Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Fantasy Olympic Medal

Every two years, people all over the world become equals as they gather together to cheer on their county’s athletes during the Olympic Games. No matter what our different backgrounds are, when we embrace the spirit of friendly competition, we are one and the same.

2010 Olympic Torch Relay

The Inspiration:

I recently joined the Etsy BeadWeavers Team, and as soon as I had sent my application, I got to work planning my entry for the December team challenge. This month’s focus was chosen by two team members, who came up with a dual theme of “Peace and the Winter Olympics”.

At first I was at a loss for what to create. An Olympic rings bib necklace? Too obvious. A flag charm bracelet? Too garish. Then inspiration struck.

The very next day, I was jolted out of bed at 6 am by a commotion just outside my window. It was the Olympic Torch relay, on it’s way to Vancouver. Seeing this historic icon in person was just the inspiration I needed to create my “Peace Piece”. Thanks to the incredibly loud Coca-cola trucks that had announced the arrival of the torch, I had several extra hours that day to work on a design.

The Beads:

To symbolize peace, I chose a cool, calm palette of blue, green and purple 11/0 seed beads. From my stash I was able to collect different shades with lustered finishes, which flowed from one to the other quite nicely. I started with transparent aqua blue, then added transparent lustered blue, transparent lavender iris, and gilt-lined violet. In the other direction, I chose Ceylon light aqua, shamrock lined crystal AB, and transparent peridot AB.

Peaceful and Diverse Beads

For accent beads, I selected an assortment of green, blue and purple 8/0 seed beads and hex-cuts. Some of the shades, like chartreuse and raspberry, stretch the palette a little closer to the red and yellow areas of the color wheel. I also selected fuchsia lined blue, root beer lined topaz, emerald green and many other fun shades.

The Beadwork:

My original idea was to create a large cabochon in salt dough, with a 3-D olive branch at the center. Everything was going well until I tried to add antique effects on the background, and it turned out awful. I could have started over and repainted the entire cab, but I felt a little defeated by the mishap, and started looking at other options. I remembered having a 16mm vitrail rivoli in my stash, and decided it would make a perfect focal. The prismatic effect of the crystal is a great way to symbolize the diversity of the global village.

Dream Medallion Necklace

It hadn’t been my intention to do anything as literal as a medallion, but I was stuck with the image of a large round focal for my necklace, and decided to just go with it. I added a purple and blue bezel to the rivoli, then continued adding rounds of circular peyote stitch in blue, green and purple. The medal is suspended from a V-shaped St. Petersburg chain, with the aqua blue at the centre. Each side of the necklace gradually changes to green or purple. In the middle of the double chain is the 8/0 mixture.

Voting for the December 2009 EBW Challenge runs from the 9th to the 15th on the Etsy BeadWeavers Team Blog. You can also search for EBWC on Etsy.com to see all of the wonderful “Peace Piece” creations.

Copyright 2009 Inspirational Beading


  1. I love your piece - thanks for telling us your story behind it!

  2. Absolutely beautiful color scheme. Somehow peace just feels like cool colors. Good luck in the challenge!

  3. Thank you! I had a lot of fun making this one - the colors were really exciting to work with. I tried to decide which was my favorite, and I couldn't choose.


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