I have been getting to know Joan Tucker and Lana Turner of Off Center Productions this year. They only live about 20 minutes away from me. In January, Joan asked me if I would design a necklace for their booth display in Tuscon. She wanted something showy, that would grab people’s attention and draw them into the booth. So I selected the biggest pendant of hers that I could find, along with some accent beads.
Designing this necklace became an interesting challenge for me. When you start with a very large pendant, then everything must be scaled up to achieve a pleasing balance. I loved working pretty much without any size constraints. It became a great creative opportunity.
The picture above shows my design process at the very beginning, when I was just trying out different possible combinations of beads. Eventually I decided against the carnelian at the top of the necklace and substituted the copper chain you see to the left of it. I ditched the two copper disc beads, but kept Joan’s two ceramic disc beads.
At this point I was ready to start wiring all the components together. I marked my round nosed pliers with a sharpie so that all my loops would be the same size.
I wanted to top these pretty melon shaped coral beads with copper bead caps, but the only ones I had were too curved to fit properly on the flat ends of the beads. So I smashed them – the bead caps, not the coral! Once they were flat, I curved just the very tips of the bead caps downward. Perfect fit now.
When it came time to wire on the batiked bone beads I found that their holes were so large that they wobbled on the wire, making them droop sideways at times.
So I got out some size 8 seed beads and filled up the holes before re-wiring the bone beads.
The seed beads stabilized the center so that the bone beads remained perfectly centered on the wire.
I also spent time deciding how I should end the necklace. There were two holes on the end of the pendant, but it seemed like it would look stupid to just have two dangles there, on either side. Instead I bought some copper fringe chain and looped it between the two holes. Then I created a dangle of coral and a dzi bead that I strung on waxed linen cording. This made a graceful and large-scale finale to the necklace.
Unfortunately I was running late the day I was going to bring the necklace to Joan. So I just set the necklace on the kitchen counter and quickly snapped a few mediocre-quality pictures.
Joan took a picture of my necklace and other necklaces, in their booth in Tuscon. But she didn’t get a chance to take many more pictures because…
Linda Landig Jewelry