Monday, 29 February 2016

And the light poured through - the story of a bracelet

A couple of weeks ago, I snagged a few bundles of lampwork glass in a sale. Who can resist a good sale? (Not me.) One of the bundles was the set pictured below Rachel aka Puffafish had created a beautiful and unusual set of beads, with raku frit (tiny pieces of crushed glass) on a black background, encased in a thick layer of crystal clear glass. The raku reacts with the heat and beautiful colours are brought out to create unique and sightly unpredictable (in a good way!) results. The set immediately leapt out at me - I'm not usually drawn to black for some reason, but these were just incredible - a combination of the colours set against the dark backdrop, and the way light moves through clear encased beads, made this set extra special. 

Rachel had entitled this set 'Fireflies' and you can see why - the flickering lights captured within perfectly mimic those tiny creatures (determined to see them in the flesh some day!). But they immediately reminded me of another beautiful form of light - the light that falls through stained glass windows, and specifically of a trip I made to Paris a few years ago, and an afternoon spent sat in L'eglise Saint Eustache

Can you see what I mean - light falling on the stony ground, dispersed and softened by centuries-old stained glass windows? 

I am lucky enough to have visited Paris a few times (although it has been far too long) and L'eglise Saint Eustache is one of my favourite places to visit. Built on as epic a scale as its more famous neighbour, Notre Dame, but not nearly as touristy - or quite frankly, as fancy - it has a quietness and a reflective, peaceful quality that I've always found incredibly moving. I'm not religious, but the solitude and peace one can find in a religious building is a remarkable thing. Last time I was there, I was by myself in the city, and I sat, taking it all in. I (discreetly!) took a bunch of pictures with my phone, and played around with instagram afterwards, trying to draw out the qualities I'd found within this huge, ancient building whilst sitting there alone. 

It's this last photo here that Rachel's beads reminded me of - I still remember sitting by myself, looking at the lights on the ground, and thinking how amazing they were, and how lucky I was to be there at that moment to take in the solemn yet playful beauty of it all.

And it's that combination of the solemn and the playful that I wanted to capture within this bracelet. I knew I wanted to use several of these beads in one piece for impact, and the same day the lampwork glass arrived, I also had a small delivery from Vintaj Brass - a small company who create nickel-free brass components for jewellers, and who are known for the beautiful, naturally developed warm bronze-brown patina which they develop on their pieces. A new component to me were these decorative bell caps - the perfect component to pair with my stained glass light beads:

Playful handwoven glass {song}beads in matte coral, and some pressed glass rounds in hyacinth and turquoise completed the band, offsetting the black backdrop of the lampwork and bringing out the glimmering raku flickers. I added a simple beaded extender and a heavy sterling silver clasp, which I oxidised to tone with the patinated brass bells. 

You can pick up And the light poured through over in my etsy shop now

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