Thursday, July 28, 2016

Baubles and Beads: The Finishing Touch

Baubles and Beads: The Finishing Touch:   For me the clasp is often the finishing touch on a piece.   What do I consider when selecting a clasp?   There are quite a few factors....

The Finishing Touch

For me the clasp is often the finishing touch on a piece.  What do I consider when selecting a clasp?  There are quite a few factors.

First, is the piece only for me?  If so, I have a few ‘go to’ choices for my pieces.  On a necklace my personal preference is one of the premium quality ‘snap’ clasps also called ball and socket or trailer hitch.  They are mostly a functional clasp.  My old hands like them and can work them easily without torture.   The only exception for a necklace being a beaded toggle or a push pull type clasp that works on a spring mechanism.  I almost never use a lobster clasp for myself as I have a hard time working them with my hands.  And although I can work with a metal toggle, if I’m to use a toggle, I usually make it.

For a bracelet, I have several personal preferences.  On narrow pieces, I normally use the snap clasp.   For a flat piece, I inevitably use one of two clasps.  The choice depends on the fit which is often governed by the pattern.  I like to make a peyote or herringbone toggle and loop when that works.  If not that, I select a premium German clasp from Claspgarten or Elegant Elements (same clasps different names).  I like the narrow bar clasp they sell in several styles and number of holes to connect.  Finally, if it is a chunky piece, such as my Tile Mosaic, I will look for something special for me.  It could be almost anything, but will still be from the above mentioned German company.

For a class piece or kit, I consider other factors in my choice.  I prefer to select a clasp that compliments the piece.  And my favorite is still one that comes from my favorite German source.  Consider the look of the flowers sewn in Pockets full of Posies and the choice of the enamel flower clasp. 

On Going to the Ball, I used a similar size of round clasp to compliment the size of the Rivoli components. 

Sometimes, I’ll use a toggle and loop on a bracelet by design.  Curacao is a piece where that was my choice.  Ok, I’ll be honest, I made the first one while away from home and didn’t have my stash of clasps and wanted to finish it.  SO, a herringbone toggle happened. 

For a bead embroidery piece, the clasp choice often depends on fit.  My favorite choice is usually the same type of slide clasp.  However, in the case of a piece made too big, I make a toggle and loop which can be done to correct the fit problem.  Notice how the same style herringbone toggle connection is set back from the edge to make it tighter.   The same fit problem was solved with a right angle weave toggle on the next example.  

Another inexpensive option is a button and loop.  This has the bonus of also allowing you to adjust the fit a little by moving the button and loop back from the edge if needed.   It is also kind of fun to go thru your button box to discover a treasure and remember something to make you smile when you wear the piece.  Another inexpensive option is to make a little ball clasp done with right angle weave and embellished.  The little ball clasp or other hand made clasp does work well to dress up a piece.  The final picture shows a peyote clasp with different size beads and little drops in the center.  Have fun making clasps for your work and you will enjoy your finishing touch.

My final comment today on clasps is to add a clasp that for you is both functional and attractive.  We spend a lot of time on our beadwork and the clasp is a finishing touch.