My newest endeavor highlights a slightly eerie yet interesting side of jewelry-making!
My first creation: the beaded wrap bracelet. I used the resin to create a larger focal bead using three spider “helmets”…..
I was given some tarantula molts from my Mad Scientist cousin Eric. They were from his Biology labs at college. He wanted a way to preserve these little guys for good; so, I thought of embedding them in a resin charm. I sorted through all the various fangs, helmets and other whatnots, I selected the most intact specimens and set them aside. I was worried that they would collapse or disintegrate, but alas, they held up fine!! I did encounter one problem working with the natural material, which I mention later on. I don’t know why someone would want to collect spider molts in the first place, but they end up making super-cool and unique jewelry!! I asked Eric to give a little insight as to how and why these spiders molt. Below I have some quips straight from him….you didn’t think you’d learn about science on this art blog, did you??!
And here, an explanation of the molts used in the bracelet via Eric:
“The two small cephalothorax molts for the bracelet came from a species called Hogna helluo, recently re-named Tigrosa helluo. The molts came from two females. The spider is a large species of American wolf-spider, with females having body lengths as long as 21 mm and males having body lengths as long as 12 mm. Being a wolf spider, these are very dedicated mothers, as she will carry her babies (of which she can have 100’s at a time) on her abdomen for several days after they hatch as they feed off the yolk. Finally, the bigger cephalothorax molt in the bracelet came from the tarantula Hysterocrates gigas, commonly named the Giant baboon spider or the Cameroon red baboon spider. Kind of cool, it is a dark brown color right before it molts but then turns a jet black color right after a molt. Its leg span can reach about 8 inches, and though scarily voracious when it feeds (often gathering 3 live crickets in its mouth at once), it is relatively shy, and is a burrowing tarantula, preferring to hide in little underbrush alcoves.”
Now, resin is NOT SUPPOSED to have ANY bubbles. If there are bubbles in your resin, you are doing something very wrong. It should be crystal clear, like glass.
As you can see, there are MANY bubbles here. I am thinking there are two reasons for this…..
1. I didn’t want to fish out all the bubbles because I was afraid of the fragility of the spider specimens. If there were bubbles underneath the helmets, I figured I should just leave them instead of accidentally ripping the helmet.
2. Since the helmets are natural material, bubbles were forming during the resin curing process. Air was trapped in the tissues and leaking out into the rest of the resin, being trapped there forever.
Even with the bubbles, these resin charms are great for preserving these scientific little specimens.
With this resin charm acting as the focal piece, Cousin brand leather, wire and silver accent beads decorate the wrap.
Now for the necklace!
This charm was made from a larger tarantula helmet. The holes at the top are actually where the tarantula’s eyes were!
Can you see the hair??!! It’s easiest to see at the bottom of the charm! Yes, the helmet is covered in hair. And there are those eye holes again.
Here is some information from Eric about the particular spider used within this charm:
“The spider molt of the cephalothorax used for the hemp necklace came from a male Mexican Red Knee Tarantula, scientific name Brachypelma smithi. As the name implies it is found in the deciduous tropical forests of the rather hilly southwestern Mexico. This tarantula grows rather slowly and matures pretty late in life. The females can live to be 30 years old, while the males only live to be about 5 (sadly, ours recently passed away in the lab 🙁 ). It molts (sheds its exoskeleton–which consists of various proteins and chitin) in order to grow and replace missing appendages. I don’t really know the average number of times, since it varies, but they will molt on multiple occasions during the year depending on its age. This tarantula is extremely docile, which makes it a popular species for the pet trade. “
I made an adjustable hemp necklace out of this charm.
It’s surfer-style meets serious science.
Cousin brand hemp was used and I did a square knot sinnet for that macrame look.
I’d say this is a different style of statement necklace!
That’s it for my first spidey-style jewelry adventures.
What do you think!!??
All photos copyright Allison Beth Cooling. Do not post/use without linking to me!