The inspiration for this month’s We’re All Ears earring design challenge is chandeliers. As in, those light fixtures that hang from the ceiling. Chandelier is also a type of earring, along with drops, dangles, and studs. Before I show and tell you about the chandelier earrings I designed specifically for this challenge, let me share some of my earlier designs.
Chandelier earrings have always been my favorite style of earrings. When it comes to earrings, the longer and more dangly, the better. I know some women save chandelier earrings for special “dress-up” evening occasions, like their stiletto heels. Not me. I wear them any time, day or night, dressed up or down. Chandelier earrings, that is. Not the stilettos, of which I have none.
Some of first earrings I sold after opening my shop on etsy were chandelier style. Those are them in the photo under the title for this post. The woman who bought two of the pairs ended up giving one pair to her daughter. Because at just shy of 4 inches total length, they weren’t long enough for her taste. I totally get it. Who needs a necklace when you have earrings dusting your shoulders, right?
When I began buying beads and components at bead shows, I gravitated to the Bali silver filigree for my chandelier stations. I still love them, and am hoarding a small stash. Over time, I also developed an affection for brass earring stations, and mixed metal designs. Here’s a look at the chandelier earrings available in my Cactus Frog etsy shop. (For those who don’t know, the Cactus Frog is Paisley Lizard’s cousin.)
Eventually, I branched out from silver filigree paired with Swarovski crystal dangles (I think I’ve made at least one pair in every crystal color combination), for my chandelier earring designs. I dabbled in steampunk and a little touch of goth. Chandelier earrings are endlessly fun to make for someone who loves beaded dangles as I do.
Which brings me to the earring designs I created especially for this challenge. In a departure from every prior chandelier design I’ve made, I didn’t use metal components for the stations. I created some 3-to-1 connectors in polymer clay to be the focals for my earring designs.
When I took the lighting style quiz that Erin shared in the inspiration post, I got “warm modern” which describes me as someone who loves “simplicity and minimalism, but not to the extent of a place feeling bare.” I’m not sure that’s technically my home decor design style, but it’s definitely not my jewelry style. I do like simple clean lines in furniture. However, no one would ever accuse me of making minimalist or simple jewelry. And I’m pretty sure my craft supply hoarding tendencies exclude my living space from anything remotely minimalist.
What does that have to do with my new polymer clay earring components? Nothing really. It’s just an amusing anecdote. This is my blog and I can blather on if I want. And now, to make a short story long, here are my chandelier-inspired earring designs for this challenge.
I’m working on a new line of jewelry, featuring hand-painted polymer clay flower components that have a slightly retro flower power vibe. Because I am still under the influence of Pantone’s Color of the Year – Ultra Violet, thanks to last month’s challenge theme, I created a set of purple components. I gave them a faux ceramic glaze finish, which is one of my favorite faux finishes for polymer clay.
I auditioned literally every purple bead under 6mm size in my stash and found absolutely none that worked with my flowers. They all clashed. Even my comprehensive Swarovski crystal collection let me down. Which meant beaded dangles were out, and chain was in. But the chain dangles looked unbalanced and unfinished. (Perhaps because the chain is too insubstantial?) I turned to my stash of metal beads and found some little silver-tone flowers and bees. The dangles were still looking a little blah. And then I remembered: I can paint metal! And, as luck would have it, one of my Vintaj metal paints was the exact right shade of purple.
As I’m making my line of flower components, I’m testing various ways of adding color. For this next pair of chandeliers, I went with a distressed look in warm red tones. It looks a little like painted leather with a patina. I had almost as much trouble finding coordinating beads for these as I did for the purple flowers. Clearly my bead stash is deficient and a shopping spree is in order. (No, you do not need to remind me that I can make polymer clay beads in any color I want. Shush!)
I opted to keep the overall design for this pair warm, using copper wire for the beaded dangles and ear wires. The dangles are a combination of the very last of a strand of small faceted orange glass beads (that I can’t remember where I got them) and some red glass pearls. Each flower is topped with a sunny yellow faceted glass bead.
I have a pile of flower components in this style (and a range of colors) that need finishing. Some are destined to become earrings. Others are larger and will be featured in necklaces and bracelets. I hope you’ll stay tuned to my blog for the reveal of the new line of jewelry, coming this spring. (You can also follow me on Facebook for updates, and good luck seeing any of my posts with the new algorithm.) In the meanwhile, these two new pair of chandelier earrings are available in my Paisley Lizard etsy shop.
Before you go, be sure to hop over to the Earrings Every Day blog to see how our hostess, Erin Prais-Hintz interpreted this challenge. And then follow the links below her post to see more stunning earring designs by the other participating artists.