Monday, October 20, 2014

New Earring Monday: Weeks 41 & 42

I've been playing around more with UV resin and fun papers lately, so for this week's edition of New Earring Monday, I thought I'd share a couple of new pairs with more fall feeling colors... and a couple of necklaces as a bonus!  All of these are in the gallery at Unearthed Arts in Waconia.

Friday, October 17, 2014

We're All Ears: October 2014

It's time once again for the monthly earring challenge hosted by Earrings Everyday:  We're All Ears.  It's super simple to play along.  Each month, Erin Prais-Hintz chooses an image (or images) to inspire participants on the first Friday of each month and then we share what we made on the third Friday.  That's it, no other rules!

This month Erin shared two collages of marbleized paper art.  You can see that post with all the information on both artists' work HERE.  As soon as I saw Jemma Lewis's work, I knew what beads would be the focus of my design this month.  I had just ordered some yummy lampwork with raku frit from SueBeads that seemed just the thing... now I just had to wait for them to arrive.

Here are the beads I was eagerly waiting for.... photos from the Sue Beads Etsy shop.  Aren't they just yummy?!

Now, I have to admit that when I make earrings with lampwork beads I'm guilty of just adding some little metal spacer beads to either end of the lampwork and calling it good.  I guess I just want the glass to shine and keep things super simple.  For this month's challenge I wanted to break out of that rut and try something a little outside my comfort zone.  So here we go...

First up, I paired Sue's yummy turquoise set with some matching Picasso finish rice beads that I dug out of a fun bead mix and some little blue green rondelles.  I added in the little copper plated bead caps (to take me further outside my normal comfort zone) and wire-wrapped them all on a copper headpin.  This is a pair that I may not be able to part with... I think I've fallen in love!

For my second pair, I decided to use brass findings and keep my bead dangles a little more tame as far as shape goes.  But to spice things up a bit I punched an extra set of holes in some hammered brass rings and added the beads to those instead of just putting them straight on the ear wires.

This is a blog hop.  Please check out the great designs everyone else came up with over on Earrings Everyday HERE.

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Art Bead Scene Challenge: October 2014

This month's Art Bead Scene Challenge inspiration is "Autumn" by Milton Avery.  You can read more about the artwork and the artist over on the ABS blog HERE.   For a fall theme, it's definitely got some unusual colors thrown into the mix.  I'll admit that the inspiration artwork didn't initially grab me... but it has grown on me a bit as I've mulled it over.

"Autumn" 1944 
by Milton Avery

Even though I wasn't too sure about the inspiration, I just couldn't help digging through my art beads just in case something jumped out at me... and it did!  I found a yummy little bundle of beads from Gaea that I had squirreled away.  With the orange leaf connector and beads in shades of cream, pink, and purple they felt like a really good fit.  I included the two teal beads from the set thinking that they worked pretty well for some of the darker smudges in the background trees.

When I first pulled extra beads to possibly go with the set, I found some gemstones and Czech glass that matched the vibrant blue and purple quite well, but when I decided to use four strands of waxed Irish linen as my stringing material those fell by the wayside since the linen wasn't going to fit through their smaller holes.  I did add in some extra ceramic discs in shades of orange to fill in and ensure my bracelet would have enough length.

I did manage to work in some of the darker blue and bright purple into my design with some decorative beads on the linen tails.  I especially like those luster purple seed beads against the orange linen.  I'm pretty happy with this fun fall inspired design!

30 Words: Me and My Shadow

Just me and my shadow...
I turn around and there I am again,
stretched out long and lean and tall.
We wander together through the orchard 
this gorgeous fall day.

The premise of 30 Word Thursday is simple... take a photo, write 30 words (no more, no less) and post it each Thursday.  This is a blog hop hosted by Erin Prais-Hintz over on her blog Treasures Found, pop on over there to see her post for this week as well as links to the 30 Words from everyone else.

Monday, October 6, 2014

New Earring Monday: Weeks 39 & 40

Sorry for the relative radio silence here lately.  I took it a little easier than normal this past week after all the craziness leading up to and through the Art Wander.  I'm going to consider last week my "vacation" between leaving my library job and starting my new full time job as a jewelry designer and creator!

Speaking of the Art Wander, it was a HUGE success for me!  I just want to say a great big thank you to everyone who came out and visited my home/studio, all those who helped me get ready, and the folks who assisted me during the event itself.  You guys are all amazing and I absolutely couldn't do this without your support!

Ok, back to the business at hand today... New Earring Monday.  I've made it this far into the year, so there's no turning back or giving up now!  

This week I'm featuring two pairs of earrings that are variations on a theme.  My sweet husband got me this fantastic set of yummy citrus colored lampwork bead pairs from Susan Kennedy of SueBeads for Christmas.  I made myself a fun pair of simply dangle earrings with one set a while ago.  I figured since I get compliments on them every time I wear them, that it just made good sense to whip up two more pairs using the remaining beads from the set.  So, here they are!

Like I said, super simple.  I just used some little sterling saucer beads and balled sterling headpins to wire wrap Susan's yummy lampwork and popped them onto large arched ear wires from Nunn Design.  Voila!  

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

AJE September Component of the Month Reveal

Every month the one of the contributors over on the Art Jewelry Elements blog gives away some sort of art bead or component for their fellows and a couple of lucky winners to design with.  I was lucky enough to be one of three guest chosen to receive one of Kristi Bowman's amazing Goddess Vessel pendants and I was over the moon when I found out the news.

These gorgeous pieces are made from copper and white copper.  I got the copper one in the middle and I love it!  And of course I forgot to take a picture of it before I started working on my project.

The first thing I thought of to pair with my vessel was a strand of cool triangular Petrified Green Opal (or possibly copper green opal) that I've been hoarding forever.  The pendant was hefty enough to stand up to the over sized stone (I knew I wanted to add just one.  Originally I thought I'd do an asymmetrical design with the large stone off to one side and balance with some other gemstones, but eventually scrapped that idea.  At my husbands suggestion, I decided to wire wrap the stone to the pendant for an even bigger focal!  Go big or go home, right?

I then wire wrapped a bunch of faceted petrified green opal stones along with a couple of copper pineapple beads to make the body of the necklace.  I'm still debating if I should have kept going and done another few sets of bead units, but I'm in a time crunch so the design will have to stand for now.  I love the colors in the stones and the rustic, earthy feel of the finished design.

This is a blog hop.  Check out what everyone else made this month!

Monthly Winners

AJE Team Members

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Stiff: Inspired by Reading Book Club

Today is the reveal and blog hop for the Inspired by Reading Book Club.  Each month we read a book and create something... and it can be anything!  We're combining both the August and September installments this time.  For August we read a nonfiction book that I've been wanting to check out for a while, Stiff: The Curious Lives of Human Cadavers by Mary Roach.

I've been listed as an organ donor ever since I got my first driver's license at 16, but I never really considered donating my entire body to science.  I'm not sure that reading this book has done anything to change my mind.  Even though I know that I personally will have no more use for the shell of my body after I've shuffled off this mortal coil, there's just something a little unsettling about many of the things for which it might get used.  I mean, I can totally get on board with the idea of donating your body to be used as an anatomy cadaver at a med school.  But other uses for cadavers, no matter how noble (or not) sort of creeped me out.  Especially disturbing for some reason was the chapter with the body used for car crash impact studies and the way they were dressed in blue tights and leotard with hands and head covered.  Go figure, a book about dead bodies gave me the willies!

As I was reading, I wasn't entirely sure what this book might inspire me to create.  After all, this isn't a book about death, but about the dead themselves... about what happens to the bodies we leave behind.  That being said, I think it's pretty difficult to separate the ideas of death and the dead... it is for me anyway.

So, for my creations I sort of flipped the whole thing on its head.  Life is short and we should embrace every moment of it before we find ourselves just another stiff on the table.  I kept thinking about what our tour guide in Ireland was fond of saying... "Live each day like it's your last...because one day it will be!"  With that in mind (and maybe the recent death of Robin Williams crept into my consciousness too) "Carpe Diem" ended up being my theme for this challenge.

I knew I had a Vintaj altered blank in the shape of a luggage tag and I thought it would double nicely as a toe tag like the one on the book cover.  I grabbed the Impress Art letter set that I won from Andrew's blog a while ago and stamped the phrase "carpe diem" onto the tag.  I originally thought I'd use the tag as part of a charm pendant, but its small size made me rethink that.  I ended up etching and painted an Vintaj Arte Metal bracelet blank and riveting the tag on top of that.  I wire wrapped some African Jade flat nuggets and finished it with a hook clasp.

While digging around in my art bead stash for another project, I realized that I actually had a polymer clay bean bead from Swoondimples that said "carpe diem."  I figured I might as well make a second piece!  I paired the bean with some charms including an angel wing that I had painted silver and a couple of Czech glass beads in coordinating colors.

So, I'll leave it up to you to decide if you feel like reading a book about dead bodies, but I do hope each and every one of you will heed my advice and seize the day!!

With all my preparations for the Art Wander, I didn't get around to reading our September selection but I hope you'll also check out what the other book club members created for both months.  Andrew will have the full list of participants over on his blog HERE.