Tuesday, November 19, 2013

My Mom's bezeled earrings (finally)

Whew!  What a busy weekend I had!  The comedy show at Karma Bar and Grill was fun - the food was good, and the comedians were pretty funny.  The chairs, however, were extremely uncomfortable.  If you go, bring a pillow.  :)

The Jewelry at the Domes show was good, but the weather was horrible.  Sunday there were tornado sirens, but we only had rain and high winds.  Not fun for packing up and loading the car, and the weather affected how many people turned out.  Some brave souls did show up, and we were all glad for that.

Now that my Triptych saga is over, I can finally show you the earrings I made for my mother's birthday that I told you about.

A number of years ago my friend Cindy showed me how to stitch around things without holes in them (typically called cabochons), which is called bezeling.  You use beads of two different sizes, and the smaller ones cinch up the ring so the focal piece doesn't fall out.  There's no glue involved, and it always amazes people that the center doesn't fall out.

Here's the first one I made:

The focal here is a polymer clay bicone that Cindy made.  It's so cute!  The necklace is tubular peyote and took forever.

I wanted to show you another bezeled piece I made, but it seems to have gone missing.  That's a little distressing, as it's my favorite necklace.  It has to be around here somewhere.  It's probably on my desk, which means I'll never find it.

Hmm.  Anyway.  I really like this technique because you can have fun with it.  You can add fringe around the outside edges, but my favorite thing to do is to just add nubs.

This necklace uses peanut beads and 15/0 seed beads as the nubs:

The necklace on that one is also tubular peyote, but with peanut beads it took a fraction of the time.  I loved this necklace, and I sold it last December.  I almost didn't want to give it up, but it has a good home.

Here's the necklace I made for my mother ages ago that precipitated making the earrings you will eventually see:

The center is a snowflake obsidian cabochon.  The nubs around the edge are the same 15/0 seed beads as are used to cinch up the bezel in the front and back.  The necklace is a spiral rope.

When I went shopping for appropriate snowflake obsidian cabochons for the earrings, I decided on 8mm rounds from Fire Mountain Gems.  They currently have some 10mm rounds and some ovals that would have worked, too, but I don't remember seeing them when I was shopping before.

Here is what they look like, unstitched:

I actually got one to stand up on its side!  Woo hoo!  As you can see, the front is domed, and the back is flat.  That would be fine for bead embroidery where you want the cabochon to lie flat on the material, but for a fully beaded bezel, that flat back can be a little tricky (more on that later).

I also found it hard to hold on to the little buggers while I was stitching them into the bezel.  8mm doesn't seem that small until it keeps flying out of your fingers.

Here (at long last) are the earrings I made for Mom:

I bezeled two cabochons for each earring and linked them by having one nub in common.  I could see the same technique used to link three of them for an interesting "pendant".

Here are earrings I made to sell with just one cabochon a piece:

I think they look like gears.

The basic construction of beaded bezels is a ring of tubular peyote with 11/0 Delicas to fit around the focal and one or more rings of 15/0 seed beads on each side.  Usually one round is enough, but if it's loose, then I use two rounds to make sure it's not going anywhere.  For these cabochons, though, I felt the flat back needed three rounds, but the piece was too small, and the beads were buckling.  I decided that looked like crap and took it out.  I tried again, skipping every other bead, and something interesting happened:

I got a little star on the back!  It's not perfect, because of the number of beads back there, but it's pretty darned close.  One of my friends told me she kinda preferred the back to the front.

Here are the most recent pieces I've bezeled:

The thing I like about these pieces is that I used a different color for the nubs, and I started adding them a row closer to the front than I usually do.  That gave the pieces a ridge which frames the stones nicely.

Do you have any bezeled cabochons you'd like to show off?  Send me an e-mail at traci@creative-pursuits.biz with the picture, and I'll post about it!

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