Soaring in a Blue Sky ~ February ABS Challenge

I was so excited to see this month's challenge included birds. I had just recently discovered Birgitta's gorgeous wing pendants and knew right away they would be the perfect match. Birgitta graciously made a new set of pendants for me, glazed with the exact shade of blue in the painting.

And then came the real challenge for me... you probably already know that blue is NOT my favorite color to work with. I like autumn colors best and prefer monochromatic themes. This shade of blue is particularly hard for me, but that's where the creativity comes in...

My inspiration again:
The Conference of the Birds by Habiballah, together with the color palette from Art Bead Scene.

What I love about this painting is of course the birds (I go for just about anything with birds!), but what really caught my attention was the style of the rocks (or are they bushes?) up towards the top and at the bottom left corner of the painting. They have an elegant, ruffled look to them—almost like feathers, I think. Birgitta's pendant mimics that style very well. So, I decided to try for a hint of that ruffled look in my design.

The pendant I chose:
Remember, blue is a hard color for me. And when I looked at Birgitta's pendant, that was all I saw. Blue. A very pretty blue. But still, just blue. And the monochromatic designer in me wanted the necklace ALL blue. Or even better yet, to hang the pendant on a cord by itself. It is pretty enough to be all alone on a cord, right? Of course Art Bead Scene doesn't allow designs with an art bead strung on a cord alone, so had to think up something else...

And here it is! I call it Soaring in a Blue Sky.
I started with a leather backing behind the pendant to help bring more colors into the design. I snipped the edge and then burned it slightly to darken it and to make it curl a little. Then using a wood burning tool, I drew a scrolling design in the center. I think of it like wind under the soaring wing.

From there I added a few tiny blue agates with brass spacers and then moved onto more leather, again going for a ruffled look, but this time cutting little discs and piercing them and burning the edges. Between the leather I used brass and oxblood red seed beads for that hint of red in the painting.

And next in the design, comes my second favorite part (my first being Birgitta's pendant!). These lovely links were my sister Bethanne's idea. She came in and looked over my shoulder as I was working and suggested I use fancy bead caps with the blue agate nuggets, but instead of putting them on the ends, she thought I should put them on the front. Well, I do love wire wrapping, so I tried it out and they were the perfect addition!

Next I added a a large smokey agate to transition to a couple more blue agate links with different bead caps. The blue nuggets I used at the end are a bit smaller and needed a smaller cap and I didn't want it to look like I'd messed up and used the wrong ones. Adding the smokey agate and changing things up a bit made it look like it's meant to be that way, which it is. :-)

And lastly, when I got to the end of the necklace, I didn't want to finish it off with some factory-made clasp. So, being on the wire wrapping craze I was, I made my own... it's only the second clasp I've made from scratch and it may not be quite perfect, but I'm pleased with the way it turned out and it brought the necklace to a nice close. (Haha! Pun not intended!)

And there you have it! My February challenge piece. Surprisingly there's not one bit of polymer clay in it at all! It fell together so nicely and there never seemed to be a place for polymer, so I didn't force it. I did make the leather beads and the clasp though, so at least I don't feel like I didn't make any of the components at all! It was a collaboration of sorts with Birgitta's pendant and Bethanne's link design, and it wouldn't have turned out nearly as nice without their help! Thank you both for being a part of making my necklace perfect!

Go here to see the other entries of the month:

...What will Art Bead Scene challenge us with next month? I can't wait to see!

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  1. Beautiful creation!! You did an awesome job! Good Luck!

  2. I think you met the challenge wonderfully, especially considering blue is not a favorite color. I love the wire wrapping and the leather. Very nice!

  3. Great work...beautiful! I love blue, and I love it even more when combined with brown! The addition of the leather was a terrific choice.

  4. This is perfect for this months inspiration piece.
    I adore the way you added the bead caps and wrapped them on the side. Very cool addition. As well, the leather as spaces really adds a lot of soft texture to the necklace.
    Your clasp is beautiful and I would have never thought it was only your second one.
    The whole piece is stunning, really!

  5. This is a wonderful necklace Rebekah!!
    You show many skills with metalwork and leather here. Bead caps at he side is very beautiful and the colors very close to the painting. Thanks for making such a great design with my pendant..

  6. You need to rethink your aversion to blue. This is gorgeous! I am especially awed by the way in which you used the leather and the wire wrapped bead caps. Congratulations Miss Rebekah on rising to the challenge!
    Enjoy the day!

  7. Wire wrapping bead caps to the sides of those beautiful beads looks so cool. And I agree with Erin, blue suits you! Beth