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).

Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Art Jewelry Elements April Component of the Month

Lesley Watt, the creative genius behind THEA Jewellery and THEA Elements, is our host this month at Art Jewelry Elements for the April Component of the Month. Lesley is a self-taught jewelry and bead/component artist living in the UK, who works in both precious and base metal clays and ceramic clay. She is especially gifted in creating nature-themed pieces, such as beads and pendants in flower, leaf, and sea motifs, and also more abstract designs with a gentle tribal feel. These are some of my favorites:
For our April challenge, Lesley offered a gorgeous assortment of seashell- and flower-themed glazed ceramic shank buttons:
It was so  hard to choose! I eventually picked the little ammonite at the far right, in terra cotta and cream; I loved the glazing detail and the earthy colors:
 I decided on a button-and-loop closure necklace. Before I began, I wrapped the steel shank in fine copper wire to provide a little buffer for the beading wire I was going to use:
I combined it with large, irregular pink opal nuggets, a spray of iridescent glass beads, and lots of copper. I love the whimsy and personality Lesley's little button adds to the plain beads!
In my opinion, an art bead really takes a piece of jewelry from being merely pretty to being truly memorable and unique.
Thank you Lesley, for the wonderful inspiration!

Be sure to visit all the other participants for more fabulous eye candy!

Saturday, April 26, 2014

Stinky Dog Beads Part I

My fabulous friend Kitty has started a webstore with a truly awesome selection of beads (including art beads), findings and textiles--I've not seen this mix of items anywhere else. I give you: Stinky Dog Beads.

Evocative, yes? I guarantee you won't forget! Especially after you visit and peruse the inventory--you'll also be pleased by the great prices, regular discount offers, and quick shipping.

Here is a little taste of some of my favorites:

Among her unique offerings:
Art beads and findings by Lorelei Eurto, Golem StudioGenea Beads, Birgitta Lejonklou, and Gaea Cannaday among others
Mykonos beads and findings
Shibori ribbon and Japanese Chirimen cording (even the really fat 7mm stuff!)
Wooly Wire
Lots of fabulous Czech glass
Rhinestone rondelle spacers (in black and brass finishes--squeeee!!!)
Czech superduos and rullas
Super funky chain
. . .  and lots more!!

I've become especially fond of the Mykonos items--they just scream ANCIENT GREECE to my pasty W.A.S.P. ears (my mother got Anthony Quinn's autograph in a restaurant once, I think this makes me an honorary Greek. Second generation twice removed.). I made this pendant below with one of the large rings:
Zorba's Treasure
I LOVE this super-rustic undyed waxed Irish linen cording--it's thicker than the regular 4-ply. I got a giant spool of it from Element Beads. Round copper beads and teal glass seed beads from Afrobeadia.

I finally found a home for my "book chain" experiment with this one, and used another large Mykonos ring, a bumpy drop (love dem bumpy drops), and a pair of cones:
Zorba's Other More Expensive Treasure
Those big teal glass ovals in both pieces are from Happy Mango Beads. I LOVE these big glass ovals, I wish they had more. I should have bought five strands of this color instead of one, because what will happen when I run out???? I can't say exactly but it won't be good.

Another item from Stinky Dog (it's catchy, isn't it?) I have become obsessed with is the Unicorn lampwork drops, particularly the "Midnight Special" color:
Trippin' on this
They're strange little beads. I admit I was completely perplexed how to use them at first--you can really only see the glass design when you're looking head-on at the bottom, the way they're oriented up in the picture there. When they're just hanging there like a regular drop, they don't look like much. How to get them to face forward like that all the time....EUREKA!!!
Star Factory
I fashioned little brackets for them from heavy gauge copper ball headpins that I hammered flat--when they're hanging on a wide strip of metal (as opposed to just a round piece) they don't turn around. I WIN. Keirsten-1, Naughty Beads-0. SHAZAM.

Zorba likes it. A lot.

Stay tuned for more Stinky Dog projects!