We’re All Ears: December Anamorphic

We're All Ears December 2014 Inspiration

We’re All Ears December 2014 Inspiration

The inspiration for this month’s We’re All Ears earring design challenge is this amazing anamorphic sculpture. It’s called “Breaking Wave” and is the creation of  Plebian Design and Hypersonic.

You can see this amazing kinetic sculpture in person at Biogen-Idec’s new headquarters in Cambridge, MA. Or, you can watch this short film to see it in action, including the mechanism behind the art.

When our hostess for this challenge, Erin Prais-Hintz of Tesori Trovati, wrote “Earrings are, by their very nature, little kinetic sculptures.” I knew what I wanted to design for this challenge. And then, as seems to keep happening, I lost track of how quickly two weeks can go by.

So, rather than a leisurely design session over the weekend, when I can work using natural light while the sun is out, I ended up squinting over my bead mat in the glare of incandescent bulbs after work the evening before the reveal.

Luckily, the design I had in mind was to revisit a technique I’ve used before. So, there was less trial and error time involved and mostly I just needed to remind myself how I did it.  I have terrible spatial skills. I can’t “see” how things will come together without actually trying to put them together. So while this may seem like a very simple straightforward design, I’ll admit to some wasted headpins as I figured out the correct order of assembly.

Midnight Magic black zigzag earrings

This is a pair of zigzag earrings I made quite a few years ago, using two sizes of jet black Swarovski bicones on sterling silver wires.

When I first started making jewelry I came up with what I thought was a totally unique zig-zag arrangement of beads and wires. I made these zig-zag earrings in practically every color scheme for which Swarovski makes a crystal. I usually made them as a color gradient, with three or more shades of the same color.

Brown crystal zigzag earrings

This pair of zigzag earrings has Swarovski bicones (4mm) in shades from peach to mocha. I didin’t make them for this challenge – they’ve been in my personal collection for many years.

And then I saw them seemingly everywhere, on Etsy, in catalogs, etc. Did someone copy my original idea? Doubtful. What’s more likely is the idea came to me, and others, from the global consciousness within the jewelry design community.

Anyhoo, the reason I thought of this design for this challenge is that the way the wires and beads are connected allows them to swing in every direction around the z-axis. And because they’re so light weight, they are constantly in motion, always presenting a different perspective.

Amber glass zigzag earrings

I used amber cracked and faceted glass beads to make the earrings for this month’s challenge. I went with a golden color palette because of the color in the inspiration photo. And it seemed to fit this season of glitter, tinsel, and lights.

I typically like to make these earrings with Swarovski crystals because the perfect facets on the beads add even more dimension to these mini sculptures as they reflect and refract light. However, the Czech cracked glass and faceted glass beads I used for this month’s challenge design seem lit from within.  From a distance, the thin sterling wires are nearly invisible, which gives an illusion of the sparkling beads suspended in air.

Amber glass zigzag earrings

The amber and honey colored Czech glass beads used for these earrings are semi-opaque and seem to glow with inner light. This is also one of those rare occasions when I used simple loops rather than my trusty wrapped loops. Simple loops work best for this design. But just to be sure everything stays connected, I overlapped the loops just a tad.

This design can be done with any type of bead from glass to gemstone.  You can use any number of headpins to get the length you want. You can vary the numbers and sizes of beads on each headpin, and cut the headpins to show as much or as little space between zigs (or zags) as you like. You can use mixed shapes of beads, or graduated sizes. It’s a simple design with endless possibilities. 

My thanks to our hostess for another inspiring theme and fun design challenge. Be sure to visit the Earrings Every Day blog to see what other jewelry designers were inspired to create for this challenge.

24 thoughts on “We’re All Ears: December Anamorphic

    1. Tammy Adams Post author

      Thanks, Fiona. I’m resisting the urge to just sit with my beads and make these by the dozen. They’re so fun and quick.

    1. Tammy Adams Post author

      Thanks, Alice. These are super simple to make. I’ll bet you’d have fun with this design.

  1. Kathy Lindemer

    These earrings are great. I would love to try to make something similar. You did a terrific job capturing the feeling of the installation.

    1. Tammy Adams Post author

      Thank you, Kathy. I’ll warn you, once you make a pair of these, it will be hard not to want to recreate them in every color.

    1. Tammy Adams Post author

      Thanks so much, Nicole. I actually made them to go with a dress I wore to a friend’s wedding years ago. They look great with an up-do. I’ve switched out the ear wires and made them available in my shop.

  2. cindy

    I can relate to squinting over the bead mat in incandescent light at the last moment. Good thing you could utilize a familiar design technique and then spend time focusing on wonderful bead choices. What a versatile design and so totally perfect for this challenge! I love how the beads glow and the wires disappear. Fantastic earrings!

    1. Tammy Adams Post author

      Thanks, Cindy. Besides the fact that I prefer daylight for color coordination, I just seem to feel more creative in natural light. Then again, nothing quite like a last -minute deadline to get the muse inspired.

    1. Tammy Adams Post author

      Thanks so much, Katherine. This was such a fun inspiration, I’m glad I made time to participate.

  3. Sarajo Wentling

    What a fun way to revisit an old design! I love the colors you chose and the playful but elegant look. I would love to see them in motion… I bet they are fun to wear!

    1. Tammy Adams Post author

      Thanks, Sarajo.They are fun to wear. And so lightweight you hardly now they’re there until people compliment you on them.

  4. Erin Prais-Hintz

    You and I are kindred spirits! I am the Queen of the Last Minute (if it weren’t for the last minute, nothing would get done!). Squinting over a bead mat late at night is the only way that I do anything! I think that the movement on your earrings is exciting. I agree with you that there is a collective consciousness and nothing new in the world. But I like the ways that you made each pair different. The color gradients, the different beads and shapes and I love the idea of the thin wire almost disappearing. Thank you for sharing your mini kinetic sculptures for the December We’re All Ears Challenge. Check back on January 2nd for the next inspiration! Enjoy the day! Erin

    1. Tammy Adams Post author

      Thanks, Erin. And thanks for another fabulously fun inspiration. I’m looking forward to what you’ll challenge us with in 2015.

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