Confessions of a Crystal Hoarder Blog

Confessions of a Crystal Hoarder Blog

Frosty and Colorful

Posted by Elizabeth Hamilton on Jan 3rd 2014

Every month when my box arrives I sort and bag the contents. That’s typically when I come up with my self-challenge theme for the month. The November Club box held a bevy of frosted Vintage Lucite beads, and since I happen to like the way they can glow, this was terrific. I also decided to take all of my photos in harsh light to try to amp up that effect. Dreary days stymied me a bit…

My treasure box contained some intriguing barbell shaped beads in addition to the variety of rounds. I used them in conjunction with pink rounds and pearls for a necklace that feels very pretty, pretty, princess to me. And of course they’re strung in ombre! I’m just a sucker for color flow. It makes monochrome more fun!

Shortly after I graduated from college my first boss advised me to apply the squint test to all of my finishes palettes. If you squint, and everything looks the same, there isn’t enough contrast. In a world of black and white, all you’d see was a grey blob. We were working on hospital renovations at the time, and that lack of contrast in floors and walls could be disorienting to someone with poor eyesight. But that same principle of creating visual impact through contrast holds true for jewelry design as well. Contrast helps our eyes distinguish depth.

This necklace of white rounds with silver end-cones used as beadcaps illustrates the pitfalls of low contrast. My camera rebelled when I tried to take the photo on a black neck stand, and refused to focus on the detail of the cones. The camera saw only black, and white.

I worked some really fast photo editing to illustrate how stronger contrast changes the look of the design.

I had the opportunity to work the booth at our local show, the Charlotte intergalactic Bead Show. I picked up an extra bag of frosty white rounds in various sizes to use in my evil experiments. For now, I used them to make an extra necklace. This one is also very low contrast. I wanted to make a collar of frost with icy webs. You can see that once again the individual frosted matte seed beads die away.

Edging towards more contrast, I made a bracelet of blooms with the rounds as centers. Three gold blossoms (one fell under in my photo) help break up the sea of coral. On a wrist the petals flit about as if there was a strong breeze.

Next on the path of increasing visual texture, I combined light moss green rounds with moss agate left to me by my Aunt. Matte plastic struck me as a fun juxtaposition to polished stone. Overall the colors echo tho the peace lily I recently had to relinquish to our office plant rescue. I still get to see my plant, but I’m no longer endangering its welfare.

This summer I acquired some Czech rondelles that I’d describe as Patriotic Picasso finish. This is one of those necklaces that I may re-string…instead of alternating beads I may shake up the pattern. And yes, in case you’re wondering, all my re-doing leads to using up crimps and stringing wire at a very un-fashionable rate!

I only got one try at this chocolate and peacock necklace. The spools of colored beading wire don’t leave enough wiggle room for mistakes! The pearls are Swarovski Crystal pearls from the site, I’d ordered almost every size to go with the “Downton Abbey” cab, not really knowing what I was going to use. I ended up with a lot of left-overs! But I did not run short, so mission accomplished. I chose to flat smash my crimps so that you can see them better. They glint better in the light that way.

This bracelet was all about using up the last of my frosted Lucite beads from the box. The bracelet is a combination of frosted beads, miscellaneous glass pearls and plated rounds from a combination of our boxes, and the extra I've purchased at the shows.

I didn't have a slide clasp wide enough to keep the strands from bunching, so I made one. Wire wrapping is not my forte, but using my square pliers with square wire to make this hook and eye setup was pretty easy. I credit my years of sewing (or perhaps years of fastening bra hooks…) for the idea.

I guess creativity is all around us. And I hope you're soaking it