We’re All Ears: Tango a Rainbow

Rainbow earringsErin Prais-Hintz has come up with yet another unique inspiration for the We’re All Earrings monthly design challenge. For the May theme, she shared stills and video from a couple of dance troupes performing the tango set against a rainbow of urban backgrounds.

The dancers’ outfits match the colors of the walls behind them, and are constantly changing as they dance off screen and reappear. As Erin noted, the dance moves are at once fluid and filled with tension.

My initial idea for an earring design was to create disc beads with ruffled edges, using polymer clay. I wanted to evoke the image of the hem of a dress fluttering as the dancer twirls and turns.

I also wanted to incorporate the rainbow of colors from the dancers’ outfits and the scenery. So I had this grand plan that involved micro-Skinner blends. It was going to take hours and hours to make these rainbow striped beads.

And then, I ran into my local Michael’s Arts & Crafts store to stock up on polymer clay while it was on sale. While I was there I naturally had to take a trip down the bead isle. I was already in the neighborhood, so why not?

And guess what I found? Strands of ruffle-edged howlite beads dyed a rainbow of colors. They weren’t exactly the shape and size I had in mind. But as I looked at them, I saw a modification of my initial idea. One that would save me hours and hours of color blending.

Rainbow earrings on wire

These Rainbow Tango earrings are made with stacks of dyed howlite beads on sterling silver wire.

I separated each colored ruffle bead with a small jet black glass bead and stacked a rainbow on sterling silver wire. I tried just stacking the ruffle beads, with no spacers. But they needed a teeny bit of separation, just as the dancers maintain a distance with their taut frames.

Rainbow earrings side view

I had to resist the urge to add a dangling bead at the bottom of each stack.

I also thought about attaching each ruffle via individual wire loops, so each color would dangle from the next. But in the end, that seemed like too much movement for the tension you see in the dancers’ bodies. Having the stacked beads move as a single unit seemed a better fit.

So, that’s my design for this month’s challenge on the Earrings Everyday blog. Be sure to stop by today’s reveal post to see what Erin created from this inspiration and then follow the links at the bottom of her post to see earring designs from other artists inspired by this month’s theme.

And what, you may ask, did I do with all the time I saved not making polymer clay beads? Did I create more jewelry? Did I sweep my floors and wash the dishes? Did I tackle that pile of to-be-shredded credit card statements? Nope. I took a nice long nap.

18 thoughts on “We’re All Ears: Tango a Rainbow

  1. Kathy Lindemer

    I love the rainbow of colors in your earrings. The beads are awesome. I may have to take a trip to Michaels!

    1. Tammy Adams Post author

      They are awesome beads. I may have to make another trip to get more myself. 😉

  2. Erin Prais-Hintz

    Ahh…. a nap! Perfect! (And after being up until 2am I need one now!) I love the way you think. The ruffles on the dresses were part of my inspiration as well. The way they rippled as she moved. And I love the idea of the taut tension, the rigid fluidity, if you will. So many possibilities! What a happy accident to find those beads… but color me intrigued to see what you were talking about with the clay (I am not so good at the blending of clay so I would love to see how that translates). Thanks for playing along with me in the We’re All Ears challenge for May. Stop back to Earrings Everyday on June 5th for the next inspiration! Enjoy the day. Erin

    1. Tammy Adams Post author

      Thanks so much, Erin. Now that the idea is in my head, and my notebook, I will make those polymer clay beads. Some day. Thanks for another great inspiration. See you next month.

  3. Fiona Robertson

    Love the ruffles and the colours, puts me in mind of Spanish dancers too!! I am also a great procrastinator when it comes to geting things done so I can relate to you taking a nap!! You earned it…xx

    1. Tammy Adams Post author

      Thanks, Fiona. After I put the earrings together, they did remind me of the poofy ruffled sleeves on flamenco dancers’ shirts. Flamenco, tango. It’s all latin to me. LOL.

  4. oksana

    Wow, these beads are beautiful! I’ve never seen this type before. They are just perfect for the challenge. Great job!

    1. Tammy Adams Post author

      Thank you, Oksana. It was a very happy coincidence that I found those beads just after seeing the inspiration for this challenge. I might not have noticed them, or bought them, otherwise.

    1. Tammy Adams Post author

      Thanks so much, Mona. It’s a simple design, but the colorful beads give it character.

  5. Cindy

    You made me realize one thing we beaders have in common: NO trip to Michaels can exclude a trip down the bead aisle. I have never been able to just walk on by that section of the store!! I love the way you have captured the vibrant colors and the fluttering of the ruffle hem of the dress. Nice earrings! You deserved that nap. (Aren’t naps great?)

    1. Tammy Adams Post author

      Thank you, Cindy. Even when I tell myself I don’t need any more beads, I can’t seem t resist “just a look” down that aisle. And yes, naps are wonderful.

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