Tuesday, May 30, 2017

Bigger projects: Butterfly Wing Necklaces

For years, I've been wanting to build some larger, more complex, more time-consuming pieces utilizing butterfly wings.  I stumbled along with a few different approaches, many using jump rings, but wasn't happy with the result- wire/ metal gave too much movement and not enough structure to the wings.  I knew the solution was in fiber- and I realized the solution was in a macrame technique from Stephanie Sersich (http://sssbeads.com/).  I've since made a few necklaces using this approach, and I'm delighted with how they've turned out.

The first necklaces used borosilicate glass, in shades reminiscent of the oranges/ ambers in Monarch butterflies.  I wanted to capture the imagery around Monarchs overwintering on trees; I just love the layers upon layers of wings!  Aside from the 40 or so glass wings in the necklace, I used vintage Czech seed beads and faceted onyx beads with the waxed linen and perle cotton.  This one is modeled by my dear friend Kelli, and found its forever home last year.  

The most recent necklace I finished was in shades of blues and greens, this time using my vitreous enameled, soft glass wings.  There's around 35 wings in this one, along with turquoise, apatite, sodalite, and fibers in muted blues and greens to match the wings.  I use a flameworked borosilicate hook as the clasp.  For as bulky as these necklaces are, they're surprisingly comfortable.  The fiber/ macrame provides quite a bit of structure and helps to distribute the weight evenly around the necklace.  The movement is a lot of fun, too- just enough to remind you that they're butterflies, but not so much that the wearer jingles every time they move!  

I'm working on a vibrant blue version right now- any color requests for the next necklaces?  I'm thinking pinks/ ambers/ purples might be next... 

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