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:
Melissa Trudinger <– YOU ARE HERE
Art Elements Team
Cathy Spivey Mendola
This month’s challenge from Art Jewelry Elements focused on trees and autumn. My thoughts immediately went to the gorgeous tree pendants that Natalie Fletcher-Jones makes, with a design she carved herself a few years ago. She glazes them in a myriad of different colours and I have a couple of them in my collection, the one I eventually selected glazed in lovely dusky colours.
As I was shuffling through my beads to see what might work with the pendant, I came across a recent selection from The Curiosity Club in just the right combination of soft dusky pinks and purples to go with the necklace. Finished off with a leafy clasp, it has an autumnal feel to it.
Thank you AJE for another great challenge! This is a blog hop, so if you have time, pop over and see what others have made:
Jennifer Stout Cameron
Cathy Spivey Mendola
Karin Grosset Grange
Cindy Martin Shaw
Allison L Norfleet Bruenger
Terri Del Signore
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.
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.
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.
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:
Karin Grosset Grange
Cate van Alphen
Melissa Trudinger <– YOU ARE HERE!
AJE Team Members:
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.
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:
Were you a child of the 80s? I was, and when I was looking for inspiration for Art Jewelry Elements’ Eye Love Beads challenge this month, the song Temptation by New Order kept running through my mind.
Oh, you’ve got green eyes
Oh, you’ve got blue eyes
Oh, you’ve got grey eyes
And I’ve never seen anyone quite like you before
No, I’ve never met anyone quite like you before
Thankfully, Melissa Gabelle, aka The Clay Hen, popped up at the right time with a trio of head pins featuring eyes, in fact one blue eye and two greenish grey eyes. But I wondered how I would put them together. In the end I used the blue eye and one of the greenish grey eyes, a pair of vivid aqua blue lamp work bead from a bag of orphans I got from Sue Kennedy a couple of years ago and an eyelash fringe of black waxed linen completed a pair of same-same but different earrings.
Keep an eye out for the final eyeball from the trio, I have plans for it!
Thanks for the fun challenge AJE. And visit the blogs of the other participants to see what they’ve made:
Melissa Trudinger of Beadrecipes <– you are here!
Tammy of PaisleyLizardDesigns
AJE Members –
I have a lot of buried treasure, aka my bead stash. Thankfully, Art Jewelry Elements is encouraging me to delve deep and dig out some of those little treasures for their first blog hop of the year, whimsically called the Buried Treasure challenge.
Like most beaders, I have a pretty good stash. Like most beaders, I’m not always good at using the beautiful beads in my stash. So challenges like this are great for making me dig for inspiration.
Anyway, I thought I would make some earrings. First off the ranks uses some of my very carefully hoarded Elaine Ray ceramic beads. Elaine no longer makes beads, so these are seriously precious. Most of them I got via a friend in the US who went to one of her trunk shows for me (thank you Diana K).
I paired these lovely little charms, which are dark blue which turns lighter blue as the glaze breaks over the stamped flower, with dark blue Czech beads, knotted together with chocolate brown waxed linen.
The second treasure I pulled from my stash was a pair of copper charms from Kristi Bowman Design with a hole through the middle of the bead. These took a bit of thought about how to attach them to earwires as the distance from the hole in the centre to the edge was too far for a jump ring. In the end I used waxed linen again to wrap a jump ring to the top of the charm. I also created a tassel of sorts with some pretty aqua silk ribbon I got at a local bead show last year.
Thanks AJE for the push I needed to go look through my buried treasure! This is a blog hop … go visit the other beady blogs that are participating to see what they pulled from their stash!
The Art Jewelry Elements challenge this month is celebrating the rebirth of the sun during the winter solstice. Well, here in Australia, we are at the other end of the sun’s cycle and have just passed midsummer. That’s just fine with me as I love summer, well, up until it gets really stinking hot, so I’m happy to just celebrate the sun!
This time around I didn’t win one of the challenge giveaways so instead I bought one of Lesley Watt‘s sun pendants, rather a lovely one I think! I had chosen a bunch of Czech beads and laid them out in a reasonably complex order. And then I looked at the pendant again and decided simple was best. So I linked a small selection of beads together and added them to the pendant, popped some rather nice brass chain on as well, and created a little dangle for the bottom of the pendant.
I realised after I made it that the little pops of orangey-pink remind me of the colours in the sky at dawn, when the sun is reborn each day.
There are others joining in this AJE challenge, so if you can, go and see what they made too! Thank you Lesley and the AJE team for the challenge theme!