Vintage beads
add to an old-timey colour scheme. Sort of.

This piece has one of my very earliest beads, made with bullseye sheet given me by my bestie, and made on meco n-midget brazing torch (possibly even with acetylene, shudder)—not to mention components clearly labeled with a 1994 purchase date. Those all being over 20 years old, means this piece has a number of vintage components.

Bought these beads so long ago (note date in upper right corner) the ziploc in which they're stored cracked from the plastic rotting.

So bits of it are vintage, just by virtue of me being vintage:) f2tY wanted a gift for one of her friends, so I had her pick out a focal from a picture of a tray of them. F2 also told me the following:

She wears a lot of pastels (yellow, blue, pink), white, beige. Or like white and yellow, white and blue...

I already knew the recipient was open minded about design, as I had seen one other necklace she liked when I visited Japan last summer. Thus, I knew I could mix components and string the piece asymmetrically. This freed me up to incorporate unusual, one-of-a-kind beads, because the pattern only had to be balanced, not identical. —Riffing on the pastel theme, I wondered if cloisonne beads might not work well with the vintage, feminine feel the colourway suggested. I particularly wanted to use the matching white cloisonne clasp, not least because the necklace would be single strand, and thus a little lighter (I hoped...) than the more dramatic multi-strand pieces I've mostly been stringing for the past several years.

OnePlus/20191216phone: the container of gf beads with the red nail polish is to quickly distinguish its 2.5mm beads from 2mms I also use.

This would prove to be a problem later on.

most the way done: the lampwork bead on the lower strand between the baby blue dottie (with white dots) and white pixie is very old, possibly dating from roughly the same era as my earliest efforts making beads.

Though I suspect some of the cloisonne beads date back to the same era as the “new” package of gold-filled 3mm I broke out for this project[1] the clasp was almost certainly given me, probably by my friend Page, who is far more adventurous about buying unusual beads than I am; with the added bonus of passing them along to me when she's done with that particular series;) While this clasp probably isn't as old as the 1994 gf, it could be; it's been a loooong time since I've seen this product for sale, at least from the vendors we tended to buy from.

Wasn't sure I'd have time to photograph the piece properly before boxing it up & shipping it to Japan, so here's one shot with my phone. It's not too bad of a photo, except for the highlights on the white curliQ pixie being blown out.

All in all, I used a lot of odds and ends—white spot cased beads from my friend Cindi B, extras from sample strands or tests (such as the peach coloured plain hollow) some of my designer sized shard beads that I quite liked but never really found a use for, some lampwork with silver foil and pink trailing made in Italy, purchased before I started making beads myself (I think—or mebbe they were so inexpensive I got them anyway, but they've been hanging around for a good many years, say 15 or 20...) I also put in some of my fancier gold filled metal shapes: they made the transitions very much easier, and because I often don't work with such large beads/single strands, (& also because the necklace was to be a special gift) I didn't mind. Plus, yanno, 1990s.[2]

Necklace featuring 1.5 pressed hollow lentil focal; effetre, CiM, and Bullseye lampwork beads (some vintage); pressed czech, some vintage; semi-precious, including rose quartz, blue lace agate, some sort of mystery translucent gray agate; gold-fill, gold-plate, and cloisonne metal beads; 49 stranded beaedalon. 22" opening, measures 15-1/4" from clasp to tip of dangle. Strung 26Nov2019, photographed 27nov, zuiko macro lens, f8 1/125sec, manual flash, custom colour balance

The only problem with that pretty white cloisonne clasp—one of the original drivers for the design & bead selection—is that the tongue wasn't holding tight against the box, meaning the clasp opened. F2tY originally wanted to restring the piece, and I actually got as far as digging up a new clasp & beadalon, but then I checked this page. Whoopsie. The piece looks very simply constructed, but it's actually rather more complex than it appears at first glance. Besides the fact that the stringing material goes through the focal, down the dangle & then back up again, there's a fair amount of double stringing, both to get the beads with large holes to lay properly, and to cover the beadalon with liquid silver to make it more attractive for the transparent beads (at least, the ones with large enough holes for the liquid silver to fit through, which is most of them.)

Because the colour scheme has less snap than would I typically would choose, I was free to a) use a lot of colours—nearly the entire spectrum, albeit in medium to very high tints and b) texture —thus, the piece includes a wide variety of finishes—pixie dust, trailing (both dots and scrolling), shards, and dichro in the lampwork—and c) finish: everything from smooth to etched, pressed vintage to faceted in commercially made glass beads; and a variety of shapes in metal beads, again from smooth, to corrugated to even enameled (i.e. the cloisonne.) I admit to feeling my skills for this style a bit on the creaky side when I started, but I think I managed to pull something worthwhile together.

[1]I no longer have a source for these high-quality, seamless leach&garner beads, so I have been using them very sparingly over the last 15–20 years.

[2]It's more of that thing of not wanting to die without ever having used the most cool of my beads.