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Galactic Gaze Bracelet Project Review

3 June 2016

Designed by Cindy Holsclaw (2015 Designer of the Year), Beaded and reviewed by Uta Wille

Beadwork, December 2015/January 2016, p. 32.

This bracelet is a beautiful piece of jewellery that immediately jumped on top of my “I have to make this” list. The design provides lots of opportunities to play with colour and appearance by using either tri beads (which create more ‘spiky’ petals, as in the purple bracelet) or O beads (which create a ‘rounder’ flower, as in the pink/green bracelet).

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The bracelet is designed in components. It consists of 7 flowers or stars (they are called stars in the instructions, but I see flowers) with a rivoli in the centre, which are arranged in alternating size, i.e. 14-18-14-18-14-18-14 mm (rivoli size). I don’t recommend to assemble the bracelet only of 18 or 14 mm rivolis, respectively, because the ‘petals’ of the neighbouring flowers are interlocking, which is not possible if they have all the same size (without changing the design considerably). You can see this very clearly from the images above.

The individual flowers are constructed from front to back, using the same sequence of rows and beads for both flower sizes, but working 6 petals for the small and 8 petals for the large flower.

The first ring consists of a sequence of alternating 3 mm bugle and 11o seed beads, which forms the basis for the petals. Multiple rows are used to construct the various layers of the flower, which gain stability by connecting beads from the new row with beads from previous rows. It is recommended to carefully read the instructions – these are very clear, but because of the many layers it is easy to miss a step.

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When the top side of the flower is constructed, a ring of 6 mm bugle beads is added that form the side walls for the rivoli, which is subsequently inserted face down (remember, the flowers are constructed from front to back).

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The back of the flower is created through a series of decreasing rows made with 11o and 15o seed beads (since these are not visible, it is not necessary to use your most precious seed beads).

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The finished small flower:

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As mentioned previously, the large flower is made in an analogue way, using 8 alternating 3 mm bugle beads and 11o seed beads in the first ring. Also, because of the larger size some variations are made to the decreases on the backside.

The bracelet is assembled by making a series of connecting links between the backstitches of neighbouring flowers. In the lower bracelet I have used different coloured backsides for the different flower sizes to illustrate the alternating arrangement. The connecting links are worked practically across the width of the bracelet, which makes it very sturdy ‘strip’ that cannot twist around when putting the bracelet on and wearing it.

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How can the size be changed?

The bracelet fits well around my ‘normal’ wrist (I wear usually bracelets 17-18 cm long).

It can be lengthened by adding more beads to the chains that connect the individual flowers. Alternatively, you could connect the flowers as described, but create extra length through the links for connecting the clasp.

Unfortunately, shortening of the bracelet is not straightforward. There are practically no beads that can be removed from the connecting chains and the clasp, because the flowers are already nearly touching (as you can see from the first picture) and should not come closer.

Verdict: I really enjoyed making this piece. In fact, I liked it that much that I made two, which usually rarely happens. Generally, I am not a fan of ‘repetitions’ and therefore avoid designs, which require me to bead multiple identical components. However, in this case, I really enjoyed the well thought-through construction of the flowers (Cindy Holsclaw is a scientist by training, and one clearly notices her analytical approach to designing), which could be quickly stitched up once I understood the construction after the first component.

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