Pin this on Pinterest

Winners of the ASCEND Design Challenge


Do you have that one piece of jewelry that rises above the clouds and represents a rise to a higher point in your design esthetic? Did you master a technique or a stitch, take a near-perfect piece out of the kiln or tumbler, bend a prong to perfection? Did your beads come together in a perfect palette on the tenth time you tried? We asked our readers these questions for our November Design Challenge theme, ASCEND. 

We asked them to share the one piece of jewelry that represented a rise to the surface, or a breakthrough to the next level in their jewelry making. Many people submitted pieces of lovely jewelry that rose above the clouds and represented a higher point in their design esthetic and creative success. We're thrilled to share our four favorite pieces that soared above the competition. 


Asymmetrical epoxy resin earrings with cotton thistle and saffron, wrapped with pure silver (999) wire. Nina says:

"Nature is my greatest inspiration, and these earrings represent a breath-taking scenery of the sky at sunrise as the first rays of light ascend towards a never-ending horizon. "

See more of her work at

ABERRATION by Dawna Gillespie

This piece is made from hand-sawed and hand-fabricated copper and brass. Dawna's description of how this piece ASCENDS:

"This is the first cuff that I have successfully mastered a torch-fired heat patina that retained its beautiful color through the forming and fabrication process. I am incredibly proud and pleased with this piece. "

The cuff is made from copper, brass, and pipe, with torch-fired heat patina and a ferric chloride etch. The piece was uses almost every metalsmithing technique there is: it was pierced, forged, etched, hammered, cold connected, and oxidized, then waxed to preserve the stunning patina.  

Learn more about Dawna at her Facebook page, Copper d Studio

WATERFLOW by Joanne Zammit

Joanne, the designer of this stunning stitched pendant, lives in Malta, a small Island in the middle of the Mediterranean Sea. Her piece, WaterFlow, was created in an effort to capture the feeling of moving water. She says about her piece:

"Two streams spiral down around the neck strap to meet in a little pool of water portrayed by a shimmering blue Druzy cabochon and then flow down on either side of a Moonstone to finish off in a spray of water, sparkling as it catches the sunshine. I used a Moonstone as it is a gemstone associated with the Water Element. 

This necklace was designed to be very adjustable in length. A beaded 'chain' runs through the beadwoven neck strap, allowing the strap with attached focal to move along the chain as this is lengthened or shortened as desired. This gives a very high degree of flexibility and the necklace is adjustable from choker length to 24". 

This piece was important for me due to the design of the neck strap, both for the development of the way it could be adjusted in length as well as the way the bail extends from the spiral."

Learn more about Joanne and her work at her website,

THE BIRCHES by Helen Yetman-Bellows

This piece was created for a national exhibition and competition run by the Florida Society of Goldsmiths, and hosted by the Morean Arts Center in St. Petersburg, FL. The theme was "Story Telling in Metal" which is also the theme of Helen's line of jewelry. She tells us about her piece:

"The Birches is part of my Wilderness Collection, depicting places one has been or wants to be. I practice my art in chasing and repousse, stamping, forming and etching. These pieces and the honor of being selected from such a vast pool of talents for the exhibition and competition in Florida shows me how far I have come since I began making and selling my jewelry full time."

Learn more about Helen's jewelry business that she shares with her husband at

Thanks so much to everyone who participated in our November challenge!

Feeling inspired? Come and join in the fun by submitting a piece to the December 2016 challenge, KALEIDOSCOPE. Share with us a piece of jewelry that brings this theme to life. Traditional kaleidoscopes are made of almost anything: brass, wood, glass, even cardboard. How creative can you be with your materials? A whirling array of colorful beads, a rainbow of patina on your metal, a symmetrical pattern repeating and then changing. What can you create?

Show us your ever-changing, ever-evolving jewelry style. We would love for all beaders, metalsmiths, clay artists and other makers to interpret the theme KALEIDOSCOPE in their own way and produce a work as creative as it is beautiful. Submit your photo today!

FIND MORE: bead weaving , metal , resin , forging , patinas

Want to leave a comment?

Only registered members of are allowed to leave comments. Registration is FREE and only takes a couple minutes.

Login or Register now.
Get awesome news, tips, & free stuff!