My Use the Muse II Revealed-- Selkie Symphony!

The Use the Muse II winners were announced when I was in Ireland for the funeral of my DH's elderly Aunt -- and much to my own dismay, on the day of Auntie's funeral there were TWO other family funerals on my own side of the family. While it is never easy for those who remain to lose a loved one, there was nevertheless much camaraderie and sharing of memories and a huge gathering of aunts, uncles and cousins. I felt it was propitious that we were in Dublin and able to meet up with so many family members, and share in the gatherings.

Just before our week in Dublin came to an end the Muse winners were announced, and I have to say I gave up a good hour's sleep just taking a quick look through the galleries at all the wonderful entries.

I have to say there was some disappointment for me that my beautiful piece was not worthy of a mention -- I think if you feel you have produced a wonderful piece, then you certainly harbor some HOPE that maybe -- just maybe -- you MIGHt be mentioned somewhere for SOME aspect of the work involved! Alas, it was not meant to be. That being said I must say I LOVED the winning entry and commend Diane Allen for the beautiful necklace she created. It is simply stunning and a more than worthy winner. Congrats to Diane!

My own piece perhaps lacked a certain amount of originality where 'conceptual design' is concerned, when compared to all of the submissions, but nevertheless I love it and feel I have improved tremendously as a designer AND as a craftsman as a result of taking on the challenge. I believe the muse piece and the beads just speak to me and I could only visualize this laser-cut shell pendant used as I used it! I can now see that many others used it in a similar manner. I believe that original use of the Muse piece was most important for this Muse competition.

I'm a glutton for punishment and so have already sent off for the Use the Muse III kit! (big smile) -- Onward and upward!!

I posted a close-up of the clasp in July -- and so am delighted now to be able to share my entry with everyone.

NO photograph can really do this piece justice. It is rich and luxurious and simply elegant, due mainly to the components. I must commend Scarlett for her choice of Muse piece -- this is truly a beautiful etched donut pendant.

While in San Francisco in June, I purchased ONE bead when I managed to briefly fit in a quick visit to General Beads. That was the beautiful Nobilus Shell bead, which was truly the inspiration I needed for this Muse necklace -- although I did not know that when I purchased it. It 'spoke' to me and I loved it and knew I could create something special around that one bead. My brother and his family, and my sister and her better half, all traveled to San Francisco (among other places) for their vacation and we joined them there. During that few days, my sis presented me with a bag of beautiful shells she had bought in the UK as she felt I'd make use of them in my beading pursuits! It was not until I returned to Texas that I placed the pearly shells from my sis WITH the Nobilus glass shell AND the Muse pendant and it was as though 'all of a sudden' my muse piece was there in front of me!

I like the idea of an asymmetrical necklace and so for this piece I used a spiral rope with increasingly larger beads toward the center of the pendant for one side, and a combination of some simple stringing and beaded chain on the other side. I'm proud of the workmanship here as I was meticulous about ending the threads and making sure I had nothing 'peeking out'!

I ended up beading around the outside of the shell pendant although this was not my initial intention. I felt when it was all together that this added some cohesiveness to the piece.

I truly had the most fun and the greatest challenge ensuring that the bottom fringing looked good, and hung exactly as I wanted it to! I can just shake this piece and the shells ALL fall exactly into place. I truly consider this a highly wearable piece and NOT one that needs any fussing with! I enjoyed creating the fringing and liked the fact that the deepest, darkest blue beads sat to the back and center of the fringing adding that much-needed 'depth' to the piece. This is actually the very first time I have used branch fringing!

The choice of seed beads along with the lovely Swarovski pearls and crystals as well as some beautiful natural top-drilled blue pearls really make this piece rich and luxurious. Regardless of the outcome of the 'competition' I truly love this necklace and will treasure it for a long time to come!

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