Tuesday, 26 October 2010

Purple jewellery to show support

On one of the Swedish jewellery-making forums I'm active, Smyckestillverkning iFokus, the founder recently announced a little challenge: make purple jewellery for October 27. The reason? An appeal to wear something purple that day to show HBT youths that you accept them for who they are, that you support them and that it's ok to be gay, bisexual or transsexual. There isn't anything wrong with them, they aren't weird or perverts, as some people seem to think, looking at gay people in distaste. And, perhaps most importantly, it gets better!

The background is of cause the five suicides in the U.S., where the gay boys gave up on life after being harassed just because they weren't "straight". But it isn't just in the U.S. that HBT teenagers, and adults, attempt to comit suicide because of the way certain individuals in society look at them. So on Wednesday we can do this one simple thing to show that we like them for who they are.

For this challenge I've made two pieces. First, a simple flower necklace I put together last night. It features light violet acrylic (lucite) flowers with elongated drop glass beads as "stamen" that I attached to a jump ring, forming a small clustre. I wanted to string the clustre on purple cord or wire, but didn't have anything that matched the purple nuances in the flower. So instead I did something I normally don't like to do: I just strung some Toho 8/0 seed beads on beading wire. (Why I don't like to do that? It looks cheap, like some tat you can buy for pin money. No disrespect to those that do string seeds like this in their jewellery making.) The colour is called sugarplum, a cooler purple that e.g. amethyst.

While shooting the necklace, I felt an urge to do something more. Something to show how easy, how uncomplicated, it is to make a quick piece of jewellery for a special occassion.

The result was a simple brooch, that you can wear on a jumper, coat, hat, scarf or where ever you feel it will be visible. Three paper flowers, sealed for durability, are held together by a flower-shaped brad, which I've attached to a brooch back. The petals of the brad are bent a bit for a better shape and to keep it from pushing on the paper petals as it causes them to curve backwards.

To attach the brad, I simple "wrapped" it over the bar of the narrow brooch back. Squeezed it with my pliers and burnished it slightly. It seems to be sturdy enough. If not, I could always add a drop of glue for added security.

The challenge entries can now be uploaded at a special gallery thread at the forum. It is encouraged to write a short description in both Swedish and English. You can find the thread here: Den lila kampanjen.


  1. Hi! Nice work in Maneki colours.I love purple. I'd often like to use some paper flowers in my wearable things. I want them to last as long as the other materials used. What did you seal those flowers with?They don't look shiny. Good idea to use the brad.

    I don't agree with you on the topic of strung seed beads. They don't need to look cheap at all. I usually make rather complicated jewellery. But some of my favourite pieces to wear myself are simple strings of seed beads and other beads. I usually take the most beautiful and expensive looking beads for this purpose. (Of course I understand that you mean those low quality beads strung on low quality materials...) Anna


    1. I think I just grabbed the first can of matte acrylic spray lacquer that I found. Worrying that it'd have a negative effect on the paper, I only did a thin coating so it probably won't stand up to bad weather or anything. It was mostly to protect the paper from stains and keep it from bleeding. Maybe this paper wasn't going to bleed colour, but being used to tissue paper that bleeds extremely much, I wasn't going to take a chance on it.

      About stringing with seeds... In my sweeping statement, much coloured by my dissatisfaction for my own quickly put together design, I unintentionally included a kind of jewellery that didn't deserved such a patronizing view. I think when it comes to strung seed bead necklaces looking cheap it's pretty much as you say, something I feel after having seen so much inferior jewellery made with a string of seeds. You know, the kind of tat I loved to look at and wanted to buy at the summer markets/fairs, cost next to nothing and with a quality to match. It's also such a newbie thing to do, buy the cheapest possible seeds (though these are good quality Toho) and stringing on fishing line. It's nothing wrong with starting out like that, we all have to crawl before we can walk, but having beaded for years it felt like going backwards and resorting to unimaginative and boring solutions.

      BUT of cause I've also seen wonderful strung seed bead jewellery. Usually they are either multi-strand, combined with other components or make use of a variety of sizes, shapes (e.g. mixing seeds and bugles) and/or colours in an interesting and tasteful way -- and I'm not criticizing that kind of jewellery as it can be plain fab and very well-designed.

      There are some really neat czech seeds that are perfect for strung jewellery because of their finishes (e.g. the "aged" striped beads I wish I had more of).


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