire-polished facets
from the front:-
- garnet & Swarovski crystal
- wood & faceted 'squashed cushions'
- freshwater perl & czech fire-polished
- turquoise & czech silver-dipped
- goldstone & czech bronze-dipped
- frosted glass & fire-polished cubes
- lapiz lazuli & sterling silver chain
- lime & gilded cubes
Possibly my favourite!
4mm natural polished garnet rounds +
4mm Swarovski crystal facets  
10mm blonde wood rounds
+ 10mm topaz squashed facets
7mm reconstituted turquoise rounds
+ 4mm Czech silvery-dipped facets
7mm goldstone rounds +
4mm Czech bronzy-dipped facets
6mm natural lapis lazuli rounds
pinned & linked by sterling silver
belcher chain

7mm frosted white glass rounds
+ 3mm fire-polished glass cubes

3mm lime rainbow alternate with
gilded Miyuki cubes

Thursday, 11 November 2010

Charity begins ....

I was just updating the front page of my website with a photo of the modular necklace I designed for the Scottish Football Hall of Fame dinner tomorrow night and realised I haven't actually written a proper description of two previous charity necklaces.

Two years ago I made one for my beloved cousin Irene's Pink Lunch in aid of Breast Cancer Research - freshwater pearls, amethyst Swarovski crystals and tiny pink irridescent seed beads twisted with copper, silver and pewter tubes.

Then last year I made a most spectacular piece for the Women of Influence lunch, raising funds for Action for Children - an insane sculpture based on a metre of heavy sterling silver wire interwoven with glass beads, crystals and semi-precious stones, suspended on a heavy chain.  Complete fantasy!

Friday, 29 October 2010

Football charity dinner necklace finished!

click for web page
The necklace I promised for the raffle/auction at the Scottish Football Hall of Fame Awards Dinner next month is complete and with the promoters Blog the Daily Mail. I'm rather pleased with it - the official blah below will also be on my website just as soon as I can get the control panel to accept my password and upload the pages :(

Meanwhile, since I'm feeling rather enthused about it, thought I'd describe it properly here.

It's a modular system - the catch & connector part can accept up to 3, 5 or 10 strands depending on the connector.  Strands can be made up of any combination of pearls, Swarovski, semi-precious pebbles etc, and then fasten to the connector with tiny lobster catches.  The strands can be left separate, plaited or twisted, and each is long enough to be worn as a choker in its own right.

The connection module is sterling silver and costs £15-£20 depending on the size of the connectors.  Strands start at £10.

Adaptable interchangeable modular necklace may be worn with one, two or three strands, which in turn may be left separate, plaited, twisted, or even strung end-to-end. Each strand can also be worn individually as a choker. Additional strands can be made to order by the designer in a near-infinite variety of semi-precious gemstones, pearls and Swarovski crystals. Five- and ten-strand variations are also available.

This example combines large fresh-water pearls, vintage Chinese silk-wrapped beads, Swarovski and Czech crystals with metallic Miyuki cubes and glass rocaille. Sterling silver round spring catch and chain with tiny puffed heart, three-way connectors and mini-lobster catches.