Monday, May 28, 2012

New Product: Magnetic Clasp Wine Charms

I was recently trying to decide what to give as a gift for a friend of mine. I wanted to make her a special set of wine charms, but I know she has had trouble with arthritis, and I was afraid the small clasps would be frustrating. Suddenly, I thought: magnets! Last summer I made several necklaces with heavier magnetic clasps for some older people I know who have difficulty clasping necklaces. Even trying to clasp in front first and then moving it properly behind the neck was tough. Why couldn't I use the same concept with a lighter gauge magnet and flexible wire?

Here was one of my prototypes: Notice the barrel magnet at the back. I might see if I can find something a little smaller in the future.

I did a little bit of experimenting with the number of beads used and with how much "give" to leave so when closed it wouldn't be too tight. I also had to be careful not to kink the wire during the process of stringing and running the wire back, although I believe that kinking the finished product will be pretty difficult.

Overall, I think it turned out pretty well. I even used some blue beads I haven't used in forever, but I like the look of this prototype that I might just make more in these colors!

After choosing a combination of letters and charms to create the set, I was ready to begin. To the left is an example of one with a pretty rose charm. I used red beads for the whole set, in keeping with my friend's favorite color. :)

I think this is another example of my creating philosophy: beauty and utility and finding inspiration in the people around me. I've found that many of my favorite and most popular products have come from considering the needs and wants of the people around me, and trying to create something to fit those needs and wants. I hope these magnetic wine charms follow in those footsteps and ease some of the frustration many people have as they find new physical restrictions prevent them from wearing or using their favorite items.

If you're interested, here's a link to my first set using magnetic clasps for sale. And here are some pictures:

I used the barrel clasps for this set, same as my sample and the set made for my friend. However, I have found some that are a little smaller where the magnets go flat against each other as opposed the the barrel, where  the magnets are attracted to each other but must go in a small entrance. The benefit of the barrel clasp is it can just be pulled apart, whereas the other kind should be taken apart sideways.

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