A chronicle of the meanderings, false starts (which in retrospect, while sort of embarrassing turned out to be highly instructive), epiphanies, selective apathy (still evolving), wild mood swings, opinions (subject to frequent change), and life lessons of an inveterate dabbler (and her latest dabblings).

Monday, March 31, 2014

Art Jewelry Elements March Component of the Month

Caroline Dewison of BlueberriBeads is March's Component of the Month host at Art Jewelry Elements. Caroline is an artist who makes her home in England, and she works in porcelain, stoneware, earthenware, raku clay, glass and copper. She makes beads and components as well as stunning jewelry--be sure to visit her website and browse through her gallery! I am particularly enamored with her sea urchin beads, particularly this set in "dirty green":
Aren't those the coolest? I need them.

I also adore her little "bird sets"--I love the serene colors in this one:
Well, when I saw the items Caroline was planning to offer for the Component of the Month challenge, I was even more bowled over! Look at these luminous beauties:
Luna moths! Aren't they stunning? Look at the depth of these glazes!!

I also saw sweet little bees and I fell head over heels for the little bees. Unfortunately I forgot to take a picture of them before I started working on them (I was little excited to get started), but here's a closeup of them in the finished pieces:

As you can see, these two are in copper and gold tones. The copper-toned one on the left (I am amazed by this metallic glaze!) also has matte under-colors of muted mauve and violet. The finish is so rich and I just love the size--perfect for a little assemblage-type pendant, which is what I was thinking of.

Well, the gold one told me to go with mixed metal, and the copper one told me to be a purist. These were so inspiring to work with! Here is the mixed metal one with the gold bee:
I used a copper washer I had textured with a hammer and brass texture sheet for the central portion of the pendant. I applied brass eyelet rivets to the holes, and dangled a big gold pearl, a Hill tribes sterling silver bead, and some other small beads in sterling, copper and brass. (The little bees actually have steel loops at the top, but I wrapped them in copper wire to harmonize with the rest of the pendant.)
I used solid copper ball chain from Rings n Things, which I antiqued in liver of sulfur and tumbled (it really took the patina nicely, and it's clearly raw copper-YAY! I got a whole spool of it), and attached it to a sterling-wrapped brass toggle bar via Melissa Meman's brilliant design for ball chain ends--(they really add so much more than just a commercial ball tip! I love the kind of horseshoe-shape they have.) I tossed in another leafy Hill Tribes silver bead to make the chain portion slightly asymmetrical. I went crazy with my metals--I am realizing I need to do this more often because I really love all three together.
I just discovered these "melon" beads (the elongated silver football shaped-bead the bee hangs from) and I'm obsessed--I got them in both silver and copper. I hammer them gently with my Fretz embossing hammer to give them more of a handmade look--they have a seam, and the hammering actually makes the seam more visible, which I like--they look like a hand-formed, rolled bead then. I love how this piece turned out.

On to my "purist" piece--all glorious copper:
Again I used a washer (a twin to the other one actually--I had both of these in my stash already, I was so excited--work already done!) with tube-riveted holes, and a toggle closure. I wanted to draw out the mauve tones in the bee so I added mauve/berry-colored pearls. I used Melissa's ball chain end loops again, and added a delicious copper globe bead from a strand I recently got from AfroBeadia (these beads are FANTASTIC) with a couple of my copper beadcaps (I don't know why but the idea of a copper beadcap on a copper bead just sends me into orbit.) The bee hangs from a short length of tubing I cut with my saw and textured with my embossing hammer.
I've been wanting to do a necklace like this for a while, with a washer and some dangling bits. I haven't been making much jewelry lately--this is the first weekend I've felt good, and energetic for several weeks. I've had some kind of Everlasting Sinus Bug, I thought it would never end! It's not over yet, but it's much better which I have to take as a good sign.

Here are my two little grown-up bees together:
I made them to be worn high up on the neck, where the little bees will draw the eye:
This is a blog hop! Be sure to visit the other participants below:
Niky Sayers – http://silverniknats.blogspot.co.uk
The AJE Team
Caroline Dewison – http://www.blueberribeads.co.uk
Diana Ptaszynski - http://www.suburbangirlstudio.com
Susan Kennedy - http://suebeads.blogspot.co.uk
Kristen Stevens - http://kristen-beadjourney.blogspot.com/
Jenny Davies-Reazor - http://www.jdaviesreazor.com/blog
Melissa Meman –  http://melissameman.blogspot.com
Rebekah Payne - www.treewingsstudio.com
Lesley Watt - http://thegossipinggoddess.blogspot.com/
Linda Landig - http://www.LindasBeadBlog.com

Sunday, March 16, 2014

Happy Birthday to Me!

Thank you to my friends Kitty Bozzini and Patricia Chaban Gasparino for making this an ultra-special birthday! Kitty remarked on my resemblance to a certain Munchkin,

 and Pattie made it happen:
You guys rock!

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Missed the Boat!

Today is the February Component of the Month reveal at Art Jewelry Elements (go over and check it out!) I threw my hat in the ring, but unfortunately the arrival of my heart was delayed and I didn't have time to make anything by the deadline. I am hoping to be able to work with it this weekend. Sorry Melissa!

Friday, February 7, 2014

Crazy Jackpot Giveaway and New Monthly Challenge

We're out of our minds over at Earrings Everyday--out of our minds with inspiration and giveaways!

The incomparable Erin Prais-Hintz has put together both a colossal giveaway, as well as volunteered to captain Earrings Everyday's new monthly earring design challenge. Look at these fabulous prizes you can win!

Hop on over to Earrings Everyday to enter to win, and to see this month's design inspiration! We have new members, new designs, and a new look! Come see us!

Friday, January 31, 2014

Art Jewelry Elements Component of the Month Reveal

I was recently thrilled to join the team of regular contributors at Art Jewelry Elements (w00t!!), and this is my first time participating in AJE's Component of the Month event. Today is the reveal and blog hop. This month, Jenny Davies-Reazor is hosting the event--which means that she created the components everyone is using in their designs this month. Jenny is an artist who works in many media--ceramics, polymer clay, mixed media, metals--creating jewelry, ceramic shrines and tiles, collages, and more. For the January "CoM," she called on her polymer clay skills to create fabulous, resin-filled focal elements.

Look at this cornucopia of crazy goodness we had to choose from!

Jenny then chose various words and phrases from old book pages, and affixed them in the frame with resin. This is what she sent me:

As you can see, she chose the words "artist" and "artistic" for me--I will take that as a compliment, and an inspiration!

I love the vintage design, and the earthiness of the finish and material really appealed to me. The old-timey typeface and yellowed paper sent me over the moon! I love old stuff. This design made me think of both East Indian folk art, as well as vintage American "gypsy" decor--it feels to me like a little section of architectural detail surreptitiously popped off the side of a gypsy caravan and turned into jewelry. (If you follow my blog or my shop offerings, you'll know I have a thing about "gypsy" style.) I decided to echo the rustic feel with the rest of my elements, so I used some matte-finish handcrafted Indonesian glass beads from my Happy Mango Beads stash, in slate blue and turquoise to echo the colors in the focal. I love the slightly irregular shapes and sizes of these beads--it really gives my pieces a handmade, earthy flavor.
I used some "pineapple quartz" glass ovals from my stash to draw out the pale yellow hues in the focal and add a little transparency and lightness, and knotted the strands with navy blue Irish waxed linen to pick up the focal color again. I took some of my favorite chain, from Chain Gallery, cut it into 3-link sections, and joined the sections together with 3mm Czech glass rounds in Montana blue. I popped a little Czech glass coin in opalescent yellow onto the ring of the clasp to tie it together.

(Here's what I did with the back--I wanted to have more length beneath the focal so I added a chain at the back):

I would love to work with something like this again, it was really fun! I love it when a focal element suggests a flavor and color palette like this. Very inspiring! And of course it makes for an utterly unique piece of jewelry.

(This could even convince me to start playing with polymer clay, a temptation I have so far resisted...)

You can see this piece at my Etsy shop.

This is a blog hop! Check out the other participants' creations at the links below:

Regular contributors:
Jennifer Cameron
Diana Ptaszynski
Kristen Stevens
Jenny Davies-Reazor
Lesley Watt
Melissa Meman
Linda Landig
Susan Kennedy
Rebekah Payne
Caroline Dewison

Hope Smitherman
Sarajo Wentling