Saturday, 27 October 2012

The making of a necklace

Ok, firstly I feel like I should acknowledge that its been an embarrassingly long time since I last wrote a blog post.  So, er, sorry about that!  Been rather busy at the mo, I feel like I've got lots going on in all aspects of my life and I've not felt really like writing blog posts I'm afraid, but I'm hoping I might be able to squeeze one in every now and then a bit more frequently for you!

For a while now I've fancied writing a blog post documenting how I make my multi-strand knotted necklaces - they are such nice pieces to make, incredibly time consuming, but lovely to see how it develops as you add each strand.  There's only so much you can plan with them, they are very much pieces that change as you make decisions on which beads go where - depending on the order, ratio of big/small, light/dark, heavy/light etc, it all is part of the creation of each piece which is totally unique (and will often vary a little from my initial idea of what I think it will turn out like!)

Basically, I start by choosing my thread colour, I use Griffin silk, a very high quality silk that comes in either 100% natural silk, or Nylon which is much stronger for those heavier weight gemstones.  Great quality and lovely to work with, it gives a much softer and more organic look than beading wire.  The colour I use really affects the 'feel' of a necklace, whether it's subtle and complimentary, or punchy and contrasty.

I start knotting the beads at intervals and in different combinations, and make sure I've got the length right before attaching the clasp components on each end.

That's the easy bit - it starts getting a bit more complex as you start to add the next strands - each one intermittently intertwines with the other strands, so they become interlaced with each other, which is what makes the necklace hang so nicely I think...

As I add more strands and knots, I love the weaving effect you create, all these little intersections of threads and beads!

So really, I just keep on going until I feel I have got enough strands, the right balance of beads, and I've got it hanging how I want, then I just make sure all my knots are secure, and hey presto, I suddenly realised its a wearable necklace!!  :D

My design techniques have developed a little over the last year or so that I've been making them. With the first one I made, I didn't create it one strand at a time ~ I had all 4 strands going at once, which was a bit of a brain-bender keeping track of which thread was which and where each one was going, whilst trying not to spill beads everywhere from wayward strands!!  See the photos of 'Multi-strand necklace #1' here. I am glad to say the improved technique is a lot more straight-forward and less stressful!!!

The lady who bought this very first piece has actually since commissioned two additional necklaces in the same style, which is just fantastic, and I find really flattering.  In addition to the first necklace in sea greens, she now also has one in deep olive greens with Pearls, Unakite and Peridot (like this one), and another one that was particularly enjoyable to make ~ the brief was that it had to be in orange, purple and coral colours, and bright!  Great fun, and looked absolutely stunning if I do say so myself!  You can see some piccies here.  

These necklace are real labours of love, but utterly worth all the hours that go into them (min. 4-6 hours solid) ~ they are immensely satisfying to make, to wear, and of course also to watch someone else fall in love with and take home :)