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:

 

 

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Gentle Spring Blog Hop

Gentle Spring

It’s time for the reveal for Lisa Lodge’s Gentle Spring Blog Hop. As with all her hops, Lisa sent out a kit for this hop containing a variety of beads in soft pinks and purples, plus a few supporting elements. Here is the kit I received—it’s got so many beads!

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I ended up making several pieces. For the first, I used a ceramic owl focal by Gaea and combined with some of the larger faceted dark purple beads plus the light purple faux sea glass nuggets (I added an extra strand of these from my stash), and knotted it all on some magenta waxed linen. It’s a short necklace, slightly longer than a choker—the owl nestles at the base of the throat.

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The second necklace features a pretty focal Art Tile from JLynn Jewels, dangling from a Fallen Angel Brass twisted ring, with a Czech glass teardrop dangle. I wire-wrapped some more of the dark purple beads, along with some small flat sea glass squares and added some Vintaj Arte Metal chain.

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Some smaller JLynn Jewels Art Tiles in the same paisley pattern make a pretty pair of matching earrings (although these ones don’t feature any beads from the kit).

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Finally, I made another pair of earrings, again with JLynn Jewels tiles and a couple of the tiny pink rondelles from the kit.

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I have heaps of beads left over, plus the clasp and the silver birds, which will no doubt find their way into more pieces down the road. Thanks for a great little kit Lisa! Please think about visiting the other participants in the hop:

Hostess: Lisa Lodge, A Grateful Artist

Kim Dworak, Cianci Blue

Shaiha Williams, Shaiha’s Ramblings

Gloria Allen, Gloria Allen Designs

Saundra Farren, Something by Saundra

Ann Schroeder, Bead Love

Melissa Trudinger, Bead Recipes

Carolyn Lawson, Carolyn’s Creations

Becky Pancake, Becky Pancake Bead Designs

Chris Eisenberg, Wanderware

ABS April Challenge

It has been quite a while since I participated in the monthly Art Bead Scene challenge. But this month‘s artwork grabbed my attention as it reminded me of a bead I acquired earlier this year from Natalie Fletcher-Jones.

The artwork in question is a painting—Jacob’s Ladder—by Helen Frankenthaler, an artist influenced by the Abstract Expressionists. It’s a beautiful soft piece.

Jacob's Ladder

Natalie’s bead is the result of an experiment in which it was wrapped in copper wire prior to firing in the kiln. At the high kiln temps required for glazing, the copper wire melted leaving a dark trail around the bead, that contrasts with the red and green glazes. Although the colours are deeper than in the painting, to me they have the same feel.

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Colourful dyed impression jasper rounds are almost a perfect match for the bead, and I’ve borrowed a technique I saw someone else use recently to knot little groups of beads along the waxed linen. The palette of colours I’ve used is definitely more autumnal than in the inspiration painting but that works for me as it is almost winter down here in Australia.

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If you’re interested in seeing what others were inspired to make by Jacob’s Ladder, then head to the Art Bead Scene linkup.

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

Paisley Brights: the Firefly Design Studio Designer Challenge

Recently ceramic bead artist Michelle McCarthy established a Designer Challenge series on Facebook, taking over from Moriah Betterley, who is no longer making beads on a regular basis. Her first design challenge is now underway, and I thought I’d like to show you what I made with the challenge kit!

Michelle made two variations of the same kit, which included a pendant, a bracelet bar and plenty of coordinating beads. I chose — surprise surprise — the bright combination, rather than the neutral combination (which was also quite lovely, but not as me!). Here is Michelle’s picture of the kit, as I forgot to take one.

Paisley brights kit

The kit also included a mystery component by lampworker Shannon Vickers. Again I forgot to take a photo of it.

Anyway. Two things struck me when I received the kit. The first was that I already had a strand of round multicoloured beads like the pair at the bottom of the picture that I could add into my design as needed. I think I bought them last year sometime. The second was that the design and glaze reminded me of some pretty Liberty fabric cord that I also had in my stash. So I added that to the design pile along with a selection of Czech and other glass beads.

I started with the bracelet. I had an idea in mind for a multistrand bracelet featuring some of the Liberty cord along with some of Michelle’s beads and the bracelet bar. I also added in the mystery lampwork bead — a lovely orange bead with green dots. I was thrilled when the design in my head worked in real life!

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The necklace then took its cue from the bracelet, with a similar combination of elements, likewise knotted on waxed linen cord, and a cute blue tassel dangling from the pendant.

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I even managed to add some of the Liberty cord to the earrings, tied in a bow between the beads.

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And here is the full set!

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This is a challenge and there are prizes for the most popular designs. You can go and look at all of the designs from all of the designers here (I think the page is public until the beginning of March) and if you feel like voting for mine clicking here will take you straight to it — just like and if you want, leave a comment. No pressure though!

 

Buried treasure — AJE January Challenge

I have a lot of buried treasure, aka my bead stash. Thankfully, Art Jewelry Elements is encouraging me to delve deep and dig out some of those little treasures for their first blog hop of the year, whimsically called the Buried Treasure challenge.

Like most beaders, I have a pretty good stash. Like most beaders, I’m not always good at using the beautiful beads in my stash. So challenges like this are great for making me dig for inspiration.

Anyway, I thought I would make some earrings. First off the ranks uses some of my very carefully hoarded Elaine Ray ceramic beads. Elaine no longer makes beads, so these are seriously precious. Most of them I got via a friend in the US who went to one of her trunk shows for me (thank you Diana K).

I paired these lovely little charms, which are dark blue which turns lighter blue as the glaze breaks over the stamped flower, with dark blue Czech beads, knotted together with chocolate brown waxed linen.

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The second treasure I pulled from my stash was a pair of copper charms from Kristi Bowman Design with a hole through the middle of the bead. These took a bit of thought about how to attach them to earwires as the distance from the hole in the centre to the edge was too far for a jump ring. In the end I used waxed linen again to wrap a jump ring to the top of the charm. I also created a tassel of sorts with some pretty aqua silk ribbon I got at a local bead show last year.

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Thanks AJE for the push I needed to go look through my buried treasure! This is a blog hop … go visit the other beady blogs that are participating to see what they pulled from their stash!

AJE team:

Guests:
Melissa – Bead Recipes <– YOU ARE HERE
Sarajo – SJ Designs
Samantha – Wescott Jewelry
Mona – Bijoux Gem

Blu Mudd Design Challenge #8

I recently took part in Blu Mudd‘s design challenge. Moriah isn’t making beads regularly anymore (she’s concentrating on her soap business) but she is still running regular challenges, which is fun! Now that the competition part is over, I can show you what I made.

The theme this time was Southwestern, with a big bear pendant done in Zuni style, a connector with a pawprint and a feather connector too. To me, the first two components worked well together and the feather, with slightly different colours, stood out as a separate piece. I didn’t take a pic, so here is Moriah’s picture.

components

I started with the feather. With its little turquoise stripe, I decided to pull out some turquoise nuggets and make a long necklace with the turquoise dangling along a length of black deer hide leather thonging. It’s simple, but it looks effective.

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The bear presented me with a challenge—to balance the large size of the pendant with enough weight in the supporting necklace. I ended up knotting half a dozen strands of waxed linen on each side, with sections of seed beads in southwestern colours strung onto each strand. I used a similar strategy to make a coordinating bracelet with the pawprint connector. I’m happy with the results, the pieces have visual weight without actually being heavy.

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Thanks again Moriah for the challenge, it’s always fun to work with your pieces! I’ll look forward to the next one!

You can see what others made here.