Beads, Blog Hops and Challenges

Clay and Metal Blog Hop

Widgit5 Metal and Clay

It’s reveal day for Lisa Lodge‘s latest blog hop, the Clay and Metal Blog Hop. This time, she’s chosen to send all of the participants something from Sharyl McMillian-Nelson, who works with both polymer clay and metal (hence the name!), with each of us receiving either one or the other, plus some coordinating beads. Sharyl has recently opened a new store online to focus on her polymer clay and metal components, called Metapolies. You can find it in two places, Etsy and Artisan Component Marketplace, a fantastic new online market for beautiful components (stay tuned, as I have plans to write more about this site soon!).

These are the polymer clay charms I received, a pair of long rectangular matchstick-shaped charms that are the colour of nougat, with soft purple stripes across them. I do like the asymmetry of them, enhanced by the purple stripes that continue across both matchsticks. I also received some clear faceted crystal rondelles, but in the end I didn’t use them as to me they didn’t really go well with the organic shades of the matchsticks.

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Because they are made of polymer clay, and therefore so light, I decided to make earrings with the matchsticks. I softened them further using a Czech glass table cut flower, and used waxed linen to tie the two components together and then to the Vintaj brass earwires.

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Thank you Lisa for sending me this challenging pair of charms, and thank you Sharyl too! And as this is a blog hop, here is the list of participants. Please pop over and have a look at their blog posts!

Your hostess: Lisa Lodge, A Grateful Artist

Melissa Trudinger, Bead Recipes <– YOU ARE HERE!

Jo-Ann Woolverton, It’s a Beadiful Creation

Carolyn Lawson, Carolyn’s Creations

Shaiha Williams,   Shaiha’s Ramblings

Toltec Jewels, Jewel School Friends

Heather Richter, Desert Jewelry Designs

Marybeth Rich, A Few Words from within the Pines

Kim Dworak, Cianci Blue

Karen Grosset Grange, Ginkgo et Coquelicot

Ann Schroeder, Bead Love

Lisa Prewitt Knappenberger, LiRaysa Designs

Carol Briody, A Beads Life

Miranda Ackerley, MirandAck

Kari Asbury, Hippie Chick Design

Susan Anderson, La Main Tresor

LeAnne Loftus, First Impression Design

Leithleach Seodra, Alainn Jewelry

Beads, Blog Hops and Challenges, Swaps and exchanges

Beads of Courage charm swap preview

BoC Art charm swap 2014I’m waiting on tenterhooks for my charms to arrive from the 2014 Beads of Courage Art Charm Swap and Benefit Auction. It’s my first time taking part in this fundraising swap, auction and blog hop, which is organized every year by Jennifer Cameron, a lampwork glass artist based in Indiana.

Beads of Courage is a program based in the US, which enables seriously ill children to collect beads representing milestones and procedures. The organization behind it runs a number of different programs, including commissioning special beads to be made by artists each year.

Jen’s Beads of Courage Art Charm Swap is a benefit for Beads of Courage, involving a big group of jewellery designers and bead makers from the US and around the world. Each participant provides 11 art charms made with handmade components such as lampwork beads or ceramic, polymer or metal clay, or mixed media. One charm is kept aside to auction off on eBay, and the remaining 10 are distributed to nine of the participants plus the original maker.

Each year Jen chooses a theme word—this year it is SOAR—to provide an inspirational starting point for making the charms. I thought about the word for a while, and its clearest meaning for me was to do with birds soaring through the sky. I decided to go with a mixed media approach, and my charms involve polymer clay as well as images under resin. Are you intrigued yet?

Now I can’t reveal my charms until November 14th, even if they arrive tomorrow, but on that day I will show you what I have made, and also what I received, as well as provide information about the auction.

Beads, Blog Hops and Challenges, Giveaways and contests

ACM contest

One of the Facebook groups I follow—Artisan Component Marketplace—recently held a contest for jewellery designers. The brief? To design a piece of jewellery using a component from one of the many artisans who are members of the group.

I happened to have a pair of polymer clay “sinkers” made by Kristi Bowman languishing in my stash, and this challenge was the perfect opportunity to use them. I chose a couple of Czech glass table cut flowers and wired them together, and wrapped the join between them with sari silk, inspired by the creative ways Kristi Bowman uses sari silk in her own designs. The dangles are hung from a pair of Rebecca Anderson‘s Deco Rose earwires in antiqued sterling silver to make a sweet pair of earrings.

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Much to my surprise, I won second place in the contest! Thank you to Artisan Component Marketplace, the judging panel and to Kristi Bowman for the delightful sinkers, and the inspiration! And I’m looking forward to receiving some new components from Kristi, courtesy of the $25 gift voucher I won!

Beads, Blog Hops and Challenges

Lots of knots: Waxed Linen Blog Hop

If you are looking for my BSBP8 post, it’s HERE!

About a month ago, Diana Ptaszynski had the brilliant idea to host a blog hop using waxed linen. Quick as a flash I signed up, as I really really like using waxed linen cord in my jewellery designs. I first came across it in Lorelei Eurto and Erin Siegel ‘s book Bohemian-Inspired Jewelry, which is a fantastic book, and one of my go-to books for inspiration. I love how both of these designers incorporate waxed linen into their designs, they are both a source of great inspiration to me!

What do I like so much about waxed linen? It comes in a whole range of colours, like teal or lavender, denim blue or rusty red, chocolate brown, black or naturally off-white.  It comes in several sizes, or plies (which refers to the number of strands incorporating the cord, usually 4 or 7, but as few as 2 and as many as 12!), so you can find one to fit most beads, except perhaps those tiny-holed pearls and small seed beads. And the waxing makes it kind of sticky, so knots really stay where they are supposed to stay. It’s lightweight and drapes nicely in a necklace, and is strong enough for bracelets too. And it adds a textural element to all jewellery designs that wire just doesn’t have.

For this blog hop I did a couple of pieces. The first is a necklace that is similar in design to the owl necklace I did a few weeks ago for BSBP8. As I have mentioned before, I am a member of Rebecca Anderson‘s Curiosity Club, and the April kit, entitled “Delft”, contained a combination of blue, aqua, white and translucent beads as well as two disk-shaped lampwork beads made by Helen Chalmers. And, like all of Rebecca’s kits, there were 2 skeins of waxed linen, in orange and denim blue.

In my stash, I had a polymer clay pendant in copper and blue-green from Erin Prais-Hintz, with a bird on one side and the phrase “Mother knows best” on the other: perfect as I planned to give this necklace to my Mum as a belated Mother’s day and birthday gift. I combed through my stash for some more beads in similar shades of blue, adding the white and blue floral ceramic beads and some blue seed beads to the mix. A copper chain at the ends of the beaded section allows the length of the necklace to be adjusted.

Mother knows best necklace Collage

My next design also used beads from one of Rebecca’s kits, this one the March kit, called “After the Rain”. Rebecca included a piece of Liberty print bias binding, and I was racking my brains to come up with an interesting use for it. Inspired by one of the other designers, I decided to wrap it around a Vintaj creative hoop to make a bangle. Instead of the more common wire wrapped around the fabric to help secure it, I wrapped some yellow and orange linen around instead, with a few tiny translucent pink Czech beads (both the linen and the rounds also came from the kit). I found an interesting lobster clasp in my stash and used it to close the bangle.

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I also made a pair of earrings from the same kit, using orange waxed linen to dangle yellow and orange flower beads and “mushrooms”—piggies on top of a round bead—from a brass ring.

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Finally, I thought I would show you some other earring designs using waxed linen (these were made a few months ago, not with this blog hop in mind). The first pair uses a pair of ceramic rounds from Jennifer Heynen, with seed beads knotted on waxed linen dangling below. The second pair uses some porcelain charms made by my Mum, with a sweet little floral decal adorning them. A small Czech coin with an embossed bird is knotted over the charm.

Waxed linen earrings Collage

Mum and I have also collaborated to make sweet bird ornaments: a porcelain bird with waxed linen “legs” knotted onto an antiqued brass or silver branch.

Birds of a feather Collage

It seems like there are a lot of other fans of waxed linen out there with Diana and I, as 44 people are taking part in this blog hop. If you have time to visit some of their blogs, the links are below.

Beads, Blog Hops and Challenges

Tiny Flowers: We’re All Ears March Challenge

This month’s inspiration from Earrings Everyday ‘s We’re All Ears earring challenge is a sweet little pen and watercolour illustration from Beatrix Potter’s book The Tailor of Gloucester.

March earring challenge

Pen and watercolor by Beatrix Potter
from The Tailor of Gloucester from the collection at the Tate Museum

My earrings inspired by this image feature a pair of polymer clay matchstick charms from Humblebeads, which have been painted by Heather in a tiny floral pattern that to me resembles the stitching in the picture nicely! I topped them with a pair of Czech glass flowers from the Paintbox kit I received through the Curiosity Club, and dangled them from Vintaj brass earwires. I did have ambitions to use waxed linen cord in a lovely shade of magenta instead of wire but I just couldn’t get them to look right. Best laid plans and all that! In any case, they are quite sweet.

Tiny Flowers Earrings

Go here to see what everyone else has made this month!

Beads, Blog Hops and Challenges

Waterhole Dreaming necklace: AJE Component of the Month

Art Jewelry Elements is one of my favourite beady blogs, with a focus on beautiful handmade beads, pendants and other components. Last month, I was fortunate enough to be picked to receive one of Rebekah Payne‘s speckle beads for the AJE December Component of the Month giveaway. The beads immediately reminded me of the dot paintings created by the Aboriginal people of central Australia. Inspired by these paintings, I requested one of the beads in the brown/white/reddish-orange colourway, as these are the colours typically used. I forgot to take a photo of the bead prior to using it, but here is a (slightly blurry) closeup.
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Dot paintings, like other Aboriginal art forms, generally tell a story about events in the Dreamtime—the mythical time of the ancestors and the events that shaped the landscape. The dots form symbols representing places or events, which together tell a story about a journey or an important event. I looked for some dot paintings that I could use in this blog post, but try as I might, I couldn’t find any suitable examples in the public domain. This site and this site both have some good examples of Aboriginal art as well as explanations of the iconography if you’d like to see some good examples and read more about it.

Anyway, a pattern of dots in concentric circles typically represents a meeting place, a campfire or a waterhole, which inspired the name of the necklace I designed using Rebekah’s speckle bead. After much contemplation of my bead stash, I dug into my small collection of Krobo beads from Ghana, which had both the colours and the patterns to complement the focal bead. I also found some small Indonesian recycled glass beads in reddish-orange and white, which my parents brought me back from a trip to Bali a couple of years ago. In keeping with the organic feel of the beads I knotted them on chocolate brown waxed linen, and finished with a small plain brass toggle clasp.

Waterhole necklace Collage

Thank you Rebekah for the opportunity to work with one of these lovely beads, it’s been a fun challenge! I’m looking forward to seeing what the other participants come up with. Take some time to visit the other blogs to see what they have made:

Guest Designers:
Ann – Bead Love
Melissa – Bead Recipes <– you are here
AJE Team:
Kristen – My Bead Journey
Beads, Blog Hops and Challenges

Birds of a Feather: Art Bead Scene Ornament Blog Hop

It comes as no surprise to those who know me that I love Christmas. And one of my favourite things about the holiday season are the decorations. I’ve amassed quite an eclectic collection of ornaments over the years, from shiny baubles to paper ornaments painstakingly made by my children at preschool and kindergarten. Our tree is lovingly decorated by my children and I, and bears no resemblance to the carefully coordinated trees I see in magazines and Christmas displays, and that’s just the way I like it.

This year I’m taking part in a couple of handmade ornament blog hops. The first of them is Art Bead Scene‘s 4th Annual Ornament Blog Hop. The rules of this bog hop are simple—to create a handmade ornament using an art bead or handmade component.

I decided this year to do something with polymer clay. It’s a medium I don’t have a lot of experience with, but it’s definitely fun to play with. For these two ornaments, I used a robin-shaped cookie cutter to cut out a bird shape from a textured slab of polymer clay. After baking I highlighted the texture with gilders paste. The top bead is Czech glass in a deep red and the bird’s legs are waxed linen. I used some funky wire with a glittery coating to put it all together.

holiday birds collage 2

But wait, that’s not all I made. I also made some ornaments using some chandelier crystals that I rescued from a broken chandelier that a friend of mine recently replaced. The larger crystal, a baroque shape that reminds me of a Christmas tree, is dangling from a sweet green and white swirled lampwork bead made by Bellissimo Jewels. I picked up the bead from a bowl of orphans at a recent bead show with the intent to use it in a Christmas ornament. The two smaller ornaments use tear-shaped chandelier drops, with some green lampwork glass beads (alas, these particular beads are more ordinary, mass-produced lampwork beads, rather than artisan-made, but they are still very Christmassy). I plan to gift these ornaments to the friend whose chandelier I stripped!

Chandelier crystal ornaments

You’ll have to wait until 14th December to see the ornament I made for Sally Russick’s 3rd Annual Handcrafted Ornament Swap and Hop. My swap partner was Erin Prais-Hintz and I’ll be showing off the beautiful ornament she made me then too.

I’ll be linking this blog post up to the Art Bead Scene blog hop via an In Linkz tool. To see what the other participants have made, go to the main post on Art Bead Scene here.

Beads, Blog Hops and Challenges

The Wonky Bead Blog Hop

A little while ago, Kristi Bowman decided to hold a blog hop to see what jewellery designers might want to do with her new “wonky beads“—big fat chunky polymer clay beads in vibrant colours and textures. I jumped right in and ordered the Fuschia colourway. When the beads arrived I was thrilled with them, they are such vibrant silky colours!

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It took me a while to decide what to do with the beads, as they are much larger than I usually play with, and I was unsure what to pair them with. In the end, I pulled out some ivory large hole pearls in similar hues to the single ivory wonky bead, and found a bag of purple Greek ceramic beads with magenta and gold splotches (technical term, that one!), as well as some lavender waxed linen cord and antique brass chain.

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While I was in Kristi’s shop, I also picked up a pair of flower charms in the same shade of purple. I knotted them to a pearl and then continued to knot the linen up the front of the brass earring wire, twisting it around as I went.

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I’m really happy with how this set turned out, think I might keep them for myself!

Thanks again Kristi for the opportunity to play with your funky wonky beads! There are other participants in the blog hop, please go and have a look at their creations on Kristi’s blog, or hopefully by clicking on the links below!

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Beads, Blog Hops and Challenges

A matter of balance

Inspiring-Change-Blog-Button2

Today is the reveal day for Tracy Statler’s Wellness Words jewellery challenge and blog hop.

In Tracy’s words:

Choose an inspirational word or phrase in an area of your life where you want to make positive change.  Make sure your words truly represent something you want to work on.  Don’t choose a word because it looks good, is popular right now or someone else thinks you should choose it.

Incorporate your words into your design.  It does not have to be complicated.  Perhaps simple is better.  That way you may want to wear your jewelry more often so you can be reminded of your words and focus on the healthy change part of this challenge.

My word is a word I keep coming back to:

BALANCE

My life at the moment is not balanced. I have three children ranging in age from 3 to 7. The two girls are have just gone back to school, my little boy starts kindergarten (preschool) next week. I have a (very) part time job that I fit in around school drop offs and pick ups. Then there are after school activities like swimming, gymnastics, ballet, music practice and homework! I love to make jewellery, but that is usually relegated to the evenings and weekends, when I’m not running around to birthday parties and family gatherings. I spend too much time on the computer and not enough time doing things I need to do. I rarely get to bed before midnight, and I am usually up just after 7am, with at least one wake-up to kids in the middle of the night. I ended last year feeling absolutely exhausted. And now it’s all starting up again, with school starting back this week after the summer holidays.

So this is my year to work toward a more balanced life. I know that I won’t achieve everything, but some balance will not go astray. If nothing else I’d like to find a bit of time for me, to take a dance class, go for a walk, anything to make sure that doing the grocery shopping on my own isn’t the highlight of my week!

Enough about the why, let’s move on. I have been playing with clay with my Mum. A couple of weeks ago, we had a lovely day making pendants and stuff out of porcelain clay, including some (hopefully) great leaf-shaped bracelet connectors with my word stamped on them. Unfortunately they’re sitting in the kiln waiting to be bisque fired. So it was time for plan B. After thinking about what I could do with some metal blanks but no stamps, I decided to break out the polymer clay.

Here are the two bracelet connectors I made, using Premo, late last night (nothing like a deadline … thankfully it worked!). I highlighted the word with Vintaj patina ink in Cobalt as it was the only thing I could think of — most of the paints in our house are of the Crayola variety. They’re not super-clean but they have a certain appeal, I think!

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I matched the connector to some sari silk from my stash, and added some elongated brass chain. It’s a very simple design, but that makes it more likely I’ll wear it!

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I still plan to use the porcelain connectors once they are completed. I made several, so Mum and I will be able to play with different oxides and glazes. I promise I’ll show you what works!

Thanks Tracy, for making me think about what is important to me! And please hop over to some of the other blogs involved!

acreativeforce.blogspot.com
alankarshilpa.blogspot.com
allprettythings.ca
anniamaebisuteria.blogspot.com.es/
apolymerpenchant.com
beadlolabead.blogspot.com/
beadrecipes.wordpress.com — YOU ARE HERE!
centsations.wordpress.com
clay-space.com/
creativeatelier.net
elliesbijoux.com
emakdesigns.com
erinsiegel.com
etsy.com/shop/shamaen
facebook.com/hotsouthernmessdesigns
facebook.com/soquilidesigns
fairiesmarket.blogspot.com
firstimpressiondesign.blogspot.com
gemsbyjudy.com
glasstastreasures.blogspot.com
handcraftedserenity.blogspot.com
facebook.com/azuresunshines
facebook.com/whdalaska
jeanetteblix.com
kimmykats.com
kymhunterdesigns.blogspot.com
lisayangjewelry.com
macmillanmarie.blogspot.com
makebraceletsblog.com — our Hostess!
miabellasoul.com
misheldesigns.com
mycreativechallenge.blogspot.com
noseycritters.blogspot.com
pixiloo.blogspot.com
sandivolpe.com
sharonsjewelrygarden.blogspot.com
shaterra.etsy.com
shinylittlethings.blogspot.com
shymedesign.se
shymessmycken.blogspot.se
simpleearthcreations.com
soultosubstance.com
suebeads.com
sunshinebliss.com
sweetbeadstudio.com
sweetwillowdesigns.blogspot.com
thebeadingyogini.com
thestudiosublime.com
treasures-found.blogspot.com
twitter.com/ldymlivelystone
vault31.blogspot.com
veradesigns.blogspot.com
Beads

Poppies—Art Bead Scene September challenge

Flora by Arcimboldo

When I saw the inspiration painting for Art Bead Scene’s September challenge—Flora, by Giuseppe Arcimboldo—I was blown away!  The painting is stunning, a portrait composed entirely of flowers. Although it was painted more than 400 years ago, it looks like something from a 20th century Surrealist artist.

From Art Bead Scene, some information about the painting:

About the Art

Flora is one of Arcimboldo’s most famous paintings, painted at the same time as Vertumnus, when he was at the height of his career. Although his work was forgotten after his death, over the last 100 years it has grown in popularity to be included in many contemporary forms. This particular painting was used as the 2009 cover for the album “Bonfires on the Heath” by the English pop band The Clientele.

About the Artist

Giuseppe Arcimboldo was an Italian Renaissance painter known for his intricate paintings, which combined inanimate or found objects into a portrait that would resemble the portrait subject. At the age of 22, Arcimboldo received a commission to paint stained glass windows, and later received other commissions to paint frescoes and design tapestries for Cathedrals in Spain. In 1562, he became the court painter to Ferdinand I of Vienna, and later for Maximilien II and his son Rudolph II of Prague. At this time, he was also employed as the court decorator and costume designer.

Serendipitously, I had just purchased a polymer clay pendant from Rebekah Payne of Tree Wings Studio that was perfect! I paired Rebekah’s Poppies in Bloom pendant with a Czech glass blend from Etsy’s Beads by C, antique brass chain and clasp, and some sari silk ribbon to make my Poppies necklace.

And here is a closeup of the focal pendant. Lovely isn’t it!