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 

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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, Books

Inspired by Reading Book Club: A Girl of the Limberlost

This month’s book for the Inspired by Reading Book Club was the delightful novel A Girl of the Limberlost by Gene Stratton-Porter, an American naturalist and novelist who lived by the Limberlost Swamp in Indiana.

The story is about a girl who lives by the Limberlost Swamp. Elnora is determined to go to high school in the nearby town, despite her mother’s resistance, and pays her way through school by catching and hatching moths for collectors. The book mentions a variety of moth species, in particular the beautiful and coveted Luna and Yellow Imperial moths. I was fascinated by the descriptions of the moths emerging from their cocoons and fluttering their wings to dry them out and extend them for flight.

I really enjoyed the book, in fact I couldn’t put it down (luckily I was on holidays and had time to read). Elnora was a feisty heroine, who reminded me a lot of Beth from Little Women and Anne from Anne of Green Gables—independent and smart. And the author’s love of the Limberlost Swamp and its surrounds was evident throughout the book, which is rich in images and details of the swamp and its wildlife, especially the moths.

After reading the book, I knew that what I made would have to feature a moth or butterfly of some kind. Luckily I had the perfect specimen to hand—a delightful enameled moth (well maybe it’s a butterfly but I’m calling it a moth) by Anne Gardanne, which I picked up at BeadFest last year. Although I’m not sure it resembles any of the Limberlost moths, it is a sweet little focal in turquoise with mauve undertones.

It seemed appropriate to put cocoons alongside the moth. I used Heather Power‘s method for making wrapped wire and silk beads (as outlined in her recent book Beautiful Elements) and a piece of frayed mauve and blue sari silk to make two cocoons. A few flowers and a dragonfly clasp—because all swamps have dragonflies!—and it was done.

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Thanks Andrew and the rest of the Inspired by Reading book club! I’m looking forward to the next book on the list. And you can see some of the pieces made by others in the book club’s Facebook group.

Beads

BeadFest part 3 — the art bead shopping

Of course I didn’t forget the art beads at BeadFest. Some of my favourite beadmakers were there, as well as some I have eyed from afar but never seen in person.

A group of beadmakers had a progressive make’n’take going on, so of course I had to play along. The ceramic house is by Diane Hawkey, the copper house frame was made by me on Brenda Schweder’s Now that’s a Jig wire wrapping jig, the dangles are by Nikki Thornburg (who also showed me a cool way to wire-wrap long stems) and the tiny enameled tubes were from C-Koop Beads (who also provided the leather). I’ve worn this a lot as I’ve travelled around the US, it’s nice and light for summer and the colours work beautifully with a lot of my clothing.

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I bought a few more beads from Diane Hawkey. The glass beads in the picture were from Beach House Glass Beads.IMG_0860

I also bought some more beads from Nikki Thornburg—some of her headpins. I’m sure I can find some uses for them somewhere!

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Between Diane Hawkey and Nikki Thornburg was Marsha Neal Studio. Marsha was absolutely lovely and we chatted for ages (more than once!). I bought a few bead pairs from her, one of her organic pod/vessels (and one for my mum, not pictured) and one of her great wrap bracelet kits. Which I had every intention of making as I travelled but, well, you know …

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And I had to buy a few somethings from C-Koop Beads too.

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I had lunch with one of my very favourite bead makers, Heather Powers, on Saturday and then had a little splurge at her booth. Such beautiful beads, I could have bought one of everything. We also did a little swap – more on that in the next blog post.

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Staci Smith’s stand was full of fabulous treasures. I picked out some fun bits and pieces there, and a gorgeous necklace for my sister in law’s 40th birthday (yes I know I could have just bought some of the components and made something myself, but the necklace just seemed right for her, apologies as I don’t have a picture of it).

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Michelle McCarthy, a swap buddy of mine from the old Bead Swap USA group (now disbanded) had a booth of her ceramics (Firefly Design Studio) and I selected some great summery beads and pendants there.

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Right next door was Anne Gardanne‘s stall and I picked up some more enameled components there.

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I splurged on a few exquisitely made beads from Joan Miller Porcelain. I wanted to buy a lot more.

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Green Girls Studios was good for a few more beads too.

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At Jenny Davies-Reazor ‘s booth, I picked up one of her mixed media word pendants — this one just called to me and I suspect I’ll be keeping it. And then I did some swapping with the Art Jewelry Elements girls, again more on that tomorrow.

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I have to say, it’s fantastic to actually be able to see the beads in person, pick them up and fondle them. Although it makes choosing them even harder.