Even More Jewelry with Leftovers

September 5, 2009

090827copperdangles Left: Another necklace made with left over components. This necklace celebrates asymmetry. See yesterday's post for another leftover necklace.

I like to use wire coils in my wire-wrapped necklaces, but I always end up with leftover bits. Every so often these bits reach critical mass, demand to be put away, recycled, or used. Happily I love asymmetrical necklaces more than anything. They are fun to make because they evolve as you work. You follow idea to idea, rethink, and make things work by reporposing them.

When the State Fair is going on I often find myself exhausted when I get home, and that's the perfect time to spend the evening with some leftover necklace components to create a quick necklace.

This necklace uses copper half-hard jewelry wire. I hand wrapped the hook and eye clasp parts. The focal point at the front bottom of the necklace is a bit of coiled wire (24-gauge) that I strung on 18-gauge wire which I looped at each end. I then carefully bent the coil and interior wire into a very open V so that any dangles I placed on it would hang down, and not move back and forth and cause the necklace to slide around on my neck. (Balance is important with asymmetrical necklaces. If the two sides don't weigh the same the necklace will never hang correctly and easily—important if you have a focal point, and unimportant if the entire necklace is the focus).

Next I made dangles for the focal point, using more coils and leftovers. I had some Lake Superior Agates that had been drilled as square and pebble beads. I also had small copper rounds and a large-holed copper bead. I hammered some leftover wired and bent it into a squiggle from which I hung a coiled wired dangle.

You get the idea, use anything at hand. Also, get up and hammer a piece of wire, or string some jump rings together, giving yourself time to think. Then an idea, like bending the hammered wire, will pop into your head. You just keep moving forward, critical mind on hold. It's a great way to relax.

I love pearls and had some wire-wrapped pearls (white) from another project. I also had some burgundy colored small round pearls from another necklace. I thought they suited the Lake Superior Agate colors.

On the right side of the necklace I attached a wrapped pearl to the focal coil with a jump ring. Then I used SoftTouch Stringing wire to string the rest of that side of the necklace. I like to have a bead on either side of my crimp bead (which is covered with a crimp bead cover). I used some copper disks at each end because even the thin stringing wire wouldn't go through the pearls twice and I needed space to hide the tail of the stringing wire. (I wasn't going to drill bigger holes in the pearls—the point was to make a quick necklace.)

On the rightside, copper washers alternate with the burgundy pearls and a coiled wired bead is added for interest (it has been sitting in the leftover pile for ages and I'm so glad to use it). A disk on each end of the large coiled ends of the coiled bead helps it sit nicely on the wire and not slop around. The end of this strand is finished as it was started, except that I added the eye for the closure.

The left side of the necklace has more wire-wrapping because I wanted to use those wire-wraped pearls and I think individually wire-wrapped pieces make a nice foil to a strung section of necklace opposite. I started with a burgundy wire-wrapped pearl because I wanted to introduce the burgundy pearls to that side of the necklace in a visible area. Small squares of Lake Superior Agate are wire-wrapped and linked with jump rings. The last segment of this side of the necklace is strung copper washers and burgundy pearls, just like the other side, except at this end I've added my hook.

Note: I like to work with wire-wrapped loops on either end of my components because then if I decide to attach a segment that is strung on beading wire I don't have to worry about the beading wire slipping out of the loop, as it could do with a simple loop. Also the wrapped loop is smooth and provides little wear on the stringing wire.

Next time you find yourself faced with a lot of bits and pieces, relax and have an hour of fun working out how to put them togther in a necklace (or bracelet, or pin).

• Add dangles to the wrapped loops and jump-ring links of your necklace. I didn't use additional dangles on this necklace but there is plenty of potential to add them to the loops and jump rings on the left side of this necklace. I like to plan for these dangles as a design element when I start putting the necklace together. However, keep in mind that if you end up with the finished necklace and it doesn't hang the way you would like it to, placement of an appropriately weighted dangle can readjust the alignment. And it also adds more asymmetry and fun!

Example thought process: I kept the left side of the necklace lightweight with the use of pearls. If I had used more stones or larger stones it could have ended up heavier than the strung side of the necklace (the large copper coiled bead isn't heavy at all). I could have countered that with a "heavy" dangle at the right end loop of the focal coil, the jump ring that joins that coil to the wire-wrapped white pearl, or either wrapped loop end of that pearl. It all depends on the balance needed, the weight of the dangle, and the way the dangle hangs from the position you give it. Make it work!

• Create double strands on one side of the necklace to balance the weight of the opposite strand and to add visual intersest and asymmetry!

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