Battle of the BeadSmith 2019

Stella Polaris

In 2019 I went in a different direction than I had with my previous entries. The first thing you notice is that the design is symmetrical. Also, there are many beads other than seed beads in prominent positions which is a departure from my regular design practice, as is the use of so many Swarovski crystals.

The Cymbal line of beads and findings are produced by the BeadSmith company and as a member of the Inspiration Squad of designers I wanted to highlight the product in my work. The beads are beautifully finished with smooth edges around the holes, a detail that so many other metal beads ignore. They come in four finishes. My entry used the gold and rose gold colors. Some of the beads have spaces to insert flatback crystals. I also used many rivolis that added to the sparkle. The techniques I used to wrap the crystals are based on some of the design principles I use in my book, Colorful Components. Other elements have found their way into different design as well. The Polaris component that is used in one of my bracelet kits is based on the beaded component pictured below. The flower design was adapted from the Star Flower. When it came time to pick a name for this design it was easier than usual - I just combined the names of those two projects and called it Stella Polaris.

The use of the metal Cymbal beads, and really, metallic gold beads in general seems to elevate the beadwork to another level which, to the casual viewer, appears more valid as being worth the expense that beadwork requires when pricing the work for sale. Not that the Cymbal beads are inexpensive but metal seems to command an out of proportion amount of respect than glass does to many jewelry customers. It is nice to have the choice to use such well made metal beads and findings. They do really add a lot of pizzazz to the design and somehow they make the crystals look even more fancy.

The necklace is made as a "transformer". This is a way to describe a piece of jewelry that has more than one function. The secondary straps on each side are removable and can be worn as bracelets. The necklace can be worn with a single strap. There is an optional use flower that forms a clasp. The flower is also wearable as a brooch.

The necklace is more lightweight than most of my work. The need for a base structure was eliminated because the flowers stitched to each other are sturdy enough to form the base.

The flowers are stitched using diagonal peyote. That is the only traditional beadweaving stitch I used when creating this necklace.

In February 2020 my necklace was on display at the BeadSmith booth in Tucson Arizona. That was a wonderful honor, especially since the piece was eliminated early in the battle. To me the reason to create a Battle of the BeadSmith design is more to inspire me to actually create a complex piece of beadwork than it is to advance in the competition. It is mostly a challenge to myself, to see what I am capable of accomplishing in the two month time period given. I am always very happy with my final design.

My beautiful daughter Autumn Rose modelling the necklace. The daylight really brings the flowers to life as the crystals sparkle in the sunshine. The colors I used for this design were a lot brighter than my usual palette, and the beads are silver lined. It is a joyful necklace to wear and it shares light and happiness with the viewer as well.

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