May 24, 2014

Suburban Girl Studio Waxed Linen Blog Hop

Hopping here for BSBP8? Click here for my reveal. 

Suburban Girl Studio Waxed Linen Blog Hop



...And Waxed Linen Jewelry

I'm excited to take part in Diana's blog hop today because I don't usually work in linen. This was a challenge for me, and I was a little afraid to dive in. To me, the artists who use waxed linen create jewelry that is just cool. They're cool! The designs are cool! And I feel so un-cool, lol. So, I studied my copy of Bohemian Jewelry, explored Pinterest & all of Diana's helpful links, and decided to create a Peruvian thread focal -- handcrafted with brass & decorated with 22k charlottes & hex beads - that would hang from a lovely pearl & charlotte necklace with detachable chainmaille anklet size chain -- something Latina, like me & my daughter, something fun & joyful (In Mexican culture, the greatest gift is JOY). 

And it didn't work. My big idea was a disaster. But from my mistakes learned what not to do & decided to keep on keepin' on with the waxed linen, determined to learn the mystery of cool jewelry making. And I ended up really trying, and created a collection of jewelry while giving it a good go! 


THEA ELEMENTS Bronze bird with stardust chainmaille & sterling clasp anklet.
The handcrafted chain was made for my first waxed linen  jewelry design -- that flopped!  ;) Oh well! 

The Peruvian thread focal I created just honestly looks odd, so I won't show it  -- I don't think waxed linen works for the type of design.The Peruvian threads probably need to not be waxed, or need to be 26g or 28 g wire. 

Not succeeding taught me some good basics --I learned how waxed linen feels and works: how it fills beads and ties wonderfully; how 4-ply can be separated into two 2-ply strings to create interesting designs on one thread (I move from one strand of beads to two strands later in my Butterfly necklace). And as for the lovely cream and gold necklace my daughter wanted, my vision didn't work BUT I did however, come through with the chainmaille part of the design, now the anklet she asked me for. And I started all over and created a Mother & Child necklace, which I love: 


I decided to use the same wire work frame for the Peruvian thread focal idea, but with a different colorway. Instead of the brass frame, I used a dark LOS frame and suddenly everything came together! I created a "mother & child" butterfly focal -- and the butterflies actually are just outside & in front of the wire frame, so they "dance & flutter" -- connected with hematine links & antique copper jump rings, with strung sections of faceted amethyst roundelles and more fancy burgundy AB hematine  -- this time in squardelles.

 Czech lavender & bronze beads wrapped in Vintaj chain are like like a filigree garden gate, and the waxed linen thread then becomes two strands: one made of AB garnet gemstones & silver lined amethyst seed beads and one made of rich purple crystals and amethyst gem rondelles. I even left the linen thread ends as a detail, decorated with beads (something I've seen in the "cool" jewelry***Oh, see update below: there is a reason for the cool tails!). Bees, fairies & pretty little Swarovski charms, and more butterfly findings all jumped in to play in the garden!

The beaded "tails" of Irish waxed linen jewelry are not just a cool design element; they
serve to keep the knots forever knotted. Cutting next to the knots risks weakening them. 
Love that I'm learning as I hop! Thank you fellow blog hop artists :) 

Once I created my Fairy Garden, I felt much more comfortable with linen. I began to get on a roll, and created the quintessential bracelet in linen. I used grey faceted crystal rondelles and smaller grey AB fire polished beads, along with Czech moons, morganite, aquamarine, amazonite, and a wonderful lotus flower bracelet bar by Marti Conrad of Marti's ButtonsNBeads -- all in antique brass and creamy linen. 

I connected the linen strands and wirework chain directly to one side of the bracelet bar; and with another seed bead loop, connected the opposite end and my rosary chain of gems to to a sterling silver daisy for a pop of silver. The sterling daisy is connected to a brass ring and  lobster claw clasp. I added two jump rings to the ceramic for adjustable small & medium bracelet length/sizing. I really like this comforting and soft design because it allows Marti's ceramic art to sing shine. 


I tried again at a cream and pastel waxed linen necklace, and this time it worked! Second Surf, Glass Bead Art & Sweet Birch Designs all create the focal, with blue haze fire agate and fire polished beads in luster mix. 


OHM by Barbara Bechtel of Second Surf, lampwork by Maryse  of Glass Bead Art,
bird by Jess Counts of Sweet Birch Designs, ceramic spacer (above bird) by Naos Glass

And finally, I made earrings with the 22k gold beads I had hoped to use in a design! I strung "love" tags by Kristi Bowman Design, along with keys by Sue Kennedy of SueBeads, lampwork by Glass Bead Art, and enameled headpin earwires in a rich red purple. 

Learning as I hop update: In the "Surf Song" necklace above, I actually tied the linen as I do in my beadwork (square knots) & then covered the knots with antique brass bead caps. Ugh-oh? I may need to restring the necklace & leave beaded tails. And, when I came to making the second earring below, I had actually experimented with starting in the opposite direction so my thread knots and linen ends were at the bottom, near the charms; however I decided I liked the charms alone. Now that I know cut knots are risky, I'm adding glue. I just hope the E600 holds the knots forever secure! I may have to redesign the earrings -- especially because I would not want the beautiful art beads to fall from the earwires.


And here are the charm details. 
"Love is the Key" earrings will be donated 
to Shelley Graham Turner's Alzheimer's fundraising group.  

All together, I had a great time creating with waxed linen. Once I gave it a go, did not succeed, & had to try again, I had learned a great deal. And once I got rolling, I enjoyed using the material. It's sturdier than the silk I use for knotting, and I love the ease of connecting wonderful art beads & gems. Thank you Diana! I look forward to seeing all the wonderful summer waxed linen jewelry the participating artists created! 


Diana Ptaszynski  

Toltec Jewels is an author by day, jewelry maker by night. Her literary work is housed by the San Francisco MOMA and is published internationally in popular magazines, literary quarterlies, and university publications. She has won a number of awards for both her literary and jewelry arts. She is happiest making handcrafted jewelry with her entire family, snuggling with her doggies and grandkids, sewing, singing, reading, and learning more jewelry techniques. 


  1. I'm right there with you Rita. I have a little more hammering to do to finish my piece. My neighbors would kill me to do it at this our. I'll have to finish up in the morning.

  2. OMG..who is that Fur-bunny?! Adorable!

  3. All lovely pieces! My favorite is the Surf Song necklace. Such beautiful colors!

  4. Wonderful pieces as always Rita - especially love your butterfly mother and child necklace and of course, the anklet is beautiful :0)

  5. I am so glad that you gave the linen a try. I have admit that I hardly ever use silk anymore unless I am working with pearls. I love all the designs but your Butterfly necklace is just stunning.

  6. While I like everything you created, Surf Song is a favorite. Everything came together perfectly in that piece and it's something I'd wear all summer long. Really love that one! Thanks for participating!

  7. Love your fairy garden necklace, so pretty and so many interesting things to look at. The lotus bracelet is my second favorite, you did a great job combining creams.

    Thanks for letting us know the pics were up, as a I came by already this morning and wouldn't have remembered to check back. Nice work!

    Sandy @

  8. Beautiful designs! The lotus bracelet and ohm necklace are my favorites!

  9. Hi Rita, sorry to hear that you are not feeling well. i hope that you feel better very soon. I really like the waxed linen with the chain maille. That is a creative and unique design. Your "Fairy Garden" necklace is fabulous. "Surf Song" looks fun and summery and your earrings are great.

  10. Rita! You always amaze me with the number of pieces you made and how awesome they are! I can't pick a favorite, although I am really partial to that bracelet with Lesley's bird! I hope you feel better!

  11. It's funny how a lot of us had to learn to work with the linen and see what it would and would not do. But from that experience you created delightful designs and I especially love the earrings! I am always drawn to color and the purples and copper in the earrings are great.

  12. Hi Rita,
    All of your pieces are gorgeous and great pieces to wear in the summer time.

  13. My husband said the earthen tones of the beads and the colors draw you right in to the pieces. Well, I guess that sums up my thoughts too.

  14. I love all of your pieces. I especially like the fairy garden necklace and ohm necklace. All of the details in all of your pieces always amaze me. You are a wonder.

  15. Sounds like you learned a lot. Your bracelet is so pretty and feminine I really like all the colors you used in the necklace. And the key and love tags you connected in your last earrings are so cute. The linen really ties everything together.

  16. What great pieces Rita! I'm always blown away when someone creates more than one piece, as I generally only manage one. Each piece is lovely. I'm a necklace girl so your necklaces really speak to me. I really like the tactile nature of the Fairy Garden necklace. The key earrings are sweet and flirty too!

  17. The Moonlight Meditation and Surf Song pieces are beautiful! The colors in that necklace are so dreamy and serene and it looks like it would be really comfortable to wear.

  18. Hi Rita
    Your designs are always amazing...
    You are right the Peruvian thread is pure cotton and is not waxed. I am a Peruvian...
    I like the chain that you add the thread is very pretty. I like to be yor follower on your blog, but I don't see how...Thanks for remind me to My Lovely Peru..I missed my people...

    1. Blanca, thank you for your lovely words! :)
      You can subscribe to my blog by email (look above the blog archive, then above the translate box & the search box in the right side column & you'll see the "subscribe by email" box) or you can follow with Google Friend Connect (I moved it to the very, very bottom of the blog for the BSBP8 reveal to make room. You'll see it way down at the end :)
      I will continue to work on my lovely Peruvian focal -- you inspire me with your love for your country & people! ♥ Rita

  19. Love the butterflynecklace! All the elements in there are just perfect!

  20. Rita, your pieces are lovely as always! I love the Surf Song necklace, just beautiful and so wearable, and the butterfly one is gorgeous too. I love how much texture a bit of waxed linen can add to a piece, softens the metal elements to make for a more organic flow.

  21. How did I miss hopping to you! These are all so gorgeous!!!! I am now addicted to linen

  22. Very interesting blog, looking forward to more wonderful! Swarovski Sale


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