Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Artisan Whimsy's Bead Chat Magazine 5x5 Challenge

Remember me mentioning in a previous post I was working on lots of things I couldn't show you yet?  Here are a few of those pieces!  We all had to wait for the publication date to reveal the fun on our blogs :)

Some of you know I don't check or update Facebook nearly as often as a business person should. So it was sheer luck that I stumbled upon a post on one of my fave jewelry groups, Creative Bead Chat.  Melinda Orr was looking for testers for some products for the April 2013 issue of Artisan Whimsy's Bead Chat Magazine.  I commented and was accepted.  Cool, right?

The concept of the 5x5 is this, five testers get five products to create with, all the testers get the same things.  Each tester gets 30 days to create and turn in their results for the magazine.  This month was sponsored by Melinda Orr of Orrtec, who also happens to put together the amazing Bead Chat mag.  Be sure to check it out, lots of really great eye candy right there on your computer screen!

For this round the five testers got different types of wire to work with in one yard increments.  I was really intrigued when Melinda mentioned she would be including flat aluminum wire.  I like to use aluminum a an inexpensive and tarnish free alternative to sterling silver.  We also received copper in two gauges and brass.

The possibilities here are almost endless, the only thing I wasn't able to accomplish was eight strand plaiting with wire just because it takes a ton of wire to do. (Look for a tutorial on eight strand wire plait here in the future.)

Because the aluminum is the softest it is the easiest to work with in my opinion.  I started out by embossing some of it in my Bigkick, but my designs were a little too large for them to look like much on the flat wire, others had much better results in this area.  So instead I made use of the ribbon like nature of the aluminum to make some dimensional pieces.

This first piece is a piece of domed copper sheet with the wider gauge aluminum in the form of a dimensional heart.  I incorporated the larger gauge copper to make rivets.  Also used the aluminum and smaller gauge copper to make the bail.
A side view of the dimensionality of this piece.
Continuing with the aluminum and copper theme I made a pair of mental health awareness earring to honor my 17 yr old.  The aluminum takes alcohol inks really well!  Just remember to seal or the inks will wear off.  As before, the larger gauge copper was used for the rivets.
My final piece with the aluminum was a pair of simple spiral earrings.  I had embossed these first, but as mentioned previously my embossing didn't look like much.
I can't wait to get my hands on more of this flat aluminum to play with, absolutely love the possibilities!
Next up was some of the brass.  I have worked with brass a bit before, very stiff stuff  that doesn't really appreciate being annealed.  I made this ring for my daughter, her design.
The last piece I have to show is a clasp end on kumihimo braid made with the bronze wire.  Bronze works as easily as the copper.
There were several other pieces I played with as well but I didn't feel any of them were successful enough for submission.  I had so much fun with this challenge, thanks to Melinda Orr for putting it all together.  Be sure to visit her store Orrtec.  Also take a look through the magazine and be sure to visit the other testers as well :).


  1. Replies
    1. Thanks April! I am on a hunt for yellow glass like the kind you used in the beads you sent me :)

  2. Wow! Love what you made Ali!! I LOVE the heart pendant!!! It was fun and thanks for the inspiration!!

    1. Thanks so much Kumi! I am inspired by your work as well. What a fun challenge it was :)


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