Wednesday, April 27, 2016

April Pretty Palettes - Reveal!

This month's Pretty Palettes was inspired by the Japanese aesthetic of wabi-sabi.

What is wabi-sabi? It's finding the beauty in the imperfect, delight in the broken. It values authenticity and accepts the transience of life. 

To pick out beads to match this aesthetic, the organizer of the Pretty Palettes challenge, Erin Prais-Hintz, found inspiration in old rusty gears. For some gorgeous pictures to illustrate this idea, be sure to visit the inspiration post for this challenge... They match perfectly the beads she selected:

...And, heh, I only used one of those components. 

To be fair, that wasn't by choice. I just wasn't able to get to a Michaels until near the end of the month--and I actually hadn't been sure I was going to get to go at all. Still--thankfully--I continue to have access to a computer, so I was able to place a quick order to JoAnn (they were running a free shipping coupon *grin*).

Based on what they had in stock, these are the beads that I picked out to match the rusty gear theme:

From top to bottom, the materials are: metal gears (which I had in my stash), gold-tone hematite (purchased on clearance last month at Michaels), carved soapstone, Australian jasper, copper plated spacers, and silver-plated wire.

Almost immediately, I decided to save the silver-wire lattice-work pieces for another project, and got to work with the shades of brown and copper and blue:

From that palette, this is what I made!

...Oh, and you may have noticed that I also incorporated some turquoise Picasso Czech glass, for fun. (From my stash, also purchased from Michaels.) *grin*

Here you can also see the asymmetrical earrings I made to match.

To make the pendant, I layered gears on top of an existing filigree that I had in my stash. I even added a touch of teal to the base (which you can't really quite see, but I know it's there!). 

Now, to be honest, I had not intended for any part of the pendant to be shiny... But when I added the final piece, the lacquer-adhesive that I was used seeped through the gear spokes--and, well, I improvised! :)

This necklace was both a blast to make (I love the colors!), and also a bit of a challenge. You see, as an nod to the wabi-sabi aesthetic, I wanted to make it asymmetrical.

...Yeah. Asymmetry is not my strongest suit.

Still, I think I did well. I am very pleased with how it turned out, and think it does justice to the inspiration... It is balanced, asymmetrical, and the array of colors echoes rusted gears, patinas, and the color variation that comes in nature. (And the pendant isn't perfect, but still lovely! Woo!)

But wait, there's more! 

While that is the only full set that I completed, I actually did start another one. So far, I have only made the earrings, but my plan is to make a matching necklace at some point. I didn't finish in time for this reveal, but that's okay... I'll show you what I have so far.

First up, here are the materials:

You'll recognize the wire-wrapped pieces from the earlier picture... this time paired with two shades and shapes of Czech glass.

With those components, I made these earrings:

I aged the silver pieces because they were a little too bright for what I had in mind... I then wire-wrapped the Czech beads (in bronze, because I apparently like mixing metals right now), and added them as dangles.

These two earrings are very similar, but not identical--because the wire-wrapped components are not identical. I think it adds to their charm.

And that's it! That's what I made for this month's Pretty Palettes. 

I really enjoyed working with these colors, and this aesthetic definitely made me push myself... I look forward to getting my hands on the beads that were originally picked out for this challenge, because I would love to create with them, too. :)

Thank you to Erin and the folks at Halcraft for hosting this challenge... And thanks to everyone for stopping by to see what I made!

Have a wonderful day!


  1. FYI: I'm now imagining "llama" aesthetic crossed with steampunk. I like that necklace!

  2. Wow! You sure were inspired this month. I really love that you pushed yourself out of your zone to make an asymmetrical piece. I really think that complements the challenge well. I really like that pendant you created and the aging on the bright silver web connectors makes them really more special. I think the earrings look like modern dream catchers! Thanks for playing along with me! Enjoy the day! Erin

  3. Awesome! Your asymmetry is spot on! I like the carved stone you used. My favorite is definitely the earrings. Great Job!

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