I was given a commission before Christmas to make a simple necklace with a layered onyx cabouchon and a simple ombre chain.
The lady I made it for wanted it as a gift for her Mum and she chose the cab, as well as the colours and the base design. She wanted the colours to bleed into each other and the clasp had to be beaded as well, as her Mum doesn't do well with any metals.
This is what I was given to work with - she wanted black to be the predominant colour in the chain with just a small bit of white showing either side of the pendant dropper:
My first step was to bead the cab. A nice easy job, but for my own hatred of matte beads - the more you handle them, the less matte they become (oils in skin etc) and they really bugger up the thread! I'm used to working with quite a lot of thread but have to use much smaller lengths as it frays more due to the rougher bead surface. The trouble is, matte beads really do lend themselves to many projects, and the matte beads against the highly polished surface of the stone was just beautiful.
Then came the rope itself! We opted for a simple 6 round herringbone rope, not twisted, not lazy, just a simple rope. This made the bleeding of the colours really work and although you can barely tell that the pinky pale brown turns into silver before heading into white, I really like this for the effect.
Here you can see the rope width against the cabouchon. Not too clunky and thick, but not so delicately thin that the cab looks ridiculously chunky! To be honest, it took a little while (and lots of samples!) to settle on this width because although I liked the eight round rope, it would have been far too chunky for the lady in question. I also always tend to veer towards the large and chunky rather than the thin and delicate.
Getting the rope even on both sides, but still random looking was an absolute nightmare! Not a very good picture below, you can see the warped square found in Geometric Beadwork by Jean Power that I used to hang the cabouchon. Because we only wanted a small amount of white beads to peep out either side on the rope, I thought Jean's ingenious design was the way forward.
And then we moved to the clasp. The loop is a simple peyote circle that I beaded and then joined the herringbone rope to and the toggle has a loop that loops through the continuous herringbone loop on the other end of the rope. I prefer to make my beaded clasps like this rather than a simple loop and toggle (or bigger bead) joined by a few beads because it makes them look a little more interesting and a touch more finished.
The completed piece:
I know the lady's Mum liked it Christmas morning and I hope you do too! It's very different from all the geometric work I've been doing recently.