We’re All Ears: Pretty Patchwork Earrings

This month’s inspiration for the Earrings Everyday challenge is patchwork. And while Erin suggested that we use colour and pattern as our inspiration, I went in a slightly different and more literal direction.

You see, I have these tiny little embroidery hoops I have been dying to try out in earrings. They’re just 1 inch in diameter, and super cute. In the past I have used larger (but still petite) embroidery hoops as pendants, with pretty fabrics on display. But this time, I thought I would try a tiny patchwork pattern inside the hoop — a four-patch block — using fabric with a small print on it (the fabric came with a Molly Makes magazine I picked up last year).

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It was trickier than I thought to get the seams lined up, and I need to work on my “fussy cutting” so that each patch shows off enough of the pattern to balance it all out. But I think they turned out pretty well for a first attempt. And they are super light weight, despite their size (as earrings go they are quite big!)

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I’m planning to try something new with these hoops too — tiny paper pieced blocks like these (there are even more on Etsy from this designer). Perhaps not quite as small as these earring hoops, but in pendants. I need to go out and get more fabric!

To see what other designers have come up with for this month’s challenge, visit the Earrings Everyday blog here and look for the linky.

Thanks Miss Erin, for pushing me to try something I’ve been thinking about for a while.

Inspired by Reading: A Place of My Own

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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.

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

 

 

ABS January Challenge: Field of Flowers Earrings

I’m hoping to participate a bit more frequently with the Art Bead Scene monthly challenge this year, aided by the fact that they have published a little booklet with all twelve artworks for the year, so I can get a head start! Well, that’s the theory anyway!

This month’s painting — by Egon Schiele — is a riot of flowers in yellows, oranges and reds.

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I recently bought a couple of earring pairs from Melissa Gabelle. She decorates these little ceramic charms with slip to create a textured floral design. One of the pairs was a yellow and red design which was perfect for this challenge. I came up with a new way to hang the charms from the wires using deerhide leather, which I’m quite pleased with.

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In fact, I used the same technique to make a similar pair using smaller charms in purple.

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Thank you Art Bead Scene for an interesting and inspirational choice of art this month.

Muffin Tin Challenge 2017

January’s a funny time of the year for me. On one hand, I am usually not working so I should have plenty of time to do things. On the other hand it is the summer school holidays down here in Australia, and the chorus of “Mum I’m bored” from my three kids can be overwhelming. It’s hard to hear the muse amidst the clamour!

Thankfully, Heather Powers from Humblebeads has come to the rescue with a fun creative activity to get things moving — the Muffin Tin Challenge! Basically, a muffin tin is filled with jewellery projects, one per hole. And then, as time permits, the projects can be pulled out and completed.

Now in theory, each muffin hole should contain all of the materials required for the project, but I never manage to be quite that organised. Instead I put in my focal and a few coordinating beads, and when I pull out the project from the tin, I find whatever else I need — findings, chain, extra beads and so on — in my stash.

So for the last two weeks I’ve had a muffin tin full of projects and I’ve been adding bits and pieces as I go. But of course, I’ve left it to the last minute to do anything! Last night I made five pairs of earrings, and this morning I’ve made a quick and easy necklace. I was going to make more than one but … kids! But I will keep going with my muffin tin over the next days and weeks, I hope!

Here’s the tin, with various focals and pendants, as well as some of the beads I picked out to go with the them.

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My first pair of earrings will probably be used for next week’s Earrings Everyday challenge, but here’s a picture of them anyway. Enamel charms by Cathleen Zaring, lampwork by Lesley McIver.

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Another pair featuring Cathleen’s enamel charms, in sunny blues and yellows (it is summer here after all!).

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This pair of earrings showcases Heather’s new style of earring charms – they are very versatile! The pink flowers remind me of eucalyptus blossoms.

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My fourth pair matches stunning lampwork spikes by Liz DeLuca with faceted Czech glass.

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And last, but definitely not least, these stunning lampwork spikes by Liz DeLuca go beautifully with Rebecca Anderson‘s “end of the day” beaded beads.

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The necklace is an homage to Heather’s gorgeous variety of stacked necklaces, with one of her beautiful gilded folk art birds on top of an equally gorgeous Czech glass briar rose bead.

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Thank you for the challenge Heather, it did give me the kick up the bum I needed to get started this year! Now to start thinking about the Art Bead Scene challenge for January …

To see what others have made, visit Heather’s post here for the links.

 

AJE Art Headpins Challenge

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.

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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.

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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.

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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:

Guests:

Alison Herrington

Renetha Stanziano

Karin Grosset Grange

Gloria Allen

Deb Fortin

Cate van Alphen

Mona Arnott

Shai Williams

Sarajo Wentling

Kathy Lindemer

Solange Collin

Brooke Bock

Melissa Meman

Patricia Handschuh

Tammy Adams

Melissa Trudinger <– YOU ARE HERE!

AJE Team Members:

Caroline Dewison

Lesley Watt

Cathy Mendola

Jenny Davies-Reazor

Susan Kennedy

Laney Mead

Diana Ptaszynski

Lindsay Starr

Niky Sayers

 

 

 

Art Bead Scene challenge: Klimt-inspired earrings

It’s a while since I did an Art Bead Scene monthly challenge piece. But this month’s inspiration artwork just happened to remind me of a pair of enameled charms I recently acquired from Cathleen Zaring (who was nice enough to make me a pair after I just missed out on a Facebook auction).

Park bei Lu.

“Park Near Lu” By Paul Klee, 1938; Oil and coloured paste on paper on jute; original frame strips; 100 x 70 cm

The painting in question is by Paul Klee, one of the early 20th century expressionist painters, and is called Park by Lu. I love the sharp contrast between the bold black branches, and the surrounding colour. And Klimt is one of my favourite artists.

As I mentioned, the branches reminded me of a pair of charms I bought from Cathleen Zaring, with similarly bold black trees painted on them. I added a couple of Czech glass rondelles in colors that coordinated with the painting and hung them on oxidized sterling silver wires.

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These are big earrings, but very light and they make quite a statement! Thank you for the inspiration Art Bead Scene!

 

Dreams of Summertime: Art Jewelry Elements challenge

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.

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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: