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The Design Gallery

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Ode to the Pacific Northwest

About this design:

Last year I was feeling inspired by spring in the Pacific northwest, and wanted to make something that would honor the natural beauty of the environment here. So I tried to incorporate beads that reflect the earth, the water, plants, flowers and the many animals here. I originally made a couple of similar shorter necklaces for a nonprofit benefit auction and liked the combination so much I figured I would make one for myself.


Ocean Jasper, Mother of Pearl, freshwater pearls, cloisonne, wood beads, Crazy Lace Agate, copper beads, swarovski crystal, Moss Agate, Antique Soocho Jade, antique gold pewter beads

Read the comments (or add your own)

  1. Fashion Chick aka SC
    Fashion Chick aka SC says:

    I like the mix of componenets! Nice work!

  2. Fashion Chick aka SC
    Fashion Chick aka SC says:


  3. J Yee smart chick
    J Yee smart chick says:

    thank you fashion chick, this necklace is one of my favs, it helped me break away from my more usual saturated color palettes of purple, green, aqua… and I usually wear it when I need some inspiration and/or to feel really grounded, more connected to the earth! :)

  4. Leigh D
    Leigh D says:

    I really, really, really like this!! I love all of the different bead types, bead shapes, carved beads….. I am always in awe of folks who can make such gorgeous pieces with such an array of beads! I am such a pattern, structure oriented person that I find just letting myself go when designing a piece very difficult. Wonderful, gorgeous, awesome work!!!!! Did I mention I REALLY like this – LOL

  5. Fashion Chick aka SC
    Fashion Chick aka SC says:

    I would wear this doubled around my neck. It’s great!

  6. J Yee smart chick
    J Yee smart chick says:

    Hey Leigh, it’s sooo fascinating to read your comments about being one who goes for pattern and structure – can you tell, I have a hard time making my designs really “regular” – my jewelry tends to “evolve” as the piece develops – while I had an idea about how to put this lariat together, I didnt know exactly where each bead would go… :) – as I worked on it, I did try to evaluate – OK, now I have used a wood bead, time for some gemstone, or pewter or… and also varying the flower, leaf, turtle and frog beads, and the bead shapes and colors… :) so that I wasn’t putting all the same colors and types of beads together in the same sections of the necklace… so maybe that’s my way of patterning… or putting “rhythym” or “movement” – I tend to like jewelry that flows or moves so hence dangly earrings and long necklaces like these…

  7. J Yee smart chick
    J Yee smart chick says:

    Indeed I do wear this one doubled, it’s fun to wear it different ways, much like a long scarf… :)

  8. Doris W
    Doris W says:

    As a Pacific Northwesterner, I love the colors, the leaves, the water creatures, the pearls, all the natural stuff that is part of life here. I too tend to be pretty “symetrical” in my beading (Except for the earrings where I couldn’t decide whether the crystal should go toward the top or the bottom, and made one of each, planning to decide later when I put the hook on. I forgot and put them together like that. I love them assymetrical so I left them that way! Nobody has commented.), so it’s an inspiration to see that something like this works so well. Thanks!

  9. No Photo
    Jeannes Gems - Gem Chick says:

    Great necklace Joyce. I totally agree with Leigh ~ I love the appearance of “haphazardness”. I struggle with that and the fact that my designs all have to match and be in order. (Have I mentioned that I’m a control freak?!)

    Joyce I plan out my pieces ahead of time – string a few beads to see how it looks. Change it a few times, then go for it. I start from the center and balance each side as I go.

  10. Leigh D
    Leigh D says:

    Jeanne – that is exactly how I design – start at the center and work my way out – take it apart, restring, take it apart. When I am designing with a pendant sometimes I will try a different pattern on each side to see if I like one better than the other. I think you can say I am definately in touch with my inner control freak..LOL

  11. No Photo
    Helen G aka tea chick says:

    I struggle with the order concept too- I tend towards rather rigid patterns (I was raised by geeks, so it’s ingrained) and I’m trying to loosen up a bit. When I was working on my Sunrise Lariat (there is a photo of it in the Design gallery) I started out putting all the different beads in little piles in order to do another rigid pattern, then thought, that’s silly! sunrises don’t have geometric patterns! I mixed all the beads up into one big pile and felt a sense of happiness and relief! I still kept to a loose pattern (couldn’t help myself) but it was kind of an artistic breakthrough for me.

  12. No Photo
    Luv2bead - Little Chick says:

    Very nice Smart Chick!

  13. J Yee smart chick
    J Yee smart chick says:

    Doris W, Jeanne, Leigh D and Helen G, sure appreciate all of your comments about your own tendencies towards “order” and symmetry in your jewelry designs, I’m now considering mine too.

    I spend a lot of time looking at beads and considering what kinds of colors and textures might go well together for my color palette. I had a great class a couple of years ago from my fav instructor at a local bead shop, she advised us to consider what “mood” we’re trying to convey instead of what outfit we want to make jewelry for. She often has us do fun color palette exercises such as taking magazine images that appeal to us because of the color combo, cutting the image into thin strips and then picking out beads that evoke that color palette. She often brings in objects from outside like colorful leaves and flowers too… I take awhile to sort my beads by color, type etc before beginning a piece, to see what the beads are “telling me”…

  14. J Yee smart chick
    J Yee smart chick says:

    Thank you little chicky, appreciate it! :)

  15. No Photo
    Helen G aka tea chick says:

    I love that idea about taking a magazine image and cutting it into strips to create a bead palette! On the subject of color, two books that I love are the Beaders Guide to Color and The Beaders Color Palette, by Margie Deeb. In the latter particularly, she gives ideas on turning an image from nature or art into a color palette.

  16. No Photo
    Debbi aka Sparkle Chick says:

    This is one of the MOST beautiful necklaces I have ever seen!

  17. Shannon aka Silly Chick
    Shannon aka Silly Chick says:

    Oh Joyce, what a beautiful, natural piece this is! Just the kind of necklace that makes you stop and contemplate it in all its variety – it is greater than the sum of its parts! Wonderful!! :)

  18. J Yee smart chick
    J Yee smart chick says:

    Helen G, those two books are a couple of FAV books about color, especially the first one… there’s another one whose title I dont remember that came out about the same time as margie deeb’s first book about color but the other is written very differently – it does however show you what the color concepts are including tints, tones, shades – you add white to a saturated color to get tints, gray to a color to get tones, and black to a color to get shades… and the other author uses designs from different crafts such as bead embroidery and textiles to show color concepts…

    Sparkle chick and silly chick, sure appreciate your comments, this necklace is both a “comfort” and “inspirational” piece for me :)

  19. Cuban Queen Crazy Chick
    Cuban Queen Crazy Chick says:

    Gorgeous necklace, Joyce!! I think I’ve seen it before, did you post it on a pick?

    All the comments about having to be orderly and patterned in your designs is cracking me up!! I’m the same way and sometimes it drives me nuts. Every time I try to do a random, asymmetrical design, it always ends up having some pattern and symmetry to it! That’s why I like using nuggets because they have an irregular shape to soften up some of the rigidness.

  20. Leslie W Mtn Chick
    Leslie W Mtn Chick says:

    There is a jewelry designer who I have seen exhibiting in my area over the last year. She has designs similar to yours, which wrap multiple times and are fastened with a button. They are very tiny and I keep finding myself drawn to them over the more traditional styles. They sell very well too. She is always busier than the other vendors. I don’t think she uses the best workmanship always, but there must be some “mood” that she offers. Perhaps we feel we get more for our money when a piece contains many different gems in it and it can be worn at different lengths. I know it would be of interest for me to play with while wearing it. After all that I really “love” your necklace Smart Chick! I have pieces, especially when I use chips and seed beads that I design using a “supervised random” method of stringing the beads. I make sure that I don’t repeat the same color or shape too frequently and let it go from there. I don’t seem to have much interest in formal stones which are confined by silver settings, a reflection of my life for sure!! A true beader I guess! I learned a lot from reading all the previous comments – Thanks!!!

  21. No Photo
    D D Mystic Chick says:

    Wow Smart Chick! very interesting! like a story necklace! very cool!

  22. CAS
    CAS says:

    Gorgeous … gorgeous … GORGEOUS!!! To say I love this necklace would be an understatement!

    I tend towards the symmetrical when I design, but I’ve done some asymmetrical ones too. I design in what Debbi has coined, “vignates”, small 3 to 12 stone segments that I incooperate in my designs. The adventage of my doing it this way is that I can use a number of different combinations in one piece using them either in an ordered way or randomly, whichever I’d like. In my symmetrical designs I’ll break up my “vignates” using seed beads or other small beads (2 – 4mm), in my asymmetrical designs there are no breaks. :D

  23. No Photo
    Jeannes Gems - Gem Chick says:

    Can’t wait to read all these later and comment!
    Heading out with family for a bit. ;)

  24. Jane MS
    Jane MS says:

    Fabulous. Fabulous. Fabulous.

  25. Kitty Chicky Cat
    Kitty Chicky Cat says:

    Very COOL, Smart Chick!!

  26. Happy Chick aka Harriet
    Happy Chick aka Harriet says:

    Great necklace!! Thanks for sharing it with us. :-)



  28. Lynn Eileen Chicky LE
    Lynn Eileen Chicky LE says:

    Joyce, I thought sure I had posted on here — looked back today to read the other comments and mine wasn’t here! Oops, did I forget to hit submit again? LOL

    I love, love, love this necklace!!! Wonderful random asymmetric design, which I constantly struggle with and aspire to be able to do. Why is it so hard for some of us to just throw up our beads and let them fall where they may? LOL I just love the colors and your design (if I may use that term ;-) ) and the way you have chosen to fasten your necklace! :D

  29. Anita QoG Funny Chick
    Anita QoG Funny Chick says:

    I love this necklace!!! I really like the way you string the beads (sort of) random!!! Simply Gorgeous!!!

  30. WireWrangler
    WireWrangler says:

    Joyce, this is amazing!
    Wanted to write a lengthy comment but suffice to say…. into the favs!
    Well done!

  31. J Yee smart chick
    J Yee smart chick says:

    thank you chickies, I’m catching up with the rest of your comments! yes, I did post this pic in a Pick previously – this necklace came APART earlier this year and it sat for a bit till I decided I HAD TO restring it again. I greatly appreciate everyone’s comments about how we tend to design our jewelry, I could use more order and symmetry in my pieces. CAS, I wonder if I too have vignates in my designs, I tend to have groupings of beads that go together in some fashion… and try to accentuate larger beads with surrounding smaller ones…
    thank you again, I’ve learned a lot from reading everyone’s comments here!

  32. Regina v
    Regina v says:

    I like the yellow toned stones mixed with the blues. Very sunny and bright. You’ve also got a nice rhythm going with the shapes and sizes. Think Mondrian pre-BoogieWoogies.

    But I thought Seattle was rain rain rain?

  33. Sonja
    Sonja says:

    Your necklace is beautiful…what more can be said that has not already been said??? Quite a learning experience as thank on many levels. I love it!

  34. Daisy Chick - Dawn
    Daisy Chick - Dawn says:

    Joyce I can not tell you how much I love this lareit! It is wonderful! The colors and shapes, it moves like a song! In my FAvs!

  35. No Photo
    J Lyons says:

    Fantastic, beautiful, I am in awe!! Love this piece very much and too, am envious of your work.

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