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!

 

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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 

Beads, Blog Hops and Challenges

Art Elements Christmas Ornament Blog Hop

Oh, I very nearly didn’t make it to this hop today, I always seem to bite off a lot more than I can chew at this crazy time of the year! But having missed the ArtBeadScene Ornament hop, I knew I had to do something for this one, organised by Art Elements.

Anyway, grand plans out of the window, I decided to go simple. I have these fabulous mini embroidery hoops that can be used in a few different ways, and I thought they’d make fine little decorations for the tree. These ones are the “big” ones, at 55mm/2.2 inches diameter. I pulled out my stash of Christmas fabric, my scissors and my hot glue gun and put them to work. One of these days I plan to teach myself how to do paper piecing to make tiny patchwork pictures, but in the meantime I think these are really quite sweet.

Here they are on my handmade ornaments Christmas tree. My big tree has so much on it, the special ones get a bit lost, so I have a little tree just for my handmade ornaments! Some made by me, some by others.

Anyway, this is a blog hop, so go and have a looky-loo at what others have made! And whether you celebrate Christmas, or not, have a lovely holiday and see you in 2018 (eek!).

Guest Designers

Art Elements Team
Beads, Blog Hops and Challenges

Shiny Baubles: the Tacky Holiday Earrings Blog Hop

I was Christmas shopping a couple of weeks ago, when I came across a box of miniature baubles for $5 at a favourite shop of mine (and my girls), Typo. My first thought was to use them as decorations for my daughter when she did her hair as a Christmas tree for Crazy Hair Day at school this week: 

But then a Facebook friend of mine, Diana Ptaszynski, announced the first Tacky Holiday Earrings blog hop, to let us all showcase our shiny, glittery, tacky creations. And with teacher presents looming (it’s the last week of school for the year here in Australia), it was the perfect opportunity to make some glittery statement earrings.

Two of the teachers on our present list have a penchant for big, shiny, earrings — perfect! So I put together a couple of pairs of earrings featuring three baubles dangling from a chain of jump rings. Being plastic, they are so light to wear, the size doesn’t matter! I hope they love them!

I also created a bunch of single bauble earrings, for those who might want to be a little less flamboyant.

Sorry Diana, no ugly Christmas sweater here, it’s too hot in Australia right now for sweaters! But maybe some of the other participants in the hop have indulged you!

Melissa Trudinger <– YOU ARE HERE

 

Beads, Blog Hops and Challenges

Deeper Water: Music to my eyes blog hop

The Music to my Eyes blog hop (organised by Kelly Rodgers, a member of the Bead Snobs group that I belong to on Facebook) asked us to make something inspired by a favourite song or piece of music. Now, I don’t know about you, but I don’t have just one favourite song, but quite a few! But I kept circling back to this song, which is definitely up there in my top list of songs!

Deeper Water is a song by Australia’s iconic musician Paul Kelly. As much a poet as a songwriter, his lyrics are evocative and quintessentially Australian. I’ve seen him live a dozen or so times, every time a treat. And this is just one of the songs he’s written that sings to me. When I got married, almost 17 years ago now, our ceremony was on the beach. As I walked down through the reception marquee on my way to join the groom and the wedding guests, the DJ started playing this song and I completely lost it, to the consternation of my bridesmaids. It’s one of those songs that always sends a frisson of emotion across my skin, if you know what I mean.

Anyway, I went looking at YouTube for a good version of the song, and found this live recording from about five years ago:

See what I mean?

So, how to translate this song, this poem, into a piece of jewellery? I had various ideas, and as usual no time to really explore and play with creating. Maybe another day there’ll be another piece inspired by this song. But I remembered I had these enamelled charms by Anne Gardanne and they remind me of the beach, where the water meets the sand. And that in turn makes me think of the beginning of this song, “on a crowded beach …”

I’m a little obsessed with these kind of crusty Czech glass rondelles at the moment, they look like something that has been tumbling in the waves for a while. These particular colours just go so well with the charms. And I’ve been using the bright Vintaj Vogue brass a lot recently too, they seem to work well with the beads. What do you think?

As I mentioned, I made these for a blog hop and there are a few other blogs to visit if you feel so inclined! Thank you Kelly for hosting a fun hop, just wish I had found more time to play! Here are the other participants:

Kelly Rodgers

Verily Vexed

Lennis Carrier

Melissa Trudinger

Sherri Hartman Stokey

Vicky Sophon

Kayla Freeman

 

Beads, Blog Hops and Challenges

Art Elements June Challenge: Insects

Every three months, the blog Art Elements runs a themed challenge. This time around, the theme is insects, a subject with a lot of inspiration for jewellery designers. Personally I love insects of all sorts, except maybe cockroaches, mosquitoes and the ubiquitous Aussie blowfly! But the sheer diversity of insects is just amazing.

I had all sorts of plans to use up some of my insect-themed beads (yes I might have a few!), but in the end I had to content myself with a pair of earrings, and a very simple necklace, both featuring beads by Natalie Fletcher-Jones (it’s not that I don’t have insect beads by other people, but these are the ones that spoke to me this time around!).

First up is a pair of butterfly earrings, featuring black clay charms with a sweet butterfly decal. I’ve kept them pretty simple, just dangling a single flower below them. Despite being quite large earrings, they are very light.

The necklace showcases one of Natalie’s spike beads, again in black clay, and decorated with a cream glaze and a maroon-hued dragonfly. I added some dangles and strung it from a length of black suede leather thonging.

The challenge has inspired me to look through my stash for some more insect beads, so keep an eye out! I’ve also got a post almost ready to go featuring bees, I’ll probably put it up tomorrow. In the meantime, this is an Art Elements blog hop, so if you have time, visit the following blogs for some more insect inspirations:

Guests

Mona Arnott 

Melissa Trudinger  <– YOU ARE HERE

Sarajo Wentling

Divya N

Art Elements Team

Cathy Spivey Mendola

Diana Ptaszynski

Lesley Watt 

Caroline Dewison

Jenny Davies-Reazor

Lindsay Starr

Niky Sayers

Claire Fabian