Thursday, January 26, 2012

Something out of nothing...

It's not quite spinning gold out of hay, or even making a silk purse out of a sow's ear, but it is something out of nothing.

This necklace is the culmination of a number of different ideas and influences:

It is a result of browsing the advanced style blog and being inspired by those amazing women and realising that although I wear necklaces everyday and favour large and interesting pieces, I could always go BIGGER!

It was inspired by this irregularly faceted agate (?) bead necklace I bought at an antique market along the canal near my friend's place in Milan...
...which I need to re-string.

It was inspired by this folded and faceted photograph...
...spotted in Window 135 in New Cross

It was inspired by a dream I had about faceted wood...

But mainly it is the result of wanting a new necklace (but not wanting to spend any money).

So, during a slow day at work recently, I decided to have a go.

My first experiment was with a small off-cut of wood. Using the big sander at work, I ground off corners and edges until I had a randomly faceted block. I sanded it lightly then drilled a hole through it and rubbed it with a bit of oil to finish it off. 

After making a couple more wooden beads, I felt like I was using materials that were actually quite useful at work for making heels etc, so I looked around for something else. Then I spied some really properly useless offcuts that were destined for the bin - it was bits of glued together leatherboard discarded from making stacked heels for a show that requires horseshoe-shaped heels. (Leatherboard is to leather what chipboard is to wood - it is leather fibres that are glued and compressed together.)
stacked leatherboard heel
the horseshoe cutout offcuts.

as before, I ground each offcut into a randomly faceted block and drilled holes through them. On the longer beads I had to drill in from each end hoping that they met up in the middle. I actually lost a couple of beads to wonky drilling (and killed the drill bit too).

first attempts.

The leatherboard ended up with a nice finish - varying from pale to dark brown depending on the direction of the cut, as well as how hot it got against the grinding wheel. I took them home and gave them two coats of PVA glue to give them a bit of a reflective shine. 


I wanted to add a little lightness, so I added some little faceted glass chandelier beads and a larger chandelier drop I had lying around (well, you never know when you might need them). I strung it up a few times till I was happy with the composition.... 

et voila!
...a chunky, slightly Wilma Flinstone-esque, faceted bead necklace made from offcuts that were destined for landfill, and bits and pieces I already had lying around. 


  1. Don't forget the chandelier crystal from Lassco!

  2. Inspirational piece - great detailed description of the process, thanks for sharing.

  3. Beautiful. I have been thinking about BIIG necklaces for a while now, but didn't get a start on them, yet. I probably would have gone to the bead store first, but seeing your wood one, I think I'll start with that extensice collection of shells chilling around my place.

  4. nice photographs and thank you for crediting "window135". Would you like to show your jewellery or.... in the window? We are interested in the shoes.
    Tim Jones & Meena Chodha 'window135'