Rio and Rings: An Olympic Challenge Revealed

A couple of weeks ago I put out a challenge to friends in the beading community to come up with designs inspired by the Olympic Games, which were celebrated in Rio in August. As I said then, I love the Olympic Games, it’s one of the few sporting events I avidly watch (along with the similar but smaller Commonwealth Games and the Winter Olympics). The Aussie team is huge (especially given we are a nation of only 25 million or so people) and usually brings home a few medals, mostly in various watersports like swimming, sailing, canoeing/kayaking, and rowing, and even a few athletics medals as well as random sports like shooting and equestrian events. But while the medals are nice, I just love seeing the camaraderie between athletes of all nationalities and the joy as they compete and win. The sheer athleticism of the gymnasts astounds me, the achievements of superstars like Michael Phelps and Usain Bolt is mindblowing, and I love seeing sports that I’m not familiar with (pingpong anybody? Or perhaps the Modern Pentathlon?). Even the team sports are fun to watch!

In my original post, I mentioned various things that could be used as inspirational jumping off points. I had lots of ideas, such as a metal piece echoing the graceful lines of a gymnast in mid-flight, but sadly I had neither the time nor the metalwork skills to pull that one off! So I went in a different direction.

As a self-confessed colour lover, I was very drawn to the colours used by the Rio Olympics in their logos and branding—vibrant hues of bright blue, orange, yellow and green, in organic, swirling graphics.

2016_Summer_Olympics_logo.svg

I decided to feature those colours in a lariat style necklace. The lampwork beads come from Beatlebaby Glassworks, and they’ve been sitting in a drawer for a couple of years awaiting the right project. The necklace itself is very simple, with the beads strung along a length of 3mm wide chocolate brown deer hide leather, and it can be worn in several ways—wrapped around the neck or even around the wrist as a bracelet.

Lariat necklace

When I was digging out the beads I used above, I found another set of beads—little rings in translucent frosted glass—from the same bead artist, and these made me think of the Olympic Rings, a symbol that above all others says Olympic Games, although they are completely the wrong colours! I used slightly wider deer hide leather in black to string them in another lariat-style necklace. It’s very comfortable to wear!

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Oh yes, and later this week the Paralympics start—have you ever watched them? The athletes are simply amazing, and many of them have overcome the most incredible of challenges to reach the Olympics. It’s worth seeing if it is showing on TV in your area.

A couple of my jewellery-making friends have joined me in this little challenge, so if you have time, go and see what they made!

Lennis at windbent.wordpress.com

Michelle at www.fireflydesignstudio.blogspot.com

Linda at  fromTheBeadBoard.blogspot.com

 

 

Inspired by Reading: The Silver Witch

Book cover

This month’s book for the Inspired by Reading Book Club was The Silver Witch by Paula Brackston, a lovely novel which weaves together the stories of Seren, a witch and shaman from Celtic Wales, and ceramic artist Tilda, who has moved to a cottage near a Welsh village after her husband’s death. As Seren and her Prince’s lives are increasingly threatened, Tilda discovers she has powers of her own, and an ancestral connection to Seren and the nearby lake.

The book features a pretty spectacular piece of jewellery, a golden torc engraved with Celtic designs of a hare and a dog. Sadly it’s not something I could easily make, so I looked instead at Tilda, a potter who creates beautiful ceramics. The pieces she creates when she moves to Wales are decorated with Celtic patterns as well, and this is what inspired me.

I chose a pretty ceramic pendant by BluMudd (sadly, Moriah isn’t making beads anymore) featuring a Celtic pattern in pretty shades of aqua greens and blues, reminding me of the lake that features in the book (although as I thought about it, I realized that the lake would probably be more of a deep dark blue, than green, especially in winter, when the book is set). I surrounded the focal with Czech glass beads in shades of blue and green, and added a small length of double chain in brass. It’s a simple piece but I think it captures the cool wintery colours of the book, and certainly the Celtic influences. What do you think?

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I really enjoyed the book and a couple of others I read by the same author. If you like a book that blends history, witchcraft, and yes, even a bit of romance, you’ll probably like them too. I’ll be seeking out a few more of Paula’s books in the near future.

 

AJE Art Headpins Challenge

Art Jewelry Elements always comes up with fun challenges and this month’s headpins challenge is a doozy! Art headpins are fancy headpins, not just your run of the mill headpins, and are made with lampwork glass, polymer clay, ceramics or metal. They are often used in earrings but can also be used to make interesting pendants.

I have a few fancy headpins in my stash, but I rarely use them, so this was a good nudge to do so. I ended up making three pairs of earrings. I would have liked to make more things and possibly not earring things, but I’ve started a new job recently so my creative time is a bit shorter than usual.

The first pair uses some flower headpins I’ve had for a long, long time, maybe four years or more. In fact I’m not even sure who made them, although I know they were by an Australian lampworker who no longer makes beads. They’ve got a little lacy brass beadcap to hide the point where the glass and the wire stem meet, and I’ve just kept it simple, dangling from a brass cats-eye on brass wires.

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The next pair features a striking pair of orange spikes by Pauline Delaney, a lampworker here in Melbourne. I’ve paired them with a Czech glass oval bead with an etched bird, and darkened copper earwires.

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Finally, I recently purchased some headpins from Sue Kennedy and I picked out these ones to make earrings with today. I added some Czech glass in matching aqua hues, a tiny copper washer and wrapped the long headpin wire back around the top beads.

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I’m inspired now, so expect some more art headpin designs from me soon! Thanks for the nudge AJE.

Others joining in this bloghop include:

Guests:

Alison Herrington

Renetha Stanziano

Karin Grosset Grange

Gloria Allen

Deb Fortin

Cate van Alphen

Mona Arnott

Shai Williams

Sarajo Wentling

Kathy Lindemer

Solange Collin

Brooke Bock

Melissa Meman

Patricia Handschuh

Tammy Adams

Melissa Trudinger <– YOU ARE HERE!

AJE Team Members:

Caroline Dewison

Lesley Watt

Cathy Mendola

Jenny Davies-Reazor

Susan Kennedy

Laney Mead

Diana Ptaszynski

Lindsay Starr

Niky Sayers

 

 

 

Art Bead Scene challenge: Klimt-inspired earrings

It’s a while since I did an Art Bead Scene monthly challenge piece. But this month’s inspiration artwork just happened to remind me of a pair of enameled charms I recently acquired from Cathleen Zaring (who was nice enough to make me a pair after I just missed out on a Facebook auction).

Park bei Lu.

“Park Near Lu” By Paul Klee, 1938; Oil and coloured paste on paper on jute; original frame strips; 100 x 70 cm

The painting in question is by Paul Klee, one of the early 20th century expressionist painters, and is called Park by Lu. I love the sharp contrast between the bold black branches, and the surrounding colour. And Klimt is one of my favourite artists.

As I mentioned, the branches reminded me of a pair of charms I bought from Cathleen Zaring, with similarly bold black trees painted on them. I added a couple of Czech glass rondelles in colors that coordinated with the painting and hung them on oxidized sterling silver wires.

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These are big earrings, but very light and they make quite a statement! Thank you for the inspiration Art Bead Scene!

 

An Olympic Challenge

Olympic_rings_with_transparent_rims

I have to admit I’m a bit of an Olympics tragic. It’s one of the few sporting events that I will actually watch, I love the stories, the athletes and the lack of politics – so refreshing this year when there is so much politics happening all over the world!

Anyway, while I was watching the opening ceremony for the Rio Olympics last weekend, I thought it might be fun to host a quick challenge to make something inspired by the 2016 Olympic Games.

Perhaps the Olympic rings inspire you. Or the flags and colours of each country.

Olympic_Park_Flags_(2)_(14639817455)

Maybe it’s the grace of the athletes, be they gymnasts, swimmers, cyclists, runners or any number of others. Or the medals they win, in gold, silver or bronze.

Is it the ancient history that catches your fancy, perhaps? Olive wreaths were awarded to the athletes in Ancient Greece’s Olympic Games.

Olive-wreath-05-04

Or it could be the vibrance of Rio itself, the blue waters, white beaches, busy city and super colourful people!

Ipanema beach

So here’s the challenge. Sign up by leaving your name and blog address as a comment on this post (or use my email address—find it on the About page —if you have problems leaving a comment). Make a piece of jewellery inspired by the Olympic Games. Post it on your blog on Sunday 28th August, a week after the Games are over. Now go on. Get out there and start training for the Olympic Challenge!

 

Inspired by Reading Book Club: The Fault in Our Stars.

This month’s book for the Inspired by Reading Book Club was John Green’s YA novel The Fault in Our Stars. It’s a book I had been meaning to read for a while, so it was lovely to have an excuse to do so!

I really enjoyed the book. It’s sad of course, given that the two main characters meet at a cancer group for teens, but I really liked Hazel and Augustus, and thought them very believable teens. I need to find time to watch the movie I think!

Now, I have to confess that the pieces I’m going to show you now are not all inspired directly by the books, but they fit the inspiration perfectly. I was quite taken with the Encouragements—illustrated sayings that decorated the house of Augustus and his family. I could just picture them as I read, cross-stitched maybe or perhaps with Mary Engelbreit illustrations.

Late last year I started to make what I call Inspiration Bracelets. I use stamped metal bars from the scrapbooking/papercrafts designer Tim Holtz which have inspirational sayings on them, and I stitch them with waxed linen to leather bracelets. They’ve been pretty popular at my markets and in the couple of shops which sell my jewellery. I think they fit the idea of Encouragements perfectly!

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But I also wanted to make something using a specific encouragement from the book—Home is where the heart is. Such a great saying, it’s so true, and yet so twee! I have lots of house beads and pendants in my stash, and with a bit of digging I unearthed a beauty, a colourful little polymer clay house (maker unknown) with a heart in the window! I also discovered I really need to work on my stamping skills, as I am not too happy with the little brass disc, on which I have stamped the saying. I will probably remake it in the coming days.

homeheart

Thanks again to Andrew and William for choosing such a great selection of books. I’m looking forward to the next few challenges!

 

 

Dreams of Summertime: Art Jewelry Elements challenge

It’s cold and wet here in Melbourne today. School holidays too and the kids are housebound. Seems a funny time to be making summer themed jewellery, but at the same time it’s kind of appropriate. I love the sun, and I miss it desperately in winter. Sadly today we don’t even get the benefit of a cool sunny day, it’s gray and stormy.

But the challenge is on at Art Jewelry Elements to create summer-themed pieces. When I think of summer, all sorts of things come to mind: BBQs, holidays by the beach, but overwhelmingly, the one thing that really means summer to all Aussies is the blazing hot sun!

So with that in mind, I have created my own sunshine today with a pair of sunny earrings (hey, I did say it was the school holidays here!).

The ceramic charms are from Natalie Fletcher-Jones, and they are very yellow, with a hint of pinky-orange at the tops. Like the sun early in the morning. I’ve paired them with some sweet orange flowers and a blush-coloured round, and tied together with waxed linen.

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Thank you AJE for reminding me about the sun! This is a challenge and you should go and have a look at some of the other blogs: