Here's a picture I took of the challenge beads:
The challenge beads include a ceramic magic bead by Diane Hawkey, a floral charm by Marsha Neal, a silvered lampwork bead by Sue Kennedy, a lampwork bead (scarlet sugar bead) by Bernadette Fuentes, a seed bead blend, Swarovski crystals, vintage acrylic, and copper chain (not shown) and the mystery focal--a copper pendant by Andrew Thornton.
As soon as I saw the beads I wanted to split them up into two necklaces. I decided to put the floral charm and the sugar bead in one necklace. The copper pendant has a stylized sun so I decided to go with a nature/flower/sun theme. I made a copper clasp to go with this necklace. For some reason my flash decided not to work so these are a bit dark.
I gave the magic bead a lot of thought. Magic has more than one definition and I decided to work with the theme of magic as illusion. I researched historical female magicians and illusionists and settled on Mercedes Talma. Mercedes performed from 1899 through the 1920's. She was known as the "Queen of Coins" for her skill in manipulating coins and making them appear seemingly from the air. She confounded viewers during performances by wearing an off-the-shoulder gown that lacked sleeves in which to conceal the coins.
Keyholes invoke the idea of mystery and things hidden so I decided to have Mercedes peeking out from a keyhole. This is what I have so far:
The escutcheon plate is iron and had surface rust. I cleaned the rust up but left it dark as much as I could. It's been coated with ProtectaClear to prevent any more rust. The photo is one I found of Mercedes Talma. The escutcheon plate will be backed with an etched brass plate and it will be riveted together. I'll probably darken the brass considerably so it doesn't stand out too much from the silver tones of the necklace. Right now I'm thinking of wire wrapping the beads together with sterling silver, which I will antique. I've had these Asian coins for a while and I thought they would go well with the "Queen of Coins." I'll probably use all the crystals that were in the challenge kit on this necklace, and some sterling spacers.
Here's a list of the other challenge participants. Check out their designs:
Darby Lohrding, Marian Howarth, and Kari Asbury will all have pieces featured on Andrew Thornton's blog.
I still have a giveaway going until noon (Pacific time) on Monday 8/29. Scroll down to the previous post. I'll notify the winner later on today but the reveal post will be tomorrow.