Beau Dangles

Handcrafted Jewelry — Designed to be Different


Create 5 Art Challenge — Day 5

Friend and jewelry maker Aims Abson also joined this Art Challenge. This is her first piece, featuring her colourful polymer beads, including the pendant. You can see more of her work here.

Aims Abson

Here is my final piece in the Challenge. It took me longer than I anticipated — 7 days instead of 5 — but I’m pleased with the results.

Golden Girl is an old-meets-new necklace — combining repurposed parts from other pieces with new cord, gold beads, and my hand-forged jump rings and clasp.

The pendant came from an earring. Although it looks heavy, looks are deceiving — it’s made mostly of paper. An intriguing composition.

Golden Girl closeup



Deck Your Neck

Here are several of the necklaces I’ve made recently. Three of them include repurposed pieces from older jewelry. It’s always fun finding ways to incorporate unwanted or abandoned bits into new work.


A Six Pack of Earrings

One of the reasons I like making earrings is the oh-so-quick results. Well, “quick” compared to the hours and sometimes days it often takes me to design and finish a necklace.

I’ve been working on some bigger pieces lately, hit a bump in the process, so decided earrings would ease the frustration.

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Old jewelry often finds its way into thrift stores and yard sales. It’s like a small tarnished treasure, waiting to be rediscovered. I made each of these from left-behinds — pieces that no one was interested in anymore.

I love the hunt! You have to look beyond the missing pearl, the broken clasp, the twisted chain and ask yourself What if …?

I’ve found some beautiful necklace clasps that outshine (no pun intended) many of the versions available today. Even covered in grime the workmanship is evident. A little gentle Ivory dishwashing soap, some warm water and voila! Its beauty is suddenly apparent.

I lucked out at a recent yard sale — I picked up nearly 20 pieces of lovely work for next to nothing but my time. Gonna have fun working with these! 😉


Everything Old Is New Again


A trip to a thrift store is like a treasure hunt. I never know what I’m going to find. Which makes it even more fun.

I was out at the Coast last week and spent several happy hours browsing through leftovers, give-aways and no longer wanted items.

At one store I found these Alaska Black Diamond earrings. Like the Ugly Duckling they didn’t look very appealing. They were long and heavy and clunky.

Ah, but that’s the challenge — could I design something more appealing? Sometimes I buy old jewelry just for the components. This time I knew exactly what I wanted to do with the focal beads.

AfterI brought the earrings home and carefully took them apart. Then I washed and dried everything.

The beads were strung on wire in the original design — I chose a balled head pin instead. The bugle beads added clutter so I set them aside. I topped each “vase” with the original round bead.

The French ear wires added additional length to the original design, making it even more awkward. I opted for post-and-ball findings, to echo the round bead and smooth curves of the focals.

I’m pleased with how they turned out — it’s definitely a case where less is more. 😉

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And More Earrings

This is The Week of Earrings. It didn’t start out that way but it seems that every time I pick up some beads, a new idea pops up. May as well give in to the urge and see what happens. 😉

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Come Again

Thrift stores are one of my favourite places. I almost always find something unusual when I visit one. An afternoon browse through one in Sidney, BC last summer turned up an interesting brooch. It said “steampunk” as soon as I saw it.

It was languishing underneath some other prettier pieces, forgotten by most. Lucky me! I brought it home and left it on my workbench.

Time passed. A month or so later I took it apart — it had several pieces attached to it giving it a bulky look. I took them all off and began playing with possibilities. Nothing worked. So I set it aside again.

A couple of weeks ago I dug it out and draped some chain around it. Aha! I found my design.



I reattached one of the original pieces — the metal heart — to balance the look. And instead of having the clasp at the back I used two lobster clasps at the front. I like it. 😉

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Chaining the Dragon

Creativity is a funny duck.

This week it began with a spurt of domesticity. I discovered several boxes of stuff that had been languishing under the bed. Among the “treasures” was a very old bracelet, once a favourite but forgotten for many years.

As soon as I saw it I began to think about taking it apart. And so I did. Six filigree brass elements each with a red-black centrepiece. Now what?

I headed off to my work room in search of some chain and a clasp, all thoughts of vacuuming gone. Within minutes Dragon Eye appeared.

It just seemed to flow, as if the bracelet had simply been biding its time, waiting for me to remember.

Four of the six segments became earrings.

Next came a three-strand chain necklace. I tried for several hours to work the last piece of the bracelet into this design. I tried wire. I tried jump rings. I tried placing it on the side, on the bottom, even as part of the clasp.

I tried everything I could think of but alas nothing worked. So the chain necklace is unadorned and the final piece of bracelet remains for another day.

As for Dragon Eye, it has already gone to a new home in Calgary. It sold yesterday at our local farmers’ market.

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Discovering Yellow

Step aside, Sol. Move over dandelions. The woman has discovered yellow. And who’da thunk it would be so much fun. Whoo-hoo!

Don’t know what I was thinking before but it never occurred to me to actually use yellow. I mean I know somebody must have been cause they make yellow beads, right? But it weren’t me.

Until now. When I was beading the apple cab I needed a colour to set off the bright pink. Hmmm. After trying several options I finally resorted to a package of yellow beads. Zowie. What a neat combo. So when it came time to add a necklace strap I decided to carry the yellow theme through that as well. Good choice.

The results with that necklace prompted me to make it the main colour in the next piece, Calypso. That necklace didn’t even make it to my New Gallery. I finished it in time for my last show and decided to put it up for sale there. It sold the first day — to a local welder (who also bought 2 pairs of new earrings). Gotta love days like that 🙂