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

 

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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

Art Bead Scene June Challenge

It’s been a few months since I managed to make something for the Art Bead Scene monthly challenge. But I did make something this month! Well, a small confession — I actually made this last month, but using the inspiration artwork for June (which I had downloaded earlier in the year thanks to ABS making us a little booklet containing the year’s artwork, month by month).

Profile on Red Meanders, formerly Jeanne d’Arc. Odelin Redon, 1900, Pastel

The artwork is by Odelin Redon, a French artist active in the late 1800s to early 1900s, and it really has the most vibrant and luminous colours, quite at odds with the renaissance feel to the female head featured in the painting. I was really taken by the combination of pinks and blues and greens.

I pulled out one of the folk-inspired birds that Heather “Humblebeads” Powers has been making in recent months, a beautiful deep pink one with blue accents. I made a tassel out of embroidery silks that coordinated with it beautifully, but I needed a large bead to balance it. Serendipitously I received a package of funky knitted beads from KnittenJen’s Beads, and one of them paired beautifully with Heather’s bird. I kept the rest of the necklace simple, just stringing it onto a piece of suede thonging. I have had thoughts about adding some more beads (I do have some similar knitted beads without the seed bead embellishment), although to be honest I would need some larger beads than are common in my stash to give the necklace balance. Maybe if the right beads come along I’ll play with a new design but I’m enjoying wearing it like thisat the moment.

Once I’d made the necklace, I of course needed some earrings to wear with it, so I pulled out a pair of Heather’s charms and some Czech glass beads and whipped up a pair in coordinating colours.

Thank you for the colourful inspiration ABS, I now have a new go-to necklace and I have some more birds and some more knitted beads that may find themselves paired together in something similar in the near future!

 

It’s (Bead Soup Blog) Party Time!

It’s finally reveal day for the Bead Soup Blog Party: Bead Hoarders Edition!

When I received my bead soup from Denise Milward a few weeks ago, I was sure I would use the big striped agate focal first, and struggle with the yellow agate pendant. But then I saw a Design Seeds palette that gave me the perfect colour inspiration for the yellow pendant and I ended up struggling with the striped pendant instead!

Just to remind you, here’s the soup Denise sent me:

Here’s the palette that inspired me — that yellow is just about a perfect match for the pendant isn’t it?

Palette by Design Seeds { flora hues } image via: @botanical_tales

I knew I had some amethyst in my stash of gemstones, and I was delighted to find a strand of faceted oval stones. As I was going through a box of mixed beads, I also came across a bag of vintage Czech glass rounds in that very same deep amber yellow (I believe Lennis Carrier gave them to me in a swap a couple of years ago). I knotted them on lavender waxed linen to make a very simple but striking necklace.

So once I got that necklace out of the way, it was time to tackle the big striped agate pendant. I fiddled around for quite a while, trying different combinations of beads, including the honey-coloured matte agate rounds and the tiny carnelian beads that Denise had sent along with the pendants. I added some ceramic rounds made by Natalie McKenna and some wooden beads that I’ve had for ages. Then I found some big agate beads that my sister had brought me back from Vietnam or Laos that provided the weight the necklace needed to balance the size of the pendant. But it still needed something, the colours were too similar. And then I remembered the turquoise turtles, and added a couple — and suddenly it all fell into place!

I made a pair of asymmetric earrings with a couple more of the turtles and two more of the painted wooden rounds. I think they’re pretty cute, don’t you?

And here are all three pieces together!

I still have quite a few bits and bobs from Denise’s soup. I think the embellishment Denise made from daggers and rounds would look great stitched onto a cuff bracelet, but the leather cuffs I have are not wide enough. Perhaps it would work on a denim cuff if I can get some darker denim. Stay tuned for that!

Thank you so much for the beautiful bead soup Denise, I’ve had loads of fun with it, and I’m pretty pleased with the pieces I made from it. I’m looking forward to seeing what you made with the soup I sent you. (Denise is posting on Pinterest right here.)

Somewhere around 160 beaders and jewellery designers have joined in this round of the Bead Soup Blog Party, and none of it would have happened without Lori Anderson. I’ll be spending much of my spare time in the next week visiting all of the BSBP blogs and I hope you have time to look at a few too. Here’s a list of all of the blogs — and the odd Pinterest board too!

Lori Anderson :: Hostess

Claire Fabian

Jennifer Strehler

Rochelle Brisson

Annita Wilson

Melissa Trudinger :: You are here!

Loralee Kolton

Valerie Tilghman

Mischelle Andrade

Elizabeth Bunn

Marianna DeLuca Wehner

Johana Nunez

Jenny Kyrlach

Elizabeth Hodges

Lennis Carrier

Candida Castleberry

Mary Govaars

Sandi James

Arlene Dean

Kristina Eleniak

Nan Smith

Nadine Edris

Denise McCabe

Donna Marie Hanna

Audrey Belanger

Nicole Rennell

Robin Reed

Gail Zwang

Terry Jeanette Carter

Donna Hoblit Ann Schroeder

Klaudete Koon

Veralynne Malone

Lorelei Eurto

Ann  Sherwood

Jackie Locantore

Mowse Doyle

Dorit Woldenga

Cheri Reed

Dolores Raml

Palak Udeshi

Laurie Vyselaar

Heather Canepa

Dorothy Supri

Sharyl King

Elaine Robitaille

Heather Marston

Terry Matuszyk

Andra Weber

D’Arsie Manzella

Sooz Anzalone

Karin King

Leona Smith

Tania Spivey

Jasvanti Patel

Danielle Kelley

Shai Williams

Jacqueline Marchant

Erin Kenny

Becky Pancake

Kelly Schermerhorn

Renetha Stanziano

Rana Wilson

Janine Lucas

Kelly Hosford Patterson

Andrea Glick

Joanne Bell

Sarah Strover

Sam Waghorn

Helena Hatten

Jackie Ryan

Bridget Torres

Inge von Roos

Krafty Max

Iveth Caruso

Rebecca Ednie

Amy Severino

Sandra Wollberg

Blanca Medina

Dyanne Everett-Cantrell

Samantha Wescott

Christine Stonefield

Silke Groeber

Alenka Obid

Lori Bowring Michaud

April Grinaway

Yvette Goodridge

Kathy Lindemer

Kathleen A Breeding

Joyce Becker

Pam Farren

Divya N

Sherri Stokey

Terri DelSignore

Kate Gonska

Jean Wells

CJ Bauschka

Bonnie Coursolle

Barb Fernald

Noemí Baena

Dana Phillips

Karen Firnberg

Michelle Escano Caballero

Natalie Ettinger

Valerie Norton

Rachel Mallis

Denise Milward :: My partner

Bobbie Rafferty

Vonna Maslanka

Elisabeth Auld

Hannah Rosner

Carla Fry

Terri Gauthier

Teresa Fischer

Tanya Goodwin

Barbara Judy

Leanne Loftus

Carrie Stalcup

Lori Schneider

Joelyn Bissing

Kate Dufour

Gail Poveda

Katie Nielsen-Nunez

Pam DeBoer

Dee Elgie

Judy Jacobs

Elisabeth Matouschek

Shawn Elkins

Sally Russick

Susan McClelland

Tracy Stillman

Robin Lynne Showstack

Marianne Baxter

Maria Rosa Sharrow

Therese Frank

Sandi Volpe

Leslie Scholz

Joan Williams

Laura Guenther

Liz Engriser

B.R.Kuhlman

Bev Breisinger

Radel Vela

Kim Dworak

Carol Dillman

Alice Craddick

Janeen Burlingame

Leah Curtis

Ann Marie Hodrick

Donna Millard

Hajer Waheed Khalil

Lucy Clasen

Michelle McCarthy

Maria Rios

Babette Cox

Natalie Davidson

Brenda Ballou

Christina Hickman

Heather Gunther

 

Soup, soup, beautiful bead soup!

The Bead Soup Blog Party has begun, with the exchange of bead soups! Denise got hers early last week while mine showed up at the end of the week. And I have to say, I think we were both quite chuffed with what we got.

Denise sent me a lovely selection of beads, inspired by my name, Melissa, which means honey or honey bee in Greek. The beads span a  palette of delicate oranges and yellows as well as earthy tones, plus a set of turquoise blue turtles for contrast. The beads include carnelian, coral, dyed agates and jasper, to set off two gorgeous stone focals, one a larged striped agate and the other a mustard-coloured agate, She threw in some of her favourite one- and two-holed beads and another small beadwoven focal that I think she made.

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The colours remind me of the Australian desert landscapes, which may lead me to some inspiration!

As to the beads I sent Denise, well, they had an Australian flavour of sorts. I picked beads by some of my favourite Australian beadmakers, including a big beautiful ceramic focal by Natali Fletcher-Jones, that I have been hoarding for a while, plus some earring charms by Melissa Gabelle, another local clay artist whose work I tend to squirrel away. These two ceramic artists are among my very favourites, and both of them keep tempting me with more and more lovely beads, which they sell through various groups on Facebook including Australian Art Beads, Handmade Alchemy and Handmade Beads and Findings, among others.

file-21-2-17-9-36-37-pm

I added several lengths of sari silk in colours that and a selection of Czech beads in different sizes and shapes in coordinating hues. Finally, there is also a brass dragonfly clasp that is similar to one I received in my very first bead soup! I hope you really enjoy playing with this soup Denise, I had fun putting it together for you!

Ok, so now we both have until 25 March to create with our bead soups. I’d better get cracking!

It’s BSBP season again!

bsbp-collage-badge

One of the key reasons I set up this blog was so that I could take part in blog hops and challenges, and the one that I most wanted to do when I started was Lori Anderson‘s Bead Soup Blog Party aka the BSBP! I took part in three BSBPs (here, here and here) before Lori had to stop organising them due to ill-health.

But happy days are here again! Lori is feeling much better than she was a couple of years ago and has set up the 9th BSBP — this time with a fun twist! Not only are we sending our partner beads, but we have been asked to send hoarded beads, beads that we’ve been holding on to for one reason or another. Beads that have special meaning and personal value to us. It’s a lovely idea, and also a difficult task, it can be hard to give up our precious, special beads!

This year my partner is Denise Milward, a beader living in Nottinghamshire in the UK. Denise took part in the last BSBP too (here is the first of several blog posts she did with her designs).

So what have I sent Denise from my hoard stash? Well, I can’t show you more than this:

file-21-2-17-9-46-46-pm

But I can tell you it has somewhat of an Aussie theme to it. I’ve picked out some of my favourite Australian-made pretties to send to Denise, along with a few other bits and bobs from here and there. I really hope she enjoys what I have sent to her, and is inspired! And I can’t wait to see what she makes!

I’ll post again about the BSBP when I get my beads in the mail from Denise, I’m looking forward to that too! And the big reveal is March 25, only a month or so away. Hopefully I’ll have a good couple of weeks to play!

Inspired by Reading: A Place of My Own

apomo-3

The January book for the Inspired by Reading Book Club was Michael Pollan’s book A Place of My Own: The Architechure of Daydreams. It’s not a new book, it was first published in 1997 or thereabouts, and it deals with the design and construction of a small building — a place for the author to write. In typical Pollan style, though, it’s about much more than that, it’s about architecture, it’s about the conflict between the architect, who puts dreams onto paper and the builder who has to turn them into reality, and a lot more.

From the back of the book:

Inspired in equal parts by Thoreau and Mr Blandings, A Place of My Own not only explores the history and meaning of all human building, it also demonstrates architecture’s unique power to give our bodies, minds, and dreams a home in the world.

It’s a pretty wordy book, and gets a bit long-winded at times, but on the whole I enjoyed it and it certainly made me think! Perhaps that’s because my husband and I are starting to talk a little more seriously about renovating our home, or at least think about getting the process started with dreams and plans!

So I thought I would take a slightly different approach this month, and talk about the plans I have to create a small studio space of my own. Our home is a (typical for the area) single storey, 4 bedroom house built almost 100 years ago originally, with a dated extension that’s probably 25 years old. But one of the attractions for us when we bought it was the existence of a detached bungalow (as we call them here in Australia) aka studio. It’s a two-room plus tiny bathroom space that is mostly used as a guest bedroom and spillover storage for everything that doesn’t fit in the house. Most of my books are in there (I have a lot much to my husband’s dismay), and the cupboards are full of random art and sewing supplies, extra kitchen stuff and more.

Anyway, with a recent reorganisation of various rooms and associated furniture within our house, I have decided to move all of my jewellery making supplies out there and turn part of it into a studio for myself. It will still have to double as a guest bedroom on a regular basis (don’t worry Gran and Papa, I’ll leave plenty of room for you!), so I can’t take over the whole space, and I can see myself bringing projects back inside to work on too, especially in the evenings.

Keeping in mind that it is a work in progress, I thought I would give you some before pictures, and I’ll come back in a few weeks to show you how it’s shaping up as a space to work.

Late last year I bought a fantastic old jeweller’s bench from a retired goldsmith. It was covered in layers of utilitarian grey paint, well hammered board as a working surface, and many other layers of grime, but it was a solid piece of furniture and at a pretty good price too! I immediately set to work sanding back the top and getting it ready to use. And then I ran out of steam and it’s been sitting there for a couple of months with things piling up on top of it. I’m hoping this weekend I might get back to it.

Here’s the before picture:

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My plan is to use the bench for metalwork — hammering, soldering, stamping, and so on. I am also planning to set up space for torch-fired enamelling, but because this workbench will be against a wall, I think I need to set up on a smaller table I can pull out into the middle of the room so that the flame is not directed straight at the wall.

My beads are in a complete mess, so my next job will be to sort them out. Most of my art beads and a fair few of the Czech glass beads I use most often are in this Ikea chest of drawers. It’s sitting in my hallway right now.

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I’ve moved most of the other boxes of supplies into the bungalow but I haven’t had a chance to sort it out yet, and I’ve got a bit of work to do to make the space my own. Fingers crossed I can get in there soon.

But wait. I couldn’t let this book go by without making something inspired by it. So I pulled out a tiny pair of house charms made by Lesley Watt and turned them into a sweet little pair of earrings.

file-3-2-17-6-00-41-pm

It’s on to the next book now, thanks again for another interesting read Andrew and William!