Monday, September 26, 2016

Honey Do List: September 2016

Sorry to be posting this so late but I've been more than a bit behind with preparations for this past weekend's big art show, the Art Wander.  In all honesty, I was a little concerned about getting anything finished for this month's Honey Do List challenge!  I had some lofty plans that didn't quite come to fruition (yet... I hope to do an update by the end of the weekend) but I am pretty happy with what I did manage to get done today.  Anyway, enough excuses, onto the main event!    

This year, my husband Eric has decided to issue me a design challenge each month to get me out of my comfort zone and to help clear out my bead stash... we're calling it the Honey Do List.  I know that I'm not the only one who loves a good design challenge, so I'm inviting folks to play along!

Here's this month's inspiration and what Eric had to say about it:


I struggled a bit this month to find something suitable.  I've been focused more on organic and nature shots for this challenge so I figured I'd go more urban and abstract for a change!  This shot comes from the outside "patio" area of a nightclub in Nordeast Minneapolis that I discovered on a recent trip out to Indeed Brewing.  I was struck by the rusted metal with faded and overlapped spray paint.  Good luck!

I ended up choosing a pendant and earring charm set from Erin Prais-Hintz of Tesori Trovati that she made for her Simple Truths Sampler Club this April.  I thought the colors and the sort of chaotic movement that she achieved in the pendant really worked for the graffiti art that Eric chose for us.  I used Czech glass and faceted, rough pyrite nuggets to pull out some of the colors in the pendant and charms.  







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Sunday, September 18, 2016

Art Bead Scene: September 2016

This month's Art Bead Scene challenge inspiration is "Old Woman from the Poorhouse in the Garden with Glass Ball and Poppies" by Paula Modersohn-Becker.  You can read more about the painting and the artists over on the ABS blog HERE.

"Old Woman from the Poorhouse in the Garden with Glass Ball and Poppies"
By Paula Modersohn-Becker, 1907
I was immediately struck by the colors in the painting and the poppies themselves.  I immediately grabbed a ceramic pendant by Golem Design Studio that was part of my Bead & Button haul.  I decided to string the pendant on three strands of mostly seed beads that pulled from the colors in the pendant and hide the ends under fancy brass bead caps.   To carry through the floral theme of the pendant (and the inspiration painting) and add some visual interest wire wrapped some Czech glass flower and rondelle beads above the bead caps before finishing off the back of the necklace with chain.


I also made a bracelet using my favorite bracelet design by Lorelei Eurto that features a green and red version of Golem's poppy lentil bead as well as a lampwork bead by Beadygirl Beads.



Both of these designs will be available for sale next weekend during the Art Wander.  Now I'd better get back to making more jewelry!  



Friday, September 16, 2016

We're All Ears: September 2016

September is a crazy busy month in my world with an anniversary trip to Walt Disney World and Universal Studios at the beginning of the month and the three day studio tour that I participate in near the end.  With all that and more on my plate I wasn't sure doing all my usual jewelry challenges this month would work out.  (Seriously, I don't know how I'm going to be ready for the Art Wander... but I I always manage to pull it together... hopefully this year is no different!)  Anyway, I'm trying to still take care of myself as much as possible with exercise... plus I feel like I'm in training to survive Disney... and an idea for this month's We're All Ears challenge actually popped into my head on one of my morning walks.

This month's inspiration is all about sky scrapers and big city skylines.  Here are a couple of my favorite pictures.  You can see more great photos and read more about why Erin chose this theme over on the Earrings Everyday blog HERE.  

[Photo credit :: Vladimir Kudinov :: New York :: Unsplash]

[Photo credit :: Matthew Wiebe :: Unsplash]

So, what idea occurred to me during my walk?  Using a new Sizzix DecoEmboss die that I bought at Bead & Button!  It's one of the dies from their new Katelyn Lizardi line called "Modern Mosaic."  (You can see all the product line HERE.)  All the lines in the folder's design reminded me of windows in modern glass and steel sky scrapers.  I used the folders to emboss three sets of Vintaj Arte Metal blanks all using slightly different parts of the die and buffed the surface to bring out some of the silver underneath the blackened surface.



Check out the Earrings Everyday blog to see what everyone else made HERE!


Thursday, September 1, 2016

September 2016 Inspiration for the Honey Do List

Happy September, everyone!  And welcome to the next installment of the Honey Do List challenge!  Let me start off by wishing my sweet husband a very happy 15th anniversary!  That's right folks, 15 years ago today Eric and I exchanged vows to love one another for better and for worse.  So far, 2016 seems to want to throw the worst our way, but we have each other to lean on, laugh and cry with, and generally be partners on this adventure called life... and I wouldn't want anyone else by my side!

Anyway, back to the issue at hand... This year, my husband Eric has decided to issue me a design challenge each month to get me out of my comfort zone and to help clear out my bead stash... we're calling it the Honey Do List.  I know that I'm not the only one who loves a good design challenge, so I'm inviting folks to play along!  

Here's this month's inspiration and what Eric had to say about it:


I struggled a bit this month to find something suitable.  I've been focused more on organic and nature shots for this challenge so I figured I'd go more urban and abstract for a change!  This shot comes from the outside "patio" area of a nightclub in Nordeast Minneapolis that I discovered on a recent trip out to Indeed Brewing.  I was struck by the rusted metal with faded and overlapped spray paint.  Good luck!

The reveal date will be Monday, September 26th.  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 on Septbember 26th 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!

I can't wait to see what everyone makes this time!

Inspired by Reading: The Silver Witch

Wow, I actually read the August book club selection a whole month ahead!  (Ok, only because I didn't re-read the July selection, but still.  Bonus points for being ahead of the game!)  Anyway, this month the Inspired by Reading Book Club read The Silver Witch by Paula Brackston.  Pretty much all of this author's titles have "witch" in the title so I was a little concerned that I would be dropping in on the middle of a series.  Not to worry, all of her books with the exception of her newest book Return of the Witch are stand alone titles.  I liked this one enough that I'm tempted to check out her other books sometime soon.


Anyway, back to the book at hand!  As I'm truly terrible at summing books up, here's part of what the book jacket has to say:

A year after her husband's sudden death, ceramic artist Tilda Fordwells finally moves into the secluded Welsh cottage that was to me their new home.  She hopes that the tranquil surroundings will help ease her grief, and lessen her disturbing visions of Mat's death.  Instead, the lake in the valley below her cottage seems to spark something dormant in her - a sensitivity, and a power of some sort....

On this same lake in Celtic times lived Seren, a witch and a shaman.  She was respected but feared, kept separate from the community for her strange looks.  When a vision came to her of the Prince amid a nest of vipers she warned of betrayal from one of his own.  Prince Brynach both loved and revered her, but could not believe someone close to him wished him harm, even as the danger grew.

As the story unfolds, Tilda's powers become stronger and more apparent and we begin to see the connections between Tilda and Seren.  Her grief also begins to fade as she finds new friends, new inspiration for her work, and a potential new relationship.  Unfortunately for Tilda, it also becomes more apparent that there is an ancient danger lurking that threatens her and those she cares for and she must figure out how to protect the life she is building.

For my designs this month I drew inspiration from a couple of different directions... the basic Celtic symbolism, the anfac, and the hare.

I loved the idea of the anfac, or water horse, that was the mystic protector of the lake.  There wasn't a really clear description of what the anfac looked like (at least not that I remember!) but I found a pendant from my Bead & Button purchases from Green Girl Studios with a dragon on the front and a Celtic inspired design on the back.  Score!  Whenever I think of the mystical, I think of gemstones... especially those with shimmer or fire to them.  For this necklace I pulled together some Labradorite pebbles with tons of great fire, some silvery peacock freshwater pearls, and some small garnet rondelles.  I love the resulting mix of silver/grey and deep red!


Next up, I've got two variations on a theme with necklaces featuring a Celtic knot work designed pendant in two different colorways.  Originally, I was just going to make the blue one, but things fell together for the green version as I was making decisions for the blue one.  Who am I to argue with inspiration??  The blue version feels wintery to me with the silver toned wire and findings and cool tones of the beads I found.  This seemed most appropriate since most of the book takes place in the winter and the colors also fit in nicely with the book cover that I had.  The beads are aquamarine, Czech glass, and some glass that I got from one of Andrew's destash events.  For the green version I used copper and a combination of Czech glass, more destash glass (from the same lot!), and some Celtic patterned copper beads... the bead dangling from the pendant is chrysoprase.


Finally, I chose a pendant featuring a lovely hare from White Swan Illuminations that I picked up at Allegory Gallery during their Creative Camp last month.  I didn't realize what a great find for book club I had until I was back home and got to the part when Seren changes into a hare to warn her prince and then, later, you realize that the hare that Thistle had been frolicking with wasn't a normal animal at all.  Anyway, as I was attempting to put some of my new treasures away I realized that the pendant looked really great with the vintage plastic bead mix that was in our Creative Camp goody bags... surely a sign that this necklace needed to happen!  I cherry picked most of the green beads out of the mix along with some creamy ones and two dark orange beads to make up the bulk of the necklace.  To round things out I added a few small Czech glass rounds, small gemstone beads (some sort of agate or jasper maybe?), and bronze seed beads.


I may have gone a little nuts this month, but I'm in major production mode for a big show I have coming up in September.  At this point I'm trying my best to follow through on any and all ideas that I have to ensure that I have plenty of finished jewelry for the Art Wander.  So, enough chit chat... I'd better get back to work!


Monday, August 29, 2016

Art Headpins! An Art Jewelry Elements Challenge


The editors over at the Art Jewelry Elements blog have come up with another fun challenge this month... and it has to do with using art headpins!  What's an art headpin, you ask?  It's a headpin handcrafted by an artisan... something beyond just a balled end... something that has the potential to be the focus of a design... a show stopper.  Here's a great collage put together by Lesley Watt from the AJE team to show some examples of art headpins in designs and on their own:

Collage from Art Jewelry Elements blog

There's some great stuff out there in the jewelry making world for sure!  I have to admit that I've been a little bit timid (ok, terrified) to use my small collection of art headpins in my designs.  I mean, these are special, one of a kind pieces and if I screw it up, I don't get another chance.  When I'm using "normal" headpins, if I botch something it's not a huge deal.  I just cut the wire and start over.  Not so once the fancy pants headpins come into play!

For this challenge I picked a set of awesome, crusty looking headpins from Havana Beads.  I had been making some variations on a theme from the earrings that I just made for this month's We're All Ears challenge (you can see those HERE if you missed them) and got a wild hair to try something similar with this set of headpins and accent beads and some flame painted copper rings.  


My original intent was to use both the headpins and the spacers together, but when I started putting things together the earrings were just getting too big for my taste... in part because I felt the headpins needed the larger sized copper rings to look right.  I kept it simple and just added faceted amazonite rounds on either side of the headpins.


Remember those accent beads?  I couldn't let them languish alone without their friends so I whipped up a pair of earrings with them too.  No fancy art headpins here, but I wanted to share them anyway.


And while I didn't make this last pair for this challenge (they were for the June We're All Ears challenge from Earrings Everyday) they do represent my only other recent foray into using art headpins.  They feature lampwork glass strawberries from Thornburg Bead Studio.


I really had intended/hoped to do more designs and break out more of my art headpins, but a super busy schedule and some unexpected travel sort of threw a monkey wrench into my plans!  Never fear, there is a lot more headpin goodness to be seen out there since tons of other folks participated this month... hop around to see what everyone else came up with!

Guests:


AJE Team Members:

Honey Do List: August 2016

This year, my husband Eric has decided to issue me a design challenge each month to get me out of my comfort zone and to help clear out my bead stash... we're calling it the Honey Do List.  I know that I'm not the only one who loves a good design challenge, so I'm inviting folks to play along!


This month I chose a picture from our recent trip out to Ligonier, PA for the Allegory Gallery's Creative Camp.  Andrew Thornton directed us out to a nearby bog where the carnivorous plants were in full bloom.  An entire field of these pitcher plants and much smaller sundews stretched around us--beauty and savagery all wrapped up in one tiny leafy package.  The strange shape, as well as the striated deep red patterns against green really jumped out at me and I wanted to see what a bunch of jewelry designers could pull off with this inspiration!

When I started sorting through my beads, the first thing that jumped out for me was one of my treasures from Gardanne that I picked up at Bead & Button.  Yes, I know it's a ginkgo leaf, not a pitcher plant, but the colors were spot on!  I quickly decided on some light green Picasso finished seed beads I had on my bead table from a previous project as the base for a strung necklace.  As I dug through my green gemstone beads, prehnite became the obvious choice.  Luckily I had some faceted coins in two different sizes to pull into the design along with some bordeaux colored Swarovski pearls.  Voila!  A necklace inspired by the colors of the bog!  


I also wanted to try my hand at painting some brass leaves from Vintaj for some earrings.  The colors aren't exactly what I was hoping for (they are a little too bright), but I'm making it work!  For the first pair I picked out some fun disk beads from Humblebeads that I grabbed during the Creative Camp Vendor Night that Allegory Gallery hosted.  I wire-wrapped those, some Czech glass discs, leafy patterned bead caps, and iridescent green Swarovski pearls.  The second pair features some more prehnite (boy do I wish I had more of these gorgeous rondelles!), Czech glass flowers, and crystal.  The leaves seemed too far away from the beads above so I added jump rings decorated with some fun seed beads to give it some more pizzaz.  I'm not sure pink and green is my personal style, but I'm really happy with how they turned out!







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