Channelling Lalique: Beading Back in Time Blog Hop

It’s the final challenge of the year in Lindsay Starr and Sherri Stokey’s Beading Back in Time Blog Hop series. And this time, we get to choose our favourite historical period to inspire our designs.

For this challenge I have chosen, rather than a specific time period, an artist—René Lalique—who worked across a couple of significant (and favourite) design periods, Art Nouveau and Art Deco, as my inspiration. Lalique was a glass artist known for his glass sculptures, perfume bottles, vases, jewellery, automobile hood ornaments, and more. Although he started designing as one of the pioneering artists in the Art Nouveau style, he really became well known for his Art Deco work.

Some months ago, my attention was caught by some beautiful glass beads by Lesley McIver, a lampworker in New Zealand. Lesley is pretty active on some of the Facebook auction sites and I was lucky enough to acquire both an earring pair and a larger focal bead in her rose design, which is inspired by Lalique’s work.

I browsed through images of Lalique’s designs, in particular the perfume bottles, and came across this one, which may have been Lesley’s inspiration. However, on further investigation it seems the design may be a more recent one by Lalique’s granddaughter, circa 1979, but I still think it is representative of his Art Deco style. In any case it provided me with my own inspiration, to invert the rose beads like the decorative stoppers on Lalique perfume bottles.

Lalique Samoa perfume bottle (image from Pinterest)

Lalique Samoa perfume bottle (image from Pinterest)

The earrings, which are actually quite large, feature frosted lavender roses atop enameled filigree beads by Bellissimo Jewels here in Melbourne. The enamel is another nod to Lalique who designed beautiful cloisonné as well as glass. I am not entirely happy with the choice of earwires as I’d prefer slightly less oxidised copper, but that’s what I had to hand. I will change them over when I can.


The necklace has a gorgeous focal sized rose in blue, which fades to a pale blue toward the end of the petals. This one I’ve paired with a rather special lampwork bead by Michele Smith, a Hawaiian lampworker, which was gifted to me by a friend last year (apologies, I haven’t been able to find a link for this artist). The bead is a gorgeous encased flower with some black stringer work. I’ve kept the rest of it fairly simple, with a couple of deco-inspired vintage Czech glass beads (circa 1980s!) wire-wrapped along the length of an etched oval copper chain.

Lalique necklace

Many thanks to Lindsay and Sherri for setting up these challenges, I didn’t manage to do all of them because life gets in the way sometimes, but I did very much enjoy the two I did do. I’m looking forward to whatever they dream up in 2016!

And of course, this is a blog hop, so I’ve included the list of participants below!

Sherri Stokey <—–Co-Host
Lindsay Starr <—–Co-Host
Anastasia Kristala Urbanski
Jenny Davies-Reazor
Stephanie Haussler
Niky Sayers
Melissa Trudinger <—– You Are Here!
Kelly Rodgers
Michelle McCarthy

Wish Upon a Star: Superstition Blog Hop


Today is Friday 13th, one of the most superstitious days on the calendar. And Tammy from Paisley Lizard has organised a blog hop to celebrate it. Tammy challenged us to create a piece inspired by a superstition.

I’ve always been intrigued by superstitions—they fascinate me. Even though I tend toward a scientific outlook on life, I find myself looking for lucky four leaf clovers and wishing on the first star I see in the sky in the evening without a second thought. So I decided to choose the latter as my inspiration.

The idea of wishing on a falling or shooting star dates back to the ancient world and wishing on the first star of the evening may be even older, according to Wikipedia. I wanted to incorporate a shooting star into my design. I’m also on a bit of a leather and metal kick at the moment—if you follow me on Facebook or Instagram you might have seen some cuff bracelets I’ve been making recently (which I will blog about next week)—and this challenge was a good opportunity to play with both.

I had a leaf shaped Vintaj blank that I trimmed and filed smooth, and combined with a star shaped blank to make my shooting star. And I stamped the words “wish upon a star” onto another blank. I used Vintaj patina in Nouveau Silver to colour the blanks silver and darkened the stamped words so they were visible. The biggest challenge was getting the rivet holes the right size, as I wanted to use the Tierracast rivets to fasten the metal to the black leather cuff, and I didn’t have a punch that produced large enough holes so I had to do a lot of filing with a small circular file to enlarge the holes. Still, I got there in the end!

Wish upon a star

I’m pretty pleased with the cuff. I have a bit to learn still about stamping and riveting, but I have to say it’s good fun!

Now it’s time for you to hop along to see the rest of the participants in the Superstition blog hop. Thanks Tammy for a fun challenge!

Tammy Adams (Hostess)                          

Renee Hong                                                  

Betony Maiden                                             

Coral Law                                                      

Lee Koopman                                               

Jeanette Belmont                                         

Shai Williams                                                

Beth McCord                                                 

Robin Lynne Showstack                              

Lori Blanchard                                              

Deb Fortin                                                      

Michelle McCarthy                                       

Maria Rosa Sharrow                                     

Kim Dworak                                                   

Divya N                                                           

Karin Grosset Grange                                  

Mowse Doyle                                                 

Rebecca White                                              

Shawneen Fagnani                                       

Catherine King                                              

Brook Bock                                                    

Kari Asbury                                                   

Nan Smith                                                      

Carolyn Lawson                                            

Linda Anderson                                            

Ann Schroeder                                              

Melissa Trudinger                                         <– YOU ARE HERE!

Kathy Lindemer                                            

This is Halloween

Or rather, that was Halloween! Blink and you miss things these days! Well, in our case, a horde of children descended on our house to go trick or treating in our neighbourhood (how nice that it was a Saturday night!), that’s my excuse anyway.

But I thought I would show you a few scary bits and pieces that I celebrated the season with! I took part in a Halloween jewellery swap. My partner and I had to make each other some Halloween jewellery. I had actually ordered a rather snazzy lampwork sugar skull focal just before I went away on my big adventure, but sadly it didn’t survive the trip in the post (which was literally just across town), so the artist, Pauline Delaney, kindly offered to make me a new one. Complicating it all was the fact that the first skull was sent in good time for me to receive it before I left on holiday but then took more than a week to travel across town (happily Pauline is local). So I didn’t find out until I got back from my trip, and then it took a little while for Pauline to make and send the replacement.

Anyway. It all got sorted nicely and my skull arrived in the mail. The next challenge was to work out what to do with it. I have to admit to having a bit of designers’ block on what to do. I pulled out lots of beads but couldn’t come up with something I liked. So I turned to Pinterest and went looking for inspiration. And what do you know! I found it! After seeing some skull beads (mostly in earrings I admit) with tasselled skirts, I played around and came up with a sari silk tassel to match the flowers on the back of the skull, flowing from a Fallen Angel Brass black tulip bead cap. The accompanying beads went into a wire wrapped necklace along with a few Czech glass flowers, and Vintaj Arte Metal chain.

Sugar skull collage

While I was in the mood for skulls, I also put together a few pairs of cute earrings, featuring some tiny dyed howlite skulls with floral skirts. A pair of these plus the necklace went off in the mail to my swap partner Janeen, who lives in California.


And on Monday, Dia de los Muertos, aka Day of the Dead (the Mexican holiday which celebrates and honours the dead), I received a marvellous necklace and earrings from Janeen (she received her package that day too!). The necklace she sent me features polymer clay skulls by Staci Louise Smith, and I love it! Thanks again Janeen!


Danse Macabre Blog Hop

A couple of days ago was the reveal date for Lee Koopman’s Danse Macabre Blog Hop. Sadly I’m late for it, but better late than never I guess. My sincere apologies to Lee!

Anyway. We were asked to choose a macabre character, either a generic character or a fictional (TV, books etc) character and create something, not necessarily jewellery, for them.

Well, the character I chose is not really macabre, perhaps more humorous! It all comes back to our recent trip to the US. As part of the trip we went to Universal Studios in Florida, where the big drawcard for our family was the Wizarding World of Harry Potter. Just outside the entrance to Diagon Alley was the Knight Bus, the triple-decker bus which transports magical folk around London. Conductor Stan Shunpike along with a shrunken head sporting dreadlocks and telling jokes in a rasta accent (as seen in the movie Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban), greet visitors to WWHP, make jokes and pose for photos.

Here are my three little wizards posing with Stan and the head.


I picked up some of Joan Miller‘s beads at BeadFest including a couple of her tiny shrunken head charms. Now these ones don’t have dreadlocks like the shrunken head on the Knight Bus, but they are a fetching shade of purple (just like the bus). With the addition of some waxed linen “dreads” in a dark plum colour, I think these earrings would make a great little souvenir for a witch visiting London for the first time! What do you think?


Thank you Lee for a fun little blog hop! I’m already looking forward to next year’s event!

In the meantime, here are the other participants in the Danse Macabre, please head over and have a look at their creations.

Lee Koopman                           Strega Jewellry

Sam Waghorn                           Pale Moon Creations

Dini Bruinsma                            Angaza by Changes

Mowse Doyle                              Mouse Made This

Robin Showstack                        The Crazy Bead Hoarder

Amy Jorgensen                           Hoarders Corner

Nan Smith                                    Wired Nan

Tammy Adams                             Paisley Lizard

Catherine King                              Catherine’s Musings

Michelle McCarthy                         Firefly Designs Studio

Betony Maiden                             Beadwenches Blog

Becca White                                  Morgana Fey Creations

Kim Dworak                                   Cianci Blue

Tami Norris                                   Tamis Creative Spot

Inge Von Roos                               Inge’s Blog

Terry Jeanette Carter                    Tapping Flamingo

Deb Fortin                                       Mhoti Studio

Melissa Trudinger                           Bead Recipes

BeadFest part 4 — the people and the swaps

One last BeadFest post and then I’m done, promise! This time I want to mention a few of the people I met at BeadFest and afterwards. I’ve been involved in the beading/jewellery design online community for a few years now, blogging, taking part in challenges, swapping beads and chatting on Facebook. So it was fabulous to meet some of the people I have talked to over the last few years.

I took with me a little stash of art beads from some of my favourite Aussie beadmakers—Natalie Fletcher-Jones, Melissa Gabelle (a new discovery), Pauline Delaney, and more to swap with friends I met on my travels (by the way, these three beadmakers are very active on FB bead groups including Australian Art Beads which is a great page for buying beads). I should have taken a picture of it all before I left, but alas, I didn’t.

One of the people I was really hoping to meet was Lori Anderson. As luck would have it, we walked into each other right outside the expo hall, as she was arriving with her son Zach and I was leaving. Of course I knew her immediately from her pink hair! We chatted happily for 10-15 minutes, and had hoped to catch up later that day or the next day, but unfortunately she was unwell and had to leave before we managed to meet up again. Lori gifted me a lovely bag stuffed full of beads and toggles (and I later sent her a bag of beads too, as I didn’t happen to have them on me that day). Sadly, I didn’t think to take a photo of Lori at the time, but here’s a picture of the gift!

Loris gift

I had lunch another day with Heather Powers, who is the creative soul behind Humblebeads. We had such a good chat! Some of the beads I showed in my last post came from a swap I did with Heather.


At Jenny Davies-Reazor‘s booth, I met not just Jenny but several of the other Art Jewelry Elements bloggers too—Lesley Watt (who came over from the UK to attend the show), Diana Ptaszynski and Linda Landig (who took photos but managed to stay out of one herself!). There were definitely swapsies involved with Jenny, Lesley and Diana, and they kindly allowed me to rest my poor tired feet behind their stand.

AJE swaps

Michelle McCarthy and I had already arranged to do a swap through a swap group we belong to, and decided to do it in person at the show.

Michelle swaps

And here’s a picture of me and Marsha Neal, just because!


After BeadFest there were a few more chances to meet people and to swap beads via the mail with friends I didn’t get a chance to meet in person.

Lennis Carrier sent me a fabulous selection of art beads, almost all of them with a few coordinating Czech beads as well. We had hoped to catch up in person, but she ended up helping out a friend on the other side of the country instead of coming to BeadFest.


Cory Tompkins sent me a lovely selection of her polymer clay creations, and a stash of other bits and bobs as well. Aren’t those polymer sugar skulls awesome?!

Corys gift

A few weeks after BeadFest I went roadtripping through the southwest with my family and we had dinner with Gina Hockett, another friend from my bead swap group. She gifted me some lovely turquoise cabs (from Judy McCourt), some lampwork beads, and a bracelet and earrings too, as well as some petrified wood pieces for my kids (collected from outside the national park of course!).

Gina swap

It was wonderful to meet online friends in real life, even if it was only for a short time—I will be back! And of course, I would love to see some of my beady friends in Australia one day…

BeadFest part 3 — the art bead shopping

Of course I didn’t forget the art beads at BeadFest. Some of my favourite beadmakers were there, as well as some I have eyed from afar but never seen in person.

A group of beadmakers had a progressive make’n’take going on, so of course I had to play along. The ceramic house is by Diane Hawkey, the copper house frame was made by me on Brenda Schweder’s Now that’s a Jig wire wrapping jig, the dangles are by Nikki Thornburg (who also showed me a cool way to wire-wrap long stems) and the tiny enameled tubes were from C-Koop Beads (who also provided the leather). I’ve worn this a lot as I’ve travelled around the US, it’s nice and light for summer and the colours work beautifully with a lot of my clothing.


I bought a few more beads from Diane Hawkey. The glass beads in the picture were from Beach House Glass Beads.IMG_0860

I also bought some more beads from Nikki Thornburg—some of her headpins. I’m sure I can find some uses for them somewhere!


Between Diane Hawkey and Nikki Thornburg was Marsha Neal Studio. Marsha was absolutely lovely and we chatted for ages (more than once!). I bought a few bead pairs from her, one of her organic pod/vessels (and one for my mum, not pictured) and one of her great wrap bracelet kits. Which I had every intention of making as I travelled but, well, you know …


And I had to buy a few somethings from C-Koop Beads too.


I had lunch with one of my very favourite bead makers, Heather Powers, on Saturday and then had a little splurge at her booth. Such beautiful beads, I could have bought one of everything. We also did a little swap – more on that in the next blog post.


Staci Smith’s stand was full of fabulous treasures. I picked out some fun bits and pieces there, and a gorgeous necklace for my sister in law’s 40th birthday (yes I know I could have just bought some of the components and made something myself, but the necklace just seemed right for her, apologies as I don’t have a picture of it).


Michelle McCarthy, a swap buddy of mine from the old Bead Swap USA group (now disbanded) had a booth of her ceramics (Firefly Design Studio) and I selected some great summery beads and pendants there.


Right next door was Anne Gardanne‘s stall and I picked up some more enameled components there.


I splurged on a few exquisitely made beads from Joan Miller Porcelain. I wanted to buy a lot more.


Green Girls Studios was good for a few more beads too.


At Jenny Davies-Reazor ‘s booth, I picked up one of her mixed media word pendants — this one just called to me and I suspect I’ll be keeping it. And then I did some swapping with the Art Jewelry Elements girls, again more on that tomorrow.


I have to say, it’s fantastic to actually be able to see the beads in person, pick them up and fondle them. Although it makes choosing them even harder.

BeadFest part 2 — some of the shopping

Along with the classes, BeadFest has a huge expo hall full of bead sellers—everything from tables covered with semi-precious gems to small artisan beadmakers (those were my favourites). The expo was at least 10 times bigger than the Aussie bead shows (makes sense – the population in the US is a bit more than 10 times that in Australia too) and I spent hours there (and lots of money too).

I didn’t buy much in the way of semi-precious stones, as (a) I don’t use them all that often and (b) I can get a lot of them in Australia for much the same price. But I did get a few strands of large-holed beads and some nice matte-finish red creek jasper. The blue is dumortierite and the one below it is impression jasper. These were all from Dakota Stones.


It was nice to look at all the tools available (except I could never get a look-in on the Lindstrom pliers, oh well, kind of out of my price range anyway). I tried out the Xuron pliers and the Wubbers, and liked the former more than the latter, but found them on Amazon cheaper than at the show. I looked longingly at Brenda Schweder’s Now That’s a Jig, but right now I don’t do enough wire-wrapping to justify the US$200 pricetag. I did buy some Impressart stamps as they had a buy 5, get a 6th for free deal.


Speaking of wire, I bought some of that too—it can actually be quite expensive here and I use quite a bit of it.

I was a bit disappointed that there were not more high quality components there – companies like Vintaj, TierraCast and Nunn. I think a few sellers had bits and pieces but that was about all. Probably a good thing for my bank account though!

But then I discovered Saki Silver and I got some great earwires in silver as well as copper (both antiqued and not), and some buttons too.


The Bead Goes On had some great Indonesian seed beads and some lovely Thai copper (and silver too, but I didn’t buy any of that).


I got some nice sari silk in bright colours I haven’t seen before from Fiber and Beads.


Some seed bead blends in my favourite 6/0 size beads.


And I stocked up on some of my favourite styles of Czech glass beads at Nirvana Beads. I think my mind is turning toward summer as I seem to be drawn to the blues at the moment.


I’ll talk about the art beads in the next post.