I love Laura Mears porcelain pieces and have bought a couple of her pieces in the past. When I saw that Beyond Beads Gallery was going to have a bead challenge with a kit that included a Laura Mears totem piece, I had to participate.
The rules of the challenge were that all beads provided in the kit had to be used in the finished piece (or at least enough that they could tell each bead had been used). The Laura Mears totem was selected at random and everyone received a unique piece (no duplicates). And, participants could add up to 5 additional components. The kit provided included a teal 11/0 seed bead, a cream lined clear 11/0 seed bead, green peanut beads, matte bronze drops, and a blue/green bicone crystal. We could also use more of the beads included in the kit so I added more drops and bicone crystals to my design.
The totem I received was the elephant. At first, all I could think of was how in the world was I going to be able to come up with something that incorporated an elephant head. But, as I kept looking at it, I remembered how the elephant is treated like royalty in India. And, I really wanted to do something that honored the majesty of the elephants. So I started to google images of Indian jewelry and got a couple of books from the library to research.
I actually started off imagining a different design for the bead embroidered pendant part, but as I started working my design evolved to become the star flower shape instead. The head dress for the elephant was to help incorporate the elephant into the design (plus it covered the hole that runs from top to bottom). And I ended up coming up with my own version of right angle weave for the chain portion of the piece. Because I wanted to use as few additional components as I could, I also made the toggle clasp. In the end, I added three additional components; a brown 15/0 seed bead, the burgundy pearls, and the brass filigree piece.
In Honor of His Majestic Wisdom
I really like participating in challenges because, in a lot of instances, it forces me to work outside of my comfort zone. I LOVED how my elephant turned out.
In the end, my elephant pendant ended up receiving the most votes for a first place finish and I was extremely honored to learn that it also received the Artist Award from Laura Mears.
My friend, Helen O'Donnell was gracious and took a photograph of the pendant before I shipped it (and I need to get it off my computer but click the link above and you can see the overall picture that Beyond Beads took for the website and the online voting). The link below will take you to the announcement page of the three finalists on the Bead Beads Gallery website.
Laura Mears Bead Challenge