February ABS Challenge - It Started with a Charm

My month was jam-packed, leaving me no time to participate in this month's Art Bead Scene Challenge. I was just going to take a peek at the art that was selected, and then simply couldn't resist the chance to design a piece around the geometric patterns and rhythms of Paul Klee's The Rose Garden.

Once, at an exhibit of Klee's work, our guide told us about his artistic approach, that Klee started with a point, expanded it to a line and then took it for a walk wherever it wanted to go. Haven't you heard jewelry artists explain their own process that way? "It started with a bead…"

Or in my case, a charm! The starting point for this design was an elegant bead embroidered charm I received from Nancy Dale of NEDbeads. Nancy originally created the charm for an artisan swap, and when she realized it fell outside the project dimensions, thought it would be a great component for a mixed media piece and offered it up in a giveaway to her readers. I was the lucky recipient, and when I saw this month's painting, I realized I was already testing many of Klee's colors on my bead tray with Nancy's charm. Now, I would just be taking them down a different path.

Nancy's component included a Swarovski chaton and bicone in the new Crystal Lilac Shadow, set against the rich purple and warm bronze found in the painting. I added slim pave beads in the same soft lilac, front-and-center in the focal, and at the back to accent the plum silk cord. Berry and wine tones combine with gold and bronze in the dangles.

Wanting to work Klee's spirals into my design, I used Cindy Wimmer's birthday bow links to connect luscious merlot nuggets by Studio Juls and speckled red-orange spacer beads by Jessica Herrell. (The links are from Cindy's, newest book, The Missing Link, and you definitely want a copy for your wirework library!) The links, jump rings and wavy discs were all made by me in vintage bronze.

Many thanks to Nancy Dale for generously gifting me with her charm. You can read about the edging techniques she was exploring while creating it here, and find more of her tutorials on her website (many are free!) and her Etsy shop. And after treating yourself to NEDbeads, click over to the ArtBead Scene Flickr page. There are some truly phenomenal designs on display this month.


  1. What a STUNNING necklace!! Thank you so much, Karin!!! What an absolute beauty you made!!! :D

  2. I am also thrilled to own some of Nancy's gorgeous charms, Karin :) Your design is simply amazing... I like the "walk" you took with your lovely charm, echoing so many of the colours and shapes of Klee's work :)

    1. You are much much much too sweet to me, Monique - and I LOVE the way Karin used my humble little offering!!

  3. Love your necklace and how you used the Cindy Wimmer links. A beauty of a necklace!! And of course the NEDBead charm

  4. I love your necklace - everything is so beautifully combined.

  5. Lovely necklace! The charm is showcased well in it.

  6. You and ABS go so well together, Karin! What a beautiful, fluid piece with components made by/inspired by so many talented people. Gorgeous!