Mixed Media Jewelry Project Idea L'Africaan Choker

L'Africaan Choker copyright 2009 Margot Potter

I created this necklace recently for the folks from Beadalon. It’s called L’Africaan. Unfortunately it didn’t really work for their catalog pictures because it’s designed to curve snugly around your neck and not to be flat on a surface. So I got it back, which is actually great because I have to tell you that I’m simply mad for this design! I usually wouldn’t spend this much time on a personal piece...so it was kind of like a surprise gift from me...to me!

Yay me!

Now I wouldn’t want to keep all of this fun for myself...so I’m sharing this with you!

Yay you!

I did a few cool things here. I love designs with color, movement and texture, so this one offers all three. I used rubber tubing segments threaded with a 4mm CRYSTALLIZED™ bead (in padparascha, Indian sapphire, black diamond and pink opal) on a head pin alternated between loops of the fabulous new
Beadalon white wire strung over a memory wire base threaded through an 8mm white alabaster bead or an 8mm black vintage plastic bead with 4mm CRYSTALLIZED elements in jet or crystal AB on the wire ends. Size 1 crimp beads secure the wire ends and size 2 crimps attach the top of the wire segments to the base. I just flattened those with chain nose pliers. I used larger vintage faceted plastic beads around the base, but I’m thinking I’ll make another one of these with just the tubes and one with tubes and wire segments. Memory wire makes the perfect foundation for collar, bib and waterfall style designs. It’s tempered steel and it retains its shape no matter how many beads you load on it! You can add a clasp on the ends if your design is heavy like this one.

L'Africaan Detail

I love this exposed wire tendril look originated by the 2002 Saul Bell Design Award winner Nancilee Woodyard. (I believe it’s important to give credit where it is due.) It’s one of those techniques that’s endlessly inspirational. I made u-shapes by threading both wires into a core bead, so it’s a different kind of tendril with a more structured look. Since I have to expose the wire in my designs for Beadalon and I hate to repeat myself endlessly, I’m always trying to come up with new ways to crack the nut.

Madge in L'Africaan Choker

I imagined this as an African tribal collar, interpreted in totally modern materials. When you wear it you feel regal and fierce. You could go even further with this and alternate the lengths of wire and tubing for an even more dramatic effect. I hope this inspires you to explore something new in your work!

I like to think of these ideas I share with you as craft recipes, you make them your own by adding a dash of this and taking out that...tweaking the ingredients to suit your personal taste. Copying someone’s work is...well...boring and frankly, lame. You have it in you to do great things, so don’t be afraid to take risks and on occasion make glorious mistakes. If you do make a design inspired by my work, please email me and I'll post it here with links back to you! I love to see inspiration in action!

Until next time...craft on with your bad selves!



Irene Lenihan said...

Wow. Love that necklace. Gotta go thru my stuff and see what I can come up with. Very inspiring. And I'm jealous that you got it back to wear.

FunkyMonkey Girls said...

Awesome necklace and you look just too fierce for words LOL. I love the tubing in it, that gives me loads of ideas! Thanks!

Funky Monkey Girl,

TesoriTrovati said...

You never cease to amaze, Miss Madge! I love the use of textures and materials. Thanks for the tips about memory wire...that stuff confounds me sometimes! I like the exposed wire tendrils and the fact that you gave credit where it is due. And who would want to copy this design? I think that it would be something you could riff on with color, texture, size and shape all day long and not copy the original. (By the way...you are an original...don't ever change!) Enjoy the day! Erin

Fernando Dasilva said...

Totally DALICIUUS™ honey!

You know I use those tendrils a lot and to me the most important thing is the interpretation and the hability of owning the design.
I love the colors and the black African background that you gave to the overall look bringing a strong African goddess atmosphere.
I am sure that Yansa- the goddess of winds and lightning would wear it!



Sherri Osborn said...

What a stunning necklace! You both look amazing! :-)

Eileen The Artful Crafter said...

Great photos. You look beautiful and so does the necklace. I've seen the Beadalon white wire and thought "Well, what would I need that for?" You've answered my question ;-)

What a creative and modern take on traditional African jewelry!

Anonymous said...

I love the way that the necklace looks like a collar for the outfit you're wearing. Is it part of the dress (I'm thinking Audrey Hepburn or Cher in Bob Mackie with the flesh netting holding everything together) or is it jewelry?

I have to admit that the necklace doesn't match my personal style, and yet it's one of my favorite of your recent pieces. That's what I call talent!