Born To Be Worn by S & T Creations

Come find us!Our blog, that is!  The first step in putting together a revamped biz plan for our company is to get our own domain name and move our world wide web “footprint” to that location.  So, our new domain is http://sntjewelry.com

The blog was copied over to our website this past weekend.  Bear with me, I have several tweaks to complete in the look and setup but wanted to make the announcement, since I won’t be maintaing a full blog here, but only shorter posts with more links and connections. By owning our site, I have much more control and flexibility over our wordpress blog, and can customize it to fit our work.

Please follow us over to there. It should be the LAST move we make.  We have learned a great deal about our blog and how things “look.”  We chose S & T Creations as a biz name years before we thought about being on the internet.  Unfortunately, “sandtcreations.com” has been interpreted as some type of sand art, like layers in jars or painting with colored sands.

So, we created Born To Be Worn Jewelry for our blog name, as well as a marketing catch phrase for our designs.  We both like it, but when I went to get a domain name, I knew that did not “connect” to our biz in any way someone would remember. In addition, similar domain names were already taken and the confusion would only irritate potential visitors.  Over the years, I have also read recommendations to always include WHAT you do/make in your domain name. 

That is the brief history of where sntjewelry came from.  Eliminating the full “and” work removed any mistaken trace of sand and using jewelry instead of creations is much more descriptive of our work.

Jewelry for the New Romantic by Nealay Patel has several surprising beautiful designs.  Nealay hit upon the idea of using beading wire as part of her jewelry design.  His creativity led to this book of designs.  Coated beading wire is no longer a means to an end.  It becomes an integral part of the design itself.

First, you see the design on the cover, where gold beading wire forms perfect loops, with gorgeous Pacific Opal bicones that connect 2 loops, forming figure 8s.  But the focal point of this design is what draws the eye. It’s a series of golden wire loops and bead dangles, along with short links of chain.  The beading wire loops look soft, very feminine.  It is just sturdy enough not to fall and droop.  Yet, unlike regular beading wire, these aren’t stiff, won’t bend and become smashed.  I love the delicate look.  I turned to that project first, and was pleased to see that project, and many more, show variations on the theme, and how to use the instructions to make matching earrings, and in this case, a matching bracelet too.  The earrings look positively fun all by themselves.  Loops of that gold beading wire have a few crystals to catch the light, then a single jump ring below contains small chain, bicone links, and small links.  I think these could be made separately and be a great item for shows.

After seeing these, I skimmed through looking at other earrings in the book.  The Golden Knights design also has a great earring design.  Nealay took a brighter golden beading wire this time and made a series of loops around a central crystal bicone.  But these loops all went the same direction.  They reminded me of looking at drawings of moons going around a planet, only in this case, up and down, instead of the around we usually think of.  On these loops were small gold beads and crystals, with tiny crimps holding them up.  There was another small cluster of beads at the very bottom of these loops.

I found 1 other design that was very different.  She created beaded square frames that were open in the middle.  Inside these were various looks of beading wire, all different. And on these small loopes were various beads and crystals, in colors that match the frames.  He had attached these to form large links, but even a single one would make a great pendant.  And, again, he showed smaller ones for earrings.

I love the way Nealay took beading wire beyond its typical “hidden” state and brought it to the forefront.  He has yet another design where loops form dangling drops, so they are interspersed along a necklace, with cluster of 2 or 3 near the end of a lariat design.  Very fetching.  And again, I must say it is the look of the beading wire that seems at once elegant and feminine, yet strong and dramatic.

If you work with small beads, you will love this book.  And if you don’t, you need this book to expand your own creativity in how you can use beading wire as an integral part of your designs.  One large focal pendant, or loops connecting larger lampwork or polymer clay beads would be a beautiful way to step off from Nealay’s designs into your own projects.

Remember those great ceramic turquoise melons I used in a recent necklace with coral?  I took the rest and matched them with the coolest wood beads–Saundra got them too, at a bead show out west!  they are like double pyramids, with rough sides, that look like they were painted and then sanded or somehow gilded with a creamy white color.  I matched them with large pieces of “bone” coral for myself.  I even tried them as earrings, but they are too heavy for ear wires.  I need to get with Saundra and convert them to posts I think.

Anyway, back to this piece.  I liked the brown and blue together, but something was missing so I added gold beadcaps.  Lots of them!  A large, fairly flat one worked with the wood beads and a slight smaller more rounded cap for melon beads.  I used a big gold toggle clasp in the back with some extra links, so whoever wears this can adjust it to their liking.

This will be another new piece on our upcoming website.  Sign up now to be the first to find out of sales and special deals!

I have been reading and following some designers that work with polymer clay.  I thought I might play with some clay and see what I think.  I love to explore other mediums where I can be more creative and actually design components, whether those be beads or findings and components.  So I’ve dabbled with wire (my recent post on the copper wire cuff with the crystals) and chain maille using the same wire in jump rings.  I have taken some fantastic classes from Don Norris on silversmithing.  I learned a great deal and I enjoy that too.  Now compared to using wire and solder, polymer clay, friendly plastic and other such mediums usually fall under a listing of “alternative.” However, some things I’ve done have appeared “as is” in some test pieces, but even more importantly, I see a design in these that I then re-create with gemstones, wire and other components.  So, never underestimate the value of working with these things that seem more common, less expensive, and ones that other people may not consider “art.”

Now, before I go any further, let me first clarify that my turquoise links are not something I consider “art.”  But let me tell you what I learned while making these.  First, how to make a join and then make it disappear.  I wanted to see how thin the clay could be and still form a solid piece.  The thinner ones you see here aren’t hard, but a bit “rubbery” feeling. I can twist them slightly and pinch them just a bit.  But they would still hold as a link.  The thicker ones, though, show more color, especially those that are blended.  I compared twisting to rolling in terms of the design it made when I blended 2 clays together.  The blue and silver didn’t show as much as I thought it would, but I love the blends with the white.

My plan is to randomly combine these in an asymmetric combination of links, similiar to the asymmetric chain mail in the Creative Chain Mail Jewelry book I reviewed recently.  I think the color will add more drama.  It should be a very playful, fun design.

I took a piece of molding clay and made a fleur-de-lis mold.  I think it might be nice to make some light weight fleur-de-lis for next spring…..it is the symbol of Louisville and VERY popular around Derby time!  Hopefully I can find some other sizes for more molds, for larger pendants and hopefully for smaller earrings!

I completed an art charm swap—now this time I was at the last minute, but I did get them to the hostess on time (she threatened me and I had to send it priority post, but still–it counts).  I tried to do too many “new things” in 1 swap, and had no idea what amount of time I needed. The only requirements were to use purple and/or green, and silver findings, and they needed to be no longer than 1 1/2″ including the findings.

First, I decided to make artistic “paper” by layering colors of paint.  I used 4 shades of purple and 4 shades of green, along with white and black..  I put on base colors, then started adding colors and textures.  I dipped a straw in the paint then blew hard, so droplets of color went on the paper.  I also dipped it and just tapped the end, so I got small circles of color.  I took various pieces of sponges, added paint and twisted them, adding another overlay of color.  I put on plastic gloves and dotted some on with the tips of my fingers, so the smudges would show other colors through.  In just small circles I really needed colors to be everywhere.  I took a piece of carpet tape that was made of strips of fiber and added paint to it, then laid it on my paper and pressed the print.  It reminded me of shoe tread somehow.

After all those layers were applied, drying in between, I took a 1 inch circle punch and began to cut it—-BUT it wasn’t heavy duty enough for all those paint layers, so  ended up tracing around one and cutting each circle by hand.  I took glue, glued 2 backs together, and began coating first one side then the other.  Each side had at least 2 layers on.

Now came the problem (other than the circle punch).  I bought an assortment of eyelets, but mistakenly thought I could punch the hole myself.  Nothing doing—that became a lot of work.  Once I actually had a hole through each charm, I inserted the eyelet.  I did have an eyelet setter, but it was either the wrong size or I didn’t use it right.  Regardless, I ended up bending over each metal tube with jewelry pliers.  I guess I need to brush up on how to set those eyelets some other time. I put a drop of paint on a sponge brush and went around the cut edges of the charms to seal them.  Slow, but it really looked much better. I tried a few in white, but black I think looked better.

I added a silver jump ring.  On each charm, we needed to add our name and email, so I attached a biz card to each charm.  All these were put in a ziploc bag, then that bag inside a bubble lined mailer.

Saundra gave me some gorgeous coral beads that had a thin silver beadcap on both ends. The metal layer is very thin, but also stunning.  They have a design that has been patinated, then shines so teh black shows off the swirles.  I love the larger size of these attached caps.   I paired these with some great turquoise “melon” beads I had that are ceramic.  The ceramic version gives a very consistent shade, allowing the coral to stand out.  I like the elongated look of the ceramic turquoise, with the slightly paler lines than run the length of the bead.

The back has a large silver toggle clasp that has a marcasite-type look to it.  These larger beads really needed a corresponding clasp to set it off, keeping the design consistent.

The designs you are seeing now will be among the first added to our new store.  We are working on the website now and will be announcing it soon. Subscribers will be eligible for special sales and discounts.  Sign up here to be notified.

I really struggled with my first time in the bead soup design challenge and must apologize to Lori Anderson and to Rochelle Brisson.  However, better late than never I do want to show you the piece I finally designed.  Part of the challenge was the clasp so I really wanted to show off the gorgeous flower toggle Rochelle sent.  It took a bit, but I finally managed to connect it directly to the cabochon she sent.  A pale blue agate, I believe, I love its simple beauty.  Rochelle sent it with kiwi stones and pale blue glass beads, plus black bicones.  To these I added smaller kiwi stones I already had and flat cubes in pale green-blue.

I really like the final look of the toggle with the teardrop pendant. I think the flower and vine on the toggle add femininity to the overall design.  It brings a hint of delicacy, but the surrounding kiwi stones add strength and character. By adding the kiwi stones and silver with black bicones, the contrasts really show and bring out the best in the design.  Across the back of the necklace is a series of black bicones and silver rounds.  I had never designed something like this.  Actually asymmetric, from the front it looks quite balanced.  Rochelle sent the larger, longer kiwi stones that I used for the earrings and the upper pieces on the necklace.

I still must apologize to all the Pretty Scene Bead Soup Design Challenge participants.

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