I have a long-time customer who years ago became a proper real life friend. Recently, I posted a new pair of Goblin Charm earrings on Instagram, and she was lamenting the fact that she already had a pair with these sequin bead balls. Ever a sparkle enabler, I said well, I can also get those in black and in copper, so… She was into it, so I sent her some photos of the other colors and some beads I was thinking about ordering. We bounced some ideas around and the sparkle went to our heads and somehow we ended up with a visual cue of Smaug the dragon sitting on top of his hoard of riches. Or, in a perfect world, Benedict Cumberbatch sitting on top of a hoard of jewelry. The dragon idea went perfectly with the scaly sequin beads, so I took it from there.
A few days into my design process, Phil tweeted something about the dwarves of Middle Earth destabilizing the economy with all their mining and making. He has always had a theory that dragons are pitifully misunderstood creatures who just want to sit peacefully in their pile of gold, but people just will. not. stop. coming in and picking fights. (This theory is nicely supported by a wyvern in The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland in a Ship of Her Own Making, by Catherynne Valente: “If people show up to a dragon’s mountain yelling about sacrifices and O, YE, FELL BEAST SPARE MY VILLAGE this and GREAT DRAGON, I SHALL MURDER THEE that, well, certainly, a fellow might have a chomp. But you oughtn’t judge any more than you judge a lady for eating the lovely fresh salad that a waiter brings her in a restaurant.”) This segued neatly into my making process, and these earrings became Radical Economist.
This is often how my process works, particularly with custom orders. An initial exchange of “Hey, I like that, but what if…” turns into a tumble of ideas and influences that sort themselves out into something new. Radical Economist was enormously fun to imagine and to make, and I love having all these elements of other people’s ideas woven into them.
Things are getting more than usually busy for me now that the end of the school year is approaching, so I’ll be closing custom orders again for a while. I’ll continue to accept custom work through April 30; please contact me if you have something you’d like to request. After April 30, I won’t be able to take new custom requests for several months (for either Leaves of Glass or urban legend). Thank you for your patience, and I apologize in advance for any inconvenience.
And here’s how it all came together:
After spending about a week communing with Lola’s teeth and my bead boxes, I decided to make a sort of harness out of sterling wire that would cradle the teeth securely, but wouldn’t change their structural integrity at all. I played around with shapes and wound up with this:
This is basically the same as the vintage lampwork glass leaves and flowers that I love so much – tooth flowers. When I had the final versions all wired up and ready to use, I put them in a tiny vase for pictures. This is my favorite photograph that I took during the entire project:
For the final earring design, I wanted to do something that definitely looked like my work. Since my work lately focuses heavily on asymmetry, I opted to make a mismatched pair of earrings but kept them a bit shorter than the crazy long asymmetrical pairs I’ve designed in recent months. The beads I chose are classic and elegant – some of the rarest and oldest things in my collection – but have a decidedly Gothic flavor when assembled with dark metals (and teeth).
Here is the end result, the Love Bites earrings:
And a little chart of the pieces I used to make them:
I’m really pleased with the way they turned out. It was a pleasure to make something special for someone whose joy, generous spirit and hard work (really, crazy hard work – I secretly suspect her of having bargained for extra hours in the day) I admire so much. Thanks for the teeth, Lorraine! I loved having them in my company, and they’ll be on their way back to you soon. I hope you love them!
Here’s what happened:
The phone rang, and I answered it. It was Shana. You can find out what she said here: http://shanasays.typepad.com/shanasays/2010/07/this-odd-thing-i-did.html
Tune in tomorrow for another toothsome installment!
I’ve been working on earrings for a wedding party for the last several weeks: five bridesmaids and a maid of honor. The bride wanted everyone’s earrings to be different, but thematically similar and to fit with their colors for the wedding: silver and crimson. Her (brilliant and thoughtful) logic is this: all these women know each other and when they go out somewhere and want to wear this jewelry again, the chances are that at least some of the others will be there, and no one wants to be wearing the same earrings as someone else. So, six different designs.
I wanted to choose one bead to use as an anchor that would appear in each design and tie them all together. I chose a vintage garnet Swarovski sunshine crystal to be the common denominator, and made everything else as different as I could.
We finalized the designs last weekend, and these are the results. I’m pretty pleased with them. And I’m looking forward to the wedding. Congratulations J & C!