Saturday, June 25, 2011

Blissful Garden Beads June Bracelet Challenge

This month I have had the tremendous pleasure of participating in my third of Heather's four challenges!  I'm loving the gentle nudges of these challenges to creatively explore outside my usual "box".  Had someone told me a year ago I would be making these types of pieces I probably would have laughed it off while secretly hoping they were right.

This month's challenge piece was to be a bracelet.  I received 3 beads in a beautiful translucent brilliant blue with delicate pink and white roses, lavender lilacs and that oh so yummy sage green she uses for the leaves!  I was so excited to hear we were to make bracelets and David and I had several design ideas, but nothing seemed to be drawing me in.  I pondered and let it do what I call "marinate" then almost suddenly it all came together!  The pictures in this post will take you on a journey through the creation of this bracelet.  I hope you enjoy!

I started with copper sheet that was cut a nice size for bracelets.  It was all nice and shiny and I had every intention of putting an end to that!  LOL  First I trimmed and filed the ends round for wearer's comfort.  Then I added texture with a couple of texturing hammers.  Cut and textured the three tabs and balled six pieces of heavy gauge wire for rivets/cold connections (learned a trick to that in the process!).  Gave everything a good swim in the pickle and rinse and broke out the torch for some fun!  I wanted the copper to have as much color as the beads so I started playing around with flame painting so, here comes one of my "what happens when I do THIS" moments.  LOL  It took a few tries, but I was finally able to come up with something I was pleased with.  I am now in LOVE with flame painted copper!  Next was connecting the tabs to the bracelet blank.

(click image to zoom)
Don't you just LOVE the vibrant colors given by the flame?!
Looking at the flame painted colors I thought OH! I have some beads that would go PERFECT with that!
You can bet I'll be using these in a cuff! ;)

Actually, I have SEVERAL bead sets that would go nicely w/ the flame painted copper, but I stuck with the plan to use the randomly provided beads from Heather.  ;)  I was pleasantly surprised to see the pinks and greens and blues in the beads went QUITE nicely with the copper!  On to the next step -- securing the beads to the bracelet.  I placed the beads between the tabs and marked the hole placement.  Check twice and punch once!  The beads are secured using three of the longer balled wire I had made earlier as pins. impending design modification in process...

I had initially intended on cutting the long ends of the tabs off but decided to do another one of my "what happens when I do this?" experiments and was liked how it worked out!  Fun little surprise -- the beads now had enough wiggle room to have a tiny bit of movement...Not stationary as they would have been had the tabs been cut flush.  ;)


Let's see what it looks like after forming on the bracelet mandrel...

ponder ponder...seems to have too much space between the beads...
OH!  Another fun discovery was that with the weight of the beads and the tabs not being soldered or snug on the cuff, there was some snazzy movement and a little tiny slave bell jingle to the bracelet when shaken!  How fun is that?!   However, something wasn't quite right.  So, I dug out some lengths of two gauges of wire, flame painted them and added some vines to my wrist garden!

MUCH better, don't you think?!

I hope you've enjoyed learning about the design process and construction of this cuff.  I invite you to visit Heather's Blissful Garden Beads Blog of the Bracelet Challenge Voting and check out all the lovely artistry!  Take a good hard look and cast your vote.  My entry is lucky #13!

Feel free to share with your friends and -- above all Have Fun!