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


  1. They are just stunning!!! I love the bees and how you worked them!

  2. I love how much detail and work you've put in to each element Keirsten, they're such rich and beautiful designs. And I've loved reading about each little part of it. Thank you for joining me in the challenge!

  3. just beautiful Kiersten! I love your designs and inspiration~

  4. Adorable necklaces Keirsten and soooo wearable.

  5. Your detail is always amazing, I love these!!!

  6. Your attention to every little detail is what makes your jewelry so darn special! These are amazing - I could not pick a favorite if I had to - BEAUTIFUL! Thanks for all the links in your post - glad you are feeling better!

  7. Oooooooo both pieces are so detailed and stunning. I'd wear both of these necklaces!

  8. Beautiful necklaces, love the wire wrapping on it too.

  9. As usual you knocked it out of the park - just stunning! And TWO necklaces! One for each neck. Oh wait...

  10. Gorgeous! What Karen said! Thanks for the shout-out on the clasp ends...yours are much neater than mine were ;) I would wear those necklaces everyday!

  11. I love your mixed metal work - and the bees are adorable!

  12. Both necklaces are stunning! I can't decide just which one is my favorite.

  13. I'm afraid of bees, but these necklaces totally won me over! No sting, just stunning! You are one of my wire work/metal work heroes!

  14. Yes. The copper on copper! The subtleties and variations! The mixed metal... Yes. I love you toggle, too.

  15. Hi Keirsten, just stopping by to say how delightful your blog is. Thanks so much for sharing. I have recently found your blog and am now following you, and will visit often. Please stop by my blog and perhaps you would like to follow me also. Have a wonderful day. Hugs, Chris

  16. OOOOOH - all I can say is I love them!

  17. Well now I need to win the lottery so I can buy all of these gorgeous beads! You did a beautiful job!

  18. I love how you used a toggle as your focal. Both are gorgeous—simplistic in style, but the elements of each necklace are oh-so rich with detail—I love that!