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Monday, April 20, 2009

Artbeads Inspiration Post

" Bird in Flight" (SOLD at JB)
About six weeks ago I received an offer that was most gracious. I have since joined a bead company in their blogging program. I will be featuring this company and their product in this post. Please join me in reading this blog to the end, as you will find interesting and intriguing details in this post.
I was sent 10 of the vintage brown and yellow swirl barrel beads that are show in the above photo on the left. I requested the amount of 10, as I felt it would give me enough beads to keep them as a focal of the pieces I design with them, but yet would allow me to create several pieces thus being able to feature a collection vs. an item.
I also requested a small amount of this wonderful hand dyed chocolate with metallic gold edges silk to combine with the above featured vintage beads the company had for sale. A small amount of this silk goes a long ways when designing.

This photo shows the wonderful chocolate brown silk and the warm yellow and brown swirled vintage beads.

The next step for me when designing is to go down to my studio and start pulling vintage found elements that are a complimentary color to the featured products that I have chosen to work with. In this case the http://www.artbeads.com/ 10 vintage beads and their hand dyed silk.
One thing that is extra nice is free shipping to the US and $1 International shipping to Canada is offered by Artbeads.

Notice some of these fabulous elements that in and of themselves may not seem so great just lying in a heap, but take apart the found elements and they become things of beauty. In this photo if you notice as you check out the rest of the post, I have used the brown vintage awesome belt buckle in the bottom right of this photo for the necklace above. It became a focal element of the overall design. Also in this necklace design I've chosen to take apart a crusty damaged pearl bracelet top right and harvested the gold beads in it to add to the vintage beads I received from Artbeads. The vintage chandelier prism was also treated with an application to transpose the vintage lady and "princess" title to the glass to become a focal in another necklace below. And the wonderful warm golden leaf pin, becomes yet another focal in a necklace design. The yellow and metallic gold hearts are included in a necklace as well as the earrings I designed for this grouping.

There is a wonderful Vintaj bird in flight attached to the vintage buckle focal, another vintage elements that is pale gold in a filigree setting and the heart dangle that you'll see repeated in other designs is what makes up this focal. Note that in this photo you see pieces of the chocolate silk ribbon tied on either side of the necklace.

Another detailed shot that shows the focal elements of this necklace and how they all work together with each other. SOLD

Often people are curious what a back of an element may look like, so I've included the focal backing details to satisfy curiosity.

I chose to use the black coloring of wire to keep the darkness and mystery going with the brown swirling of the vintage glass beads. The hook and closure are hand wire-wrapped as well.

The main portion of this necklace is made up with the gold beads I mentioned earlier that I harvested from another vintage bracelet, as well as these awesome yellow/brown vintage swirl beads from Artbeads vintage collection.

This photo of the necklace lying on a vintage brown book hi-lites the chocolate brown hand dyed silk sections that I tied on in a number of locations throughout the main part of this necklace.

These photos don't quite do justice to the overall look of this piece. It is rich looking, unique and certainly a one-of-a-kind piece that would be enjoyed for years to come.
The beaded main portion of this piece is 20", with the vintage buckle size at 1 3/4" x 1 1/2" and the overall drop measuring in at 4" total from the top of the buckle to the bottom of the heart dangle. The overall length of this necklace design is 23".

"Princess" Necklace
This is another lovely vintage chandelier prism that has been turned into a work of art to create this simple yet classy necklace. I've kept it simple so as to really showcase the fabulous "Princess" focal on this design.
You will notice that I've used another piece of the chocolate brown silk tied at the top of this focal, as well as wire-wrapped a vintage yellow round bead and attached another heart dangle to the front of this focal. The lady image has warm yellows in her clothing.

This pendant is on a 5 strand gold chain with a wonderful clasp. It isn't adjustable. The "princess" focal is 2 1/2" x 2 1/2" in the widest part. The longest chain is 24" which is where the pendant is attached. The next chains fall at 23", 22", 21" and 20" lengths.

Overall length for this necklace is 24" plus another 3" drop for the focal on this piece.

This photo shows the drape of the necklace. It lies really nice on.

"Autumn Harvest" (GIFTED at JB)
The focal on this necklace is a wonderful leaf that in its former life was a pin. It has 5 vintage rhinestones accenting it. I've chosen again to keep this necklace more of a simple design, as it is a fabulous style to layer other necklaces with. Again note the chocolate brown silk ribbon that I've chosen to use, which is such a rich texture that it really draws the eyes to the item in which it is tied near to accent. In this case the leaf.
Two lovely vintage yellow brown swirl beads and the chocolate silk ribbon are the focus of the main chain portion of this design. To locate these two products you may find them in the vintage bead section here. http://www.artbeads.com/vintage-bead.html What I love about this bead company is that they feature suggestions of other products that work well with other items in their product line. This is how I originally came across the silk ribbon.
A huge bonus is that Artbeads offers free shipping to the US and $1 International shipping to Canada. Awesome deal and prompt shipping.

This shows the necklace with most of it included in the photo. The necklace is quite long at a total of chain length of 32". The leaf adds a 2" x 2" focal, so that the overall length becomes 34".

The necklace draped here on a pillar, shows the simplicity of this design, but yet the great accents the vintage beads and chocolate silk ribbon provides. Sometimes, simple is better. This necklace layered with the "Bird in Flight" necklace is very fun.

I had 10 vintage beads total to start with. I used the bulk of these in the fussier design which is the "Bird in Flight" design with the use of 6 beads total in that piece. I also used the silk in that piece quite liberally, as well as one yellow heart dangle at the bottom of its focal.
In the second necklace "Princess", I only used the brown silk, but also added a yellow heart dangle.
The third necklace, "Autumn Harvest" I again used the vintage beads with 2 for the total use age and 3 sections of chocolate brown silk.
This left me 2 beads total to make earrings out of. One important thing to be aware of is when designing jewelry, always choose your two closest matching beads first with which you will create your earrings out of. These earrings actually will go with all three of the necklaces I designed in this grouping, as they have the vintage beads and yellow heart dangle which is included in each of the necklaces. I chose not to use the brown silk, as they had enough going on without the silk.
This company http://www.artbeads.com/ has a great deal of jewelry supplies on their site. They have weekly coupons, promotions and great deals. I want to let you all know about an offer that Artbeads is doing starting tomorrow morning (Tuesday).
Again this year, Artbeads is offering a dollar day sale. It is much bigger this year and they are putting over 2,000 items on sale for only $1.00 each and running the sale for an entire week. The savings will be up to 60% off.

If you are interested, be on the look out for it to go live tomorrow morning, Tuesday, April 21, 2009 here:

Again thank you for taking the time to read and comment on this blog post. If you have any interest in great products and are a designer take a look at the great products Artbeads has to offer. I have had fabulous interactions with this company and their representatives. I will post again about this company after a May 16th wedding has taken place, in which I designed the jewelry for it and Artbeads came through for me in a tough situation. Awesome people/Awesome company.


  1. Gretchen, these are beautiful! I love them all...good thing I'm not in an Applebee's parking lot or I might snatch them out of your hands...heehee.

    By the way, I've worn the wonderful necklace from you several times, and really love it. My brother (who has limited junk vision)said to me Easter Sunday..."do you realize there's a key on your necklace?" (with a confused but "that figures" look on his face)

  2. Missy's comment makes me laugh. Some people just don't get it. Ha! Gretchen, your necklaces are beautiful. These pictures don't even do them justice! The ribbons you added to them are gorgeous. And the beads are exquisite. Great job, again!


  3. Shannon Sawyer at: sawyershannon@aol.comApril 20, 2009 at 11:46 PM

    Gretchen, What an amazing imagination you have. These jewelry masterpieces you come up with are just awesome. I adore those green beads. And those earrings you made, OMG I have to get a pair of those. Beautiful, beautiful work. It just blows me away when you can take some beads, wire, ephemera, and all the other jewelry fixins and come up with the gorgeous pieces you come up with. What a talent you have!

  4. Just a side note, I only have one pair of these earrings.

  5. Gretchen - the pure artistry in your designs is amazing. I love the beads you chose, and the addition of the silk - great texture and vintage fun!

    Love, love, love! Kathy

    P.S. I'm wearing my necklace that I won from you! (love that too)

  6. Absolutely gorgeous Gretchen. Your jewelry blows me away. Each piece is an exquisite masterpiece showcasing the most amazing vintage treasures. Beautiful!!!!!!!!!!

  7. Gretchen,
    I always admire your creativity. Lovely...absolutely lovely! Thanks for sharing these pieces with us. I have used Artbeads many times, by the way, and agree that they are fantastic. Prompt delivery, free shipping and quality items.

  8. Very nice!

    That silk ribbon looks great! I haven't tried adding anything like that to any of my work yet---may have to see what I can come up with.....

    The vintage beads & silk go wonderfully together---great design!

    I will have to go check out that website now~~~~~~~~~~


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