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).
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...)
So I've been incubating these. I churned them out over last weekend--it was so fun! I dug into my lampwork stash, and finally used the copper buttons I made several months ago. This one below has recycled glass in sea green from Happy Mango Beads (I am almost out of these and they are out of stock. Somebody heeeelp meeeeeeee), rustic olive green Indonesian glass seed beads also from Happy Mango, gorgeous lampwork I received in a bead swap from the lovely Alice Peterson (I wish I knew who made them...Alice, can you remind me where they came from?) and genuine turquoise.
This one is all plums and coffee browns. I started with my new stash of recycled glass beads from Happy Mango--round ones in plum and these nifty little cupped flower shapes in dark amber brown--and combined them with berry and lilac moukaite, Czech crackle glass, purple aventurine, and coffee-brown porcelain discs on nut brown Irish linen cording.
These lampwork beads caught my eye, I have a thing for vertical stripes on lampwork, and since I had lots of red, orange and white beads I decided to just go with that. (I got this lampwork at my one and only trip to Hobby Lobby, when I was in Billings one year for the holidays--which is about 8 hours away by car. It's a good thing, if there was one nearby I'd be broke.) The little discs are carnelian, the big oval and small faceted round are red agate, the faceted orange ovals are orange aventurine, and the white lozenges are snow quartz (LOVE these beads). The red seed beads are Indonesian glass from Happy Mango.
For this one I used some of my favorite lampwork in my stash, which I don't think I have ever successfully used (I used them in a pair of earrings once which were "meh", so I took them apart)--dark olive scrollwork over a toasted marshmallow ground from My Lampwork Garden (see, it took me so long to use them the shop closed, like a year ago.) I combined them with my new recycled glass from Happy Mango in plum and green (I LOVE LOVE LOVE these little tulip beads, I'd run away with them to Sandals if I could), more Czech crackle glass, and an oval of saguaro jasper.
This bracelet is practically orgiastic (I love that word) in its autumn color. I was possessed by some kind of autumnal spirit. It all started with the speckled lampwork from Bebes Glass Beads which has some kind of power over me. I combined the lampwork with recycled glass (of course) in green, one little sliver of amber, a Czech table cut glass pear (LOVE this bead), aragonite, and green opal (which in this case are actually golden.)
Oddly enough, I think this is my favorite bracelet from this lot. The inspiration was from the button, which had a super dark detail and interesting rosy/peachy colors--I put it under the iron (as I did with the others) after I LOS'd it to bring up the color. I used my new lava beads from Happy Mango (I'm in love with lava), a lovely stoneware bead from JJPotteryBeads, more of Kelley Wenzel's mauve and ivory "dragon eye" beads (love these, I still have some left-YAY!), moukaite, batik pattern bone beads, a little lampwork spacer in rosy peach from the lovely Michelle at The Spacer Bead Shop, and my last wood dragonfly bead (which I got at my only trip to Michael's, which is three hours away--also a good thing.)
And I just got started on my brass button stash with this one and then I ran out of steam. More old lampwork (from another shop that has closed, like a year ago) in delicious pale strawberry/apricot and toasted vanilla, combined with more moukaite, another of these fabulous stoneware beads, a couple more of Michelle's rosy peach spacers, and my own brass beadcaps and headpins.
So there you have it. I will undoubtedly be using up the rest of my brass buttons so there will be more of these. Now I have to go start working on some roman shades for the living room. And I'm totally making it up as I go along. I couldn't figure out a way to make them with duct tape so I have to sew. Sewing makes me cry.