December 3, 2012

Jade Dog Designs Fall Challenge

Darcy from The Jade Dog had a Fall Challenge and of course I'm always up for a challenge!  I purchased the kit shown above, with one of Darcy's handmade polymer clay cabochons and an assortment of beads.  The rules were simple - make something beaded using at least one of each of the bead types and the focal.  My first thought was to do a bead embroidery piece; if you aren't familiar with Darcy's work, she does some amazing bead embroidery.  Now I may always be up for a challenge, but I'm not silly enough to put myself up for that sort of comparison, so my mission was to find another way to set the cab.   Uh huh.

The first thing I attempted was a brass prong setting.  I cut the brass shape, textured it, drilled the holes for the prongs, attached them by soldering and then added a patina to the piece using liver of sulfur.  That's when I remembered to snap a photo.  And this step is as smelly as it is nasty looking.

All that and I didn't like it. I tried cutting it down so that it wasn't so large in comparison to the cab, but I still wasn't thrilled with it.  So I put it aside and tried a macrame bezel instead.  I spent nearly two hours knotting this:

Only to discover that I hated it even worse than the brass one.  So I spent another 30 minutes looking for inspiration and over an hour trying to make a wire bezel that I hated even worse than the macrame bezel that I hate worse than the brass one. 

At this point I figured I'd go with the one I hated the least and try to make it work.  It was either that or still be working on this project into next year.  So I took the first brass piece that I'd cut down and I beat on it some more and added some gilder's paste and then drilled some holes and attached a couple of the Czech flowers and a leaf with some wire.  Hmm...  either that was a big improvement, or I'd lowered my standards.  Either way, that's what I went with.  

I hung my pendant on a chain dotted with random beads and added a couple more dangles for movement. 

I even added a pretty floral clasp.

Darcy is going to put photos of all the entries on The Jade Dog facebook page, if you'd like to take a peek at what other folks did. 


  1. After all your false starts, you were able to come up with something great! I love the colors and the way you arranged the beads & the backplate for the cab turned out lovely.

  2. looks fantastic love the pop of blue!

  3. Love this piece, you did an awesome job!

  4. I think it turned out lovely in the end Sherri. Sometimes you have to work with ideas that challenge you, but in the end they can only help you grow as an artist :) At least thats what I tell myself when I feel I might as well just go back to bed...

  5. LOL, thank you for sharing the creative process! I totally understand the bad, worse, worst scenarios. Funny how I was thinking when I first saw the prong setting that i liked it, and you ended up right back there. The patina and beads do indeed make it better.

  6. beautiful, I think you went very much the right way with the brass setting.

  7. Wow, what a process! It came out beautiful - I love it :) I am glad to see that others also have those times, they just hate what happend on the jewellery mat!

    Bead Soup Mix

  8. I think it came out beautiful as well! Frustration turns into fabulous!

  9. I would hate for you to have something you dislike the least hanging around your house like the eyesore it is. I'm such a supportive friend that I want to offer my house as storage. You know the address. ;p


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