A tiara is just an upside-down necklace

So a couple of weeks ago, during Building the Asylum, I walked in on the end of a conversation between a couple of people – I caught the words “diva” and “need a tiara!” and had to ask one of the participants who it was who needed a tiara, her or him.

At that point, I was merely amused.

She said she needed one.

Then part of my brain had a flash of inspiration, and so I asked, “Really? Because I could make you one,” and decided to interpret her response (uncontrolled laughter) as approval and encouragement, while simultaneously trying to work out how to actually make it. It seemed like it shouldn’t be that much different than wire necklaces, right?

Eventually I did get some actual words, to the effect that sparkly pink was Right Out, but stainless steel and black were good ideas (we have Internets in the space; I pointed her to some photos on the blog).

So I did some sketches at StrowlerCon, and took a couple of hours a week later to put it all together. I am always surprised by how long it takes to wind wire around other wire; the main structure took about an hour, but all the fiddly bits to finish it up took almost as much time!

Tiara sketch with beads laid over it

A final sketch - on paper towels, because I forgot to bring trace paper - with some beads laid on top of it to see how those might look.

Completed tiara, formed by bending stainless steel wire and wiring glass and lava beads to it.

The completed tiara. The large bead is lava; the small ones are glass.

I used 20 ga stainless steel for the main structure, and 22 ga stainless for the windings around the structure, and to attach the big bead. The 22 ga was too heavy to attach the small beads, so I ended up using some 24? 26? ga tinned copper to attach those. Note to self: Order some smaller gauge stainless!

Closeup image of parts of the tiara, focusing on the small gauge wire and beads.

I really like how the thin wire, repeated enough, becomes an additional decorative element, background to the beads and general overall form. It keeps surprising me when that happens.

Jamie wearing her tiara


Conclusion: really not that much different from the necklaces, though forming the base into the right shape was a lot trickier.


Contests! Jewelry and hackerspace craziness

A friend pointed me in the direction of a contest being held by Happy Mango Beads, with a “Trash to Treasure” theme.

I spent about 5? or 6? hours working on my entry, and I am delighted to announce that my entry was one of the alternate winners! Which means: FREE BEAD MONEYS. Also: fame and notoriety.

Maybe not.

Anyway, here it is, the Machinist’s Collar:

Collar made from stainless steel wire, glass beads, and found objects

"When I aimed my flashlight toward the back of the machine shop, an unexpected blue glint caught my eye. I was not expecting to find this: a collar made from stainless steel wire, woven into a framework for broken watch bands, rusted washers, and other metal objects I could not identify, accented with glass beads. Was this completed by a bored machinist, waiting for a necessary part to arrive? The result of finally emptying the jar labeled “Shiny! or might be useful some day”? Or a symbol of office, abandoned when the shop closed? Perhaps the number of washers hung from the front indicated levels of seniority. I may never know; I visited only days before the wrecking ball arrived."

I raided my collection of random metal objects for this. I knew they’d come in handy someday! VINDICATION!!

The collar turned out to be taller than I originally planned, and for a while I felt pretty bummed out that it was not matching my original concept. It was going to be terrible! And then it started to come together, and I am more pleased with the result than I was with my original concept.

Also: check out the photos of all the entries on Facebook – there are a lot of really gorgeous entries. I think this necklace is my favorite.

On to something less wearable:

Back in August, Artisan’s Asylum had the opportunity to participate in a hackerspace competition. We had 3 weeks to complete a project. Which would be videotaped. The process and the final result. For the purpose of being shown on VIMBY.

The first hour of the show is up, which introduces the competition and very briefly introduces the 5 groups participating. We will get our very own hour in an upcoming week.

Much like the project itself, this both terrifies and excites me.