Saturday, June 15, 2013

Cage pieces

     I love the idea of a bead or beaded shape caged within another shape, loose enough that it can move around but not get out.  I did it once with seed beads.  It was a bright colored dodecahedron caged inside a clear buckeyball.  I liked it but have never done another.  These oxidized copper tube bead shapes are ideal for that kind of treatment, and it's been on my to-do list for a while. an individual large bead caged in a structure would be nice, but you'd want it to be undrilled, so not really a bead at all.  I've thought of a marble.  Problem is I only have access to 3 sizes of tubes (and one is quite short, to it's effectively 2 sizes), so you need to be able to size the inside piece to the cage, so that it's small enough to move, but not so small it can fall out.
    Patricia Madeja does a really nice pendant with an undrilled pearl captured in a gold cube.  But I can't use a cube because a 4-sided shape isn't rigid when done in tube beads.  Also the sizing between the sphere and the square has a pretty small tolerance.  I found the same to be true if I used a tetrahedron cage, i.e. if it was big enough to not fall out it couldn't move much.  An octahedron, though, worked really well, as you can see.  There's lots of  room for the inner balls to move.  In the bracelet and the back of the necklace I used RAW cubes inside octahedrons made of 12 mm tubes.  In the front of the necklace I used dodecahedrons inside 22 mm shapes.  All the inside shapes are made from 4 mm stone beads. 
   There was just one minor problem with the necklace.  The point of the oct is toward your neck as you wear it, so it feels just a bit prickly.  It's not bad; I wore it all day, but I noticed it just  bit.  After this picture was taken I added a small bead at the inner and outer points of the octs, but it didn't really change anything.  It's not any sharpness in the tubes themselves that creates the slight prickliness, but just the shape of the oct itself.  It wasn't noticeable at all on the bracelet, where the weight is evenly distributed. Both pieces are quite lightweight, it's just that in the necklace whatever weight there is is concentrated in 4 points on your neck.  2 possible answers: reposition the octs so that there's a triangular face toward you instead of a vertex; or leave out the octs at the back of the necklace altogether.  I'm experimenting with both.


  1. What a cool idea! So awesome. Regarding the prickliness of the octahedra, perhaps it would be less prickly if you added a seed bead in between each tube at the corners?

    1. That's possible. I guess I'd be afraid that adding all those small beads would add too much floppiness to the piece. Also, it would complicate joining the octs to the tubes that connect the octs at their "waists". I could do it just at the tops and bottoms and leave the waists as is. Hmmm... This is what I like about blogging.

    2. Yeah, the tops and bottoms are the pointiest parts anyways. I've found that smaller seeds are better for keeping such pieces not-floppy. Also, lots of thread passes help.