Blog Hops and Challenges

Petals

It’s reveal day for this month’s Art Elements Challenge and the theme for July is flowers. I have plenty of floral beads in my stash, but with not much time to make, I thought I would use a couple of pairs of ceramic charms from Natalie Fletcher-Jones. She has been making some fun new styles featuring petals, which she sells through Facebook at a few different groups.

For each pair, I have kept things simple, letting the charms be the hero of the design. The first pair drove me crazy trying to wrap the little teardrop beads, until I realised I had some fine jumprings that I could thread through the holes. Phew!

And for the second pair, I went even more minimalist, just dangling the charms from a coordinating bead. Easy-peasy but quite sweet.

Please forgive the somewhat dark photos, there wasn’t much light left by the time I took these pictures!

This challenge is a blog hop with plenty of other designers joining in. Please visit them if you can!

Here is a list of the Visiting Artists:
Alysen
Cat
Divya
Evie and Beth
Jill
Hope
Kathy
Linda
Louise
Martha
Melissa
Michelle
Rozantia
Sarah
Sarajo
Tammy

And the Art Elements Blog Contributors:
Caroline
Cathy
Claire
Jenny
Laney
Lesley
Marsha
Susan

Advertisements
Beads, Blog Hops and Challenges

Fields of flowers: Art Journey Four

After missing Art Journey Three due to family events, it’s lovely to get back to creating with art beads. Art Bead Scene’s Art Journey Four features the art of Odilon Redon:

Bertrand-Jean Redon was commonly known as Odilon Redon (April 20, 1840 – July 6, 1916). His nickname was derived from his mother’s name, Odile. He was a Symbolist painter and printmaker, born in Bordeaux, Aquitaine, France. Redon is one of the most important and original of all the Symbolist artists. Symbolists relied on dreams, emotions, ideas and feelings. They valued the artist’s reveal of their own personal truth. Redon’s work was visionary and focused on the world of his own personal dreams, imagination and fantasy.  Redon believed that art could transcend the everyday and open onto a marvelous world of the mind.

— Art Bead Scene Studio

The ABS team chose three of his works as our inspiration for this journey, and from these I was most drawn to the painting “Bouquet of Flowers”. I love the variety of different blooms all randomly gathered together in the vase — it’s my kind of bouquet — and the palette and dreamy style evokes the beauty of the flowers.

Bouquet of Flowers, 1900-1905
The young Redon was fascinated with Darwinian biology. His late still lifes like this one show a keen naturalist’s eye paired with a vivid imagination. He combined many types of blooms in an explosion of color and shape, much like fireworks in the sky. The vase that was used frequently in such paintings came from his ceramacist friend Marie Botkin.

Around the same time that this Art Journey began, Gaea Cannaday released a series of floral pendants featuring wildflowers, and they really remind me of this painting. I was lucky enough to score a few of them and used two to make necklaces.

The first necklace features flowers spilling out of a vessel, a bowl or vase. I added a chain of Czech glass flowers in different shapes, colours and sizes, knotted onto waxed linen and finished off with a bit of chain around the neck. Note the little bird bead on one side and ceramic round on the other side, which came with the pendant — Gaea makes delightful little bead/pendant sets for her Facebook group sales.

The second necklace uses a pendant made of dark brown, almost black clay, with flowers reaching up like wildflowers in a field. I added two-holed Czech glass flower beads with seed bead spacers and a dragonfly clasp. I wasn’t sure if the flower beads would work the way I wanted them to but it looks amazing! I think I might end up keeping this one for me.

I really enjoyed making these two necklaces, so thank you Art Bead Scene for the inspiration! I’m looking forward to the next Art Journey!

Beads, Blog Hops and Challenges

A Gift From the Sea: Art Journey Two

Art Bead Scene’s Art Journey Two is about to end, and I’ve just managed to slide in under the wire! This Journey has focused on the illustrations of Virginia Frances Sterrett, an American artist whose short career illustrating fairy tales flourished during 1920s. Sadly she died of tuberculosis in 1931.

Art Bead Scene selected three of her fairy tale illustrations as starting points for this challenge, and I chose Proserpina and the Sea Nymphs, an illustration in the book Tanglewood Tales (1921), as my inspiration for this necklace.

Proserpina and the Sea Nymphs
From Tanglewood Tales (1921) illustrated by Virginia Frances Sterrett

The focal is one of Jenny Davies-Reazor‘s amulets, a polymer clay shadow box containing a pearly shell much like the shell held aloft by one of the sea nymphs in the illustration. The pale aqua and teal colours of the illustration, which darken to an inky blue almost perfectly match the colours of Jenny’s amulet. I added a small length of English cut Czech glass beads in frosty aquas, and finished it off with a length of bright copper chain, which provides a lovely contrast to the blues much like the coppery colours of the kelp in Sterrett’s artwork.

I do wish I had time to make some more pieces based on these illustrations, they are so rich with pattern and colours, very inspiring! Thanks again Art Bead Scene! I’m looking forward to Art Journey Three!

Beads, Blog Hops and Challenges

Hoot Hoot

It’s reveal day for the Art Elements February challenge and this month’s theme, chosen by Cathy Spivey Mendola, is Birds of Prey. My bird of prey of choice is the owl, although my owl is definitely on the cute side rather than the formidable side!

I picked out a small owl pendant by Erin Prais-Hintz from my stash, and knotted it up with a selection of Czech glass beads on orange waxed linen, finishing it off with a little brass chain around the back of the neck. It’s a simple piece, but with the blue and orange colour scheme quite striking. The back of the owl is stamped “hoot hoot”, hence the name of the piece.

And at the very last minute while I was putting things away, I found a pair of earring charms from Humblebeads in her faux tin style, with owls (I had been looking for them but they were in a place I didn’t expect to find them!). I love making earrings, they come together so quickly.

Thanks for the theme Cathy, owls are a favourite around here, and even the cute ones are predators. This is a blog hop, so please have a look to see what others have been inspired by the theme to make:

Guests:

Tammy

Beth

Cat

Anita

Kathy

Alysen

Linda

Rozantia

Jennifer

Hope

Sarajo

Melissa  <– YOU ARE HERE

Sarah

Team Members: 

Caroline 

Cathy

Claire

Jen

Jenny

Karen 

Laney

Lesley

Lindsay

Marsha

Niky

Sue

Beads, Blog Hops and Challenges

A ring a month: February

50493339_10218718172173194_5108012537937395712_n

Here we are almost at the end of February and I’ve managed to make my second ring. The theme this month was Music and Lyrics and I have to say, it was a tricky one! In the end I decided to go for a simple stamped ring band. But then the next problem was: what lyrics could I stamp on the ring?

The artist was easy, I’ve long been a fan of Paul Kelly, an iconic Australian musician whose lyrics are evocative and poetic. However, Paul Kelly has a back catalogue of hundreds of songs. I really would have liked to do the iconic line “From little things, big things grow” from the song of the same name but it had too many words for a ring! Maybe one of these days I will decorate a bracelet or a necklace with those words.

Instead I pulled a line from a song that always reminds me of the early days with my husband, We’ve Started a Fire, both because of the lyrics and because the album came out at that time, so we would listen to it a lot.

The lyrics in the second verse are:

Kiss me, then let me go before the sun is high

One kiss—one spark!

Danger when the powder is dry

We’re just two children playing with matches

Hidden from the world

We’ve started a fire

We’ve started a fire

We’ve started a fire

We can’t put out

(Paul Kelly 1994, from the album Wanted Man)

The ring is made with a pewter ring blank from Beaducation and stamped with the second line above — one kiss one spark — I stamped it on the flat blank and then shaped it.

One kiss one spark rings

As you can see, I actually made two rings, one for me and one for him.

Next month’s theme has just been announced — you’ll have to wait and see what it is. But I think it’s time I started playing with fire, don’t you think?

Beads, Blog Hops and Challenges

Butterfly Dreams: Art Journey One

Art Bead Scene has refreshed its monthly art challenge for 2019, providing more time, more art and more inspiration! The new challenges have been renamed Art Journeys and the first one features two lovely nature illustrations by Art Bead Scene leader Heather Powers.

IMG_3688

In Heather’s words:

I love drawing things that nurture the soul, relish in the simple life and celebrate the every day.

I created this piece to represent the light within each of us, our ability to be kind, loving and uplifting and how that will attract beauty to us.

F34D918B-0766-4CCE-B135-9E4E7D9B437A

I decided to focus on Heather’s moth and butterfly theme for this piece, rather than the colour palette, and pulled out a cute set of beads from Gaea Cannaday to use in a necklace. The colours aren’t quite the same as those in the illustrations, I went for a slightly brighter, summery palette. I also took inspiration from some of Heather’s simple, sweet necklaces, making a tassel using some chiffon ribbon and stringing the pendant I made from the tassel and beads on natural leather.

fullsizeoutput_1881

Thanks for the inspiration Heather, can’t wait for the next Art Journey!

Beads, Blog Hops and Challenges, Classes and new techniques

A ring a month: January

One of my goals for this year is to spend more time playing with metal and honing my metalwork skills. I’ve taken quite a few classes at The Whimsical Bead over the past few years, and last year I took a fantastic 8 week intro course at Melbourne Polytechnic on jewellery making, but I never spend enough time playing on my own, even though I’ve slowly collected most of the gear I need!

So to encourage me to get out to my studio and play, I signed up to do the Make a Ring a Month challenge. Run by Anna Campbell, an Edinburgh-based jeweller. There are something like 300 people doing the challenge. You can see a lot of their creations on Instagram here and there’s a Facebook group too.

Of course having signed myself up, I immediately realised that I would probably not manage to get my first ring done in January because (a) summer school holidays, (b) work and (c) grandparents visiting (and staying in my studio). But I pushed myself into the studio this last weekend (even though it was February) determined to get my first ring done.

fullsizeoutput_187e
(Image by Anna Campbell-Hall)

January’s theme was texture. Because I don’t have my soldering gear set up properly yet, I though I would do a riveted ring rather than a soldered ring. I followed a tutorial on the Beaducation website for a riveted tab ring, with a few minor changes — I had to use copper rivets instead of sterling as that’s all I had. All good though, and I managed to complete my ring in a couple of hours (there were lots of breaks to watch the video lesson and to find the things I needed).

fullsizeoutput_187c

Texture-wise, the sterling band has been hammered to give it a light texture, while the copper tab was cut from an embossed sheet. The ring was lightly patinaed with liver of sulfur to bring out the details.

A couple of things I’ve learned from making the first ring: I need to get better at measuring and sizing rings. And I definitely need to get better at taking photos of rings. Sterling doesn’t photograph well on my usual neutral grey background, I had to take the photo above on black paper. I also took a photo of my husband wearing the ring, what do you think of this photo?

fullsizeoutput_187d

Now I need to think about February’s theme: Music and Lyrics. Should I try stamping a message on a ring? I think that would be rather nice, but what lyrics should I choose? I guess I’ve got a couple of weeks to think about it, stay tuned!