And here's how it all came together:
After spending about a week communing with Lola's teeth and my bead boxes, I decided to make a sort of harness out of sterling wire that would cradle the teeth securely, but wouldn't change their structural integrity at all. I played around with shapes and wound up with this:
This is basically the same as the vintage lampwork glass leaves and flowers that I love so much - tooth flowers. When I had the final versions all wired up and ready to use, I put them in a tiny vase for pictures. This is my favorite photograph that I took during the entire project:
For the final earring design, I wanted to do something that definitely looked like my work. Since my work lately focuses heavily on asymmetry, I opted to make a mismatched pair of earrings but kept them a bit shorter than the crazy long asymmetrical pairs I've designed in recent months. The beads I chose are classic and elegant - some of the rarest and oldest things in my collection - but have a decidedly Gothic flavor when assembled with dark metals (and teeth).
Here is the end result, the Love Bites earrings:
And a little chart of the pieces I used to make them:
I'm really pleased with the way they turned out. It was a pleasure to make something special for someone whose joy, generous spirit and hard work (really, crazy hard work - I secretly suspect her of having bargained for extra hours in the day) I admire so much. Thanks for the teeth, Lorraine! I loved having them in my company, and they'll be on their way back to you soon. I hope you love them!