Trollbeads Design Challenge: Day 17


Silvers are hard!

IMG_5834Today I dive into a design area where I am always a little challenged… For whatever reason, I find composing bracelets mainly of silver to be quite tricky!  I naturally gravitate to the mesmerizing colour and depth of the glass, so I always reach for those first, and sometimes by the time I place all the glass there are barely any spots left for

IMG_5833silver at all.  I situate my silvers carefully along the length of the design to give the eye a spot to pause and rest, so as not to overwhelm the viewer and have all the beads blur into each other.  I also find that the silvers help to create mini compositions of colour that

IMG_5831the eye can appreciate separately from the whole.  To my eye, too many silvers seem to blur together into a mad mess of pattern, just as all glass blend together into a muddled palette of colour.  Having tackled this challenge last year at this time, I remember that the only way I can make sense of all the pattern of the silver is to keep strictly to simple forms and try to create a rhythm, or pattern of them.  Here I have framed a dramatic center glass with a pair of bold spheres.  Then I go on around the bracelet to set up patterns of round and “bead shaped” silvers.  In this case, the glass act as little islands of colour that break up the groupings of silver.  I have essentially reversed the proportions of my normal bracelet designs.


Clockwise from clasp:  “Basic Double Lobster Clasp”,  “Bead of Fortune”, “Unique”, “Happy Fish” (retired), “Chinese Zodiac Rooster” (Limited Edition), “Happy Fish” (retired), “Silver Trace, Pink” (retired),  “Etruscan” (retired), “Auspicious” (Limited Edition Hong Kong World Tour), “Frogs” (retired), “Faceted Aurora” (limited edition), “Spot” (retired), “Unique”, “Shortcut” (retired), “Aurora Flower”, “Petanque” (retired), “Jugend”, “Faces” (retired) “Unique”, “Mushrooms Family” (Limited Edition Baltic States World Tour”, “Carved Flowers” (retired), “Cells” (retired), “Violet Petals” (Limited Edition), “Bead of Fortune”.

One final note… this bracelet is surprisingly heavy, but feels wonderful on the arm!







Trollbeads Design Challenge: Day 16


Well, I’ve kept at it, and I think I might have done it.

Working with all silver posed a surprisingly difficult design challenge for me.  Possibly it’s because I am so accustomed to working with the soft, forgiving glass and stone beads… or possibly it is because I have some seriously quirky silvers.  Clowns and spiders and boats oh my.  When I placed all those little faces and bits and bobs together on a bracelet they just seemed so complicated and busy and I couldn’t see any of the charming elements that made me love them.


IMG_1522Perhaps it’s a little like creating art.  It’s actually easier with colour, because it’s so forgiving.  Pare design down to purely form, and it’s immediately apparent if anything is imbalanced.

So I decided to approach designing with all silver with the same disciplined approach as colour.  No simply chucking beads together – find the points of similarity, and them set up a rhythm.  Looking closely at the design below you’ll see that I’ve put together a basic pattern of round forms alternating with tall & narrow ones.  I do love the narrower silvers that are shaped like “doughnuts”, or like glass beads of silver.


I think that it would be even more effective if I had planned my collection specifically with this in mind.  If I were picking silvers for this approach I would lean towards the more modern, sculptural silver forms, to keep the overall composition smooth and satisfyingly clean.

However, having said all that I am pleased with the end result of this little exercise.  This bracelet feels amazing to wear… so heavy and fluid!  I’m so glad I kept at it and was able to wear this.