Wednesday, November 13, 2013

When Does One Equal Three?

XO Gallery bracelet by Kelly Conedera
For some time now, I have been in awe of XO Gallery jewelry artist Kelly Conedera's drop-dead gorgeous creations.  I adore the uniqueness, boldness and freedom of her jewelry designs.  Her use of color and shapes and textures and mixed metals just amazes my beginner's brain.  Although I like my own jewelry babies very much, I am still growing and developing my own style.  I want my jewelry to be more expressive and make a statement.  No run of the mill stuff will ever do for me.  My dear hubby used to buy me fine jewelry for occasions and I was always properly grateful, but they sit on their boxes never seeing the light of day.  ...Or night for that matter.  I get my thrills wearing artsy, rustic, natural pieces that have a personal meaning for me.  Wrap an uncut diamond in a rusty, soldered bezel and hang it from a piece of driftwood and you may turn my head.  I leave those cut and polished gems for the rest of you jewelry lovers!

I have been studying what Kelly's "Jewelry With Soul" has in them that makes them so wonderful in my eyes.  It has always been the case for me that I learn best by observing, and my builder brain will run construction forward and backwards figuring out how to DIY something I want to make.

In this case, I am pushing myself with this project as I am not working within my own comfort zone, but attempting to do this in XO Gallery style.  It forces me to use color more boldly and look at the texture of beads and how they interact in a way I am not used to doing.  These are the techniques I am guiding myself with:
  •  Bold colors
  •  Bold clasps
  •  Dangles near clasp
  •  Mixing metals
  •  Large and small beads used texturally
  •  Seed beads in strands
  •  Large hole beads to hide wire end connections 

 This gave me a new learning challenge that was exhilarating and freeing.  The main beads are colors that I am not used to exploring:  yellow and black.  These yellow beads have been around for years, and I think they were part of a macrame purse that wore out decades ago.   I have thrown in some turquoise and red beads for accent.  Initially thinking of blackened silver metal, the decision was for antiqued and shiny brass instead.  This piece turned out to be a stunning one if I do say so myself.  It was often a struggle and a stretch as each element was tackled.  

 SO, give you the answer to the question, when one equals three could really be turned around to "when does three equal one?"  ...And the answer is a stack-able bracelet set!  It was supposed to be one bracelet yet as work proceeded it made sense to be three instead.  Here is my stack-able creation

*****...And, as an added bonus, I have a finger-saving tip for anyone out there fighting the "flying jump ring" battle.  As a beginner, I am still working with rudimentary tools.  Jump rings are cut with flush cutters and filed into shape so the ends meet.  It is a grueling job and hard on fingertips.  I discovered that if I use a tiny scrap of paper around the jump ring to protect it from gouges, I can use the front oval of the crimp pliers to hold the jump ring while I file away.  Not only does it save my fingers from bruising pain (that happens when you love chain) but it holds very securely and keeps those rings in place.  It even works wonderfully for fidgeting those jump rings into closed position.  

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