Beads, Blog Hops and Challenges

A Gift From the Sea: Art Journey Two

Art Bead Scene’s Art Journey Two is about to end, and I’ve just managed to slide in under the wire! This Journey has focused on the illustrations of Virginia Frances Sterrett, an American artist whose short career illustrating fairy tales flourished during 1920s. Sadly she died of tuberculosis in 1931.

Art Bead Scene selected three of her fairy tale illustrations as starting points for this challenge, and I chose Proserpina and the Sea Nymphs, an illustration in the book Tanglewood Tales (1921), as my inspiration for this necklace.

Proserpina and the Sea Nymphs
From Tanglewood Tales (1921) illustrated by Virginia Frances Sterrett

The focal is one of Jenny Davies-Reazor‘s amulets, a polymer clay shadow box containing a pearly shell much like the shell held aloft by one of the sea nymphs in the illustration. The pale aqua and teal colours of the illustration, which darken to an inky blue almost perfectly match the colours of Jenny’s amulet. I added a small length of English cut Czech glass beads in frosty aquas, and finished it off with a length of bright copper chain, which provides a lovely contrast to the blues much like the coppery colours of the kelp in Sterrett’s artwork.

I do wish I had time to make some more pieces based on these illustrations, they are so rich with pattern and colours, very inspiring! Thanks again Art Bead Scene! I’m looking forward to Art Journey Three!

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!

 

Beads, Blog Hops and Challenges

Inspired by Reading Book Club: A Wrinkle in Time

I’ve joined the Inspired by Reading Book Club, a crafty group of jewellery designers and more. The group was started by Andrew Thornton, and I’ve been sitting on the fence for sometime, wanting to join. I finally took the plunge this month, and I hope I can keep up with a design a month! The reading itself shouldn’t be a problem!

Anyway the idea is to read the book and then create a piece (or more) inspired by the book. This month’s book is A Wrinkle in Time, a classic children’s book by Madeline L’Engle, published in 1963. I first read this book when I was a child, and I was thrilled to find it just as readable as an adult, although somewhat dated. As the title might imply, it is a science fiction novel,  with travel through space and time through the tesseract, a form of travel akin to traveling through a wormhole. Meg Murray, a “difficult” and “different” child and her equally different little brother Charles, as well as school friend Calvin, have to rescue Meg’s father, a physicist who has been missing for a couple of years, and is stuck on a far away planet in a far away galaxy. At the heart of the book is the classic struggle between good and evil, with love conquering all in the end.

I did think about creating some pieces with the space theme. In fact, I have made various resin pendants, cufflinks and earrings fairly recently featuring images of space including nebulae and more.

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However the passage in the book that inspired me was a simple description of one of the book’s characters, Mrs Whatsit. Appearing early in the book as an old lady with the appearance of a tramp, she plays an important role as one of the guides through time and space. But her description is what hooked me. She is described as being completely bundled up in clothes, with several scarves of assorted colours tied about the head:

Mrs Whatsit untied a blue and green Paisley scarf, a red and yellow flowered print, a gold Liberty print, a red and black bandanna.

I initially thought I would create a necklace combining these colour schemes, but I ended up creating 4 necklaces, one for each scarf (and hence I’m late posting this blog update!).

The paisley scarf became a necklace featuring a paisley pendant from Humblebeads, knotted on waxed linen with a collection of flowers and leaves in similar shades of green, blue and purple.

Paisley scarf necklace

The red and yellow flowered print scarf uses a pendant I made myself using a scrap of Liberty of London print floral fabric and a clever miniature embroidery hoop from Melbourne-based Etsy seller Dandelyne (these come in a variety of shapes and sizes—this particular one is 4cm in diameter). I attached it to a long copper chain embellished with dainty Czech glass flowers.

red-yellow floral scarf necklace

The gold Liberty print uses another embroidery hoop pendant featuring a scrap of Liberty fabric with gold and purple flowers and leaves. This time I have paired it with a trio of seed bead strands in shades of purple, gold and bronze and finished it with brass chain.

gold liberty scarf necklace

Finally the red and black bandanna is represented by a red pendant by Peruzi and a selection of black and red beads. Although the pendant is very Art Deco in style, I think the geometric nature of it reminds me of bandanna prints.

red-black bandanna necklace

And here they are all together!

Mrs Whatsits scarves

Beads, Blog Hops and Challenges

Channelling Lalique: Beading Back in Time Blog Hop

It’s the final challenge of the year in Lindsay Starr and Sherri Stokey’s Beading Back in Time Blog Hop series. And this time, we get to choose our favourite historical period to inspire our designs.

For this challenge I have chosen, rather than a specific time period, an artist—René Lalique—who worked across a couple of significant (and favourite) design periods, Art Nouveau and Art Deco, as my inspiration. Lalique was a glass artist known for his glass sculptures, perfume bottles, vases, jewellery, automobile hood ornaments, and more. Although he started designing as one of the pioneering artists in the Art Nouveau style, he really became well known for his Art Deco work.

Some months ago, my attention was caught by some beautiful glass beads by Lesley McIver, a lampworker in New Zealand. Lesley is pretty active on some of the Facebook auction sites and I was lucky enough to acquire both an earring pair and a larger focal bead in her rose design, which is inspired by Lalique’s work.

I browsed through images of Lalique’s designs, in particular the perfume bottles, and came across this one, which may have been Lesley’s inspiration. However, on further investigation it seems the design may be a more recent one by Lalique’s granddaughter, circa 1979, but I still think it is representative of his Art Deco style. In any case it provided me with my own inspiration, to invert the rose beads like the decorative stoppers on Lalique perfume bottles.

Lalique Samoa perfume bottle (image from Pinterest)
Lalique Samoa perfume bottle (image from Pinterest)

The earrings, which are actually quite large, feature frosted lavender roses atop enameled filigree beads by Bellissimo Jewels here in Melbourne. The enamel is another nod to Lalique who designed beautiful cloisonné as well as glass. I am not entirely happy with the choice of earwires as I’d prefer slightly less oxidised copper, but that’s what I had to hand. I will change them over when I can.

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The necklace has a gorgeous focal sized rose in blue, which fades to a pale blue toward the end of the petals. This one I’ve paired with a rather special lampwork bead by Michele Smith, a Hawaiian lampworker, which was gifted to me by a friend last year (apologies, I haven’t been able to find a link for this artist). The bead is a gorgeous encased flower with some black stringer work. I’ve kept the rest of it fairly simple, with a couple of deco-inspired vintage Czech glass beads (circa 1980s!) wire-wrapped along the length of an etched oval copper chain.

Lalique necklace

Many thanks to Lindsay and Sherri for setting up these challenges, I didn’t manage to do all of them because life gets in the way sometimes, but I did very much enjoy the two I did do. I’m looking forward to whatever they dream up in 2016!

And of course, this is a blog hop, so I’ve included the list of participants below!

Sherri Stokey <—–Co-Host
Lindsay Starr <—–Co-Host
Anastasia Kristala Urbanski
Jenny Davies-Reazor
Stephanie Haussler
Niky Sayers
Melissa Trudinger <—– You Are Here!
Kelly Rodgers
Michelle McCarthy

Beads

BeadFest part 2 — some of the shopping

Along with the classes, BeadFest has a huge expo hall full of bead sellers—everything from tables covered with semi-precious gems to small artisan beadmakers (those were my favourites). The expo was at least 10 times bigger than the Aussie bead shows (makes sense – the population in the US is a bit more than 10 times that in Australia too) and I spent hours there (and lots of money too).

I didn’t buy much in the way of semi-precious stones, as (a) I don’t use them all that often and (b) I can get a lot of them in Australia for much the same price. But I did get a few strands of large-holed beads and some nice matte-finish red creek jasper. The blue is dumortierite and the one below it is impression jasper. These were all from Dakota Stones.

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It was nice to look at all the tools available (except I could never get a look-in on the Lindstrom pliers, oh well, kind of out of my price range anyway). I tried out the Xuron pliers and the Wubbers, and liked the former more than the latter, but found them on Amazon cheaper than at the show. I looked longingly at Brenda Schweder’s Now That’s a Jig, but right now I don’t do enough wire-wrapping to justify the US$200 pricetag. I did buy some Impressart stamps as they had a buy 5, get a 6th for free deal.

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Speaking of wire, I bought some of that too—it can actually be quite expensive here and I use quite a bit of it.

I was a bit disappointed that there were not more high quality components there – companies like Vintaj, TierraCast and Nunn. I think a few sellers had bits and pieces but that was about all. Probably a good thing for my bank account though!

But then I discovered Saki Silver and I got some great earwires in silver as well as copper (both antiqued and not), and some buttons too.

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The Bead Goes On had some great Indonesian seed beads and some lovely Thai copper (and silver too, but I didn’t buy any of that).

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I got some nice sari silk in bright colours I haven’t seen before from Fiber and Beads.

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Some seed bead blends in my favourite 6/0 size beads.

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And I stocked up on some of my favourite styles of Czech glass beads at Nirvana Beads. I think my mind is turning toward summer as I seem to be drawn to the blues at the moment.

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I’ll talk about the art beads in the next post.

Beads, Classes and new techniques

BeadFest part 1 — the classes

I’ve just returned home from our 8 week family holiday in the USA. It’s pretty much been radio silence from me here while I’ve been away (thanks to intermittent access to wifi, busy days of travel and sightseeing and so on), but I plan to do a few posts this week about the beady side of the trip, aka my BeadFest experience.

BeadFest was—to this Aussie anyway—ah-maze-ing! We arrived in the middle of the afternoon on Thursday (the second day I think of BeadFest), thanks to late flights the day before resulting in an unexpected stopover and a very early start, and I had a class starting at 4:30pm, so it was a bit of a scramble.

The first class I did was with Sara Lukkonen, of C-Koop Beads fame, and was a torch-fired enameling class. We enameled flowers and disks and whatnot, and then riveted them to leather to make bracelets, and even a little leather ring. I LOVED it, and can see a torch in my future – I just need to set up a suitable space at home somewhere.

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Anyway, I used a transparent turquoise frit (which looked a deeper blue over the copper), opaque purple and opaque pea green on my pile of flowers and disks and I’m thrilled with my bracelet—have worn it several times already! I made a matching ring too.

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I’ve also got a pile of leftover pieces which may or may not end up in something sometime.

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The second class I took was a short (45 minute) class with Erin Keck, which I took specifically to learn how to shape metal into a dome shape (the technique is called dapping). We made a simple pair of earrings using Vintaj embossing folders to texture the disks before dapping them. I can definitely see the possibilities here.

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The second long class of the week was a class which introduced a few new techniques—fold-forming niobium, and then anodizing it to colour it. It was a fascinating class taught by Marti Brown, and while I don’t think I’ll be rushing out to buy the anodizing set-up, it was fun to try it out and I ended up with a gorgeous pair of earrings and a pendant too.

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Finally I took another short technique class to try my hand at soldering copper. The class was taught by Kate Richbourg (and I will be looking up her video classes on Craftsy and Jewelry Making Daily) and I made a set of three stacking copper rings. Definitely another thing to try at home once I get set up!

Copper rings

It was great to have the opportunity to do some classes at BeadFest, and I just wish I’d had the time/money to do more. Next time (yes there will be a next time, it will probably just take me a few years), I will absolutely spend more time doing classes. In my next couple of posts I will talk about the shopping (oh the shopping!) and the people!

Beads, Blog Hops and Challenges, Swaps and exchanges

Bead Peeps Swap’n’Hop

The day has arrived for the Bead Peeps Swap’n’Hop reveal. This blog hop is hosted by Linda Anderson and the Facebook group Bead Peeps, and like other bead soup-style blog hops, participants were paired up and asked to exchange a selection of beads including at least one artisan-made bead, a nice clasp and some coordinating beads.

My partner this time around is Niky Sayers, a UK-based designer and metalsmith who makes the most fabulous jewellery. I’m really looking forward to seeing what she has made using the bead soup I sent her. She treated me to a lovely selection of artisan goodies including some of her own delicious goodies—a clasp, a connector and a bead made from coins, and more.

Swapnhop soup

The first piece I made featured the gorgeous chocolate clay and turquoise heart focal made by Gaea and the 6mm serpentine rondelles. I added some Czech glass coins and flowers and some supersoft chocolate brown deerhide lace, which simply ties into a bow at the back of the neck.

Turquoise heart necklace

Next up is a pair of earrings featuring two Kylie Parry birds—not quite the same, but similar—perched on top of Niky’s sweet little copper mushroom headpins. The earwires are antiqued copper from The Curious Bead Shop.

Shroombirds earrings

And then finally is a rather special necklace I’m calling the Bowerbird, after the Australian bird that collects all sorts of bits and bobs to decorate its bower to entice a mate. I’ve created a necklace featuring a collection of bits and bobs from my art bead hoard, all linked together.

I’ve used several things from the soup, including two of Niky’s coin components (the copper farthing-based clasp and connector), as well as the enamel script bead by Blue Antiquities, the aqua Karen Totten beads and the Bo Hulley fly connector. Niky’s connector features a lampwork headpin by Jennifer Cameron in deep pinky purples and yellow, which goes well with the pink and yellow lampwork beads from Michelle Mahre. A Gaea love nest bead plus the coordinating beads from the bundle, and a Gaea rainbow wave bead are also in there, and I’ve also included a Humblebeads polymer clay house bead and a tiny charm from Jade Scott. Rounding out the art beads are 2 copper beads with a violet patina, two copper rings with a violet patina and two antiqued copper rings, all from Miss Fickle Media. Finally, I’ve added in tumbled fluorite nuggets and a selection of Czech glass beads in a variety of shapes and colours.

Bowerbird collage

The resulting necklace is an eclectic collection, that I think would happily grace a bowerbird’s nest, or my neck! It was super-hard to photograph in its entirety though!

Bowerbird necklace

Thank you Niky for sending me such a delicious soup! I still have a few pieces yet to use, and I’m looking forward to finding the right pieces to feature them in. And thank you to Linda and Bead Peeps for hosting the hop! There are loads of participants listed below, so pick a few to go and visit!

Finally, if you’re looking for a new blog hop challenge, consider my Epic Inspirations Blog Hop, which has a reveal date in early June.

Bead Peeps Swap N Hop 2015  Partner List

Our Hostess: Linda Anderson       http//:fromTheBeadBoard.blogspot.com

Linda Anderson                               http://fromTheBeadBoard.blogspot.com
Marica Zammit                                 http://www.beadlovelies.com

Linda Anderson                                http://fromTheBeadBoard.blogspot.com
Jessica Hocutt                                  https://faithfamilyandadventure.wordpress.com

Kristina Hahn Eleniak                      http://www.peacockandlime.wordpress.com
Debbie Jeffries                                   http://wordpress/debrasdivinedesigns/blog.com

Rosantia Petkova                              http://bairozan.blogspot.com/
Shalini Austin                                    http://jewellerybyshalini.co.uk/my-blog/

Catherine La Vite                             http://drygulchbeadsandjewelry.blogspot.com
Annica Larsson                                 http://zestyfrog.wordpress.com/

Lori Schneider                                  http://beadaddicted.blogspot.com/
Divya N                                              http://www.jewelsofsayuri.com

Mowse Doyle                                    http://mowsemadethis.blogspot.com
Fay Wolfenden                                 http://torchfairy.blogspot.com

Kathy Lindemer                               http://bay-moon-design.blogspot.com/
Claire Fabian                                     http://saraccino.blogspot.de/

Janice Warden Bergeron               http://thejewelryroom.blogspot.ca
Natalie Davidson                             http://www.northshoredays.com

Deb Fortin                                         http://www.studiok24.blogspot.ca
Inge von Roos                                  http://ingetraud.wordpress.com

Karen Mitchell                                  http://overthemoon-design.com
Robin Reed                                        http://willowdragon.blogspot.com

Marie Covert                                     http://thistledown-and-swaddlings.blogspot.com/
Alicia Marinache                              http://www.allprettythings.ca

Nan Smith                                         http://www.wirednan.blogspot.ca
Johana Nunez                                   http://artincendi.com

Kelly Hosford Patterson                 http://travelingsideshow.blogspot.com/
Lori Blanchard                                  http://alainnjewelry.WordPress.com

Sue  Kennedy                                    http://suebeads.blogspot.com
Shai Williams                                    http://shaihasramblings.com

Niky Sayers                                       http://silverniknats.blogspot.co.uk
Melissa Trudinger                            https://beadrecipes.wordpress.com  <– ME!

Candida Castleberry                        http://www.spunsugarbeadworks.blogspot.com
Erin Guest                                          http://www.renlish.com

Nicole Rennell                                  http://nicolerennell.com/blog
Ien Temaluru                                    http://ienmaginationsjewelry.wordpress.com

Robin Showstack                             http://heartsdesiresjewelryforyou.blogspot.com/
Sam Waghorn                                  http://palemooncreation.blogspot.co.uk

Marianne Baxter                              http://www.simplyseablimejewelry.blogspot.com
Elsie Deliz-Fonseca                          http://ladelizchica.blogspot.com

Shai Williams                                    http://shaihasramblings.com
Lee Koopman                                   http://stregajewellry.wordpress.com

Jayne Capps                                      http://mamasgottodoodle.blogspot.com
Marti Conrad                                    http://marticsclay.blogspot.com

Tina Bosh                                          http://bookbug-somanybookssolittletime.blogspot.com/
Eleanor Thomas                               http://woolywireetc.blogspot.com

Jeanne Steck                                     http://www.gemsbyjeannemarie.blogspot.com
Gloria Allen                                       http://www.wingsandbeads.blogspot.com

Rachel Mallis                                    http://www.mintmonarch.com/#!blog/c1jlz
Andrea Glick                                     http://zenithjade.blogspot.com/

Stephanie Stamper                          http://skwds.blogspot.com
Chris Haussler                                  http://pixybugdesigns.blogspot.com

Betony Maiden                                  http://www.beadwenches.blogspot.com/
Kari Asbury                                        http://hippiechickjewelrydesign.com/blog/

Jenny Kyrlach                                   http://anafiassa.blogspot.com/
Colleen Foley                                     http://colleenfoleycreations.blogspot.com

Marybeth Rich                                  http://forestofjewels.blogspot.com/
Marcy Lamberson                           http://www.StudioMarcy.blogspot.com

Dyanne Everett-Cantrell                http://www.deelitefuljewelrycreations.blogspot.com
Ginny Lones                                      http://www.Skippingintotheunknown.blogspot.com

Maria Rosa Sharrow                       http://willowstreetshops.blogspot.com
Loretta Carstensen                          http://designsbyloretta.blogspot.com

Dolores Raml                                    http://craftydscreations.wordpress.com
Michelle McCarthy                          http://www.fireflydesignstudio.blogspot.com

Louise McCormick-Glazier           http://jewelrytreasuresbylouise.blogspot.com/
Heather Richter                               http://desertjewelrydesigns.blogspot.com

Tammy Adams                                 http://www.paisleylizard.com/blog/
Shirley Moore                                   http://beadsandbread.blogspot.com

Seed Beaders

Susanne Stelljes                               http://pearlify.blogspot.de
Sheila Prosterman                           http://catswithbeads.blogspot.com

Pallavi Asher                                     http://kalaabhushan.blogspot.in/
Jami Shipp                                         http://celebratinglifewithdamamashipp.blogspot.com

Peggy Kosier                                     http://www.kosydesigns.blogspot.ca/
Andra Weber                                    http://andrasjoyfuljourney.blogspot.com

Catherine King                                  http://catherines-musings.blogspot.com
Krafty Max                                        http://kraftymax.com

Sierra Barrett                                    http://giraffecanhas.wordpress.com
Lois Sherwood                                 http://thiznthat5454blog.wordpress.com

Katy Heider                                       http://onthepondcreations.blogspot.com
Rebecca Robertson   (White)        http://morganafeycreations.121hub.com/

Heather Richter                               http://desertjewelrydesigns.blogspot.com
Brandy Collier                                   http://bhjewelry.wordpress.com

Stephanie Haussler                          http://www.pixybugdesigns.blogspot.com
Lori Blanchard                                  http://alainnjewelry.WordPress.com

Kathleen Breeding                           http://99bobotw.blogspot.com
Becky Pancake                                 http://beckypancakebeaddesigns.blogspot.com

Renetha Stanziano                          http://lamplightcrafts.blogspot.com/
Tami Norris                                       https://jewelrybytami.wordpress.com/

Ginger Bishop                                   http://lilmummylikes.blogspot.com/
Peggy Johnson                                 http://charmbarn.blogspot.com