Art Jewelry by Francesca Watson

The AJE Component Reveal! (July 2014 Edition)

This poor blog. It has been left to languish while I have been racing around tending to house sale, business running, teaching, and proposal writing (more on that later). That’s going to change soon – I’ve embarked on a site redesign that will help me keep the content fresh and (hopefully) encourage me to post more photos in addition to writing more than one paltry post a month.

So, with the mea culpa’s out of the way, let me show you what this month’s Art Jewelry Elements component challenge was all about.

Art Jewelry Elements COM-1

Those glass cabochons were made by yours truly, and it was a little nerve-wracking. I make most of my own components, but not usually for other people to use – and let’s face it, the AJE contributors are among the most talented component creators out there. So…. yeah, a little intimidating.

I picked that pretty mossy green cab in the upper left, second row. And in a confluence of events, I killed several metaphorical birds with this particular stone.





Metaphorical bird #1: I teach a two-day chain making class that includes a full day of “cold” chain (i.e., chain that isn’t made with a torch) and I had been looking for a resource I could recommend to students who wanted to move on to more advanced projects. I finally picked up Cindy Wimmer‘s book The Missing Link, which has been on my Amazon wish list for a while, and let me tell you… this book is amazing.  It is so beautifully written and photographed, and the links are so well explained – I started out making wire jewelry years ago and moved on to metals and enamels, but in the last couple of weeks, this book has reawakened my excitement about working with wire. Rather than use manufactured chain for this piece, I made one out of Loopty Loop links from the book, and I modified the link to create a clasp that blends nearly seamlessly into the chain.

Metaphorical birds #2 and #3: I have been trying to screw up my courage to apply to some of the bigger venues for teaching opportunities, but I’ve always talked myself out of it. The truth is that I’ve been doing more and more teaching outside of my comfort zone (including a continuing education class for art teachers in the local school district – yikes!) and have become increasingly confident in my ability to work with larger groups and troubleshoot on the fly. So when my Roadhouse Arts partner Gail suggested I apply to teach at next year’s Glass Craft Expo, I took the plunge – so in addition to being my Component of the Month offering, this necklace served as a sample for the prong setting class I proposed to them.


Glass Craft Expo took all four workshops I proposed. 

This means that next April, I will be teaching in Las Vegas at one of the largest gatherings of glass artists, vendors and enthusiasts in the United States.

I am thrilled, excited, a little scared, and very, very pleased.

Registration for the classes opens in October, and I promise you will become thoroughly sick of me telling you all about it.


In spite of the fact that Bead Fest is right around the corner, several of my wonderful AJE partners found the time to participate in the COM this month, in addition to our terrific guest designers. Take a quick spin through the blog links below, and be sure to leave folks a comment letting them know you stopped in – we like it when we hear from you!

Guest Designers

Deb Fortin –

Toltec Jewels –

Carol Briody –

The AJE Team

Caroline Dewison –

Susan Kennedy –

Melissa Meman –

Jenny Davies-Reazor – 

Kristen Stevens –

Francesca Watson (yours truly!) –

32 replies
  1. Deb Fortin
    Deb Fortin says:

    Hi Francesca, just dropped by to say thanks for the opportunity to play along with you Big Guns this month.
    I love the cab you sent me and had a great time rooting through my stash to find suitable beads to enhance that beautiful blue dichroic focal.

    When I saw your cab in it’s setting I had two thoughts
    1 Why didn’t I think of something like that prong setting.?
    2 That looks like a Cindy Wimmer chain link.

    Congrats on being accepted to teach at a new “scary” venue.
    It when we move beyond our comfort zone that great things can happen. One year ago I would never have put my name into the hat for an AJE component of the month opportunity.
    Deb Fortin

    • Francesca
      Francesca says:

      Deb, you did such a gorgeous job with your cab! I am really so, so pleased you were able to join us this month – and aren’t Cindy’s links amazing? I had so much fun with these!

  2. Sheri Stokey
    Sheri Stokey says:

    Gorgeous piece, Francesca! I just love seeing what you come up with – it’s always a beautiful surprise.

  3. Melissa Meman
    Melissa Meman says:

    Francesca, thank you so much for the beautiful glass cabs to play with! It was a fun challenge and got me to practice my soldering! I absolutely love this necklace you created! I have to try prong setting sometime. I also adore your chain…I have that book, maybe I can get some chain inspiration there to finish my necklace!

    • Francesca
      Francesca says:

      I cannot say enough good things about that book – Cindy really just did an amazing job putting together so many beautiful options. I’m re-inspired to make my own chain again! (And you pendant is stunning – I’m heading over to leave a comment on your post now!)

  4. Martha Thorpe
    Martha Thorpe says:

    Love your piece! I love the mixed metals and the hand made chain. Beautiful.

    And congratulations on your workshops being accepted.


    • Francesca
      Francesca says:

      Thanks so much, Karen – I actually thought of you a lot while I was making this piece. That cab was the one you would have picked if you’d had time to play this time around, if I remember correctly!

  5. Linda Landig
    Linda Landig says:

    All your cabs are so gorgeous! I love the beautiful necklace you made, especially the way you layered the textured metals beneath the cab. Your wire worked chain inspires me to get out Cindy’s book again and play with some more of her links.
    I am so pleased for you that all 4 of your class proposals were accepted. You are a great teacher. You’ll rock it!

  6. Jenny
    Jenny says:

    1. Congrats again on the glass gig. You will rock.
    2. You made us such pretties to play with! Thank you!
    3. I love prongs almost as much as I love tabs. your pendant is a beauty.
    4. Isn’t Cindy’s book amazing?! And she is such a wonderful person!
    5. All of the above. 😛

    • Francesca
      Francesca says:

      1. Thank you so much!
      2. You are so welcome – I loved seeing what you all did with them!
      3. Thank you again!
      4. Cindy is really lovely, and I genuinely love this book – I’ll be happy to recommend it as often as I can.
      5. Ditto!!

  7. Caroline
    Caroline says:

    Stunning design Francesca, I have Cindy’s book and you’ve prompted me to dig it out and dive in, I love that chain!

    Thank you for a wonderful component, I’ve had great fun using mine!

    And congratulations on hitting all of your birds! I’m thrilled for you 🙂

  8. Carol Briody
    Carol Briody says:

    Dear Francesca, your necklace is simply stunning. My jaw is still on the floor. You definitely ‘killed’ it! Wow wow wow!
    Thank you for giving me this awesome opportunity to work alongside the AJE Team! Like Deb noted..a year ago, I would never have had a glimmer of courage to put my name into the drawing. I am so thrilled you had courage to enter your designs were selected on all 4! for the teaching venue! Congratulations on this awesome achievement! will knock their socks off!

    • Francesca
      Francesca says:

      Carol, I just loved your enthusiasm throughout this entire process – it’s been a real pleasure to have you be part of the challenge this month!! And thank you for the encouragement!)

  9. Ann Schroeder
    Ann Schroeder says:

    Your necklace (and components) are beautiful. I love Cindy Wimmer’s book! You made good use of the links. Wonderful. And big congratulations on your new teaching gig! Fantastic.

  10. shealia
    shealia says:

    Hi, Francesca. Like~~ Gorgeous necklace and unique, I have to say, like your design and inspiration. You are a genius. – find your blog is beautiful surprise

  11. Diane
    Diane says:

    You *made* the *glass* cabs, and *made* your own chain? I am in awe (for the record, I have no desire to weave, dye or print the fabric I use in quilting!). That necklace is lovely, and the fastener such a clever idea!

    Congratulations on your teaching gigs – I have no doubt the classes will be inspirational, informative and just a little bit hilarious. Some day, you need to tell us all how you came to jewelry making.

    • Francesca
      Francesca says:

      Hahahaha! Yes, Diane – I made the cab and the chain. I’m one of “those” folks who likes the entire process. Lately, I’ve been longing for the equipment and skill to cut and polish my own stone cabochons. It’s a sickness, I’m telling you! (And thanks for the idea for a future blog post… I’ve filed it away.)

  12. Susan Kennedy
    Susan Kennedy says:

    I LOVE your necklace. The chain you made is awesome! Congratulations on all four workshops being accepted, that is so amazing! And thank you for providing great cabs for us this month! It was fun!

  13. Cindy
    Cindy says:

    Francesca, what an incredibly STUNNING necklace!!! So beautiful. I just love everything about it. I can’t wait to try experimenting more with prong settings myself, hopefully in the Fall. Congrats on having your workshops accepted – I know I’d sure love to take a class with you myself. Thanks so much for the kind words about my book – sure made my day! 🙂


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