Saturday, January 31, 2009

La Notte 2 (new necklace)...

Last night I decided to make a new version of my previous La Notte. As I do with all new versions, this one is called La Notte 2. It is not exactly the same, of course, but also departs from the same idea and uses more or less the sane colours. However, where the original displayed golds and dark blue, this instead is all about silver shades.

Here's the new La Notte (2):

For this piece, I have used:

- Murano soffiato (blown) Luna focal bead;
- Several Miyuki Delica size 11 in silver, inside the focal bead and covering the wire (sterling silver plated steel);
- Swarovski bicones in different sizes and shades of silver (comet argent) and dark blue;
- Sixteen lapis lazuli medium beads;
- Six Czech fire iridescent round beads of the same size;
- Several light gray Swarovski pearls in two different sizes;
- Two faceted Czech fire beads in a lovely darkened turquoise shade;
- Round and disc-shaped spacers in silver and black metal;
- Czech fire small "heavy metal" faceted beads and bugles approaching the clasp;
- Tibetan silver toggle clasp.

Details as follows...

On the left, a close-up of the Luna bead. It seems to be foiled, since its surface is speckled with tiny silver or gold dots, like distant stars. If you click on the picture you will see it magnified and will also notice the Miyuki beads inside. On the right, we can see the lapis lazuli beads, the Czech fire round ones and the Swarovski pearls, all interspersed with Swarovski bicones in comet argent and blue.

On the 1st picture, detail of those faceted Czech fire beads I mentioned above, Swarovski smaller pearls and bicones. On the 2nd one a very close shot of the pearls and blue bicones with lovely AB (Aurora Borealis) coating.

On the left, detail of the Czech fire iridescent beads and the lapis lazuli beads. You may notice the gold spots in the lapis, due to the stone's natural impurities. The bicones can be seen as well. And on the right, detail of the buggles, some spacers, Czech fire tiny "heavy metals" and more of the lapis lazuli.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

The Moanna necklace

I took more or less three to four days to finalise this, between planning and execution. The Moanna is inspired by one of my favourite films: "Pan's Labyrinth". It is a beautiful, but extremely sad film, which I see as a very strong anti-war message. This film, along with "Grave of the Fireflies" is one of those films that has marked me profoundly. The reason for that strength is perhaps due to the fact that their tragic stories are told from a child's perspective. It makes everything not even stronger, but infinitely sadder. In this case it was Ofelia, or Princess Moanna in her own imaginary world, to where she desperately tried to escape the grim reality of civil war.

Here is my Moanna:

Some images from the tale are present here: the Moon (which was Moanna's birthmark), the standing stones of the Labyrinth (central Swarovski pendant), the faeries (represented by the small butterfly Swarovski beads), the dagger (symbolised by one beige square pendant), the nature of the Faun (earthy shades of green and brown), the war (symbolised by two blood red Swarovski bicones surrounding the middle pendant and some round red Czech beads approaching the clasp).

Here is what I have used:

- Three large Swarovski pendants as focal beads;
- Swarovski stars and butterflies;
- Two small Aquiline Swarovski pendants;
- Several Miyuki seed beads (smallest size) under the pendants and also as beaded bails for two of them;
- Several Swarovski bicones in different shades and sizes;
- Two teardrop brown Czech Fire small pendants;
- Several Swarovski crystal pearls in pale almond;
- Four small taupe Chinese glass pearls;
- Stardust antique gold round spacers, two ornate flat spacers and toggle leaf clasp;
- Red Czech round beads;
- Small Amazonite beads in shades of pale green, brown-beige, aqua;
- Small Czech Fire polished beads in metallic hues.

Some details to follow...

On the 1st picture we have (from top to bottom): one of the small Aquiline pendants in Olivine, the Avant Garde pendant with a Miyuki beaded bail, two blood red Swarovski bicones and the main focal bead: a large Aquiline pendant representing the standing stone in the Faun's cave. Details of some of the Miyuki seeds can also be seen, covering the wire. I used two different shades: a silver one for the bails and iridescent bronze for the wire. On the 2nd picture a close-up of Moanna's crystal moon, with its silver beaded bail.

On the 1st screenshot, we can see the Moon's beaded bail, followed by one clear crystal Star, one bicone, small Aquiline pendant, a second bicone and a teardrop Czech Fire small pendant. On the 2nd one, the other green Aquiline bead, a second star, the Avant Garde pendant and the main Aquiline surrounded by two Swarovski bicones in ruby red. Those beaded bails are not too easy to make, perhaps because I have no practice. The Miyuki are tiny and break easily, especially when you have to use the pliers to hold the crimp and close the loop.

Detail of the red bicones and some of the tiny Miyuki seeds used for covering the wire. Also a close-up of the clasp.

On the 1st picture, another detail of one of the small Aquilines and green bicones, the Czech teardrops and one of the pale almond Swarovski pearls. On the 2nd pic, we can see some of the Swarovski crystal butterflies and the small Chinese glass pearls in taupe.

On the 1st picture, we can see the butterflies in different shade and the Chinese pearls once again, along with one big Swarovski bicone in brown. On the 2nd one, some of the small Amazonite beads, Czech Fire faceted beads, stardust spacers and the ornate bronze spacers. On the 3rd picture, another view of the Swarovski pearls, this time interspersed with the red Czech glass beads.

"And it is said that the Princess returned to her father's kingdom. That she reigned there with justice and a kind heart for many centuries. That she was loved by her people. And that she left behind small traces of her time on Earth, visible only to those who know where to look. "

Guillermo del Toro - Director, "Pan's Labyrinth"

Saturday, January 24, 2009

La Sirena 2 is now a set...

As I said before, I made La Sirena 2 by request of a friend. She also wanted a bracelet to match, and I have prepared it last night...

Here is a picture of the set:

And the bracelet alone:

It basically follows the same design, except that the fluorites have been replaced here by six lighter small Amazonite beads in shades of blue-green. This is because due to their fragility, and the fact that we tend to bang our hands every now and then, they would most probably break in no time.

Another thing I did was to use a magnetic clasp, which is much easier to handle. It's the first time I use one of those, so, my friend will be "testing" it for me and see how it goes. If necessary, I will change it to the usual lobster clasp (much more complicated to deal with though!).

Friday, January 23, 2009

La Notte necklace

As I am still trying to recover from my flu/cold, I have not really been very productive. The ideas come to my mind and I just cannot find energy to make much of it. Today however, I made another one. Just because sometimes I obsess about certain beads and cannot really rest until I lay out something. This piece is called La Notte (Italian for "the night"), and is a different colour from all other necklaces I made so far.

I wanted to convey the idea of how nights looked like some years ago, when the city lights would not obliterate the shine of the stars and we could still see the Milky Way in all its glory. Not anymore, alas, unless we are far out in a remote spot in the country.

For La Notte I have used:

- One large Murano sommerso globe as the focal bead, and two more oval flat discs as auxiliary beads;
- Two large rutilated quartz round beads, with gold stripes;
- Several Swarovski bicones in different sizes and coordinating shades;
- Several Swarovski pearls in two sizes, Tahitian Look shade;
- Several blue sandstone beads with gold speckles, really tiny;
- Antique gold stardust spacers and crimps separating the smaller pearls;
- Two ornate antique gold spacers;
- Antique gold bead caps and tiny saucers for the Sommerse;
- Antique gold S-hook clasp.

Details as follows...

Details of the Sommerso dark navy beads with gold speckles, and some of the Swarovski pearls.

Above, details of the lovely quartz beads with gold flecks. I am not sure if they are natural or man-treated. Either way, they are gorgeous and smooth, very unique. The last shot shows a detail of the blue sandstones. The tiny "stars" are copper impurities. This is a kind of man-made stone, very pretty and composed by glass mostly (and other minerals). They look like they were immersed in star dust. The photos are unable to capture their whole luster, unfortunately.

Details of the clasp and stardust antique gold spacers. On the 2nd picture, we can see the Swarovski pearls and blue sandstone, along with some more Swarovski bicones and one of the ornate spacers. What I love about those Swarovski pearls is their tiny holes that are great for stringing, since they are very regular and well-drilled.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

The Burlesque necklace...

Today's necklace (so far!) I decided to call Burlesque and I will explain why. But first, here is the Merriam-Webster's definition of the word:
Main Entry: 1bur·lesque
Etymology: burlesque, adjective, comic, droll, from French, from Italian burlesco, from burla joke, from Spanish
Date: 1667
1 : a literary or dramatic work that seeks to ridicule by means of grotesque exaggeration or comic imitation
2 : mockery usually by caricature
: theatrical entertainment of a broadly humorous often earthy character consisting of short turns, comic skits, and sometimes striptease acts

Why have I decided to call it Burlesque: it's all about the colours. Fuchsia (not pink, not rose, but Fuchsia) and black. Pitch black. Lingerie colours - but not the good-girl kind! I imagine it would go well with a long pink boa and black fishnet tights. But hey, it's only a necklace! For the well-mannered ladies that would like perhaps to misbehave a bit. Once in a while.

Here is the Burlesque:

I have used today:

- One large carved obsidian rose (Chinese);
- Several Swarovski bicones in Fuchsia and Silver;
- Two large Crazy Lace pink agate beads (ha, lace! See?);
- Several black onyx beads in two different sizes;
- Several dyed fuchsia jade beads;
- Four vintage Japanese faux pearls (probably from the 70's);
- Tibetan silver clasp;
- Black metal spacers in the back of the rose to cover the wire.

Some close-ups:

On the 1st picture a detail of the back of the necklace, smooth black obsidian. On the 2nd one we can see the black metal spacers covering the wire and the lovely Swarovski fuchsia bicones that I used as accent beads.

A close-up of the rose. If you click on it you will see it magnified. You can also see the Crazy Lace agate beads, the large onyx beads and those Japanese pearls. In spite of their age, they are still very smooth and shiny. Some of the fuchsia jade beads are also visible here. The clasp is the usual S-hook in Tibetan silver.

On the 1st picture, detail of one of the black onyx beads and Swarovski bicone and, on the 2nd one, a close-up of the Japanese glass pearl and fuchsia jade. I recycled these pearls from a very old necklace that I won in an auction. The necklace itself (clasp and thread) was falling to bits, but all the beads were intact and pretty much like new.

The Domani necklace...

Again, an Italy-inspired necklace, also in aqua and turquoise shades. It is called Domani, which is the Italian word for "tomorrow". It came from a really abstract concept: when tomorrow comes, and what tomorrow may bring. It is a wish for better times, expressed by "a thousand flowers" (the millefiori focal bead), and cool and peaceful shades of blue and milky, translucent opalescence.

Here is Domani:

For this necklace I have used:

- One Murano millefiori focal bead in shades of aqua;
- Several opal round beads in two different sizes;
- Several turquoise round beads also in two different sizes;
- Swarovski bicones in Turquoise AB2X and Alabaster Mint AB (again, AB for the Aurora Borealis coating);
- Stardust silver-plated round spacers, silver-plated filigree bead caps and thick flowery ones for the focal bead;
- Four silver-plated bows and Tibetan silver vine leaf toggle clasp.

Some details, as follows...

On the left, detail of the focal Millefiori, ornate silver-plated caps and the Alabaster Mint bicones. The picture on the right shows the clasp in detail, an art-nouveau style vine leaf toggle. We can also peek on the stardust spacers here.

Close-ups of the large turquoise beads, larger opals, filigree bead caps and silver-plated bows, along with some Swarovski bicones and two smaller turquoise beads.

Another detail of the opals and small turquoises. Whenever I use opals in my necklaces is when I want to convey the image of the Sun. Opals really look like white cloud bathed in sunlight, and go really well with blue tones - which can be compared to a blue sky. Then, you have it: how you wish "tomorrow" would look like! Blue sky, sun shining, white fluffy clouds here and there. That's the idea!