Friday, June 15, 2018

We're All Ears: June 2018

I skipped this challenge last month due to some time constraints, but I'm back in action for the June We're All Ears reveal!  This month Erin has chosen kaleidoscopes to inspire our imaginations!  My gears started turning immediately.


This theme made me think of a Bruce Munro installation, Reflections, at the Minnesota Landscape Arboretum in the winter of 2016-17.  It was the only indoor piece in an amazing collection of winter lights.  Kaleidoscopic imagines were projected down onto fabric covered tables spread throughout the auditorium.  It was mesmerizing to watch the shifting colors and patterns!  You can get a better idea of this piece over on his website HERE.  You can also explore his website to see some other amazing installations he's done playing with light and color.


Now onto the jewelry!

Probably because of the Bruce Munro installation, I first thought of some bright charms by Jana Bliznakova of Happy Fish Things that have a fun kaleidoscope type pattern to them.  The colors also made me think of the pattern on the left above.  Unlike what I did with a similar set of Jana's charms awhile back, I decided to keep these simple.  I just wire wrapped a few seed beads onto the charms' wire loops with some copper/orange colored wire and called it good!  These earrings are plenty bold without any additional beads. 


As I was looking through my art beads for possibilities (I'm always trying to use these so I can justify new purchases!) I rediscovered some fun wax resist tubes by Joan Miller that I bought at Bead & Button last year.  The patterns in the glaze remind me of how the patterns in my childhood kaleidoscope looked... just in a less colorful palette.  I added some brass bead caps and black and bronze Czech glass beads to the bottoms leading to an overall shape that is sort of reminiscent of a kaleidoscope and finished the earrings off with brass ear wires.


Staying with ceramics for this month, I also grabbed some fun little lentil beads from Golem Design Studio whose patterns reminded me of the images in a kaleidoscope.  I kept things pretty basic and just added some antique silver colored beads to the top and bottom of the lentils.  I wire-wrapped some small seed beads onto the arched ear wires for added interest though... not wanting to go too simple. 


Head over to the Earrings Everyday blog to check out what everyone else was inspired to make this month!

Monday, June 11, 2018

Art Bead Scene: June 2018

This month's Art Bead Scene inspiration artwork is Les Ibis by Jean Metzinger.  You can read more about the artist and the artwork over on the ABS blog HERE.  I have to admit that this style of art really isn't my thing... I think that it's both too abstract for my sensibilities at one end of the spectrum while being weirdly not abstract enough at the other.  Does that make any sense at all???  Oh, well... onto the jewelry!

Les Ibis by Jean Metzinger, 1907

Instead of digging through my art bead collection to see what might possibly work, I decided to capitalize on the fact that my friend Erin Prais-Hintz of Tesori Trovati sent the June installment of her Simple Truths Sampler Club out early.  Instead of putting all my new goodies away I chose to work with her pendant that was directly inspired by this piece of artwork!

The pendant I received was predominately peach and shades of green.  Actually, there's a fair amount of black in there too, but I wanted to keep the colors sweet and spring like.  I started with some chrysoprase ovals and some lovely peach moonstone star cut beads.  I found a few little clear green flower beads in the leftovers of a bead mix that added a nice contrast to the lighter colors.  I also used some vintage glass rondelles in pale green to use as spacers along with small seed beads.  Limited by the amounts of some of these beads that I had on hand, I finished off the back of the necklace with some brass ladder chain from Vintaj.


The really cool thing about Erin's pendant is that the back is just as lovely as the front... you can wear this necklace with either side facing out!


While this design may be a little more petite and sweet than what I tend to wear, I love how it turned out!  I'm also so thrilled when what I end up with lives up to the initial vision I have in my head and that totally happened this time.


Friday, June 8, 2018

Inspired by Reading: Station Eleven

As expected, I'm running a bit behind for the May Inspired by Reading Book Club selection.  No one should be shocked.  Better late than never though... and, darn it, I finished the book!  Speaking of the book, the May selection was Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel.

Station Eleven, despite the sound of the name, is NOT a science fiction space story...  it's the story of a world-wide flu pandemic that wipes out the majority of the Earth's population and how the world looks 20 years after the collapse of civilization.  The book goes back and forth in time following a small group of characters who end up having an unlikely connection.  While it may have been a bit of a shark jump for so many people who were connected to survive the highly virulent strain of influenza, it was enjoyable to read and unravel the threads.  While bleak, it was not the depression inducing read that The Road was for me...  I don't know if it enhanced my reading experience or not, but there's some irony that Eric and I have been playing through the game Pandemic Legacy... trying to save the world from collapsing due to spreading and mutating disease.


So, I have to say, the parts of the book dealing with the actual pandemic and the bleak world it left behind were not particularly inspiring to me.  Luckily, I got an idea from the storyline of the Dr. Eleven comic books embedded within the overarching tale.  Station Eleven is a planet like space station that has escaped from chaos on Earth through a wormhole.  Unfortunately the station systems were damaged and it is perpetually twilight on the station and most of the surface is covered with water.  There is conflict between the island dwellers led by Dr. Eleven and the people of the Undersea who want to return to Earth.  The Undersea dwellers ride giant and dangerous seahorses... half animal, half machine.  I used the seahorses as my jumping off point... although the ones in my designs aren't scary!  Also, it doesn't hurt that it's summer time and seahorse items seem seasonally appropriate.

My first design features a porcelain seahorse pendant from Andrew Thornton... I think I picked this one up at last year's Bead & Button show but you can find all his lovelies through Allegory Gallery.  I started playing around with various design options in shades of purple and eventually settled on stringing the necklace with a rich mix of gemstones and some accents of Czech glass.  The dyed white jade briolettes are from Allegory Gallery as well and were a perfect match for the pendant's color.  There's also a ton of amethyst in various cuts and shades... yum!  In keeping with the undersea theme, I used a sweet little starfish clasp from Green Girl Studios in fine pewter.


I also wanted to play with a fun ceramic set that I got from Michelle McCarthy of Firefly Design Studio.  When I pulled these guys out onto my bead mat, I realized that they color was just perfect for some cuprite beads I recently acquired.  I started with the bracelet design, adding in a couple of bronzite faceted rondelles to the matte cuprite beads.  I figured I should keep going and finish the set since I already had everything out!


Next, I laid out a necklace design that mixed matte and shiny cuprite beads with the bronzite... I kept with the same style chain and a similar dangle on the end of the chain to go with the bracelet.  I'm really loving how both of those turned out.  I've started the earrings, but since they aren't specifically seahorse patterned, I'll share them on my Instagram account when I'm done. 


Thanks for stopping by to see my May book club creations.  The blue set should be swimming over to Unearthed Arts soon! 

Saturday, June 2, 2018

Inspiration for the Honey Do List June 2018

Sorry for the delay in getting the June inspiration posted.  A family health emergency has had us on the road.  Thanks for your patience!

This marks the third year that my husband Eric has been giving me a design challenge each month to get me out of my comfort zone and to help clear out my bead stash... it's the Honey Do List 2018!  I know that I'm not the only one who loves a good design challenge, so I'm hoping folks will continue to play along with us!  

Here's this month's inspiration:


Eric is otherwise indisposed at the moment, but I wanted to go ahead and share his inspiration with you all ASAP.  He'll stop by when he can to add his thoughts on this cool photo... for now I'll just have to say a little bit about it.  This picture was taken on a little mini-vacation to my father in law's place in Florida.  It's actually a palm tree but it looks like fern fronds unfurling to me.  There's a lot to be inspired by in this photo... the rich greens, the spiral shapes, the fuzzy texture.  I'm excited to see what folks come up with!

The reveal date will be Monday, June 25th.  To make it super easy for you to participate and share your creations, I'll set up an Inlinkz link up so folks can add their blogs as they are ready.  Just stop by my blog starting on June 25th and join the fun!  I'll leave the link up open for a while... so you have plenty of time to add your links.  (Last month's is still open... check it out HERE.)  No blog?  No worries!  Feel free to send me a picture of your creation and some brief comments and I'll happily share in my blog post.  You can reach me at sjdesignsjewelry@gmail.com  The more the merrier, so I hope you'll play along with me this month!

Thursday, May 31, 2018

Art Elements Theme of the Month May 2018: Tide Pools

Tide pool at Cannon Beach along Oregon Coast, Spring 2016

I couldn't be more thrilled by the Theme of the Month that Lesley Watt picked for us over on the Art Elements blog... Tide Pools!!  Here are just a few of the great inspiration photos that she shared with us to get our ideas going.  See more over on the Art Elements blog HERE.

https://www.pinterest.co.uk/pin/177540410294904854/ 
https://www.pinterest.co.uk/pin/177540410294904827/ 
https://www.pinterest.co.uk/pin/177540410294537236/

Fittingly, the first pair of earrings that I made for this challenge feature some of Lesley Watt's bronze clay charms.  I kept my design super simple and just added some lovely green and bronze beaded sari silk cocoons from Anna Pierson of Saga Hus.



Next, I kept a similar color palette for this pair featuring some polymer clay charms (artist unknown) that I picked up in a recent online de-stash event.  I felt like the texture at the bottom looked like barnacles or some other sort of sea creature that you might find in a tide pool and the blue green patina seemed pretty perfect too!  I paired these light weight charms with some plated druzy and matte bronze Czech glass.



I couldn't resist making one more pair of earrings with some of Kristi Bowman's fun polymer clay starfish charms.  I wanted some extra interest and visual impact to the Czech glass so I had some fun wire wrapping tiny seed beads around everything!


I really wanted to finally make something with one of the bronze clay pendants I made a couple of years ago in class with Cynthia and Andrew Thornton at Allegory Gallery, but I ran out of time.  I'm going to share the pendants with you anyway because I think that they look like sea creatures.


Wednesday, May 30, 2018

Art Bead Scene: May 2018

I got a really late start on this month's Art Bead Scene challenge.  So late, in fact, that I really didn't think I was going to even try.  But then tonight my sweet hubby wanted to do some miniature painting so I sat down to make a necklace.  Luckily, he also got out his light box set up and took a picture for me too!  Anyhoo... it's late so I'm going to keep this super short.

Primavera, by Sandro Botticelli, 1478
This month's inspiration artwork is Primavera by Sandro Botticelli.  You can read more about the artist and the artwork over on the ABS blog HERE

I took my inspiration from the floral dress on the woman to the right of the central figure and picked out a lovely porcelain pendant by Terri Del Signore of Artisticaos.  I strung it with a ton of Czech glass to complement the soft colors in the pendant and added a floral toggle clasp.



Thanks for stopping by for this quick post.  Now I'm off to bed to read for a bit until I can't keep my eyes open.  Good night all!


Monday, May 28, 2018

Inspired By Reading: The High Mountains of Portugal

I hope you're all having a happy and safe Memorial Day weekend.  It's crazy hot here, so I've been trying to spend as much time as possible in my cool basement lair!

I'm a little behind in getting something made and posted for the April Inspired by Reading Book Club.  (Spoilers: there's a good chance I'll behind on the May selection as well!)  April's selection was The High Mountains of Portugal by Yann Martel.  This was the first time I'd read one of his books... don't judge, I spent years as the children's and young adult book selector for my library system which didn't leave much time to read adult books.


This was one of those novels that I felt compelled to keep reading but honestly couldn't tell you why.  The book is told in three distinct parts, each in a different time period, and each dealing with how one handles grief.  As the stories unfold, you end up discovering how they are all connected.  Even after putting some distance between me and finishing the book, I'm still left feeling that I just didn't get it.  I found it odd that parts of the novel felt very grounded in realism and other parts were strange and magical.  In the end it just didn't come together and gel for me.  I'd love to hear how others reacted to it though and get your insights.

As I read, I kept trying to latch onto some sort of imagery or something that I could translate into a jewelry piece but came up short.  Determined to make something since I actually finished the book, I ended up taking my inspiration from the book's cover.  I had an enameled pendant by Gardanne that had the perfect combination of colors.

Wanting to keep the pendant the star of the show, and having a mix of size 11 seed beads in the perfect colors, I decided to go with a multi strand design of seed beads and small Czech glass beads.  I'm really happy with how this one came together!



Now to try and get working on something for our May selection... at least I've finished reading it!