Wednesday 19 February 2020

Stringing things up, Issues with. Advice gratefully received. . .

Well, having created and constructed a good few interesting pendant focal pieces, in my view anyway, I have been mulling over and wrestling with the problem of how to present them as finished necklaces, if that's not too loose a term.

Wire wrapped copper links and jump rings

Simple chain. . .

I can make pendant things that look great on their own, and that are recognisably my work, but as soon as I try to put them on a string/chain/other, they look kind of wrong and somewhat amateurish in a worrying sort of way. It is occurring to me that the choice of stringing/hanging material is a lot more important than I had previously thought. It might just be that am not used to seeing my work in this way, and that I just need to get used to it, but I don't think it's that simple.

Upcycled wire links and industrial style heavy washers

Simple suede cord, titanium clasp - I think this one might actually work

A necklace is a construction in it's own right, I know that, and admire the work of the many necklace constructors whose work I see online etc, but it's hard to echo what they do in my work. By that I mean that the take away I get from others' work is that the combination of beads/items and string/chain/whatever just looks 'right'. It suits their creative identity/aesthetic. The choice of carrier suits the thing carried if you get me drift. I find it hard to find and nail down that relationship in my work. Sometimes sticking something on a chain might work, sometimes something more complex and visually demanding might work too. The issue is working out, or feeling instinctively which approach suits which pendant/bead/etc.

I have made some small progress I think, in that often my work is quite bold and somewhat eccentric, with industrial overtones ;-). Therefore, the choice of 'string' should echo that. To that end I have made chain links out of bits of the wire grid i like to use, from copper wire, and from upcycled steel wire, basically a short length of wire with a loop at each end, which can join onto one or more others. These work OK, but aren't suitable to go round the back of the neck, for comfort and possible allergic reasons. Therefore a piece of chain, suede cord or suchlike needs to be added. This never seems to look quite right to me.

I think I need to accumulate a larger and wider stock of possible stringing material and try things until something 'works' and is identifiably my creative choice and belongs to my aesthetic.

OK, I could spare myself the grief and just sell the pendants themselves, should anyone want them, (and I have done that quite often) but I see my dilemma as a challenge, something I should be able to surmount. Then of course I will have the issue of actually trying to sell the resulting jewellery, but that is something to be addressed when the time comes ;-)


  1. I have the same issue, I know that I'm horrible at assembling and finishing work. I think though that it's important to keep trying as it contributes to design knowledge about the components I persist in making! (What works and what doesn't...)

    A lot of my finshed stuff just looks off to me and often finds its way into the bottom drawer in my studio. Lately I have been fishing out things and wearing them for a day and that has given me new insight into my overly critical self! Just seeing it lying down is not enough, it must be worn.

  2. Thanks Claire, good to know I'm not alone ;-) I think you are overly critical of your work, they look great to me, but maybe that's coz the ones you share are the ones that 'work'. I need my knowledge of suitable stringing materials and methods to catch up with my knowledge and experience of my component materials. I wish I could wear my work but it's not going to happen ;-) I could wear things round the house I guess, I agree, things need to be worn to find out how they function etc. I need a human guinea pig, my wife's style as far as jewelry goes is pretty and delicate so that rules my stuff right out! I'm considering applying to join a local contemporary craft group, which may be a source of advice and help, or not, I don't know. Thanks for the input, Claire and keep up the wonderful work ;-)