Beau Dangles

Handcrafted Jewelry — Designed to be Different


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The Possibilities of Less

Do you ever long for a bigger stash of beads? More wire? Better tools? Do you dream of all the things you could create if only …  ?

I do.

But something weird happened lately that changed my mind.

My first show of the season was quickly approaching when a dreadful truth hit: I don’t have enough new pieces. 

But that wasn’t the worst part.

I had only a skimpy supply of materials with me: wire, a few pieces of old jewelry, some glass beads, and a couple of Swarovski pearls. A gloomy prospect.

Why, oh why, I whined, hadn’t I brought more stuff? 

Like Mother Hubbard, I gazed at my almost-empty cupboard. Impending doom settled on me.

I needed new work. And I needed it now.

Out came the hammers and pliers and wire cutters. I hammered and texturized. I twisted and bent. I strung beads and coiled wire.

It took awhile, but after several mistakes I got into a creative vibe. Where I’d seen limitations I began to see designs. Lots of them. It was like someone sprinkled magic dust in the air.

By the time I finished I had 10 different pairs of earrings. Amazing. Who’da thunk all those pieces could have come from so little?

Best of all? At the show last weekend those earrings got the most attention — and brought the most sales.

Go figure.  Sometimes less really is more.   🙂

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A Desire to Wire

Sometimes the quickest way to learn something — for me, at least — is to take a class. A few weeks ago, with my renewed desire-to-wire, I signed up for Rena Klingenberg’s new online class titled “Design and Make Artistic Jewelry Components.”

I’m an avid reader of her Jewelry Making Journal and I’ve learned a lot. But I also know there’s a heck of a lot I don’t know. That’s why her course appealed to me.

The lessons are very well structured — videos, printable lesson plans and detailed how-to sheets. Rena starts with the basics — learning to make simple loops, spirals, hooks, folds and an assortment of squiggles. A solid base from which to set off in new directions.

It was while I was practicing the flat fold that I wondered what would happen if I opened it up. So I did. Now, what if I wrapped it around a pen? And then scrinched it a bit here? And then a bit there? And why not add some beads. And maybe a couple of loops.

Wait a minute! Houston, we have earrings! I made some hoops and we’re done. It was love at first glance.

Pink Heart

I was truly enamoured with these delicate delights. For a day. (I am so fickle.)

I’ve been working with copper lately. What if . . . well, out came some copper wire and dyed copper pearls. Once more I made some flat folds (Rena, thank you for starting us with basics). Moments later, a new pair of heart earrings.

Copper Heart

I love these two too.

Meanwhile back in online land, I’m into Part 3 of the course making clasps and bails and surprising myself with how easy it is to learn — thanks Rena!

P.S. Eagerly looking forward to your next course. 🙂


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How To Glue: 527 & Me

Browsing in a local bead store (again) I discovered some brushed aluminum “leaves” in bright, rich colours. My bead brain kicked in and I could already see several different sets of earrings.

I scooped up 30 of the shiny little beauties. My first thought was to arrange them in groups of three, fan-like.

Good in concept, not so good in practice. Because the leaves are slightly rounded and only touch in a few places with this design I’d need a tight bond. Out came the 527 Multipurpose Cement.

I don’t use 527 very often and forgot that it takes quite awhile to dry. Long after I thought the glue should have set, I could still wiggle the leaves. It seemed like my bead store brainstorm was fizzling.

I decided to apply a bit more glue but — oops — it oozed out between the leaves. Dang. Okay, it was on the back and probably wouldn’t show but I’d know it was there. I’d keep those ones for myself.

Plan B: Since I needed more contact between the pieces I overlapped them. Aha! A much better fit.

I also discovered a solution to the oozing glue.

By the time I’d make several pairs of earrings, the glue on the first pair was setting up nicely but was still workable. Using a toothpick I was able to carefully pick away the few goopy bits that seeped out between the leaves.

The backs of these earrings show the difference — no mucky stuff on the upper right pair.

Poifect. 🙂