In the April box, the design component was this item:
It is about 2" X 2 1/2" and around 1/4" thick. It looks like someone took a skillet full of yellow plastic flowers and heated it up until the petals all melted together. It is quite light weight, so I decided to make it into a necklace focal.
I glued the contest component to a piece of batik fabric. This is a stellar suggestion from my bead embroidery teacher, Melaine Doerman; by using a printed piece of fabric for bead embroidery, you avoid potential blank canvas paralysis.
Here is the yellow component glued to a batik square backed with Lacey's Stiff Stuff, a flexible material that is often used for bead embroidery:
You can also see the beginnings of the beaded bezel that goes all the way around the yellow contest component. In the past I have only bezeled round focals, so creating a beaded border around a square(ish) piece was the biggest challenge. To help with the design I used bugle beads around the perimeter of the yellow piece.
Once the yellow component was completely encased in bugle and seed beads, I cut it away from the square of fabric and started to embellish it. My go-to design inspiration is always sea life, so I imagined that the yellow contest component was a piece of jewelry lost in a shipwreck. I added branching coral fringe and irregular bead embroidery around the edgesof the piece to make it look like it had been underwater for a while.
Once all of the decorative touches had been added, I stitched the top of the focal piece to a copper-colored chain that was also included in the April box of beading goodies. I then stitched more embellishment on the chain itself, as if the lovely, invasive sea life had begun to twine around the edges of the yellow piece and on to the chain itself.
I used turquoise and moss colored seed beads in addition to lemon yellow seed beads and copper bugle beads for this piece.
Here is a side view which shows some of the surrounding bezel detail:
The first place that I ever snorkeled was off Isla de las Mujeres in the Yucatan peninsula, so this piece is named after that island. I am going to enter the online contest on A Grain of Sand's Facebook page this afternoon. Wish me luck.
May 7, 2013 ETA: I did not win. If you go to the Facebook page (linked above) you will see the entry that did win. On to the next challenge...I entered Isla de las Mujeres in a contest at my local bead shop. It is an in-person contest so my indifferent photography skills will not count against me. (Note to Smallest of All: lessons in lighting would be a nice Mother's Day gift!) Results for this new contest are not announced until July...I will update again and let you know if the judges liked my entry.