Monday, August 31, 2009

Monday Miscellany - A New Artbeads "Blogging for Beads" Design

Thank goodness my entire weekend wasn't impossible-to-move hot. Saturday the temps were in the upper 90s, maybe even hit 100. By mid-afternoon I was reduced to lying around in the breeze of a floor fan set to high, drinking tall glass after glass of ice water, wearing a sleeveless tee-shirt, shorts and periodically misting myself from a spray bottle. Sunday, thankfully, was much cooler. Started off with an overcast morning, cool breezes and continued much cooler and breezy throughout the afternoon.

My last package of beads from Artbeads for the Beads for Bloggers program was primarily built around some beautiful CRYSTALLIZED™ - Swarovski Elements Crystal Volcano beads (24x12mm teardrop and 6mm 5301 Crystal Volcano faceted bicones). But I also got CRYSTALLIZED™ 6010 11mm Air Blue Opal Briolette Pendant . I should have checked my blog to remind me what I was thinking of doing with them at the time (which now that I've looked again I still want to do) so when I got them out this weekend, I made a pair of earrings.

I took 22 gauge sterling silver wire from Rio Grande, made a three loop dangle and the jump rings. The wire is soft, so I used my new Wire Whacker to harden it once I'd looped the dangle and clipped the rings. I added 5mm white opal Swarovski bicones as well. I used Wig Jig fine step jaw pliers to make the loops on the dangle and the jump rings.

Why did I make these? I was browsing through the Nordstrom online catalog of jewelry and kept seeing things I liked, so I decided to make my own interpretation of a few of them.

The thing that annoyed me were the prices. $38 and up for very simple earrings - I mean, one or two Swarovski crystals on simple plated wire loops and a plated lever back ear-wire. $48 and up for bracelets simpler than ones I've made and display on Art Fire for half the price. Again, they're made with plated or sometimes, sterling and gold filled, wire, with simple loops and Austrian crystals (note, sometimes they specify Swarovski, so I suspect when they don't, they aren't).

Some are strung, just crystals, no metal spacers or charms, and there's no way to tell what kind of stringing material used but there's a callotte or clamshell knot cover at the ends, so I suspect a thread rather than wire. Their 'crystal collection' features illusion necklaces on beading chain (again, plated) with simple designs, for over $80.

I see things that many handmade independent artisans could easily make (and many have). When I see these types of designs online at Etsy or Artfire, often they seem so woefully underpriced in comparison to what people are paying at Nordstrom, it makes me a bit angry and a bit sad that these mass produced pieces sell for 2 to 4 times what handmade artisans charge.

Well, anyway, enough ranting. I also have a 28mm #6723 CRYSTALLIZED™ Crystal Golden Shadow Seashell Pendant with matching CRYSTALLIZED™ 5301 Crystal Golden Shadow 4mm Faceted Bicones still waiting for my muse to inspire me with a design. Hope to do something wonderful and share with you soon.

I've also created my final Trios design, the deadline is nearly upon us! All entries must be received by September 1, 2009. I'll post it as the Tuesday Tidbit, so you should definitely come see!

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Blogger Softflexgirl said...

I'm so glad you entered!

August 31, 2009 at 4:01 PM  
Blogger Dawno said...

Thanks! I really enjoyed designing with the Trios - made me stretch!

August 31, 2009 at 5:07 PM  
Blogger JustATish said...

shame we can't make our own hi end department store and sell our stuff in ey?

September 2, 2009 at 11:06 AM  

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