Flower Power necklace: Art Bead Scene January challenge

This year I’m really going to make an effort to participate in Art Bead Scene ‘s monthly challenge as often as I can. January‘s art inspiration is a lovely floral textile design by talented American artist Lois Mailou Jones. The colours are soft with the muted blues and greens balancing the brighter yellows, oranges, purples and reds.

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Textile Design for Cretonne, 1928?
by Lois Mailou Jones
Tempera on Paper

The focal of the necklace I was inspired to make by this painting is a sweet floral pendant from Natalie Fletcher, aka Peruzi. The soft purple-pink of the flower is close to Radiant Orchid, the 2014 Pantone Colour of the Year, and the pendant is rimmed in a soft aqua blue. I paired it with a variety of Czech beads in blues and pinks, including a deep dark pink flower, as well as some beautiful faceted amazonite beads.

Flower power necklace collage

I’ll be linking this blog post up to ABS’s blog tour on 31 Jan, so pop over there to look at everyone’s designs. And I hope to get back to a more regular blogging schedule now that the kids have started school for the year. Stay tuned for more blog hops and some new designs. I might even throw a recipe or two in there!

Deep Forest necklace: Into the Forest Blog Hop

It’s been busy this week—school holidays, three kids at daily swimming lessons, fun stuff!—but I finally got some time to play with the beads (Mum I’m hungry, Mum I’m bored!!!). And in the nick of time too, as today is the reveal date for Lisa Lodge‘s Into the Forest blog hop.

As with all of Lisa’s blog hops, she puts together kits for a small price, and the challenge is to make something with the kit contents. My kit contained a lovely spiral polymer clay pendant by Staci Louise Smith, who makes fabulous beads from a variety of mediums, as well as coordinating yellow turquoise beads, green Czech fire-polished beads and green seed beads, both in yummy shades of green. Sadly, I didn’t manage to take a picture of the kit before I started playing with it, my bad! But, here is a (slightly blurry) picture of the focal pendant, with lovely greens ranging from olive to deep green tones as well as a rich bronzey brown.

Deep forest pendant

Anyway. With the deep green colours in the pendant I thought about the dense green rainforests found in Australia’s far north. I dug through my stash to find some Czech glass rondelles in deep green with a picasso finish, some Czech squares in green and brown and some appropriately named rainforest jasper (rhyolite), and strung them together with some of the kit’s yellow turquoise and Czech beads, using the seed beads as spacers. I wire-wrapped the pendant with one of the turquoise beads and added a couple of brass birds to represent the life hiding within the forest.

Deep Forest Collage

I have a few beads left from Lisa’s kit, which no doubt will make their way into earrings and other pieces over the next few months. Thank you again for a great kit and a fun challenge Lisa, I always enjoy your blog hops! Stay tuned, the next one is in about a month!

And of course, I wasn’t the only participant! To see the rest of the creations, just follow the links below!

Your hostess:  Lisa Lodge, A Grateful Artist
Melissa Trudinger, Bead Recipes <– YOU ARE HERE
Kathy Zeigler Lindemer, Bay Moon Design
Eleanor Burian Moore, The Charmed Life
Jo-Ann Woolverton, It’s a Beadiful Creation
Chris Eisenberg, Wanderware
Christine Stonefield, Sweet Girl Design
Carolyn Lawson, Carolyn’s Creations
Janine Lucas, Esfera Travel Blog
Jasvanti Patel, Jewelry by Jasvanti
Shaiha Williams,   Shaiha’s Ramblings
Kay Thomerson, Kayz Kreationz
Karla Morgan, Texas Pepper Jams
Veralynne Malone, Designed by Vera
Toltec  Jewels, Jewel School Friends
Christie Searle Murrow, Charis Designs Jewelry
Molly Alexander, Beautifully Broken Me
Monique Urquhart, A Half-Baked Notion
Janet Bocciardi, Honey from the Bee
Dini Bruinsma, Angaza by Changes
Heather Richter, Desert Jewelry Designs
Christina Miles, Wings n Scales
Elizabeth Engriser, Bead Contagion
Alice Peterson, Alice Dreaming
Alicia Marinache, All the Pretty Things
Catherine Yvonne King, Catherine’s Musings
Ema Kilroy, Ema K Designs

Waterhole Dreaming necklace: AJE Component of the Month

Art Jewelry Elements is one of my favourite beady blogs, with a focus on beautiful handmade beads, pendants and other components. Last month, I was fortunate enough to be picked to receive one of Rebekah Payne‘s speckle beads for the AJE December Component of the Month giveaway. The beads immediately reminded me of the dot paintings created by the Aboriginal people of central Australia. Inspired by these paintings, I requested one of the beads in the brown/white/reddish-orange colourway, as these are the colours typically used. I forgot to take a photo of the bead prior to using it, but here is a (slightly blurry) closeup.
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Dot paintings, like other Aboriginal art forms, generally tell a story about events in the Dreamtime—the mythical time of the ancestors and the events that shaped the landscape. The dots form symbols representing places or events, which together tell a story about a journey or an important event. I looked for some dot paintings that I could use in this blog post, but try as I might, I couldn’t find any suitable examples in the public domain. This site and this site both have some good examples of Aboriginal art as well as explanations of the iconography if you’d like to see some good examples and read more about it.

Anyway, a pattern of dots in concentric circles typically represents a meeting place, a campfire or a waterhole, which inspired the name of the necklace I designed using Rebekah’s speckle bead. After much contemplation of my bead stash, I dug into my small collection of Krobo beads from Ghana, which had both the colours and the patterns to complement the focal bead. I also found some small Indonesian recycled glass beads in reddish-orange and white, which my parents brought me back from a trip to Bali a couple of years ago. In keeping with the organic feel of the beads I knotted them on chocolate brown waxed linen, and finished with a small plain brass toggle clasp.

Waterhole necklace Collage

Thank you Rebekah for the opportunity to work with one of these lovely beads, it’s been a fun challenge! I’m looking forward to seeing what the other participants come up with. Take some time to visit the other blogs to see what they have made:

Guest Designers:
Ann – Bead Love
Melissa – Bead Recipes <– you are here
AJE Team:
Kristen – My Bead Journey

Looking forward and looking back

I cannot believe 2013 is over and 2014 has begun! What a whirlwind 2013 was—between my family, a very part-time job and the beads (oh the beads!)—I feel like I barely stopped for breath!

Some of the jewellery-making highlights of 2013 include

  • the multitude of blog hops I took part in—they stretched my wings and challenged my muse
  • selling my jewellery at The Handmade Show, a lovely, and local to me, show with a real focus on handmade products
  • starting a Facebook page, which has introduced me to many new people, and of course
  • getting my Etsy shop up and running!

Here are a few of my favourite designs from the last 12 months:

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Sand and sea necklace collage DS

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AJE blue orchid necklace Collage boho owl necklace

Luna Park collage

Dark Heart Necklace collage IMG_6654

turquoise heart collage

I’m going to spend the next few weeks entertaining my kids during our summer holidays, so I don’t think too much jewellery-making is going to happen. But I have a few things to get photographed and uploaded on Etsy, and I want to take some time to play. This is one of my Christmas presents …

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… a set of uppercase, lowercase and numerical stamps, some fun design stamps, a stamping hammer and small metal block! I also got a handful of stamping blanks in brass and copper to play with.

Another project for 2014 is bead making. Mum and I are going to work together on some ceramic beads and pendants. She’s got a new (old) smaller kiln which will allow us to play a bit more easily. I’d also like to play with polymer clay a little bit more, maybe take another class or two. And I’ve taken a few metalwork classes over the last year or so, so I’m looking forward to combining the techniques I’ve learnt, and perhaps add some new ones.

On the business end, I need to work out what markets I would like to do in 2014. It’s probably not going to be as many as I did in the last few months as I am not finding them to be particularly profitable for me. I’ll be doing my best to keep my Etsy shop well stocked too. I’ll make sure to keep everyone up to date with my activities via my Facebook page.

Finally, I’ve got a few blog hops lined up already, starting with the December Art Jewelry Elements Component of the Month, which I will be posting tomorrow. I’m also signed up for several of Lisa Lodge‘s blog hops, starting with the Into the Forest blog hop on 11 January. It’s more than likely that I’ll take part in more than one of Erin Prais-Hintz‘s blog hops as well as Lori Anderson‘s Bead Soup Blog Party. I’ll do as many of the Art Bead Scene monthly challenges as I can. And I’ll keep taking part in swaps over at Bead Swap-USA. So there’ll be plenty to blog about!

Foodwise, I’ll keep posting recipes I come across that I think are worth a mention. It might be once or twice a month, it may be less often. But I did get a lovely stack of cookbooks for Christmas so I’m hoping to find a few keepers!

I’m looking forward to sharing my adventures with you in 2014! In the mean time, Happy New Year!