I often feel like the Jason of beadweaving in search of the perfect (golden fleece) clasp. Does it exist? Oh, there are lots of pretty toggle, box, and slide clasps, but I just haven't found one that brings the ends of a beaded piece of jewelry together in a tight, neat way. Just think about it...how many times have you had to resort to 2-part snaps or dress hooks, designing your piece so the ends overlap? Or you've done some kind of crazy maneuver to attach to a whole line of hidden magnetic clasps? Tubular slide clasps are great, and just about perfect, but there's that bit between the beadwork and the loops that just bugs me...it's a real visual interruption.
Yes, a it's a nerdy frustration, but one that keeps me on the lookout for the perfect clasp. For example, when I was in Tucson a few weeks ago, I met up with the folks at TierraCast, who showed off their fabulous new leather findings. My metalsmith brain went wild for the rivets and other findings, but the beadweaver in me was especially attracted to this Z-shaped piece:
It got me thinking, "I wonder how this might work as a beadwork clasp?"
When I got home, I spent some time in my bead studio and stitched up a design with rullas (another new find in Tucson--2-hole barrel-shaped beads!). I made the design so it included a straight end to which I could attach a clasp. I square-stitched a 7-bead-wide, 6-row-long strip off this straight end, passed it through the closed half of the Z-shaped finding (I used an antiqued piece here...very pretty with my dark indigo/AB rullas), and square-stitched Row 1 to Row 6:
Now for the other side. I worked up all kinds of ways to get around that bend and mostly ended up tearing out each attempt. What made the most sense was to actually get out the pliers and slightly straighten the bend in the finding. (The high-quality pewter used in TierraCast products will allow for this, but you don't want to go overboard...bending metal too much can make it brittle.)
Next, I square-stitched a 7-bead-wide, 7-row-long loop at the other end of the bracelet. Once you slide the loop onto the finding's bent piece, you've got a nice connection! And it's a clasp that you can easily put on and take off yourself.
It's not quite the golden fleece of clasps, but I'm pleased to find this new option because it's pretty dang close. I think it's got a lot of potential for embellishment, too; I'm going to experiment with decorating that diagonal bar in the center to personalize the clasp even more.
Which kind of clasps do you like for beadweaving? Have you found the perfect clasp? Please share what you know with all of us!
Senior editor, Beadwork