Tuesday, September 6, 2016

Summer's End

Early this summer I read a post about a summer bead challenge showing bright, beautiful colors of fruit: lemons and limes, watermelons, cherries, blueberries and other gorgeous fruit and juicy summer colors.  (I couldn't remember exactly which blog it was so I can't add a link).  I was thinking of summer colors and what colors represent summer to me while driving out through the bluffs to La Crosse.  Then it struck me - Orange and White - Traffic Cones!  We travel back and forth to Chicago on a regular basis so the seemingly endless traffic cones lining the highways and byways are a sure sign of summer to me.  During the trip to La Crosse I went to a big box store in Onalaska and perused their collection of bright orange beads.  I grabbed a handful of juicy orange, yellow and some cut white roundels that mimic the reflective quality of the cones and headed to the checkout.

First Attempt

My first idea was to string the beads.  I even added red orange cut rounds which I thought in theory wouldn't work with the orange, but it sorta worked.  They picked up the dark orange in the lampwork beads.  I had added two vintage orange glass beads along with the big box lampwork beads and colorful yellow and orange rounds.  I wasn't happy with it.  I don't like to string beads because I don't trust the crimps, especially with a long string of somewhat heavy glass beads.  The necklace did not do anything for me.  I realize that part of the problem is this method just isn't "me" so I decided to take it apart and start over. (I see now that I didn't even straighten it before snapping the pic - oops).

I thought again about what to do and decided to stick with what I usually do, wire wrap the beads to form a chain.  I added some vintage orange and yellow beads I bought from my friend Willow to the lampwork beads and began again.  This next necklace design has been morphing for a while.  I started with a basic pattern necklace with smaller beads wrapping around the neck.  Then I thought I'd break up the continuous lampwork swirls and throw in some smaller roundels to the rounds.

Second Attempt
Third Attempt

Final Necklace?
Traffic cones... I was needing white.  I dug through my stash of white beads and found some nice vintage diamond shaped  glass beads, and thought that would work well with some sparkly glass roundels. I then decided on an endless chain to represent the endless chain of traffic cones.
Endless Traffic Cones Necklace
I really like the "Endless Traffic Cones" necklace.  It was fun to make and wear, and since it is so simple the reflective qualities of the white roundels and the brightness of the oranges really represent the subject matter.  The necklace looks really good lying on a purple, navy or black t-shirt.

As I was listing the necklace in my Etsy shop, however, I noticed that the orange is flaking off of the glass beads I bought at the big box store!  What?!  Note to self - be sure to really check the beads obtained at a big box retailer!  I usually don't buy a whole lot of beads from them, but every now and then I do find some I like.  I shall be very careful from now on with which ones I do buy.  I did check to make sure there wasn't any paint chipping off of them, but I guess the heat of the summer must've made the paint brittle?  But on a positive note, I can think of the necklace and it's imperfect, chipped beads as a representation of the wear and tear those traffic cones go through, right? : )  The orange and yellow ones in the first necklace are vintage and have no chips in them.  Eesh, so many things are cheap junk these days.

Finally I made a couple pair of earrings to go with the necklaces.  I'm trying to perfect hoops, and I used a wooden dowel we had in the backroom for a mandrel.  It works, but I think the hoops are a tad large for most women's liking, so I will search for a broom handle or something smaller.

Well that's it for my summer colors inspired creations.  I usually don't like the color orange and therefore don't create any jewelry using that color.  I like using more muted colors.  Yet as I was playing around with the beads and after I made the first necklace I found myself looking at orange and other bright colors in a different way.   I'm now in the process of making a few bracelets that are bright green, yellow and white.  More summer colors!

Thanks for joining me here.