Hoop challenge revealed!

A few weeks ago, Lorelei Eurto offered a chance to have one’s name drawn for a design challenge with ceramic hoops made by Karen Totten of Starry Road Studio. I was delighted to have my name picked along with the other great designers whose links are at the bottom of this post.

As usual, I waited until late in the game to finish my challenge pieces, though I spent a lot of time thinking about what I wanted to do.

One of the things I hoped to gain from this challenge was to get back to working with precious metal clay. I had some of the fine silver, set aside since August, with plans to make some new beads and clasps.

I knew I wanted to use one of the hoops as a toggle clasp for a necklace. I also wanted to combine some of the other ceramic beads I had on hand.

I’m pleased with how the first piece turned out, though I don’t know how “outside of the box” it was to make a necklace.

First the clasp,



Now, the whole necklace.


The textured rondelle inside the other loop is made by LeAnn Weih of Summers Studio. The other green ceramic beads, both round and flat with texture, are made by Keith O’Conner, and purchased at Beadin’ Path in Freeport, Maine. The texture on the silver beads and toggle comes from a texture plate I carved from a soft cut printing block from Dick Blick. The necklace is strung on two strands of Beadalon. The small green beads are size 6 seed beads, also from Beadin’ Path. All the silver beads are made by me.



The second piece was much more of a challenge for me. I had several buttons, made by my friend Kaitlyn Duggan, who is a fellow resident of this tiny island. I strung and restrung a necklace, trying to use the buttons as a clasp with the third ceramic loop, and as beads for the necklace. One of the buttons fit perfectly inside the loop. I tried ribbon and I tried leather. Nothing laid flat. The buttons kept flipping and I was running out of time to finish the piece. And… another necklace…ho hum. How was that going to be a new and different way of using Karen’s loops? After three attempts, and three finished pieces I disliked, I gave up on the second necklace, and took a shower. That’s when I came upon a new idea for the third loop.


Two of Kaitlyn’s buttons made it into this piece, but they are hidden when it is worn. I was happy to use some of the fiber wire that I had purchased earlier from Starry Road Studio. You can see it between the copper wire coils. This is a pretty simple piece, with no clasp. It fits easily over my head. Looks like a necklace, right? (And by the way? Why does a mannequin need to have such erect nipples?)

But here’s what it’s really for:


Many thanks to Lorelei Eurto for the challenge and to Karen Totten for the ceramic hoops. You guys did just what I hoped you would do if I was chosen to participate. You kicked my butt back into the studio!

Now you’ve seen what I made. Please be sure to look at what these artists did with their hoops.


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24 responses to “Hoop challenge revealed!

  1. SUPER!!! LOVE the toggle on the first necklace… that was really smart thinking! Love all of your metal clay work as well, gorgeous!
    The eyeglasses holder turned out great!!
    Thanks so much for participating! I am glad you had fun with it!


  2. Beautiful designs…love your clay work on the 1st one and your eyeglass holder is really neat too!


  3. Kate

    Love all of these, Barb! What a fun challenge, and, yes, why ARE those nipples so erect?


  4. Barb, it’s great that you’ve gotten back into the studio! You did a fantastic job! I love your pmc beads and your necklace is great! The eyeglass holder was a great idea for that last hoop!


  5. Kool idea for a glasses holder.


  6. Beautiful! I am just entranced by all the different materials and textures you used. Really… that gorgeous ceramic hoop can be a focal all on it’s own, but using it to hold your glasses is genius.


  7. Gale

    I just love your textured silver beads and how they’re complemented by the green ceramic beads. Lovely necklace. And maybe I’d be able to keep track of my glasses if I had the second offering….


  8. Those are both beautiful, but I just adore the first one. There are so many different elements and they all come together so well. The toggle is brilliant!


  9. Lovely range and depth of greens in your first necklace and I’m in awe of your components! I’m totally inspired by your second piece and am off to make my own eyeglass holder!


  10. WOW! I absolutlely LOVE your silver work – making the hoop a toggle is a wonderful idea – especially since the toggle bar matches your beads! And the eyeglass holder is AWESOME! Love the fiber, too! Your designs always knock my socks off!

    I have no idea why the mannequin is the way it is – I can only assume it was designed by a man!


    • Barb Fernald

      Thanks Patti! You always have such supportive things to say. That fiber wire is cool stuff. Karen sells it in her Etsy shop. (Starry Road Studio – link above in the post.)


  11. wow wow wow!!! LOVE both pieces. Your PMC work is amazing! I’m really inspired by how you put these hoops into your work!


    • Barb Fernald

      Thanks so much for creating this challenge with Lorelei. I loved working with your hoops. Just ordered some more last night. Woo hoo!


  12. Ali McCarthy

    The glasses holder is genius! Your silver pieces are stunning, glad the challenge got you back in the studio, you do great work there.


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