A chronicle of the meanderings, false starts (which in retrospect, while sort of embarrassing turned out to be highly instructive), epiphanies, selective apathy (still evolving), wild mood swings, opinions (subject to frequent change), and life lessons of an inveterate dabbler (and her latest dabblings).

Saturday, May 31, 2014

Art Jewelry Elements May Component of the Month Reveal

Today is the day at Art Jewelry Elements when we reveal our designs created with lampwork glass components by the uber-talented Susan Kennedy of Sue Beads. Susan was always a lover of lampwork beads and started making them herself six years ago, and also now makes enameled components as well. I am so glad she decided to make beads, because I love them!!

Here is the delectable assortment that Susan offered for this month:
Flower Chiclets!!
And cabochons!!
I fell in love with the chiclets immediately (I haven't tried setting cabs yet and I was chicken to try under the gun so that might have had something to do with it--otherwise cab number 6 up there might have been mine!), and went for set number 4 up there (although number 1 was also extremely tempting):
I initially was going to do a bracelet, but I couldn't figure out how to weight it properly with the beads I wanted to use--I was afraid the lampwork beads would have ended up in a heavy section that would always be hanging under the wrist so that you'd never see them, and I can't stand that--pet peeve of mine. So I opted for a necklace.

I really wanted to keep the tone earthy and rustic, and I just happened to have recently acquired a collection of fabulous recycled and Indonesian glass beads from Happy Mango Beads that I thought would be perfect:
Of course this color scheme cried out for copper!

I looked through my stash of metal components and found a large textured washer I had made a while ago--I decided to do a front toggle closure (it's so easy to make a focal section out of the clasp). And it even had flowers on it! (I was starting to feel the need to stay with flowers).
I debated knotting it but the holes in the beads were too big to make it really work so I opted for copper links. Because these recycled glass flowers are kind of funky and odd shaped, I didn't think wrapped loops would really work, so I used simple loops hammered flat to make them seat better in the beads.
Here is the configuration I eventually chose:
I just love the subtle detail, and quietly whimsical quality these little chiclets add to a piece of jewelry!! And I'm a sucker for that tablet shape, I don't know what it is about coins and tablets...And the colors of the lampwork are so rich and saturated--I especially love that ocher one with the olive green flower, it really pops! These were really a pleasure to design with, just the right size--not so big that they overwhelm the other beads, but large enough to really stand out.

All the metal in this piece is solid copper--even the ball chain! I had some nice plated oval chain I could have used on the pendant portion to hang my green flowers from, but the purist in me rebelled and I used some of my own oval chain instead (I made a small amount once as an experiment). I made it kind of long, so you could layer it with copper chains if you wanted:
Pay no attention to the beer can behind the mannequin.

(I just love the bell shape of those tobacco-colored recycled glass beads.)

(You'll notice I used Melissa Meman's ultra-cool ball chain ends again! They are an interesting design element all by themselves.)

Sue has a lovely assortment of chiclet beads and cabochons in her shop right now (not to mention lots of other fabulous goodies!)--swing by and get 'em while they last!


This is a blog hop! Be sure to check out all the other participants' designs:

Kristen Stevens

Friday, May 16, 2014

We're All Ears May Reveal

Zigzag Nerite Shells
I got a little silly with this month's inspiration.

I made FIVE pair of earrings based on this theme! I'm not sure what got into me...I rarely use black or true red, but the nerite shell motif really inspired me, especially the stripy black patterns.

Turns out I had lots of beads to work with, and you don't mess with The Muse so I let her go.

This pair sports a duo of incised, glazed stoneware stick elements by Petra Carpreau of Scorched Earth, in a lovely caramel color with black stripes (they make me think of pretzel sticks and I want badly to nibble on them.) I think this might be the first time I've used her work--I've been hoarding an entire container of it! I introduced the red element with red jasper, and added ivory bone rounds to the earwires. I added my textured beadcaps in sterling to the jasper.

This pair incorporates some etched red agate tubes and my poppy caps in sterling silver. I added batik and plain ivory bone beads to the bottom to introduce the ivory color and add more of the black patterning, and then popped some butterscotch amber roundels onto the earwires (I got this wonderful opaque amber locally at Powderhorn Trading and I am in LOVE with it.)
For this pair I started with some black and white patterned beads from my stash--these are actually from a jewelry making party hosted by my friend Ada years and years ago. I'm not sure what they're made of, they feel like maybe wood. She has traveled the world so they could be from anywhere! I added red jasper sticks and my textured beadcaps, both traditional round ones and some small folded poppy ones, and more of that delish amber to the earwires.
This pair relies on more beads from Ada's jewelry party--a pair of striped cones! Again I've combined them with red jasper (I just LOVE this stone), ivory bone, and more amber. The cones make me think of a sporty fez. I think this pair is actually my favorite, this is the first time I've ever tried vertically wrapping a bead like this--I was inspired by Brenda McGowan--her shop is on vacation right now, but you can check out her sold items. Lisa at Angry Hair Jewelry also has some items with this vertical wrapping--LOVE her style too. I would buy her clean out if I had a spare $5,000 and my ear piercings hadn't healed up for lack of adornment.

Lastly, I dipped again into my Petra Carpreau stash for these lipstick red "bobblers." Boy, it felt like I spent hours trying to find the right beads to go with these. I finally settled on these black manol buri beads and of course ivory bone and more amber. I added a little vertical wire wrap again to keep the little seeds in line, they're kind of naughty.

This was fun! Head over to the Earrings Everyday blog to see what Erin cooked up with this month's inspiration, and to get links to other bloggers' reveal posts!

These will all be listed in my Etsy shop over the next few days.