30 Days – 30 Designs: Tartooful Design Challenge 2015

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It’s almost May – and dedicated Tartoofulers know that means that it’s almost time for the Tartooful 30 Days Design Challenge!  Will you take the challenge with us this year?

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What if you started fresh… free from preconceptions about how your bracelets should look.  What could you create with your beautiful beads?

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So here’s how it works:

1.  Photograph your current bracelets, so you can always put them back exactly the way they are if you want them back.

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2.  Take everything apart and arrange it on a play tray or similar tool, so you can clearly see your design kit.  In effect, you will create an artist’s palette for yourself, using your beads and jewelry components.

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3.  Play!  Create a new bracelet every day for 30 days.  The next morning, take it apart, place all the beads back on the play tray to create again with a fresh eye.  (Don’t forget to take a daily photo so you can always rebuild a certain arrangement again in the future.)

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May 1 – 30th will be the third year of the 30 Day Design Challenge…

…and every year I find I come to know my collection, and myself, just a little better through this simple creative process.  I can’t wait to get going, and see what evolves this year.

Finally, this isn’t just about me – I would LOVE to have as many of you as possible to take the challenge with me this year!  Let’s share the results of your wild design experiments on our Instagram feed (@tartooful #30daychallenge) or Facebook page so that we can all enjoy them and be inspired.  If you don’t “do” social media, simply email them to me at tartooful@gmail.com and I would be delighted to post the photos on your behalf.

Get ready, get set… go play!

C.

Inspired Amber

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IMG_8043It was a cold and rainy day today, and the village was quiet, with only a few damp shoppers scurrying from car to shop door, bags in hand.  It gave me a chance to play with a project that had been simmering in the back of my mind for a while.  I’ve been thinking of a necklace that is inspired by the warmth of amber, but with some beautiful glass mixed in too,

IMG_8042for a little pattern… a pop of crisp white and the occasional truly beautiful silver to break the beads into manageable groups.

I began by reaching for an array of amber with lots of variation in colour, size and clarity.  Everything from alabaster to ebony is on this necklace, with all the possibilities in between.

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IMG_8048Next, I decided how I wanted to design the center of the necklace.  This will, of course, be the most noticeable part of the composition, so it’s important to really love this part.  I wanted a little shine and drama here, so I put an exceptionally large and lovely example of a “Gold silver trace” right in the middle.

Screen Shot 2015-01-15 at 5.34.53 PMI framed it with a pair of natural stones – one “Red Tigers Eye” and one “Smoky Quartz”.  These faceted stones give a little sparkle, but the fact that they are not a matched pair stops the necklace from feeling too formal.  I wanted a more organic, casual mood.  I chose favorite silvers to divide the groupings of colour…

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IMG_8044I wanted a necklace that was filled all the way from one clasp to another.  It feels much more modern and powerful to fill it right up, and oddly enough it doesn’t feel as heavy.  I think that when the beads rest on one’s shoulders, instead of pulling forward, the weight is more evenly distributed and easier to manage.  Of course, adding lots of amber helps to keep it light, too.

To design such a long composition I employed two rods from a play tray, and set them side by side.  Working out from the middle of the design, I built one half of the necklace on one rod, and the other half on the other rod.  It was easy to check to see if it was well balanced, simply by placing the two rods side by side.

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Clockwise from clasp:  “troll tree Lock”, “Unique Amber”, “Moroccan Cushion”, “Unique Amber”, “Lucky Clover”, “Unique Amber”, “Stay Positive”, “Unique Amber”, “Jugend”, “Cream Armadillo”, “Unique Amber”, “Golden Cave”, “Ocean”, “White Paper Fold”, “Unique Amber”, “Crown Chakra”, “Unique Amber”, “Paradise Birds”, “Brown Fusion”, “Unique Amber”, “Nougat Flower”, “Goldstone”, “Spiritual Ornament”, “Dewdrops”, “Smoky Quartz”, “Silver Gold Trace”, “Red Tigers Eye”, “dewdrops”, “Spiritual Adornment”, “Unique Glass”, “Cosy”, “Unique Amber”, “Unique Glass”, “Rolling Troll”, “Unique Amber”, “Unique Amber”, “Scirocco”, “Unique Amber”, “Angels’ Feathers”, “Golden Cave”, “Unique Amber”, “Crown Chakra”, “Transformation”, “Unique Amber”, “Heart 4 You”, “Unique Amber”, “Lucky Clover”, “Unique Amber”, “Royal”, “Unique Amber”.

What a fun project!  I am feeling inspired to try a necklace using my own collection and see what combinations I can create… Hope you are feeling inspired too!

C.

 

 

Trollbeads inspiration: Fade to purple

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purple-unique-2So much of our inspiration comes from our lovely Trollbeads collectors… take this bracelet, for example.  A few days ago, one of our ladies remarked that she was mulling a purple and cream design.  The idea took hold with me as well, and right away I started playing with  purples, various creamy glass options, and different styles of layout.

purple-unique-windowpaneI favoured the warmer range of purples, as they seemed to complement the creamy,  tones better than their more blue cousins.  These shades of purple are often accompanied by tiny touches of gold or flecks of yellow that make them suit the warmer ivory glass well.  I always like to design using as many uniques as possible, but ivory uniques

purple-uniquewere scarce on our display at the moment so I made good use of several production designs, including “White Paper Fold” and “Cream Armadillo”.

For the layout of the bracelet I tried various arrangements, but settled on an ombre effect, fading from a very rich Amethyst at

purple-linethe heart of the bracelet, to softest white at the ends of the bracelet.  This allowed me to bring many lovely soft purples into the composition to fade between the two extremes.

purple-frontAmethyst makes a dazzling centerpiece…

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Clockwise from clasp:  “Freja Lock”, “Cream Armadillo”, “Faces”, “Unique”, “White Stripe”, “Unique”, “Porcupine” (Hedgehog!) “Unique”, “Unique”, “Amethyst”, “Purple Armadillo”, “Unique”, “Sweater”, “Unique”, “Dendritic Agate”, “Unique”, “Heart Print”, “White Paper Fold”.

C.

Trollbeads 30 Day Design Challenge

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What if you started fresh… free from preconceptions about how your bracelets should look.  What could you create with your beautiful beads?

the-canvasA dear friend and client recently showed me a photo of her substantial collection, laid out on a playtray, neatly arranged by categories such as stones, silvers, and glass… and I was astonished to realize that I had never arranged my own beads in that way.  As often as I play with other peoples’ designs and collections of bracelets, I was a little more casual about designing my own pieces and had never spent the time to take it all apart and lay it out clearly to start fresh.  When I saw all of those beads laid out on the play tray I realized how incredibly liberating and inspiring it was, and wanted to feel that with my own collection.

I often hear from design clients that they are reluctant to take apart their finished bracelets, and wonder why.  I don’t hesitate to redesign often, I simply take a snap of a favoured composition, so that if I ever want it back I can reproduce it as if I had a pattern.  Funnily enough, I’ve never gone back and done so – there always seems to be something new to try.  This challenge is the perfect time to take the plunge and look at one’s collection with a fresh eye.

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So here’s the challenge:

1.  Photograph my current bracelets, so I can always put them back exactly the way they are if I want them back.  (Check.  See above)

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2.  Take everything apart and arrange it on a play tray so I can clearly see my design tools at hand.  (Check.  See above.)

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day1-lavenderjade3.  Play!  Create a new bracelet every day for 30 days.  The next morning, take it apart, place all the beads back on the play tray to create again with a fresh eye.  (Don’t forget, you can always take a photo if you’d like to rebuild a certain arrangement again in the future.)

day1-detailA sense of adventure is key, here.. this is the perfect time to take risks with colour.  After all, we are using beads that we already own.  There is no cost involved, and we are only going to wear the results of each experiment for one day.  The objective is to find new opportunities and new inspiration within our collection.  Don’t over think each bracelet; try all stones, all glass, all silver, unbalanced, colourblocked, group patterns, or go for totally random combinations that simply make you happy.

day1-labradoriteI would LOVE to have as many of you as possible to take the challenge with me, and share the results of your wild Trollbeads design experiments on our Facebook page so that we can all enjoy them and be inspired.  If you don’t “do” facebook, email them to me and I would be delighted to post the photos on your behalf.

day1-roundMy 30 Day Challenge… Day 1

I never noticed how many grey & lilac natural stones I had!

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Already, I feel as though I have come to know my personal collection a little better, and I’ve only just begun.  This is going to be fun… I can’t wait to start again fresh tomorrow morning as see what I discover then!  Don’t forget – I have to take it all apart, and put it back onto the tray before designing bracelet number two.

Let me know if you decide to take up the challenge too…

C

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