AJE April 2015 CoM Challenge Reveal ~ Forest Song

It's time for another reveal!! I had the wonderful pleasure of hosting this month's challenge with my little heart beads! Hearts really aren't a typical bead design for me and are really quite a challenge when it comes to incorporating them into my jewelry making, but I loved creating these little beads and was so excited when my AJE teammates suggested we use them for our April challenge!

For my design, I chose to go very simplistic—partially because I was very short on time, but mostly because I decided to make another polymer focal just for this design and many times after all the effort put into creating a brand new component, I feel like there's really nothing else to add.

Come take a look…

I've titled my new necklace "Forest Song". When creating it, my first thought was "what exactly does this little wood heart represent to me?" You know me… I love trees, long walks in the woods… and this little heart is most definitely a tree-heart… but what is it that makes the woods so special for me?

Almost right away I thought of the little Wood Thrush!

All spring and summer long I enjoy his beautifully melodious tune, as he sings away hidden away in the leafy treetops deep in the woods surrounding my home. Today in fact, while I was photographing my necklace, I heard him singing for the first time this year! Yes, this little bird is one of the things I love most about the woods here!

So… my necklace is a tribute to my favorite bird. I crafted the arching forest scene focal in polymer clay, carefully shaping it so it would fit right over the top of the heart.

I started by drawing a simple sketch and then I carved a stamp in a cured piece of polymer… I mixed up a white ivory polymer and cast the focal. A little more shaping so it fit perfectly and then it was cured. I added layers of acrylic paint to highlight the details and finally, I sanded and polished. I love the way it turned out… and since I made a stamp, you can be sure I'll make more for my shop later! :-)

After all that, it really seemed right to keep the rest of the necklace simple—I wanted to showcase the focals. I tied them together with hemp, knotting it at the back of the heart (hemp has been my go-to fiber for jewelry these days!), and topped it off with a soft green ceramic bead from Karen Totten of Starry Road Studio.

More hemp to finish… knotted with little round copper coin spacers, one polymer bead that I made with the leftovers, and a lone leaf bead, also from Karen—like a new spring leaf fluttering in the wind.

Yes, it's a keeper—I've grown too attached to my little Wood Thrush! I plan to wear it layered with several strands of knotted copper beads… but of course, for a last-minute project you sometimes don't have all the beads you want on hand! That will be a project for later…

And that's it! I hope you enjoyed reading a bit more about my process. A big thank you to each of you for stopping by today and to all of you who joined me in this challenge—thank you!!

Now it's time to hop to all the other blogs and see what lovely new creations everyone dreamed up! Come join us by clicking the links below…


AJE Team

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  1. I love what you did with the heart. It fits so perfectly!

  2. Love what you made, as always! Thanks so much for providing the CoM this month, I love my little heart!

  3. Sometimes less is more! LOVE the simple design! Definitely something I would wear.

  4. This might be the loveliest necklace I have seen in my life. Bravo! Love that focal.

  5. Your necklace is wonderful, so simple and lovely, so close to the forest and bird you love. Thank you for creating such beautiful and inspiring beads and jewelry.

  6. Rebekah, I adore this post, I love that you talked through your design process and oh my that arching forest scene focal AMAZING really, really beautiful, they will be a hit for sure! Your necklace is stunning, I can see why it is a keeper, I would have trouble parting with that too! Thank you so much for sending out your beautiful hearts for us all to play with!

  7. Your new focal is absolutely perfect Rebekah, I love it!

    Thank you for a great challenge and a wonderful component, I've had great fun with mine!

  8. I am in love with this necklace! Your wood thrush frame is so wonderful! (I'm glad to hear it will show up in your shop.) I love how it frames the heart, and the pops of green and the overall simplicity of the rest of the necklace are perfect.

  9. Perfection. Your skills are amazing. That wood thrush is gorgeous!

  10. Love! I adore the shape and the way the frame/bracket/focal partners with the heart bead. I love the carve marks, showing your hand in the work. Wonderful!