Monday, April 20, 2015

Boot Camp: My Adventures Using Fiber

Written by Patti Vanderbloemen for Love My Art Jewelry Blog

I admit it - I do not use fiber in my jewelry ... with me... it's all about the metal. But, I also love to try new techniques.  So, I was ready, willing, and able to at least try!

I happened to have made several of these adjustable bracelets sitting on my bench. Completely naked of any adornment whatsoever, I was going to add a handmade charm of some sort. It was during my "lack of creative mojo" period where I could not decide what to do. It is during these "lulls of creativity" where I literally just sit at my bench and play with wire.

But, the latest issue of Rena Klinenberg's online newsletter arrived in my email box a few days after I made several of these bracelets. She had a free tutorial on how to make the bracelets, and spice up the look with fiber. As a matter of fact, she used old t-shirts - a most creative use of fiber! You can find her tutorial here. I will note that Rena's tutorial for the bracelet portion of the project uses 16 gauge wire - mine is a bit heavier at 14 gauge.

I received a package of free ribbon with a magazine subscription a few months ago. I almost immediately handed this ribbon over to my mother - a seamstress. 

But instead, I wrapped the adjustable copper bracelets with a couple of strands of ribbon, seed beads, and artistic wire (sorry Mom!)

These whip up quickly and add just the right amount of color to the wrist - so lightweight, too.

This photo of this last bracelet appears to amplify the size of those jasper chips- they really are not as large as they may appear! :)

The bracelets even look nice stacked.

I couldn't stop here. The next project features absolutely gorgeous silk ribbons from our own Marsha Neal - this palette of colors is so beautiful!! (You can find these silks here).

Recently, I have ventured into Precious Metal Clay. While waiting for my kiln to arrive (going on week 4 here....), I have been practicing by firing the clay with my torch. I happened to have a GORGEOUS purple lampwork bead by Susan Kennedy of SueBeads. I thought the purple silk would look beautiful with this bead. So I made a silver connector pendant from the PMC, and cut out a heart shape to mimic the heart-shaped bead.

(Oh how I absolutely HATE photographing necklaces..ugh..)

Anyway, luckily, Staci had just posted her tutorial on how to attach the silk to her necklaces, as I still had no idea how I was going to get that silk on that pendant!

I used 20 gauge sterling and just made additional wraps.  All the silver links have been soldered and textured.  Quite frankly, this was one of the hardest necklaces I have ever made. First, I felt the chain was too short, so I added more links. Then I thought the necklace was too long, so I cut out some of the silk. As it stands now, the necklace is about 18" in length with a 2" extender chain, which has a tiny heart I made from PMC to the end of the extender chain.  But, I am still on the fence with the length.

While on the subject of fiber, I want to share with you a few examples of other artist's work that I truly admire.  

First up is this lovely pair of earrings by Kristy Carrol Abner (Kristy's Kreations). The silk wrapped around the hoops (with lovely lampwork by her husband, I might add!) just screams boho to me. I love this pair of earrings - I wear blue jeans 364 days a year - and these would match my outfit every single day!
The bracelet below (also by Kristy) has just a touch of silk interspersed within the chain to mimic the pink color in the focal bead.  (Note how she fastened the silk to the chain - awesome idea)! My eye continues completely around the bracelet, due to the placement of the silk.

Source: Silk Rose Bracelet by
The pair of earrings below popped up in my Face Book feed just the other day. Linda Landig's jewelry is always the epitome of perfect colorways - love the way she weaved the hand dyed ribbon through the top of these earrings, which by the way, perfectly compliments the colors of the copper clay components by Kristi Bowman-Gruel.


This bangle, by Ann Shroeder of Bead Love, is the perfect blend of softness to me, in color and texture. During the Spring and Summer, I wear very little jewelry - it's just too hot! But I would wear this!

Source: BeadLove Blog

Now this last masterpiece is by Bobbie of Beadsong Jewelry.  It is a soutache masterpiece - I cannot even imagine creating something this beautiful - I just want to TOUCH it!! Can you even imagine the time and patience required?  I cannot!

Source:  Beadsong Jewelry
So, there you have it - my initial attempt to incorporate fiber into my designs. I do hope this trend continues!


Ann Schroeder said...

Your first uses of fiber are great. I love the bracelets and the necklace. The purple is perfect with the focal bead and your PMC piece. Thanks for including my bangle in the tour!

AntiquityTravelers said...

Look at you Patti going all seed bead and fiber on us! LOL these are simply gorgeous bracelets and that necklace is stunning!

stacilouise said...

wonderful!!!! I love the bangle idea! Don't you love that little pop of color it gives?

BackstoryBeads said...

Fiber adds such flexibility and depth of color to a design - like your stacked bracelets. And I love, love your examples from Kristy, Ann and Bobbie. Great Monday morning post to inspire my week!

Carol Dekle said...

I'm so glad your creative mojo has returned! And I love what you did with the ribbon you received from the magazine subscription! Those bangles are gorgeous, especially when layered. Also that necklace with Marsha's purple silk is a stunner! If you can make those pmc pieces with only a torch, I can't wait to see what you do when you get your kiln!!!!

Bobbie said...

I just today found this post, and nearly fell over to see that you'd included one of my pieces!!! Thank you, thank you, thank you! Obviously one of my New Year's resolutions needs to be to keep up with my blog reading....You made my day!

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