Confessions of a Crystal Hoarder Blog

Confessions of a Crystal Hoarder Blog

Focus on Focals

Posted by Elizabeth Hamilton on Nov 4th 2013

When I first peeled open October’s box I thought…either this is some sort of Bead Hoard Arc, with many things being pairs…or I’m supposed to be thinking about earrings. 

Yeah, well, I’m focusing on focals!

But first, “a learn from my mistake” note: back up your images right now. I mean it, now. I archive images on an external hard drive every 6 months, and keep them on a USB (but not on my laptop). My USB broke. Yup- broke. In half. So, go back up your back up. I’ll wait.

Ok…now we can focus. My goal this month was to use the pairs to challenge myself to think of each piece as a focal two different ways.

We’ll start with the large vintage corrugated beads from my box. I’ve used these beads for various projects before, so part of my challenge was to try to find some other way to use them. At first I thought about just adding the bead to a cord, and letting it be a minimalist statement…but somehow I don’t think that we take up beading to make minimalist statements.

I was going to use the cups on these plated rosette stackers for rhinestones (as they were intended) but that would have stolen the thunder. So I chose instead to turn them into supersized beadcaps. I like that they are just a little bit skeletal- it’s an echo of the ribs on the blue bead.

The other blue bead became a stacker. You may recall that I’ve squished and dapped these beads for stackers before (see “Talk to the Hand”), but this time I wanted to make something more sweet than funky. Much like the other version, I rolled with the ribbed texture. In this pendent, I like how the ribs form line that both aid and constrain visual movement. EEEEK! I can tell I’ve been doing a lot of proposal write-ups and presentations lately. The only way to ramp that up would have been to say “I leveraged the inherent balance by ideating on graphic precedents.” I need a beadcation.

I wanted to try something daintier with the vintage copper corrugated beads. This piece is almost 100% Hoard! The chain was in a grab bag I picked up, The seed beads were from the August or September box, and the leaf stampings from a box over the summer. The leaves were originally a three leaf connector. A little tool magic later I had a cluster of lovely drops. I used a metallic plated saucer bead under a loose wrap. This could also be really cool at the end of a lariat. I may have to recycle it…

Czech flowers are one of those beads that I find myself buying and then rarely using. They just look so great on their little loops. I used three different strands for this piece. I started down the path to traditional brick stitch around a bead, but devolved into a tangle of fringe, ‘cause really, that’s what most gardens do anyway, right? The patina on the bead is Copic marker.

But I wasn’t finished digging in the Czech glass drawer! (which is totally different from the druck drawer, by the way, and no, Czech seed beads don’t go in either of those drawers; in my head this counts as organization!) the chain (item #21609) is once again from the Hoard. I really do have a weakness for the variety of vintage chain, and it may be about time to re-stock this particular shade of brass chain.

I used 4mm firepolished beads and pressed daggers to right-angle weave a bail for this brass frame.

This necklace was super-simple, but it’s my favorite of the batch! I used my other brass frame stamping to form something reminiscent of all those chevron motifs running around at the moment. Ahh, the magic of pliers! This is another one of those creations that is 98% pure Hoard. The jump rings were in an assortment bag, and the chain lengths were from a show bag. The fringe is made from the standard lengths, but I had to join them to make the neck strap. There’s no patina, no aftermarket finishes, just happy warm colored brass.

I hope I've learned that age old lesson- Keep it Simple, Stupid, but it may be more appropriate to think of it as: Keep it Simple=