Friday, January 29, 2010

Anatomy of a Necklace - Sakura Collar

Last year I began weaving a chainmaille necklace in copper, and like most of my designs, it began in my head with just one section of the finished piece. I constructed several "flower" designs that use the helm (parallel chain) weave as a base, and then proceeded to connect them to one another such that they formed this lovely triangular shape. After that, I couldn't decide how to proceed, so I set the piece aside and worked on other things. I created some web software, moved all of my web sites to a new host, and did just about everything but create a piece of jewelry.

Then, after nearly a year of stagnation, I was looking through my container of unfinished ideas, and pulled this lovely hunk of copper out and stared at it for a few minutes. Feeling inspired, I resolved to finally complete the project. I took out what I had in already-cut copper jump rings and began to weave additional flowers, thinking I'd create something of a floral pattern weave. After constructing 4 more flowers, I realized that perhaps the whole piece would lay strangely if the large flowers made up the entire length of the necklace, so I attached these new flowers to the original three, and then considered the best type of chain to complete the necklace.

I needed something to balance the size of the large flowers, but also be small enough to complete the length of the necklace without being too intrusive at the back. It is sometimes hard to describe why something doesn't look quite right in a design--you just tend to know when something doesn't fit. Nearly every normal chain pattern I might use was just too small to complete the necklace and look totally in balance. So, I designed these little "half flowers", as I decided to call them at the time. In my opinion, they ended up completing the look of the necklace perfectly!

From there, it was a matter of giving enough length to the piece to allow it to fit nearly any wearer--I created a simple 2-in-2 extender chain and attached that and a clasp to the back.

With the back finished, I felt that the front of the necklace was in need of a little contrasting color, and something to complete that triangle created by the first three flowers at the center. After digging through my packs of gemstones, beads, and other supplies, I finally settled on the amazing contrast created by a nugget of blue apatite. I can't say enough about how much I love the color of blue apatite--it's this gorgeous aqua blue, and it looks amazing when paired with the warm red hue of copper.  Blue apatite for me was love at first sight. Anyways, I finished the lovely nugget with some shiny copper bead caps and some copper wire, and made a pendant to hang from the tip of the flower triangle.

I called the finished piece the Sakura Collar: 

You can find the Sakura Collar for sale in my Etsy shop soon!