Beads, Blog Hops and Challenges

Blu Mudd Design Challenge #8

I recently took part in Blu Mudd‘s design challenge. Moriah isn’t making beads regularly anymore (she’s concentrating on her soap business) but she is still running regular challenges, which is fun! Now that the competition part is over, I can show you what I made.

The theme this time was Southwestern, with a big bear pendant done in Zuni style, a connector with a pawprint and a feather connector too. To me, the first two components worked well together and the feather, with slightly different colours, stood out as a separate piece. I didn’t take a pic, so here is Moriah’s picture.

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I started with the feather. With its little turquoise stripe, I decided to pull out some turquoise nuggets and make a long necklace with the turquoise dangling along a length of black deer hide leather thonging. It’s simple, but it looks effective.

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The bear presented me with a challenge—to balance the large size of the pendant with enough weight in the supporting necklace. I ended up knotting half a dozen strands of waxed linen on each side, with sections of seed beads in southwestern colours strung onto each strand. I used a similar strategy to make a coordinating bracelet with the pawprint connector. I’m happy with the results, the pieces have visual weight without actually being heavy.

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Thanks again Moriah for the challenge, it’s always fun to work with your pieces! I’ll look forward to the next one!

You can see what others made here.

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Beads, Blog Hops and Challenges, Giveaways and contests

Autumn leaves: BluMudd challenge

I had so much fun with the last BluMudd Design Team challenge that I signed up straight away for the next challenge, Leaves and Acorns. This time around Moriah Betterley put together a set of beads with a definite autumnal feel to them. Yes, it can be strange designing for autumn when it is winter-turning-to-spring here in Australia, but the beads were so lovely, it really wasn’t a chore!

Anyhow, this is the kit I received. A leaf-shaped cuff bracelet focal, an acorn connector bead and a trio of leaf-textured tube beads, in lovely shades of amber and burgundy (this is Moriah’s picture, not mine).

Amber-burgundy set

According to the rules, I needed to use the beautiful leaf-shaped cuff in my design, but in the end I used the acorn as well, and two of the three beads. I went with the shape of the cuff to make a bracelet, using four strands of burgundy waxed linen to string a variety of seed beads and small Czech glass beads, plus two of the tube beads. The acorn finished off the bracelet length, along with a copper clasp.

BluMudd challenge 5 collage

Now, this challenge is also a contest, and you can see all of the other designs here. If you like my bracelet, please vote for it by liking it!

Beads, Blog Hops and Challenges

Leaves and flowers: Art Bead Scene June Challenge

For the My Country blog hop post click here!

Sadly, I didn’t get my entry for the Art Bead Scene June challenge finished in time. The piece was finished, it was the photos and blog post that stumped me! I thought you might like to see it anyway!

The inspiration for the June challenge was a lovely illustration from Victorian era botanical artist Marianne North.

june 2014 - Marianne North - Trees Laden with Parasites and Epiphytes in a Brazilian Garden
Trees Laden with Parasites and Epiphytes in a Brazilian Garden, 1873, by Marianne North, Oil on Paper. Colour palette by Brandi Hussey.

The focal element of this illustration is the lush green foliage, and the contrast of the tiny red flowers. I used a Blu Mudd connector with a leafy pattern and two sizes of green beads , along with some tiny red and white ceramic beads to make a sweet bracelet.

Leaves and flowers bracelet Collage

Visit the Art Bead Scene June challenge recap post to see what others were inspired to make!

Beads, Blog Hops and Challenges

Bluebird of happiness necklace: the Blu Mudd Challenge

If, like me, you are still working your way through BSBP8, click here for my blog post!

A bit over a month ago, I was lucky enough to sign up for Blu Mudd challenge number 4. These challenges are hosted by Moriah Betterly, the ceramic artist behind Blu Mudd, a source of delightful pendants, beads, bracelet bars and toggles. The challenge is simple: to design a piece with the kit sent out by Moriah, using all of the components supplied. Today, pieces by 28 designers went up on Facebook, so now we can look at all the designs and vote for our favourites—the designer with the most votes will receive a $50 Blu Mudd gift certificate!

Moriah sent each participant the same pack:  a pendant featuring a pale blue bird perched on a branch, a toggle clasp in the same oatmeal glaze as the bird branch,  and four coordinating blue beads. The blue is more of a pale aqua, robin’s egg blue.

Blu Mudd Challenge components

I toyed with the idea of doing two necklaces, using the toggle as a focal for the second, with the idea that they could be layered. But in the end I went for the simpler option, and kept all the beads in one design. I added some large Czech faceted rounds, in a Picasso finish natural colour, as well as a solid and translucent aqua to intersperse with the lovely tubular ceramic beads. I strung these on waxed linen in a natural colour, with three strands of Picasso aqua-green seed beads between each larger bead. No wire was harmed in the making of this necklace!!!

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Now, if you’re on Facebook, please take a moment to go there and vote for my design by clicking LIKE. You can leave a comment there too, but only the LIKES determine the vote. This link will take you to the main album, while this link takes you directly to my picture! You can vote for more than one design, but only once on each design! Thank you!

Beads, Blog Hops and Challenges, Swaps and exchanges

Owls and dragonflies: the 8th Bead Soup Blog Party reveal is here!

So here we are again, at the 8th Bead Soup Blog Party, the highlight of the blogging beader’s calendar! The premise is simple, participants are paired up by our amazing host Lori Anderson to swap a bead soup containing at the minimum a focal and a clasp, plus some coordinating beads. This year almost 500 beaders and jewellery designers from around the world signed up to play. Today we reveal what we made using the beads our partners sent us.

My partner, Sandra Wollberg, from Wiesbaden, Germany (you can read more about her here), sent me a fabulous soup, including a pendant, clasp and bracelet bar from Blu Mudd, handmade polymer clay headpins, a stunning Czech glass button and a selection of beads including Czech glass dragonflies, flowers, leaves and little critters, freshwater pearls and some painted shell beads, Indian glass, and peanut beads. There was also some sari silk and a packet of mica sheets, thrown in by Sandra as an extra challenge.

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To get my muse going, I started with a few pairs of earrings, using Sandra’s polymer clay headpins, one pair wrapped with the pretty painted shell beads, the other one combined with two little ladybird beads from the strand of Czech glass critters. A third pair of earrings became a posy of Czech glass flowers.

earring collage 1

Next on the list was the bracelet bar. I had it in mind to combine it with leather, and I found some lovely soft teal blue leather that picked up the blue colour in the flowers embossed on the bar. To counter its one-sided weight, I knotted a selection of beads onto some teal blue waxed linen.

bracelet collage

My first necklace was inspired by the dragonfly beads and the Czech glass button, which also features a dragonfly. The challenge for me in this piece was to work out how to incorporate the button into a necklace,, especially as I also wanted to use the clasp Sandra sent me. In the end, I cut off the button shank and used a filigree piece from Vintaj to wrap around the back of the button, with a couple of jump rings to create a link. Between the button link and the clasp, I strung the Czech glass dragonfly coins and the pearls, and used a Vintaj dragonfly as a pendant. I’ve called this necklace the Dragonfly Pond necklace.

Dragonfly pond necklace collage

And finally, a necklace with the Blu Mudd owl pendant. The pendant is glazed in a glossy gold with breakthrough undertones tones of teal and green. I was inspired by some of Lorelei Eurto‘s recent necklaces, with beads knotted on linen, so I picked out a selection of beads in blues, greens and bronze shades, as well as a deep red to give a pop of colour, from both the bead soup Sandra provided as well as my own stash and knotted them on teal blue waxed linen (you’ll recognize some of the beads from the bracelet). The pattern repeats linearly from the clasp to the pendant, but looks asymmetric—a trick I think I picked up from one of the posts in Love My Art Jewelry‘s recent bootcamp on asymmetry. I’m really pleased with how this necklace turned out, I think it really captures the autumn woodland feel of Sandra’s soup. I’ve called it the Owl in the Woods necklace, and I think I’ll keep it for myself!

Owl in the woods necklace collage

Now, there are a few elements from my soup that I haven’t yet used. The Indian glass beads are destined for a necklace when I find the right chain. I almost used the peanut beads in the dragonfly necklace, but the seed beads just looked better. And I plan to make a few more pairs of earrings as well. The sari silk is lovely and I’m sure I will use that somewhere soon. The mica sheets are a bit more challenging, and I’ve been looking at various tutorials and blog posts about how to use. I have had them out to play with but so far I haven’t actually done anything. I have plans though, which I am sure I will blog about down the road.

Thank you Lori, for once again throwing a wonderful party with fabulous guests, despite your own personal challenges besetting you at every turn! I’m already looking forward to whatever you dream up for next year’s party! And thank you Sandra for a fabulous soup, which stretched me as a jewellery designer. I hope you had as good a time playing with my soup as I did with yours!

Now, I have the daunting but enjoyable task of visiting as many of the other blogs partying with me as I can. To see what Sandra made with the soup I sent her, visit her blog. And for the full list of participants, go to the main BSBP page.

 

Beads, Blog Hops and Challenges, Swaps and exchanges

Perlensuppe!

Perlensuppe is German for bead soup. And my bead soup has arrived! Yesterday I picked it up from the post office, a heavy little package from Germany! Of course I ripped it open as soon as I got home. And it was packed full of inspiration from my bead soup partner Sandra Wollberg.

First of all there are some beads, lots of them! Indian glass beads, Czech glass leaves and flowers, a strand of mixed critters ranging from butterflies to frogs and even scarab beetles, a strand of dragonfly-embossed coin-shaped beads, cultured pearls, delicately painted Chinese shell beads, peanut seed beads. The beads are richly coloured in both earthy and more vibrant shades.

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Then there are the special components. First of all some polymer clay leaf headpins made by Sandra herself. Then a big Czech glass button, again with the dragonfly.

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And three ceramic components from Blu Mudd—an owl pendant, a bracelet bar and a toggle clasp.

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Finally some sari silk in a lovely rust colour. And a few sheets of mica, to stretch my creativity to the limits!

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There’s definitely a theme to the soup—a kind of woodsy, late summer, early autumn theme. The ideas are spinning around, I think I can make some beauties! Thanks again Sandra, I hope you like your soup just as much! Fingers crossed it arrives really soon!

Oh, Sandra also sent me a little gift, a pair of vintage cuckoo clock earrings! I can just imagine these in a little gift shop somewhere, waiting for the right person to come along and buy them. Aren’t they sweet?

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I’ll be posting about the soup I sent Sandra once she has received it. Reveal date for the 8th Bead Soup Blog Party is not too far away now … 3 May!

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