Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Summer Kawaii

A few days ago, Lynn Davis had a great Studio Saturday post over at Art Bead Scene, talking about metal clay (yay!), and she showed us, among other components, some of the super-cool metal clay circle links she's been making in her studio. I love circle links - I think they are very versatile design elements, useful for multi-strand pieces, as well as for clasp components or focals.

It just so happened that I had made a bunch of simple circle links a couple months ago for a project that never really got off the ground, and Lynn's post inspired me to dig a couple of them out to transform into a new piece. Here's what I ended up doing with mine. I had a bunch of Japanese plastic beads (see my earlier post on the Japanese bead store Toho Shoji for more information) in what I think of as classic "kawaii" colors - very bright, cheerful pastels - and wanted to wire-wrap them into a summer necklace or bracelet. I thought the simple, off-center circle shape had a vaguely Asian flavor to it, so I decided to dangle some of the flower beads and a faceted spring green ball from it to see what happened. Here is a close-up shot of the result:

I'm not really keen on symmetry (and the rings themselves are not symmetrical), so I used jump rings in different sizes to hang clusters of flowers at different heights off of the ring. I then decided to create a design of graduated circles by hanging the green faceted ball and a smaller pearl off of the center point of the ring and added more tiny flowers to finish the pendant.

For the back, I took a smaller ring and mirrored part of the design for a bit of added interest on the clasp. I decided to highlight the circle design by simply adding a small lobster claw clasp to the side as a closure, instead of using a toggle bar. I think this makes a cute - or kawaii (Japanese for "cute" for the uninitiated) - summer piece to wear with a sun dress. (The Short One spent all morning trying to grab the colorful dangly bits and went after the necklace with grim determination while it was lying on the center of the dining room table, so I think it has his seal of approval, too.)

So, a big thank you to Lynn for inspiring me to create this piece!! If you use circle links in your own jewelry design, I'd be interested in hearing about your favorite way of using them.

Thanks for visiting!


LLYYNN - Lynn Davis said...

I really like the way you used the circle disks! and your patina on the silver is a great color. Very summery and light looking necklace. So glad you found inspiration in the silver metal clay posts, you should keep going with it, you do a beautiful job.

Melissa J. Lee said...

Hi Lynn, Thanks for stopping by! Actually, the disks do not have a patina - I think it's just the way the light is hitting them...