Beads, Blog Hops and Challenges

Butterfly Dreams: Art Journey One

Art Bead Scene has refreshed its monthly art challenge for 2019, providing more time, more art and more inspiration! The new challenges have been renamed Art Journeys and the first one features two lovely nature illustrations by Art Bead Scene leader Heather Powers.

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In Heather’s words:

I love drawing things that nurture the soul, relish in the simple life and celebrate the every day.

I created this piece to represent the light within each of us, our ability to be kind, loving and uplifting and how that will attract beauty to us.

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I decided to focus on Heather’s moth and butterfly theme for this piece, rather than the colour palette, and pulled out a cute set of beads from Gaea Cannaday to use in a necklace. The colours aren’t quite the same as those in the illustrations, I went for a slightly brighter, summery palette. I also took inspiration from some of Heather’s simple, sweet necklaces, making a tassel using some chiffon ribbon and stringing the pendant I made from the tassel and beads on natural leather.

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Thanks for the inspiration Heather, can’t wait for the next Art Journey!

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Beads, Blog Hops and Challenges, Books

Inspired by Reading: The Swan Thieves

This month in the Inspired by Reading Book Club and challenge our book was The Swan Thives: A Novel by Elizabeth Kostova. It was a big book but surprisingly readable for all that, with a dash of intrigue, a psychological element and a good dose of art history. In any case I enjoyed it! 

The premise of the story is a psychiatrist trying to understand his patient — renowned painter Rob Oliver — who has attacked a painting purported to be by a particular artist of the French impressionist school. Oliver’s story is told largely to Dr Marlow by his wife and his ex-lover, and gradually uncovers an obsession with a young French  woman, an impressionist painter torn between her respectable marriage and her passion for art. Ultimately the mystery is solved by the psychiatrist. 

Although I sometimes found the jumping between the characters confusing, I thought that the author painted a good picture of  Oliver and the obsession that overtakes his art. And I loved the author’s vivid imagery, which suited a book about painters. 

There were two elements of the book that I wanted to explore with my Jewellery but unfortunately I only had time this month for one. The angle I didn’t have time to take was to look at some of the impressionist paintings mentioned in the book, including those by Alfred Sisley, who painted a number of streetscapes in the towns of Louveciennes and Moret-sur-Loing, both mentioned in the course of the story. I even picked out a set of boro lampwork beads in the colours of a winter streetscape that I wanted to use, but I realized I need to figure out the best way to highlight the beautiful beads. 

But the other scene that grabbed my attention was from early in the book, when the psychiatrist Andrew Marlow was visiting the scene of his patient’s crime at the National Gallery of Art. He meets a young woman (who unbeknownst to him will become crucial to the story) and it is his description of the Jewellery she wore that got my attention:

… on her collarbone she wore a necklace if knotted leather strung with long ceramic beads that looked as if they could have had prayer parchments rolled up inside them. (Chapter 6, The Swan Thieves by Elizabeth Kostova)

I came across a polymer clay bead made by local artisan Jenny Church (she doesn’t have a website but she sells through the Facebook group Australian Art Beads), that was long and covered in mysterious writing. I asked Jenny if she would make me some matching beads, and knotted them all together on leather with some Greek ceramic beads with a grey and gold look. I used more of the Greek ceramics to make a button and loop closure to the necklace. 

  
I was quite pleased with the chunky look of the piece, it’s not often that I use big beads in my jewellery designs. 

For more about the challenge, and to see what others have been inspired to make by the book, visit the Inspired by Reading Facebook page

Beads, Blog Hops and Challenges

Wish Upon a Star: Superstition Blog Hop

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Today is Friday 13th, one of the most superstitious days on the calendar. And Tammy from Paisley Lizard has organised a blog hop to celebrate it. Tammy challenged us to create a piece inspired by a superstition.

I’ve always been intrigued by superstitions—they fascinate me. Even though I tend toward a scientific outlook on life, I find myself looking for lucky four leaf clovers and wishing on the first star I see in the sky in the evening without a second thought. So I decided to choose the latter as my inspiration.

The idea of wishing on a falling or shooting star dates back to the ancient world and wishing on the first star of the evening may be even older, according to Wikipedia. I wanted to incorporate a shooting star into my design. I’m also on a bit of a leather and metal kick at the moment—if you follow me on Facebook or Instagram you might have seen some cuff bracelets I’ve been making recently (which I will blog about next week)—and this challenge was a good opportunity to play with both.

I had a leaf shaped Vintaj blank that I trimmed and filed smooth, and combined with a star shaped blank to make my shooting star. And I stamped the words “wish upon a star” onto another blank. I used Vintaj patina in Nouveau Silver to colour the blanks silver and darkened the stamped words so they were visible. The biggest challenge was getting the rivet holes the right size, as I wanted to use the Tierracast rivets to fasten the metal to the black leather cuff, and I didn’t have a punch that produced large enough holes so I had to do a lot of filing with a small circular file to enlarge the holes. Still, I got there in the end!

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I’m pretty pleased with the cuff. I have a bit to learn still about stamping and riveting, but I have to say it’s good fun!

Now it’s time for you to hop along to see the rest of the participants in the Superstition blog hop. Thanks Tammy for a fun challenge!

Tammy Adams (Hostess)                                    http://www.paisleylizard.com/blog/

Renee Hong                                                            http://www.fineanddandyjewelry.blogspot.com

Betony Maiden                                                       http://beadwenches.blogspot.com/

Coral Law                                                                http://abcoraldesign.blogspot.com/

Lee Koopman                                                         http://stregajewellry.wordpress.com

Jeanette Belmont                                                   http://www.onecanvasatatime.com

Shai Williams                                                          http://www.ShaihasRamblings.com

Beth McCord                                                           http://ebbeadandmetalworks.blogspot.com/

Robin Lynne Showstack                                        http://heartsdesiresjewelryforyou.blogspot.com/

Lori Blanchard                                                        https://alainnjewelry.wordpress.com/

Deb Fortin                                                                http://www.mhotistudio.blogspot.ca

Michelle McCarthy                                                 http://www.fireflydesignstudio.blogspot.com

Maria Rosa Sharrow                                               http://willowstreetshops.blogspot.com

Kim Dworak                                                             http://cianciblue.blogspot.com/

Divya N                                                                     http://www.jewelsofsayuri.com

Karin Grosset Grange                                            http://ginkgoetcoquelicot.blogspot.fr

Mowse Doyle                                                           http://mowsemadethis.blogspot.com/

Rebecca White                                                        http://morganafeycreations.121hub.com/#sec-blog

Shawneen Fagnani                                                 http://blondespotpinkshoe.blogspot.com/

Catherine King                                                        http://Catherines-musings.blogspot.com

Brook Bock                                                              http://artisticendeavor101.blogspot.com/

Kari Asbury                                                             http://hippiechickjewelrydesign.com/blog

Nan Smith                                                                http://wirednan.blogspot.ca

Carolyn Lawson                                                      http://carolynscreationswa.blogspot.com

Linda Anderson                                                      http://fromTheBeadBoard.blogspot.com

Ann Schroeder                                                        http://www.beadlove.wordpress.com

Melissa Trudinger                                                  https://beadrecipes.wordpress.com/ <– YOU ARE HERE!

Kathy Lindemer                                                      http://bay-moon-design.blogspot.com/