wire! bend it. twist, hammer, wrap it. put some beads on it, connect, coil it. wear it.
the wiry art of creating jewelry. the artful wire art of jewelry.
the art and soul of creating. wire entwines. art and wire soul...

15 December 2011

designer notes: necklace backs

Designing the front of a necklace or a pendant is all about creating a focal point; a small piece of art that will draw the viewers eye or make the wearer feel special. Or both. More often than not, the focal point is where the necklace begins. Next comes designing a strand and a clasp that will compliment the focal point and really make it shine.
There are plenty of choices for the necklace strand! Probably the most obvious is a strand of beads, and this is the one I turn to most often. So many, many choices in the world of beads! My favorites are semi-precious stones. Natural (undyed) ones present an incredible range of subtle shades in all the hues of the rainbow. When bead shopping I scarf them up by the handful in 4mm and 6mm rounds. These exit my stash quicker than anything else, which says how useful they are.
Necklace backs include a plain neck ring,
a bead strand, dowel knitted rope,
and a Peyote tube bead
There are plenty of other beads I love also like freshwater and glass pearls. Cloisonné, assorted styles of glass beads, etcetera, etcetera. I also collect crystal, pewter, silver and gold beads in rounds and flat shapes. They're good for spacers or accents within a strand, and for bead links, drops, and ear wires if I’m making matching earrings.
A plain wire neck ring is the quickest and easiest hanger for a pendant. You can work out a variety of shapes for making one, although a plain round shape might be considered a basic style.
Since learning to knit on a dowel (see chapter 5 in The Art of Wire), this technique has become a special favorite of mine for making sleek and sophisticated-looking neck ropes. Put an arty wire-worked pendant on one and the whole piece looks upscale in a hurry. It takes time to make one and some would consider that a drawback- it’s not exactly a money-maker craft fair item.
There are a few other, and simple, solutions to creating a neckpiece including using a fabric ribbon, or cordings of leather, rubber, fiber or other material, or purchased chain.
The final, finishing touch is a clasp. This can be positioned at the center back of a strand, or at the side. If you take the time to plan this and echo some part of the focal point in the design of the clasp, you get to bypass the final exam. Seriously, its worth doing; your necklace will be a piece of art from focal point to finish.