Blue orchid necklace — Art Jewelry Elements July challenge

I was lucky enough to be picked as a guest designer for Art Jewelry Elements‘ Component of the Month challenge. July’s component, a lovely porcelain orchid pendant, came from Diana Ptaszynski of Suburban Girl Studio. It arrived in the mail late last week—just in the nick of time! I received one of the blue pendants—mine was the one on the lower right of this picture.

porcelain orchid pendants

Picture by Diana Ptaszynski, borrowed from artjewelryelements.blogspot.com

I picked through my stash, and found a couple of things to go with the pendant including some lovely Czech crystal rondelles with that same deep blue plus a coppery red highlight and some dyed blue fire agate. Some copper beads, connectors and chain, which complement the blue so nicely. And I went to a big craft show on the weekend and might have bought a strand of blue Czech beads there too. I wanted to make a two-strand necklace, for a change, and I was inspired by a design I saw in a bead company’s email I got during the week.

AJE blue orchid necklace Collage

I love how well the beads complement the lighter and darker blues in the pendant, like they were made to go together. And the copper seems to make the blue more intense.

Thanks again to Diana and the Art Jewelry Elements team for such a fun challenge. Check out the AJE blog for the other participants!

ArtBeadScene July Challenge

This month, the Art Bead Scene challenge is a painting by Picasso of one of his wives, Olga Koklova. Painted in 1917, the picture is a portrait in cool greens and blues, with a leafy floral motif.

Portrait of Olga in the Armchair, 1917
Pablo Picasso
Oil on Canvas 130 × 88.8 cm
Colour palette by Brandi Hussey

I used the colours in the painting as my primary inspiration for this necklace, which has a green floral ceramic focal by Marsha Neal. I matched it with a couple of ceramic beads and Czech beads in various hues of greens, blues and browns. I put the leafy brass clasp to one side and balanced it with a couple of small brass floral links.

ABS July challenge collage

And there is a pair of earrings to match, with smaller versions of the ceramic focal, and some of the Czech glass beads.

IMG_5580

I’m planning a few posts this week. On Wednesday I will reveal what I made with the porcelain flower pendant from Suburban Girl Studio I received as a guest designer for Art Jewelry Elements’ Component of the Month challenge. And on Saturday I plan to have something ready for Sharyl McMillian-Nelson’s Summer Color Inspiration Challenge.

A gift for Lill

Last year I received a gift from an old friend of my parents. Lill, a textile artist, went to Ghana as part of an artists’ tour, and she brought me back some wonderful Krobo glass trade beads, recycled glass beads and brass. I’ll be writing more about these soon, but in the mean time, here’s a picture.

Krobo beads collage

In thanks I made Lill a necklace. It’s a very late thank you, as I dithered over what beads to use—Lill wears colourful and chunky jewellery. In the end I chose a pendant that I received in a Bead Swap-USA exchange. It’s a fabulous and unique pendant from US artist Meg Hannan, who uses fabric to create pendants in a millefiori style that she calls Fabric Jewels. Here’s a close up of the pendant. Gorgeous, huh??

IMG_5379

I strung it with a selection of glass beads including Czech glass and cultured sea glass in colours I pulled from the pendant.

IMG_5381

My parents gave it to her a couple of weeks ago when they visited her. I’m glad you love it Lill!

Bead Hoarders Blog Hop

Almost every crafter I know has a hoard of some kind. More than just the stash of components/fabric/yarn/paper, the hoard consists of special pieces that you don’t want to let go of, for one reason or another. Maybe it’s because you don’t have quite the right matching beads (or yarn or …). Or maybe, deep down inside, you don’t feel you can do an object of such beauty justice. Or it might simply be because inspiration hasn’t yet struck.

Anyway, Lori Anderson, of Bead Soup Blog Party fame, has challenged us all to dip into that hoard (myyyy preciousssssss) and make something. Sigh, really?? Oh OK! There are things I have been meaning to make anyway! When I have the right beads, and I’m good enough, and pigs can fly!

Way back when I first started beading (well, 3 or so years ago), I discovered that there were beautiful online bead shops. One of the shops I found was Nina Designs, which has lovely sterling silver components. This was just before silver prices started going through the roof, and I bought myself a few special pieces to make. As fate would have it though, those lovely components have been sitting in my bead hoard ever since … so I decided the time was right to use some of them, in particular a leafy link for a necklace, and some matching earring components. Also in my stash hoard are a number of teeny tiny gemstone rondelles, including some tiny amethyst beads ranging from the palest to the darkest hues of purple. Using some ideas found on the Nina Designs website as a jumping off point, and some larger prehnite faceted beads I bought a few months ago, I have created a sweet necklace and earrings set.

Pears and plums necklace set

Now, maybe that will inspire me to make a few things with that small stash of Thai Hill Tribe Silver I have tucked away.

One thing I find very hard to resist are art beads—lampwork, ceramic, polymer clay and metal, I love them all. As I went through my collection of lampwork beads the other day, a pretty pair called my name. These beads are from Indian Creek Art Glass, and I combined them with small circular links with an antiqued patina from Missficklemedia and some lovely purple sari silk in earrings inspired by Kristi Bowman’s Aladdin’s Lamp earrings. I’m rather pleased with them!

IMG_5529

Well, it hasn’t made much dent in my bead hoard, but it’s been fun to finally make something beautiful with some of my treasures. Thank you Lori for pushing me to use up some of my pretties!

There are nearly 170 bloggers doing this blog hop! Please visit a few!

1.  Lori Anderson, Pretty Things
2. Nancy Dale, NEDBeads
3. Roxanne Mendoza, Roxi Designs
4.  Melissa Trudinger, beadrecipes
5.  Rana Lea, Rana Lea Designs
6.  Leah Tees, My Beady Little Eyes
7.  Rita Avila, Jewel School Friends
8.  Linda Anderson, From the Bead Board
9.  Sharon Palac, Sharon’s Jewelry Garden
10.  Erin Guest, Renlish

11.  Joan Williams, lilruby jewelry
12. Diane Hawkey, Diane Hawkey
13.  Jo-Ann Woolverton, It’s a Beadiful Creation
14.  Sue Kennedy, SueBeads
15.  Lisa Cone, Inspired Adornments
16.  Kari Asbury, Hippie Chick Design
17.  Nichole Byers, Nichole Byers
18.  Lori Jean Poppe, Adventures in Creativity
19.  Linda Landig, Linda’s Bead Blog and Meanderings
20.  Lori Schneider, Bead Addict

21.  Molly Alexander, Beautifully Broken Me
22. Cece Cormier, The Beading Yogini
23.  Niki Sayers, Silver Nik Nats
24.  Elsie Deliz-Fonseca, Eliz-Eliz and All That Craft
25.  Amber Dawn, Inventive Soul
26.  Heather Powers, Humblebeads
27.  Sarah Goode, Pookledo
28.  Monique Urquhart, A Half-Baked Notion
29.  JJ Jacobs, Coming Abstractions
30.  Cheri Reed, Creative Designs by Cheri

31.  Robyn, Museiddity
32.  Catherine King, Catherine’s Musings
33.  Jacquie, Bead Gypsy
34.  Janet McDonald, Singing Woods
35. Kay Thomerson, Kayz Kreations
36.  Tanty Sri Hartanti, TJewellicious by Tanti
37.  Hannah Rosner, Good River Valley
38.  Rochelle Brisson, A Creative Chelle
39.  Nelly May, Smelly Nelly
40.  Skylar Bre’z, Brising Beads

41.  Beti Horvath, Stringing Fool
42.  Christie Murrow, Charis Designs
43.  Leanne Loftus, First Impression Design
44.  Valerie Norton, Hot Art
45.  Judy Riggs, Rigglettes
46.  Crystal Thain, Here Bead Dragons
47.  Terry Carter,  Tapping Flamingo
48.  Sue, Mid-Life Great Expectations
49.  Nan Smith, Wired Nan
50.  Miranda Ackerley, MirandAck Arts

51.  Marie Covert, Creating Interest
52.  D’Arsie Manzella, This Here Now, Mamacita
53.  Stephanie Haussler, Pixybug Designs
54.  Lori Bergmann, Lori Bergmann Design
55.  Johanna Nunez, The Lovely One Design
56.  Mary Govaars, MLH Jewelry Designs
57.  Becky Pancake, Becky Pancake Bead Designs
58.  Alicia Marinache, All the Pretty Things
59.  Debbie Rasmussen, A Little of This, A Little of That
60.  Nat, Grubbi Ceramics

61.  Marjorie Savill Linthwaite, Bennu Bird Rising
62.  Cheryl McCloud, One Thing Leads to Another
63.  Heather Otto, The Crafthopper
64.  Candida Castleberry, Spun Sugar Beadworks
65.  Tracie Dean, Dean Designs
66.  JuLee Wolfe, The Polymer Penguin
67.  Ginger Bishop, Lil Mummy Likes
68.  Karen Mitchell, Over the Moon Design
69.  Jeannie Dukic, Jeannie’s Blog
70.  Dini Bruinsma, Angaza by Changes

71.  Birgitta Lejonklou, Create With Spirit
72.  Shalini Austin, Jewellery by Shalini
73.  Jayne Capps, Mama’s Got to Doodle
74.  Ile Ruzza, Ilenia’s Unique Beaded Jewelry
75.  Jackie Marchant, Fiddledeedee Jewelry
76.  Annita Wilson, AW Jewelry 
77.  Sherri Stokey, Knot Just Macrame
78.  Hannah Trost, PZ Designs
79.  Linda Inhelder, Must Haves Jewelry
80.  Miri Agassi, Beadwork

81.  Hope Smitherman, Crafty Hope
82.  Dyanne Cantrell, Dee-Liteful Jewelry Creations
83.  Susan Bowie, Susan Nelson Bowie
84.  Megan Milliken, MaeMaeMills
85.  Menka Gupta, Menka’s Jewelry
86.  Ambra Gostoli, Chic and Frog
87.  Lori Lochner, Bloghner
88.  Gerda Jurimae, Gerda’s Crafts Blog
89.  Susan, Mistheword
90.  MaryLou Holvenstot, MaryLou’s time2cre8

91.  Mary Shannon Hicks, falling into the sky
92.  Karin King, The Sparklie Things Blog
93.  Christa Murphy, Adventures of One Beady Woman
94.  Jenny Davies-Reazor, Jenny Davies-Reazor
95.  Donetta Farrington, Simply Gorgeous
96.  Mallory Hoffman, Rosebud 101 – For the Love of Beads
97.  Danielle Kelley, Imbue the Muse
98.  Kym Hunter, Kym Hunter Designs
99.  Dolores Rami, CraftyD’s Creations
100.  Marcia Dunne, 13 Alternatives

101.  Marlene Cupo, Amazing Designs
102.  Emma Todd, A Polymer Penchant
103.  Wendy Holder, Jewelry by WendyLea
104.  Michelle Escano, The Cabby Crafter
105.  Louise Glazier, Lily and Jasmine Treasures
106.  Dana Hickey, Wind Dancer Studios
107.  Lennis Carter, windbent
108.  Anne Betenson, Crystal River Beads
109.  Audrey Belanger,  Dreams of an Absolution
110.  Lisa Stukel, Carefree Jewelry by Lisa

111.  Janine Lucas, Travel Stories
112.  Claire Lockwood, Something to Do With Your Hands
113.  Kathy Engstrom, Catherine’s Dreams
114.  Paula Hisel, Simply Beadiful
115.  Karla Morgan, Texas Pepper Jams
116.  Mischelle Fanucchi, Micheladas Musings
117.  Kim, Cianci Blue
118.  Linda Sadler, Ida Louise Jewelry
119.  Karen, Spokalulu
120.  Jennifer LaVite, Dry Gulch Bead and Jewelry

121.  Andrea Glick-Zenith, ZenithJade Creations
122.  Karen Martinez, Fairies Market
123.  Robin Reed, Artistry HCBD
124.  Amy Bright, LABweorc
125.  Jasvanti Patel, Jewels by Jasvanti
126.  Tammie Everly, TTE Designs
127.  Karin Slaton, Backstory Beads
128.  Natalie Moten, Running Out of Thread
129.  Sharyl McMillian-Nelson, Sharyl’s Jewelry & Reflections
130.  Jenny Kyrlach, Wonder and Whimsy

131.  LiliKrist, Handmade by LilK
132.  Jessica Klaaren, The Truth Space
133.  Cynthia Abner, Created Treasures
134.  Beth Emery, Stories by Indigo Heart
135.  Heather Davis, Blissful Garden Beads
136.  Jeanne, Gems by Jeanne Marie
137.  Sandi Volpe, Sandi Volpe
138.  Laren Dee Barton, Laren Dee Designs
139.  Steph, Confessions of a Bead Hoarder
140.  Carolyn Lawson, Carolyn’s Creations

141.  B. R. Kuhlman, Mixed Mayhem
142.  Patty Miller, Cabari Beads
143.  Elizabeth Bunn, Elizabeth Beads
144.  Marianna Boylan, Pretty Shiny Things
145.  Lizzie Clarke, The Need to Bead
146.  Christina Miles, Wings ‘n’ Scales
147.  Patricia, The Color of Dreams
148.  Marde Lowe, Fancimar
149.  Ev Shelby, Raindrop Creations
150.  Sarah Small, By Salla

151.  Perri Jackson, Shaktipaj Designs
152.  Laurie Vyselaar, Lefthand Jewelry
153.  Pam Traub, Klassy Joolz
154.  Lisa Harrison, Daisy Meadow Studio
155.  Anzia Parks, Anzi-Panzi’s Work Shoppe
156.  Ingrid, Lilisgems Handcrafted Jewelry Inspirations
157.  Andra Weber, Andra’s Joyful Journey
158.  Kelly Hosford Patterson, The Traveling Side Show
159.  Adlinah Kamsir, Dreamstruck Designs
160.  Marci, That Nothing Be Wasted

161.  Kris Lanae Binsfield,  Cherish Designs
162.  Stephanie Perry, Mustard Bead
163.  Birgit Klughardt, Gites Beads
164.  Inge von Roos, Inge’s Blog
165.  Rebecca Sirevaag, Becca’s Place
166.  Sandy Markley, Gypsy Spirit Designs
167.  Elena Adams, Lena’s Beady Blog

A quirky bird or two

I took a metalwork class last weekend at The Whimsical Bead. And it was so much fun! I learned to cut shapes out of copper, file edges smooth, texture with a hammer, rivet and screw pieces together, and finished off by oxidising the completed pieces. And I also made my first clasps!

The class was taught by Robyn and Julie Wilson from Deegan Designs, who sell a range of whimsical, steampunk-inspired jewellery. You can see some of their wonderful creations here. We made a simpler version of their quirky bird design, as both a brooch and a pendant. I took a few photos as my pieces progressed.

IMG_5501

Here I have finished cutting out, filing and texturing the birds and wings (I paired the wrong wings with the birds in these pictures). That’s probably me reflected in the shiny metal.

IMG_5497

This picture shows the completed birds, before their bath in Liver of Sulphur, which oxidises the copper from shiny to dark in seconds.

IMG_5500

Here is the brooch. It’s hard to see in the photograph but there are some lovely colours—almost like an oil slick—on the bird’s body and wings, from the oxidising process. The longer the copper is left in the Liver of Sulphur solution, the darker it goes—my pieces were only in there for a few seconds. I lightly sanded back the oxidation around the edges to give a bit of definition to the shape, but left the rest of the body and wings as they came out. The pieces have also been sealed front and back with a metal sealer to stop further oxidation.

IMG_5498

And here is the necklace. You can see the colours in this one a bit better. Note the clasp—I made that too!

I have some more copper sheet, wire and a few screws to play with, and enough tools to be dangerous! So you may see some more from me soon!

21 again—Seasons Blog Hop

Today is the reveal date for the Seasons Blog Hop, a challenge put together by Lisa Lodge of Pine Ridge Treasures and the blog A Grateful Artist. Lisa’s blog hops start with a kit especially created by Lisa containing unique combinations of beads, findings, pendants and art beads.

In this blog hop, Lisa asked us to create jewellery that fits one of these two themes:

A season of the year—Winter, Spring, Summer or Fall

A season in your life—for example, first love, collage days, and so on.

My kit was lovely, with a couple of filigree components and bead caps painted a deep, almost iridescent blue by Sharyl McMillian-Nelson, and some coordinating beads in blues and creams, as well as a couple of small silver keys.

IMG_5383

The keys made me think of turning 21, a rite of passage into adulthood for my generation here in Australia that these days has largely been replaced by the 18th birthday celebrations. The keys are significant—symbolising opening the door into your future as an adult.

My own 21st, back in the late 1980s, came at a turning point in my life. I was in my last year of my undergraduate university degree (molecular and cell biology, in case you’re wondering), and applying for graduate school positions in the USA, where I moved a little more than a year later.

To celebrate my 21st birthday, I had a lovely big party with all of my friends and family around me. Here’s a picture of me, I look so young!!

IMAGE0002

But my jewellery, well, that was less than inspired. It looks like I am wearing a chain with a small charm on it—if memory serves me rightly, it’s a pair of theatrical masks. The earrings are a bit better—moonstones set in silver dangles (I still have them although they need a good clean!). The bracelet was a present from family friends, a gorgeous silver bangle that I wore frequently for many years.

So with my blog hop kit I made some earrings and a necklace to wear with that lovely blue dress!

IMG_5418

I used almost all of the beads that Lisa sent me. I wanted to use the filigree bead caps but I couldn’t get them to work properly with my design. And the silver tubes didn’t get used. I had a bead mix which contained the same blues as the cubes and big bead in my kit, so they filled out the necklace. I added some silver bead caps and textured silver chain to finish off the necklace.

Thank you Lisa, for such a fun challenge!  And please take some time to have a look at the other blogs, there are some really lovely pieces!

Hostess: Lisa Lodge, Grateful Artist

Kathy Zeigler Lindemer, Bay Moon Design
Cassi Paslick, Beads: Rolling Downhill
Stephanie Sanner Haussler, PixyBug Designs
Leah Mifflin Tees, My Beady Little Eyes
Karin Slaton, BackStory Beads

Audrey Belanger, Dreams of an Absolution
Lori Jean Poppe, Lorillijean Creative Corner
Karla Morgan, Texas Pepper Jams
Christine Stonefield, Sweet Girl Design
Eleanor Burian-Mohr, The Charmed Life

Alicia Marinache,  All the Pretty Things
Veralynne Malone, Designed by Vera
Kay Thomerson, Kayz Kreationz
Mary Govaars, MLH Jewelry Designs
Toltec Jewels, Toltec Jewels for Jewel School Friends

Lennis Carrier, Windbent
Erin Kenny, Beadifultherapy
Tanya Goodwin, A Work in Progress
Cilla Watkins, Tell Your Girlfriends
Renetha Williams Stanziano, Lamplight Crafts

Christie Searle Murrow, Charis Designs Jewelry
Sierra Barrett, Giraffe Can Has
Melissa Trudinger, Bead Recipes <<– YOU ARE HERE
Shirley Jones Moore, Beads and Bread
Dawn Horner, Northern Adornments

Charlene Bausinger Jacka, Clay Space
Tara Plote, The Newbie Beader’s Blog
Candida Elkins Castleberry, Spun Sugar Beadworks
Miranda Ackerley, Daze and Days

Published!

Yesterday I was looking through the online magazine Bead Chat, put out by Artisan Whimsy (an online forum and community started by Melinda Orr to support jewellery designers and bead-makers), when my Seahorse necklace popped out at me! It’s the first time I’ve been published in any kind of beading magazine, so I’m quite chuffed to say the least!

If you’d like to browse through this lovely magazine, you can find it here. I’m on page 3:

It really has capped off a lovely week for me. First I found out that I was chosen as a guest designer for the Art Jewelry Elements Component of the Month series. Later this month I’ll get a pendant from Diana Ptaszynski, and I’ll reveal my design on 31 July.

And the necklace I entered in the JLynn Jewels Summertime Color Challenge was chosen as best theme interpretation for the Wise Ones Category.

Thank you Melinda Orr and the Bead Chat editorial team, thank you Diana and the Art Jewelry Elements team and thank you Janice Everett from JLynn Jewels and your panel of judges.

Come back on the weekend to the Seasons Blog Hop reveal, which is this Saturday.