A Wonderful Surprise

Last Friday afternoon I visited a dear friend who, as I arrived at her house, revealed that she was taking me somewhere special and that it was a surprise. Oooo, I love surprises so we got in the car and drove to the next town. The surprise was a hidden gem of a store called “Second Look Books”, located in Plainville, MA. They sell second hand books but what captivated me as I walked through the front door was the abundance of crystals and gemstones on display in every nook and cranny of the place. Laura took one look at my face and said, “I knew you’d really like it here!”

Tumbled and rough stones were placed all around the room on windowsills, on tabletops, in overflowing baskets and hidden inside small spice drawer cabinets. When we arrived, the proprietor Sue, was busily making little stone cairns by gluing small stones, one on top of another. She was very helpful in sharing information about the metaphysical properties of the various stones as we delighted in one treasure after another. Above is my little cache of carefully chosen objects.

The goddess and polar bear are both carved of bone. The rectangular cabochon in the middle is a septarian nodule containing yellow calcite crystals. I was very drawn to its unusual formation and color combination. The jade piece on the right is called the Knot of Eternity or endless knot, being described as “representing the interweaving of the Spiritual Path.” I have always loved this symbol and thought it would go well with my faux jade bracelet just completed.

I decided to put a magnetic clasp on my bracelet with a couple of brass Chinese coins on either side. Originally, I imagined making a toggle clasp with one of the coins but the inner square is too small for a toggle. Has anyone had any experience with magnetic clasps coming undone? I thought a safety chain might be a good idea but then there will be a fair amount of chain hanging from the clasp area because it would have to be long enough to get the bracelet over someone’s hand. I’ve worn the bracelet several times to test it out and it has stayed firmly clasped. The other idea I had was to place a hook and eye on either side of the magnet clasp so one could hook it after the bracelet was clasped. I was also thinking about dipping the clasp into some liver of sulfur to darken it a bit.

Yesterday was a wild weather day with severe thunderstorms moving through the area most of the afternoon. We even lost power for a couple of hours. Our black lab Jack, was glued to my side while I sat and started the beadwork around one of my mokume gane polymer clay cabochons.

My Weekend Project

A couple of weeks ago, I was organizing my polymer clay stuff in my studio when I found a bag of faux jade I had mixed up years ago at one of my guild meetings. So, I got out my rubber stamps and paint and had some fun making beads and charms for jewelry. I was playing around with different combinations when I decided to create a fringy bracelet with some of the bead charms I had made. I love fringy bracelets and have been making them for years. As I find myself moving into a more improv, freeform style with my jewelry, this type of bracelet fits perfectly with my interests and taste.

Going with the ancient look of the faux jade charms, I chose some matte/opaque disc shaped beads: African opal, coral, palmwood along with jade and turquoise heishe and rectangle fossilized coral beads. The fossilized beads are great. Some have starburst patterns and others look like they’re covered in ancient script in various color combinations of oranges, ambers and tan.

The design possibilities of these bracelets are endless. I have so much fun creating them that I’ve often thought of offering to make custom fringy bracelets with a person’s favorite charms, beads and ephemera.

My workstation won’t be this neat by the end of my project. As I beaded, I thought about a clasp. A Chinese coin toggle clasp would be perfect to finish this bracelet. If I can’t find one, I’ll make one then. Hmmm, I’ve been meaning to use that package of PMC…