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).

Sunday, May 30, 2010

Acquired Wealth

As opposed to inherited wealth. I have neither. (Unless you count my beads. I have converted a good portion of my negotiable currency to beads and bead-related items. When we experience a complete societal breakdown and dissolution of our financial markets I'll be the richest broad in town.)

The pendant on the necklace above was entitled, on the Happy Mango Beads site where I found it, "Acquired Wealth." Maybe this is what rich Ghanaians wear, or used to wear, as a badge of wealth. I don't know. But I keep rubbing it like a Buddha, hoping some of that wealth will come my way. (Well, if somebody buys it, it will.)

I was sitting in my studio (which we also use as a living room), pondering what I should make, feeling a little bit of designer's block. I went and pawed through my pendant stash and came up on this one, with a vague idea for a color scheme. I actually then completed a necklace with it and didn't like it. So I cut it up and started over. Kept the garnet and carnelian, and added the "trade beads" (I'm not entirely sure about this, as the 12-year-old clerk at the bead store seemed to be improvising when I asked her what they were--if anybody can verify this, please do!). They look like red agate to me with some sort of etched stripe applied--they're really stunning. (The little girl also informed me they were planning to stick around, which I hope was true.) I'm wishing now I had used some wire spiral tubes I made instead of the commercial ones that are on there, but I think it's all right.

I really need to get a life.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

An Aegean Adventure

In your mind. Without even leaving home. Or getting dressed. Except for this one thing.

Fathomless, glassy teal blue quartz like the sea; Soochow jade in translucent terra cotta, soft olive green, creamy celadon and caramel apple; golden jade in a dusty apricot; two lonely serpentine roundels in variegated moss green and black; and burnished copper.

Focal made in Ghana, West Africa--a stylized leaf medallion in a rustic melding of copper and brass; hand-formed copper chain and beadcaps; and Delica glass seed beads in captivating finishes--matte denim blue, and opalescent palest peach. Focal from Happy Mango Beads; seed beads from Fusion Beads.

Oh man, now I want some spanikopita. Really really bad.

Monday, May 24, 2010

So Famous It's WRONG

I have to say I'm just overwhelmed with my own popularity. Perfectly exhausted by the notoriety. I mean, bombarded day and night (but not, like, in a row) by fan mail, and "you're in my treasury" convos. Mon Dieu, how many treasuries can one artiste be in, in 38 days?

Seven. (I just counted). It's seven. (Ah, the magic of tagging and prosaic, tediously descriptive item titles).

Check this shit out (in chronological order):

These treasuries are gorgeous works of art all by themselves! (If you click on them it will take you to my Flickr page and I think they'll be a little bigger). I would have them made into posters and framed. (With the little circles on my items. And maybe a big red arrow.) I think I already posted the camel kissing one, but it's my favorite ever so I couldn't leave it out. And how cool Sandra put me in hers with Leslie, Cindy and Mary Jane and their gorgeous stuff! Thanks Sandra! What an honor! The green one reawakened my obsession with felt bowls, and I'm totally intrigued by Aslancrafts' polymer clay beads. And I'm pretty sure I'm going to need a clay hand and some vanilla buttercream soap. And some Red Hill Beads. And a leather rabbit mask.

I have to start making treasures--with the Treasury East thing you don't have to circle like a vulture all day long waiting for a spot to open up. It will give me something new to check obsessively during the day. ("Did my treasury make it to the front page? Not yet. ... OK, how about now? ... Dang! ... OK--Now! DANG!")

Wow, my horn kind of hurts. I think I was tooting it too vigorously.

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Lynda's "Vintage Ephemera" Bead All Grown Up

Well, I was pretty eager to get cracking on creating a necklace for the fabulous "vintage ephemera" bead Lynda Moseley of Diva Designs sent me. (Please see my previous post for more details on her stunning polymer clay beads and focals). I had the design in my head already, mostly, and it was just a matter of playing with it a little. I knew I wanted to use a bunch of the wonderful antique-silver-plated chain I just got from Lima Beads the other day, and red agate and labradorite, and probably some pearls. This is how that all eventually shook out:

I decided to add a couple of my nickel beadcaps to the focal, as the holes were fairly large and I wanted the bail to be really sturdy on it. I balled one end of a long piece of 20 gauge sterling silver wire in my torch, hammered it a bit, and strung a bunch of 3mm beads on it inside the focal, to tighten up the fit inside because I didn't want it wobbling. Then I had to stick down the beadcaps with some Hypocement, to keep them from moving around. Then I just started wrapping all my stones. The Dremel came in handy when it was time to polish!

I made it fairly long--the longer strand is 26"--because I felt the focal needed a dramatic sweep of stones and chain. You can see the length better here:

The chains featured here from Lima are the double cable chain (silver plated steel), flat oval chain (also silver plated steel), and a delicate ladder chain (silver plated brass). The have a great feel to them. The ladder chain is actually the same chain I make myself, just with a much rounder, hammered loop, and much finer. I'm going to make some of this in a larger gauge! I love the rounded, hammered portion.

Lynda, I hope you're pleased with how your "baby" has grown up. It made it all come together so easily--it really is a joy to design around a beautiful art bead. Thanks again, Lynda!

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Have Dremel, Will Travel

MONTHS ago I wired up this pineapple quartz point, and did the two short strands of Czech yellow opal crackle glass. I've been carting them around in a baggie ever since, waiting for sufficient motivation to accumulate in order to finish it. Last night the mouthy little angel on my right shoulder was telling me I should be productive, and I thought, I know, I'll do that thing that's already half done. And I'll add that chain I already made. All I really had to do was link everything together and polish it. I Dremeled the wrapping on the pendant, and hit the strands of glass with my steel wool and then the Dremel. The Dremel makes me unspeakably happy. The chain is currently doing another round in the tumbler. I  just love this pineapple quartz--the entire strand has swirls of iceberg blue that glow like Galadriel's Phial when the light hits them.
Unfortunately, I think the bead shop where I got these, and my favorite apple green howlite roundels, and other fabulous stuff, is going out of business. Her inventory is dwindling and she's not replacing it, and I haven't had the heart to ask if she's closing up shop. If she is, though, I'll have to go make a BIG SCORE at her closeout sale!!!!

For more information on this item, CLICK HERE.

Friday, May 21, 2010

I Dub Thee, Lynda, the Queen of Fauxtiquities

I was cruising around on Flickr, and discovered an artist who makes the most astounding beads and focals from polymer clay--looks like she robbed an archeological site of its most luminous treasures! Everybody, meet Lynda of Diva Designs.

I just fell in love with her focals in particular, and found myself often oohing and aahing over her things on Flickr.  In a fit of wonderment over the pendant focal below, I fervently declared her the Queen of Fauxtiquities:

Look at the HIEROGLYPHICS on there!!!  I adore hieroglyphics.

She was so thrilled with this moniker (which I confess I didn't think up myself--rather I had heard it elsewhere and appropriately appended it to her) that she offered me one of her beads as a thank you!! Well I just about DIED.  Of course I wanted the dragonfly one above but it was sold.  DAMMIT.  So I went "shopping" on her Flickr site.  Well, in addition to the stamped/embossed styles above, she has a whole line of image transfer beads and focals.  I decided to go with something that would force me to design something I wouldn't normally do.  I chose the one below:

It also has a spot of lovely brick red on it (it's on the right in this photo, pictured with one of its fellows):

I got it the other day in the mail from Lynda and have been fondling it regularly ever since.  Mine mine MINE!!! Love the silver eyelet detail at either end.  I have a design in my mind for it and hope to get to it this weekend.

There is so much fabulousness in her Flickr stream, I can't fit it all here. But I'm sure as heck going to try. Look at this:

And this:

And this:

And this!
I could go on and on:
And on:

Phew! And there's lots more!!! But I'll stop now before I become slavishly fawning, or before I reach my Blogger photo limit.

I highly encourage you to check out Lynda's Flickr photostream, stop by her blog, and visit her Etsy shop. Her designs are a feast for the eyes! She even has tutorials for sale in her Etsy shop on how to create your own image transfer components with polymer clay.

Have fun!!

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

My First Button

I've been intrigued by buttons in jewelry for quite a while, but had been putting off designing anything around a button.  Well, I was finally forced to use my first button last week out of sheer necessity--the eventual wearer is very sensitive to metals, and the buyer and I settled on a button and loop closure in lieu of a traditional clasp to avoid as much irritation as possible.

I found this sweet little resin shank button in brown and oatmeal in the shape of a poppy at the local knitting store--even the shank was plastic so there's no metal at all in it. I created the loop from glass tile beads in peridot.  The necklace is strung on two different gauges of brown silk cord. I hid tiny little silver daisy spacers deep between the wood wheel beads where they won't touch the wearer's skin, but they add just a little bit of shine. 

The beads include ice flake quartz in olive green, porcelain in olive and black, amber, glass tile beads in peridot and a soft whiskey color, tiny glass seed beads in a matte cocoa finish, and lots of wood. I like it best twisted a little.

It was a little challenging to make; I thought half a card per strand would be enough (1 meter) but the knots took up a lot more length than I expected and I had to add a length of thread to one of the strands about 3/4 through to finish it off.  (It's about 19" long). Worked out fine, but I had to do some engineering.  Changed my mind twice about three or four strands, and eventually settled on four.  Phew.  I was nervous because you can't really undo those knots without wrecking the thread, and once you're started, you're committed.  The only way to change your mind is to cut it up and start over.  I'm kind of surprised I didn't have to do that!!  Lesson I learned: if you put enough crap in it, it'll look fine no matter what.  The buyer loved it, hopefully her birthday-girl friend will love it too!

I really want to do another piece like this with another button--I have an idea percolating, inspired by our stormy, glowering lilac-charcoal skies and the vivid trees with their tiny, brand new lime green leaves.  Might have to do some button shopping.

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Moonbeams and Leather

Myriad hand-torched sterling silver double-ended ball headpins flare and writhe like wild blue-fire moonbeams from a wrapped ring of dark, polished steel wire. This "flaming moon" hangs from a double strand of buckskin deer leather and a length of antique silver plated steel rollo chain. Additional chain links randomly dot the leather lacing. The leather is securely wrapped onto figure 8 sterling connectors with additional sterling silver wire.

I made this pendant at the same time I made my "flaming moon" earrings but couldn't decide what to do with it. I tried black leather, then black silk string, and it just wasn't right. When I found this deerskin leather from Magpie Gemstones, it just felt right. It was kind of a bear to attach it to the connectors--the leather is so soft, it's kind of hard to wrap. It looked a little bare, so I removed several links from the chain (it's antique silver-plated steel) and added them to the leather.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Maire Dodd Giveaway!

Mary Jane at Maire Dodd is celebrating her one year blog anniversary with a giveaway! Skip on over to her blog and leave a comment about how YOUR blog has influenced your art and life!

Monday, May 3, 2010

A Boobie Prize GIVEAWAY!!!

That is, a prize in honor of my boobies. Yes, today I got the results for my first ever mammogram--NORMAL!! So in honor of my healthy boobies I am having a giveaway.
These earrings can be yours:

Genuine amber and iolite, with antique silver plated flower beadcaps and antique silver plated "crinkle" chain from Ornamenta on my hand-formed sterling silver earwires, all polished with my brand new DREMEL, courtesy of Mommy and Stepdad! Thanks Mom and Bob! They're about 3" long (7.8 cm), impossibly delicate, and yes, ssssexy.

All you have to do to enter the giveaway is comment on this post with a description of what outfit(s) in your closet you would wear these earrings with. The more detail the better. (If you would have to shop for an outfit to wear with the earrings, describe to everybody the outfit you would look for!) Comments that do not include a description of said outfit(s) will not be considered.

I'll be using random.org to pick a winner next Monday, May 10, 2010. Please leave only one comment because any/all repeats will be deleted.

I thoroughly expect that whoever wins these earrings will think about her boobies, and how important it is to get regular mammograms, whenever she wears them.

P.S. If you want to visit my Etsy shop, CLICK HERE.