Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Making an assemblage style necklace

Parsley, Sage, Rosemary, and Time


Introduction
Parlsey, Sage, Rosemary and TIME began with a vintage fur clip. Too interesting to throw away, but patinaed with age and not in good enough shape to be used as is. It had some lovely large deep aqua rhinestones which I knew would match some other beads and flatbacks I already had. Staying with the floral theme suggested by the clip proved to be more difficult than I expected! I auditioned quite a few charms, found objects, and broken bits before the broken watch pieces caught my eye. Here was the answer! The watch parts were also worn and stained with time, like the clip. Juxtaposing those parts with some sparkly flatback acrylic "stones" would echo the stain and sparkle of the clip.

Maybe you have a piece like my fur clip, just begging to be given new life as the focal piece of a treasure necklace. You don't have to make your necklace as massive as mine turned out. In fact, I'll warn you ~ this piece is heavy! So please feel free to scale back, or even up if you are brave enough, or if you have really strong neck muscles!

Here are the basic steps that I took to create Parsley, Sage, Rosemary and TIME necklace shown above. With a few modifications, the instructions can easily be adapted to any themed set of treasures you wish to use.

Materials:
Polymer clay (I used gold-colored Sculpy)
Large focal piece of jewelry ~ pin, dress clip, etc
Flatback rhinestones or acrylic stones
Broken watch parts
Assorted charms ~ small mirrors, broken jewelry, screws, etc
Seed beads
Larger beads and crystals (8-10 mm)
Assorted beads for straps
Chain, hook, wire, jump rings or split rings
Crimps
Headpin (for dangle)
E6000 or 2-part epoxy
Glitter, pearlex, paints if desired
Nymo thread
Beadalon or Softflex

Tools:
White towel, small bead dishes, etc
Tape measure
Alligator clips
Wire cutters
Chain nose pliers
Crimping pliers, if desired
Beading needles
Small metal file
Scissors

Create a base
Roll out polymer clay into the base shape of your choice. Poke holes through it and bake according to the brand's directions. Make your holes big enough to accomodate seed beads, and don't forget to add some at the top for the neckstrap!

Create the fringe
Sew seed bead and crystal fringe to the bottom through the holes. Run seed beads through the holes themselves to prevent the rough clay from fraying the thread.

Add base for neckstraps
Although I didn't string the neckstraps right away, I wanted to get the wires in place now so that it wouldn't be difficult to find the holes later after all the bits 'n bobs were added. String some seedbeads on beading wire both in front of and in back of the hole, and crimp the two strands together. You'll bury the short end later. On this necklace, I chose to have two strands on each side to help hold the piece securely and not put too much weight on each strand. The long end of each of my strands was about 12 inches, left to be beaded later.

Create the assemblage
Plan out your mini-assemblage. It may help to trace the shape on paper and move the items about, marking their spots when you are satisfied. Then you can transfer them and glue them to the base.

Attach
Mix up your epoxy or uncap your E6000. Use good ventilation and glue your pieces to the backing. Remember to build in layers from the bottom up.

More embellishment
Add any glitter or pearlex or paints you desire.

Finish off the neckstrands
Bead up the neckstrands, crimping at strategic points if needed for the weight. Crimp around a chain and the clasp of your choice. I like to wire a beaded dangle to the end of the chain. Choose a hook or clasp big enough to balance the size of your necklace.

Copyright 2004 Cyndi Lavin. Not to be reprinted, resold, or redistributed for profit. May be printed out for personal use or distributed electronically provided that entire file, including this notice, remains intact.


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