Tuesday, 26 April 2016

Hammered Copper Swirl Connectors with Mexican Turquoise Button Beads...

Yikes, almost a month has gone by without making anything new and I've totally abandoned wire weaving for now. Along with a crazy amount of typing, Nancy Mac and I are packing up and closing our antique mall booth as of this Friday and have begun supplying an online auction and antique & collectibles store in the next town. More on that next week!

Meanwhile, every week at the market I've been doing more and more jewellery repairs and restringing for my customers, as well as fixing broken jewellery for Lianne the Vintage Lady in the next booth. I taught her how to make stretch bracelets out of repurposed/recycled broken jewellery, and I think she's made close to 50 in the past two weeks.

Here is my latest redesign dilemma: remaking a really, ummm... "nice" necklace bought on a Caribbean holiday, but my customer is not into purple: each of these beads and the sterling hummingbird component were dangling from multiple ends of a long and very purple leather lariat. Beautiful hot beachy colours had somehow lost their hot beachiness up here in the cold light of... a cold and grey and dreary winter.

What to do???

My customer had certain requests. We discussed using brown leather lacing and basically replicating the original lariat, but she liked the idea of a firmer, adjustable black leather cord, if for no other reason that she thought she'd get more wear out of something black versus bright purple (or even a brown) and she really liked that it's adjustable. She also liked the idea of a clasp in front from which she could add or subtract items.

My immediate problem was -- and still is -- dealing with the hole orientation of the turquoise beads. Much as I love the shape, wheel and button beads are a bit tricky to utilise flat.

I came up with these hammered copper swirl connectors, but now that I've put it all together, I'm thinking the swirly bits might be a bit too competitive, although the bright copper will eventually tarnish, so it might not be too bad. The clasp might have to be swapped out for a larger one, as well.

In silhouette, how the dangles would look together:

Another option would be to suspend the turquoise bits from chain that would hang behind the hummingbird -- and all of them would be attached to the clasp. Now if only I could remember where I put a very nice vintage-style blackened copper chain that would be perfect.

The other thing I have to keep in mind is overall body proportion. My customer is of average height and quite slight. Another option would be to split all the components up into two necklaces, hummingbird on one, and which would be worn shorter, and the dangles on the second cord.

Closeup of the copper swirls. This is the first time I've tried doing this, and they're surprisingly secure. This would be a great way to make a necklace or even bracelet, and the free movement between the links is really nice. I used 20 gauge dead soft copper wire, keeping hammering to a minimum where wires crossed. I first tried it with tinned copper, in order to pick up the silver colour of the hummingbird, but the turquoise needs the copper.

Definitely a work in progress. I'm currently waiting to hear back from my customer, but in the meantime please let me know what you think.

Remember, I'm at the Woodstock Farmers Market every Saturday morning from 7:00 a.m. until noon, but if you're an early bird, I'm usually there setting up by 5:00 a.m. I restring and can redesign just about any bracelet or necklace, swap out dodgy old earwires for new sterling fishhook or leverback earwires (usually while you wait/do your shopping) and of course I have all kinds of neat and interesting semi-precious, crystal, sterling and pewter pendants, necklaces, earrings for all ages and tastes, and all make great Mother's Day, Father's Day, grad, birthday gifts. Or even just because. It's finally spring, we're safe from killer hydro and heating bills, and it's so nice to treat yourself for a change. If you can't make it to the market, please email me for any requests.

Thanks for stopping by, and see you at the market!