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!

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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

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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(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).

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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?

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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!

 

Beads, Blog Hops and Challenges, Books

Diana’s moon earrings

It is such a long time since I last blogged, I think I posted just once last year. I’m hoping to get more into it this year, but we’ll see if that happens. There are a number of regular challenges I hope to take part in.

Anyway, I digress. This pair of earrings is doing double duty, as a piece for Art Elements’ monthly challenge, which for January is Moon, and also for Allegory Gallery’s Inspired by Reading Book Club, for which the book of the month is Deborah Harkness‘s book A Discovery of Witches, one of my favourite reads of the last few years.

A Discovery of Witches is the first book in the All Soul Trilogy, a series about a witch and a vampire, two of  three “creature” races that live amongst us. Diana, a historian and reluctant witch who refuses to knowingly use her magical powers, inadvertently calls up a long-lost alchemical manuscript from the depths of Oxford’s Bodleian Library, which promises answers to the origins of the supernatural races, witches, vampires and daemons. Scared by it, she sends it back and it disappears again, but not before it has been noticed. Pursued by other creatures who want the book, she runs straight into the arms of Matthew, a 1500 year old vampire and the two fall in love, which is, of course, forbidden between the races. The series is about their hunt for the manuscript, and for its meaning for creatures. It has also recently been made into a TV series.

So how does this relate to the moon? At one point in the book, Diana calls on her namesake, the goddess Diana, who makes an appearance in later volumes as well. Diana is the Roman Goddess of the Hunt and is also strongly associated with the moon.

The moon gave me a way to do both challenges at once. These earrings have a beautiful pair of enamelled charms from Anne Gardanne, featuring a silvery crescent moon on a deep blue background. I’ve paired them with a couple of silver owl beads, that just seemed to want to go with the moons. I’m quite pleased with them, they are simple but rather pretty (and I’ve just realised that one of the owls is upside down — oopsy! Good thing these are for me!).

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I made another moon necklace last year that I was rather pleased with, that I don’t think I have posted on this blog, It features a Gaea Cannaday resin and copper pendant showcasing one of her gorgeous moon paintings. And even though it wasn’t made specifically for this challenge, I think it’s quite fitting that I show it off here.

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If you’d like to see what other people made for the Inspired by Reading challenge, check out the Facebook group. And to see the other Art Elements Moon creations, please check out the blogs of the other participants below:

Jenny

Melissa

Kathy

Sarajo

Hope

Sarah

Rebecca

Divya

Anita

RosantiaR

Cat

Evia

Alysen

Beth

Tammy

Art Elements Crew:

Claire

Laney

Caroline

Cathy

Sue 

Niky

Jenny

Jen

Lindsay

 

Beads, Blog Hops and Challenges

Tide pool earrings

Gosh it’s so long since I last posted, I can’t even remember! Work, kids, not enough time to create, let alone come up with a blog post. Anyway. Here I am, and maybe I’ll manage to post a bit more often over the next few months.

Today’s post was inspired by a blog challenge set up by the lovely folks at Art Elements, who have decided to hold a monthly themed creative challenge. This month’s theme: tide pools.

As I was thinking about tide pools, I thought about some that I am very familiar with, at Wye River on the coast of Victoria. Wye River is a small village, hamlet even, at the point where the Wye River (which is really a stream) hits the Southern Ocean. It’s a lovely spot, and my parents had a little holiday house there until about two years ago when it was destroyed in a rather nasty bushfire on Christmas Day. Thankfully no one was hurt, but subsequent delays in rebuilding mean that I haven’t been down there since not long after the fire went through.

One of the things I most liked to do when staying in Wye River was going for a long wander along the beach. At the far end, the sand gives way to a rocky tide pool-y stretch of coastline, and I took great pleasure in meandering along, peering into each pool, pointing out the anemones and tiny crabs to the kids.

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The surf can be pretty strong along that part of the coast and the tide pools are rugged, with anemones and limpets attached firmly to the rocks, so the rushing waters don’t sweep them away, and hardy seaweeds in the deeper pools. There are tiny pools found in the fissures of the rocks, too, usually harbouring a few anemones.

Wye River Rocks

I’d love to have had the time to make a little tide pool of my own, using resin and shells collected from the beaches down there, but I need to learn the best way of doing that first I think! So instead I dug through my beads to find something that inspired me: a pair of enamelled charms from Anne Gardanne. A couple of tossed and tumbled Czech glass rondelles and voila! Tide pool earrings!

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I’ve got some enamelled shells from Anne as well, so they may become necklaces in the near future.

This is a blog hop, so visit some of the other blogs to see what they were inspired to create!

AE Team Members:

Jenny

Caroline

Cathy

Claire

Jen 

Laney 

Lesley

Marsha 

Niky

Sue

Lindsay

Guests

Raven

Kelly

Cat

Kathy 

Tammy 

Alyson

Elaine 

Mischelle 

Deborah  

Anita 

Jill

Shirlee

Sarajo