AJE Component of the Month – November edition!

I am late getting this post up today, mostly because I fussed and fussed over the components throughout the last week and only just got the design to where I wanted it last night. By then I had lost the light to take good photos and between church obligations this morning and getting run off the road on my way thereto (I’m fine and the car’s fine, thank God), this literally was the soonest possible opportunity.

So, with apologies to Kristen Stevens, this month’s component hostess, here is my offering:


One of the things I love about doing these monthly challenges is that it encourages us to work with components and materials that we wouldn’t otherwise work with on a regular basis. Kristen sent us these very beautiful beaded circles, which I have long admired but which I probably wouldn’t have ever picked for myself. Although I occasionally do some beading, I’m really all about metal and rocks, and the beading I do doesn’t play well with metal (yet).

Even so, these proved to be more of a challenge for me to work with than I was expecting. My initial design was a necklace, where I planned to use these as connectors, and while I liked the idea in theory, the whole thing wound up looking really forced so I scrapped it. (Because I like the theory, though, I’m probably going to go back and revisit the concept in some way….) Then I came up with the idea of nested silver rings as the starting point for earrings, so I fused some Argentium links together – it took me a couple of tries before I got them the size and shape I wanted.


And this is the point where I really stalled out – I just could not come up with a connector between the two components that looked right. I tried everything: fabric, leather, wire, cord. It all looked…. not right. Not bad, just not right. Kristen’s beaded circles are very lightweight, but both components have a significant visual weight and everything I tried looked too “poofty” with them or too overbearing. (“Poofty” is a technical term.)

I was closed to scrapping the whole design and starting over when I decided to take a break and clean off my bench to clear my head. Lo and behold, I uncovered a long piece of 12 gauge half-round sterling under the pile of crap works in progress mess, and one end was bent into a half circle. I made oval jump rings out of it, and then textured the curved surface by just pressing my round-nose pliers into at random intervals. They feel clean and simple, but have enough visual weight to hold their own against the other components without overwhelming them.


I rarely sell my Component of the Month pieces, because they seem like documents to me – documents of a new place in my creative journey, a mile-marker of sorts, that defines a point in time. I love these earrings, not just because they include something made by my friend Kristen, but also because they represent a creative struggle that was overcome. I’ll be wearing them a lot.

To see what everyone else came up with, head on over to the Art Jewelry Elements blog and check out all the links. And don’t forget to leave a little comment love as you hop through the designs!

10 replies
  1. Jenny
    Jenny says:

    Ooh! I love the textured ovals – they visually play off the repeat pattern in the beaded circles. And as to poofty – I knew exactly what you meant! LOL

    Wear them well!

  2. Nan Smith
    Nan Smith says:

    I can see why you’d want to keep these earrings. They’re beautiful! Classic and refined just like you! I know we don’t know each other but I feel like I know you well enough from your blog to say that. Thank you for sharing your process with us. I love what you did with the oval jump rings. More outside the box thinking! These rings seem to have inspired that in everybody this month.

  3. Cindy Martin-Shaw
    Cindy Martin-Shaw says:

    Run off the road? Yikes! Glad you are okay. Your creative struggle resulted in a lovely pair of earrings. I love the fused links, and the balance of weight with your textured oval jump rings is just perfect. Amazing what we find under the “mess.” Wear these proudly; they are stunning!

  4. Lindsay
    Lindsay says:

    As frustrating as I’m sure your earlier design struggles were, they happened just so you could end up with this design! I agree, the components were a challenge with their juxtaposition of visual heft vs physical delicacy. You totally did them justice in the end!


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