In Milwaukee for the Bead and Button show this month I saw intricate jewelry proudly on display. I wore one of my beadwoven pieces on Thursday and got a complement or two. I can’t remember what I wore Friday. Saturday I wore the necklace that inspired Suzanne and the crew to include faceted plastic beads in this month’s box.. It’s a necklace that I made for myself because I knew the plastic beads would be lightweight, and I loved the colors as soon as I saw them at the Hoardapalooza aka the Intergalactic Bead Show, earlier this spring. (See Hoard Hawker for more about my day behind the tables.)
My Aunt drove up from Chicago to wander around the show with me that day. By the end of the day we were in giggle fits. This necklace made from plastic beads, had people stopping me in the aisles and out on the sidewalk. Ladies took photos of my chest (I guess my face wasn’t the important part.) Plastic.
Sometimes I’ve encountered an odd kind of haughtiness in the beading world. I’ve had beaders look down their noses at me because I like silver-filled better than sterling and copper better than gold. They sniff at my use of beeswax over Thread Heaven, so plastic… Folks went wide-eyed when I told them they were plastic beads from the Hoard. Some refused to believe until I passed them the necklace and they could feel the lack of heft. It reminds me of the old commercial for Polaner All Fruit, when the matriarch faints after the southern visitor exclaims “Can ya please pass the jelly?”
This summer, I hope to persuade you too, that plastic…is fantastic.
Part of what captured my attention when I first beheld those bags of beads were the multiple juicy shades of orange. I’ve made many a graduated necklace based upon bead size, but now it was time to tackle tone and saturation.
I was a little surprised to discover a bag of the faceted beads in my June club box with a tiny printout of a photo I’d sent as soon as the necklace was completed. Hmmm, so what to do when I’ve inspired the contents rather than the other way around? Why, explore more!
When the gradation runs from lightest tone at the clasp to deepest at the apex, the overall look is quite different, even though most of the beads are the same. The turquoise beads pop more with the addition of silver rounds- also from Hoardapalooza, naturally. Each section of beads has more visual impact then in the original necklace. But the visual weight is different as well. This necklace is bolder, even though there’s really less bulk to it than the original.
So what happens if the ombre transitions across the necklace? I used just two shades of orange beads to create a fade from side to side. The secret to all of these necklaces is to start stringing at the middle of the necklace, not from one end to the other. I like to use tiny binder clips because they are light enough to flop around my desk as I work, but still hold fast.
By starting in the middle with alternating oranges, I was then able to mirror the pattern as I worked my way up the sides of the strands. If you check out the enlarged photo, it was taken from the opposite angle, and the color transition just looks like the shadows of perspective.
What about desaturation, rather than playing with tone? I have a bag of ivory-ish beads in this same size. They vary from almost white to almost ecru. It was time for some serious culling and sorting!
After getting my piles in order I used a similar pattern to the side to side fade, but worked from all turquoise in the middle to white at the clasp. And honestly, I think it needs some oomph. This may be one that I destroy and re-string.
I guess I had plenty of my own oomph from this month’s box, so next time I’ll have more pieces from our June box’s plethora of plastic. And until then I wish you oomph