Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Not dead, just busy!

Life's been a bit hectic over the last little while!  I've been trying to make a bunch of jewelry, zibies, and zibabies for the holiday shopping season.  This has mostly been accomplished, with some unanticipated downtime due to tendonitis in one of my wrists.  Still, I managed to get a respectable amount of items created!  Below are some pics of a few of my favorites.  You can see all of them on my FB page, website, and Etsy shop.  Oh, and if you check out my website, please let me know if you find any typos, bad links etc, since I just revamped the whole site!  (Only my jewelry website was updated.  If you wander off into my dog website or my SCA one, they're still the same.)

The two pics above are of Grazia, the Zibellino I made for Noelle's sister Melia.  It's hard to see here, but she has dark indigo eyes!

(This set has over 130 hand-set rhinestones!  It is ultra sparkly IRL!)

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Bronzino's c1550 Portrait of a Lady project: Belt

(This is my ACC project, just renamed and slowly continued...)

I've always loved the belt on my inspiration portrait:
It was the first time I'd ever seen a cameo in 1500s Italian jewelry, which was really exciting for me because I love seeing how the same themes/styles are repeated in Italy through the centuries.  Cameos were popular during Roman times, usually depicting deities and emperors/empresses.  They phased in and out of use over the centuries, but they never disappeared completely.  Even though I can't see who is depicted in this cameo, it seems to have the classic styling of a Roman cameo.  For my belt, I chose a mother-of-pearl cameo and set it into a gold plated setting:

Another fun element in this belt are the two little faces on either side of the cameo.  I like to think that they are lion's heads, since the symbol of Venice is St. Mark's winged lion:
A while ago, good friend of mine gave me a pair of earrings that were little jeweled cat heads, saying they reminded her of my zibies and wondering if I could use them in my jewelry.  With a few modifications, they fit in perfectly with this project!  I cut the earring posts off and drilled a hole in the back of each head so I could pass the beading wire through them.  I love the way they match the overall style of  the belt and the way they help me match the feel of the portrait.  Besides all that, I think they add such an adorable touch!  (Just look at their tineh toofers!)

None of the pictures that I could find of this portrait showed the whole tassel at the end of the drop.  This is frustrating because I wasn't sure what to make.  Finally, I found a picture that showed probably half of it, so I had something to work with!  I still couldn't tell if the tassel was made from metal, metal thread, or silk thread, so I decided to just have fun and make something that looked similar but let me play with beaded netting, something I don't get to use often enough, in my opinion!  :)  I netted metal beads and Swarovski crystals around a German crystal drop for the top of the tassel, then made a kind of multi-layer frame for the chain part to hang from.  I incorporated red Swarovski crystals into the outside layer of chain to mimic the gems on the portrait's tassel.  Here are a few pics of the construction of the tassel:

All the bits and parts, including the completed netted crystal drop:

The first, inner layer:

The second, middle, layer.  This is made up of several simple chandelier findings layered into a circle arrangement:

The third, outside, layer.  Here I attached chain around the edges of a round filigree finding.  I also added Swarovski crystals to the edges of the filigree:

Threading the three layers together along with the netted drop:

The completed tassel.  There are several things that I'd do differently if I make another chain tassel like this, but overall I'm pretty happy with it!

The drop and waist portions were pretty straightforward stringing.  I used bead caps and findings with Swarovski crystal to approximate the feel of the portrait's belt.  I really love the way this belt turned out!  It has a wonderful, heavy feel to it, and a ton of sparkle without being gaudy.  I'm hoping Noelle and I get my new gown done before Collegium so I can wear it!
Noelle took some pictures of me wearing my new set (belt, earrings, necklace) with the gown she's sewing for me (which I absolutely LOVE!).