Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Rings & Things Copper Bead Design Challenge

A month or so ago, Dave Robertson, over at Rings &Things Blog posted about a design challenge giveaway featuring some of their brushed copper components.  I commented/blogged/tweeted, etc, and got chosen to receive a sample pack of the lovely copper items. 

I received generous sample packets from each of the beads you see here...big spools, bicones, rondells, flowers, tiny discs, larger textured discs, and more!

Even though I initially had enameling in mind, I knew that the soldered and plated beads would not stand up to much torching, plus the enamel tends to flake off on plated beads.  I did experiment, though, and was able to successfully enamel a few of them!

I created 2 pairs of earrings, and 1 long necklace for the challenge.

This pair was created from the tiny discs...I hammered them flat, then connected them with 24g copper wire, then dangled red, "picasso" finished czech glass beads. 

This pair was started by dapping the larger disks...they domed very nicely.  I had previously experimented on enameling some of the tiny discs, and these were fairly successful and the color turned out lovely!  I decided to cold-connect them with balled copper headpins that I swirled around in the back to hold them in place.  They turn and move around a bit, but I like that.  The 4mm beads used with the flowers and embellishing the earwires were part of the sample pack and are very versatile.

For the necklace, I wanted to incorporate as many of the copper components as I could...for the focal pendant, I used one of the huge brushed bicones.  The holes are pretty big, so I added a couple swarovskis to stopper them up!  Dangling below is an enameled component created from the 2 sizes of discs.  I included a 2nd similar component in the body of the necklace.  I dapped some of the tiny discs to use as bead caps for the pretty lampwork beads I got from Karen Kordan , then tied it all together with some pretty czech glass flowers, a resin "grace" charm I made, and a copper toggle clasp, also made by me.

All my pieces are oxidized, since I love that well-loved, vintage-like patina.  The components took the liver of sulfur well, and polished up nicely in my tumbler.

I would say my favorites were the 2 sizes of discs, especially the tiny ones - they were so versatile.  I also liked the "flower" beads and the tiny rounds.  I didn't get a chance to use the big "spool" beads, but noticed on  the blog that other designers have!  Go and check out the other designs that were created for the challenge - they are all gorgeous!  I think Dave is going to pick a winner this week...wish me luck!

Thanks again, Dave, for the chance to create something with these awesome components!  I had fun :)


  1. Good luck. They are all gorgeous, and I love the necklace!

  2. Love the necklace, can think of lots of things to wear that with.

  3. Good luck! They are just gorgeous!

  4. These are amazing! I really like the openness of the necklace ... where the beads and elements are spaced throughout the design leaving a lot of open space. It's the kind of piece you could live in!

  5. I haven't checked out the other designs but you've totally got this! Your designs are gorgeous! I especially love the necklace!

  6. great designs - I'm totally in love with the necklace

  7. Ack! Thanks for the reminder Melissa! I got this package too and need to do something. I was hoping to incorporate it into a piece for an exhibit this month, but time got away from me and I never got to that piece. These are lovely, and I love the patina you got!
    Enjoy the day!

  8. All of the pieces are wonderful but I really love the necklace. So light and flowing.

  9. Melissa, you have truly outdone yourself with all of these copper pieces. Each one uses some sort of unusual technique.....I love them all with all your fancy wire work! :-)

  10. Beautiful...great designs


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