Art Jewelry Elements Design Challenge: Eye Love Beads

Evil Eye necklaceI’m so glad the Art Jewelry Elements design team is continuing the open challenges this year. I had a great time with the themes last years challenges. And the theme they chose to kick off 2016 is another fun one: Eye Love Beads.  As in, jewelry with eyes.

No, not actual eyes. That would be a little too Silence of the Lambs. Rather, the challenge is to design a piece of jewelry, an art bead, or a component with eye symbolism.  I had been hoarding an “evil eye” component and this was a perfect opportunity to set it free from my stash.

For this necklace, I started with some polymer clay art beads by Staci Louise Smith. I love their aged rustic finish, and yet, I can’t seem to resist pairing them with something shiny. In this case, it’s some Czech glass in coordinating shades of peachy pink.  I also used some dyed “mystery” gemstone beads that are just the right shades of pink for this necklace.  And, of course, the design is rounded out with antiqued copper chain links. I do love my copper.

Pink evil eye necklace

The large “evil eye” focal on this necklace is polymer clay by Staci Louise Smith. The swirl bead below it is also by Staci. The art beads are paired with Czech glass and dyed stone beads with copper accents.

I adore the peach-pink finish on the polymer clay components.  It reminds me of ruby red grapefruit. I always say pink is my least favorite color to design with. But I had a surprising array of pink beads in my stash, including assorted shapes and sizes of Czech glass and various dyed gemstones.

This is actually the third evil eye totem necklae I’ve made with components from Staci. I made one in green and another in orange from my Superstition Blog Hop last year. You can pop over to that post to check them out.  And, you can find them in my Etsy shop if you should happen to fall in love with them.

Up next, I made some Hamsa components from polymer clay. My plan was to use the hand-shaped amulets in a series of necklaces. I made three “test” pieces to figure out what colors and finishes I wanted to use for the series.

Hamsa pendants in polymer clay

These three Hamsa pendants are made from polymer clay. The top two are faux silver and brass with flat-back crystal accents. The center one has a faux ceramic finish, adapted from Staci’s polymer crackle technique tutorial..

I decided I liked both the faux oxidized metal and faux ceramic finishes I tried for my test beads. I also liked the addition of flat-back crystals in the metallic pieces. I made these two weekends before the reveal deadline for this challenge. I was going to make the rest of the pendants – in other colors – and integrate them into necklaces the following weekend. That would have given me a few days (or rather, a few evenings, since I have a day job) to take/process photos and write my post.

But then I decided at the last minute – after goofing around on Saturday doing silly things like laundry, picking up and re-sorting the box of beads I dropped, and there may have been a nap after the spilled-beads incident – to bake some cupcakes to take to work on Monday morning. A friend and co-worker who is moving to a different job has been requesting more of these cupcakes since the first time I made them a few years ago, and Tuesday was her last day in the office.

These are somewhat elaborate cupcakes and by the time they were done and the kitchen cleaned, well, frankly, I didn’t feel like setting up the polymer clay studio. Yes, my kitchen also doubles as my polymer clay studio. No, I’ve never accidentally eaten any clay. But there may have been glitter in my scrambled eggs once. Or twice. That stuff gets everywhere and turns up weeks after you used it.


These are the cupcakes that took precedence over making jewelry. They’re based on a bomb-shot drink. The cake part is dark chocolate with Guinness stout. They’re filled with Bailey’s Irish cream frosting, and topped with Jameson whiskey bittersweet chocolate ganache and more Bailey’s frosting. With some gold sugar sprinkles for fun.

So, there you have it. I only finished one jewelry design and thee prototype pendants for this challenge. But the cupcakes were every bit as fun to make as any jewelry.

To see more eye-inspired art jewelry and components, please visit the other participants in this design challenge.

Melissa Trudinger
Tammy Adams – that’s me!
Alison Herrington
Kelly Rodgers

AJE Members
Jenny Davies-Reazor
Diana Ptaszynski
Susan Kennedy
Caroline Dewison
Lindsay Starr
Lesley Watt
Jen Cameron

24 thoughts on “Art Jewelry Elements Design Challenge: Eye Love Beads

    1. Tammy Adams Post author

      Thanks, Lesley. The cupcakes were definitely a bigger hit than the necklace.

  1. Jenny

    Too funny. The Silence of the Lambs remark made me snort my coffee Tammy. I checked my stash at the beginning of the month thinking of Staci’s gorgeous eye pieces. You rocked it!
    I love your PC Hamsa hands and look forward to seeing more of them. Hey – cupcakes happen. No worries. Thanks for joining us!

    1. Tammy Adams Post author

      Thank you, Alison. I think glitter is the curse that haunts every creative home.

  2. Lindsay

    I’m so glad you decided to play along this month! I love that you were both inspired to create with something from your stash AND to create components. Fantastic!

  3. Karen

    Looks like you’re as good at baking as you are designing jewelry! Both of your creations are fantastic. Thanks for sharing the links too!

  4. Beth Petricoin

    I love the necklace and the hamsas (can’t wait to see what you do with them)! And those cupcakes look oh, so yummy! You sure that’s gold sugar on them and not glitter? 😉 ha, ha! I hear ya with the glitter problems!

    1. Tammy Adams Post author

      Thanks so much, Beth. It’s definitely sugar. That’s my story and I’m sticking to it. 😀

  5. Susan Kennedy

    Hey Tammy, I love your necklace with Staci’s beads, they are awesome and the beads you paired with them work great! I also love your hamsa charms and would love to see what you eventually do with them. And WOW, those cupcakes are crazy, must have really taken a long time and I bet they tasted divine! Thank you for playing!

  6. niky sayers

    Oh wow your necklace is so lovely, both pretty and rustic and those polymer hands very cool!

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