Thursday, April 18, 2013

Art of Science Creative Challenge Reveal

I mentioned a while back that I had discovered (and planned on entering) the Art of Science Creative Challenge being hosted by Tara Linda.  Today is the big reveal day!

To jog your memory, here is the inspiration... a gorgeous photo of Orion's Nebula!

Photo from NASA/Hubbel Telescope

Per my usual process, I started by looking for some sort of focal to be my starting point.  I was pretty sure that I would be able to make use of the larger lampwork glass pieces from Unicorn Beads that I recently won from a contest on the Vintaj Brass blog.  It's fitting that the theme that month had been "Northern Lights"!  Here is what I won:
I decided that the large dark blue coin bead (in the center of the picture) would be perfect for this challenge and I started designing from there.  I just learned that this bead is made with dichroic glass chips to give it the layers of brilliant metallic color.  I find it both interesting and totally fitting for this challenge that dichroic glass was originally created for the aerospace industry... NASA developed it for use in the face shields of space suits.  I think this little bead was obviously destined for this space-inspired challenge!

Since the colors in the photo are so amazing and vibrant, I knew that my creation needed to have those same qualities.  Photos don't capture it super well, but the focal bead has a good amount of metallic orange, green, and teal blue within the darker blue glass.  The dominant colors in the nebula are oranges and reds, so I wanted pops of that in my necklace.  I decided to use copper chain and wire to bring in more of that orange color right from the start. 

As I dug through my bead stash for possibilities, I found myself drawn to my more sparkly items:  Swarovski crystals of many colors, faceted glass and gemstones, crackled Czech glass.... pretty much anything with some shine, sparkle, or iridescence got dumped out on my bead board.  The first thing that I decided on was a lime green crackled Czech glass round.  I'm super proud of myself for trying a new (to me) wire wrapping technique on this little bead.  I think that the wire cage swirling around the bead feels sort of cosmic and adds some visual interest and movement to things.

I used the same wire wrapping technique with the pendant and then added a trio of bicone crystals to the bottom loop.  I pretty much stuck with the crystals and chose a variety of colors and shapes to go with both the photo and the pendant.  I used a smaller sized chain on one side so that the toggle bar portion of the TierraCast Del Sol clasp (that I chose for its sunburst pattern) would sit correctly.  To balance out the design I added a collection of crystals along the length.  

So, without further ado (or yapping from me!), here is the necklace that I created in response to the beauty of Orion's Nebula!

I also whipped up a pair of earrings to coordinate with the necklace.  There were two matching small coin beads in my prize package that fit the bill.  They don't have quite the same orange fire as the pendant so they "go" more than match.

You can see what everyone else came up with by taking a tour of the other blogs.  Enjoy!

Tara Linda:

Angie Warren:

D of Wondrous Strange Designs:

Andrew Thornton:

Sarajo ~ Sj Designs (me!):

Marina of Fanciful Devices:


  1. Oh these are Gorgeous!!! And I had no idea that dichronic glass had an application in space- how cool is That?!
    I really like the colors you chose to "pop" the necklace, the red & greens. The copper is perfect.
    I can see the stars in your earrings!!
    ;) Very cool.
    Thank you SO much for joining this challenge.

  2. Thanks so much Tara... for the kind words and for coming up with this great challenge! I had no idea about the dichroic glass either until after I had made the piece and started writing my blog post. So fitting how that worked out!