Monday, July 24, 2017

We're All Ears July 2017: Visual Music

This month's challenge for We're All Ears over on the Earrings Everyday blog truly was a challenge for me!  Erin threw down her beady gauntlet and asked us to make earrings inspired by visual representations of music.  She gave us tons of amazing examples from two different artists and I spent a good amount of time mesmerized by the patterns trying to get earring ideas to bubble to the surface of my brain.

I finally decided on Stephen Malinowski's representation of Ghost Waltz by Situm.  There was something about the vertical strings of circles that made me think dangling earrings.  You can see more examples of visual music over on the Earrings Everyday blog HERE.



In my haul of new beads from Golem Design Studio that I just picked up at the Bead & Button show, I happened to have some small lentil beads that felt right for this challenge.  I wanted to play with several of the ideas that I found in the visual music... the chain of circles going from larger to smaller, the lines connecting them, the dots themselves, and to some extent the colors.  In the middle of the musical piece, the dots end up being connected at more of an angle... it's not quite the spiral effect of the lentil beads, but still angular and also busier.  I'm pretty happy with these fun and bright ear bobs and glad that I didn't give up when the challenge seemed too, well, challenging!  


Stop by and see what everyone else created for this unique earring challenge over on the Earrings Everyday blog HERE.


Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Artisans Create Together Color Palette Challenge: July 2017

I always enjoy a good color challenge and this month's Artisans Create Together Color Inspiration challenge is no exception!  These color inspirations are just one of the creative challenges that this Facebook group organized each month.  

Usually there are two different choices, but this time it's almost like having three since Challenge #1 is all about using either blue and white or red and white.  (Is it wrong that I was relieved that this was an either/or thing and not the full on red, white, and blue thing?)  Anyway, so many good choices just in this first challenge!  


My first two designs are variations on a theme... and that theme is super cute red and white enameled mushroom charms by Gardanne Beads.  I snatched up two pairs of these little mushrooms the first time she offered them up at an online trunk show and was thrilled to get them.  I kept one pair (fairly) simple with little links of Czech glass flowers and rondelles in red and red with brass.  I went a tiny bit "bigger' with the second set using adorable red and white polka dotted lampwork beads by Grace Lampwork that I got from Lima Beads with the mushrooms in mind.  I wish I had snagged more!


I had big plans of making a necklace with this amazing pendant that I also got from Gardanne, but I ran out of time and other things were screaming louder.  Eventually I'll get back around to this little beauty!  


For the Orange & Lime challenge, I went for more earrings.  I knew that I had some perfect charms in my stash for this one!  I started with some fun ceramic charms by Jana of Happy Fish Things.  I love the bright colors she uses... in this case green, orange, and turquoise!  I'm not always crazy about how the metal loops on ceramic components look and often hide them in some way.  This time I decided to leave them alone as I kind of liked the black and silver rustic look these have.  I picked some vibrant Czech glass beads to dangle from the bottom loops.  These are a little "louder" than what I often design but I think they're super fun!      


I also revisited a design I first made early in the year using enameled bead caps from C-Koop Beads.  This time I used some lime green flower bead caps and added some brass foliage bead caps that I painted bright orange.  The tendrils turned a bit looser than my previous attempts.  In Eric's words... "natural product, results may vary."


Thanks for stopping by and checking out my latest creations!  I'm off to pack for the Adornments Retreat in Galena, Illinois.  I can't wait to immerse myself in creativity for my birthday weekend!  I'll tell y'all all about it when I return!

Thursday, July 13, 2017

Inspiration in Everyday: July 2017: Koi

It feels like it's been awhile since I've played along again with a design challenge from a newer group on Facebook called Inspiration in Everyday.  The group has been created as a means to share the everyday things we take inspiration from to use in jewelry.  The idea is pretty simple... find something that inspires you to create beads, components, or jewelry, take a photo of it, create something based on that inspiration, and share in the group!  There is an art bead focus to the group and each creation shared should include at least one handmade art bead or component.

While we were wandering around Milwaukee when we visited for the Bead & Button Show last month, we stumbled upon a cool piece of sidewalk art.  We were on a mission to get someplace (probably the next beer or cocktail!) but I still stopped to snap a quick iPhone photo of these delightful koi fish swimming on the cement.  Maybe I was subconsciously inspired by this unexpected artwork, but I ended up buying a cool koi pendant from Diane Hawkey at the show.  


In my usual way, I gathered a bunch of possible beads to play with Diane's pretty pendant and let them percolate on my bead mat (and in my brain!) for a bit while I worked on other things.  Here's a peak at my not-so-controlled-chaos!  Most of these beads made it into my final design!


I ended up using an eclectic mix of materials to play with the pendant... ceramic, Czech glass, copper, cracked quartz, and teal paisley jasper.  I didn't love the look of the black wire loops on the top and bottom of the pendant with the materials I had selected, so I played around with a couple of different options to camouflage them.  For the top loop, I wrapped coils of copper colored wire all the way around it.  On the bottom I was originally thinking that I would have some sort of dangles... charms and or beads... so I started by adding some small jump rings decorated with seed beads that I thought would fall on either side of the charms.  I never quite got the dangle idea to gel (partially because it felt like the focal was getting too big and partially because I wanted the koi have the attention) so I ended up just adding a few more decorated jump rings.  I like the effect... what do you think?


My photos really don't do justice to the gorgeous shimmer or the gold highlights in the pendant, but I promise it's even lovelier in person!  I may have to make Eric get the photo light box and real camera out for this one.


Thanks for stopping by to see the inspiration that I found in everyday!  P.S. If you're interested in my Bead & Button adventures this year, you can read my post on that HERE.

Friday, July 7, 2017

Art Bead Scene: July 2017

This month's Art Bead Scene challenge inspiration is a lush jungle scene by artist Henri Rousseau entitled Tiger in a Tropical Storm.  I have to laugh because I didn't actually notice the rain and storm action until I grabbed the image for my blog and noticed the title of the painting for the first time!  I guess I'm not as observant as I thought!  Anyway, you can read more about the artwork and the artist over on the ABS blog HERE.

Tiger in a Tropical Storm
Henri Rousseau
1891
Oil Painting

This month I started with a lovely leaf pendant by Lesley Watt that I got at Bead Fest Philadelphia a couple of years ago.  The lush read orange with dark green veins seemed like the perfect jumping off point.  The leaf's texture reminded me of the fern like leaves by the tiger in the inspiration artwork.  As lovely as the focal is, I knew I needed to mix up the colors a little bit to better represent the painting's palette.


I pulled together a mix of Czech glass beads in reds, oranges, green, and amber.   I also grabbed some wood, ceramic, and vintage plastic beads that were left over from Allegory Gallery's Forest Journey design kit as well as some paper beads in coordinating colors.  As one final element, I added some African green brecciated jasper rounds with leafy brass bead caps.


I'm pretty pleased with the mix of textures and materials... and the fact that I got rid of some orphan beads!  I have a couple of earrings ideas for this month's challenge.  We'll see if I get back around to making those... stay tuned!!  Have a great weekend, everyone!

Monday, July 3, 2017

Bead & Button 2017 Recap

I feel like I've been running almost nonstop since we got back from the Bead & Button Show.  I've been meaning to write a little blog post about our Milwaukee adventures and I finally have a second to take a deep breath and recap things for my readers (and to capture my memories for my own record.)

On the road!  B&B here we come!
This year Eric and I both decided to take classes at Bead & Button which made for a longer trip to Milwaukee but was totally worth it... and we had plenty of time left over for exploring the beer and food scene!  Our first classes started bright and early on Wednesday morning.  While Eric was learning how to take better photos of my jewelry, I was down the hallway learning all about saltwater etching with Tracy Stanley!

I've long been intrigued by metal etching but have never tried it until now... largely because I wasn't interested in dealing with the harsh chemicals needed for chemical etching.  Saltwater etching uses electricity and a super saturated solution of kosher salt to etch patterns onto your metal.  We used sheets of copper and brass in class for our designs (silver can be used too but takes longer).  I'm not much of an artist, so I pretty much stuck to using some of the rubber stamps that Tracy brought to create my designs.  After getting our gear all set up and learning the basic idea, Tracy gave us the choice of how to use our class time.  We had the option to work on finishing jewelry pieces, but I stuck with etching more sheets of metal.  I focused mostly on repeating patterns thinking that would be the most versatile when I actually started working on jewelry.  I can't wait to pull out my disc cutter and my saw and create some new designs!

The etching set up; copper sheet with stamped images ready to etch; copper sheet after etching and antiquing; etched brass and copper designs.

For our second foray into B&B classes, Eric and I both signed up to take a fun polymer clay class with the talented Julie Picarello.  We picked her class because of the timing and the fact that it looked super fun... also Eric has been interested in doing more with polymer clay.  We learned tons of good tips and tricks from Julie including lots about color mixing.  Honestly, that part may have been the most valuable to me in some ways.  In my limited experience with this medium, I've mostly been going with colors straight out of the package... mixing my own colors, I came up with some really rich and lush shades.  I also picked up some good tips for building up beads and applying a veneer of color and/or pattern over the top.  I look forward to figuring out how to take what I learned and make it my own... I need more hours in the day!!    

Supplies all ready to go; designing my stack of clay and decorating the petals; picking our favorites for my petals; finished pendants (Eric's on the left and mine on the right)

Something I look forward to at any sort of beady event is reconnecting in person with my jewelry and bead making tribe.  Unfortunately, I'm not always the best about getting pictures... but I did snap a few!  From quick hugs on the show floor to drinks and dinner... we got some good friend time in on this trip.  A highlight for me was finally meeting the lovely and talented Erin Prais-Hintz in person!

Just a few beady friends:  Hanging with Loralee Kolton, meeting Erin Prais-Hintz in person for the first time, and giving Michelle McCarthy a hug and a hello!

So, if you know me at all, you know that I want all the beads... so the shopping is obviously a major draw for me.  One of the perks of taking classes is that you can attend a preview shopping night on Tuesday called Moonlight Madness that takes place in the Hyatt hotel (where we were staying) from 9 to 11 pm.  You also get into the full show floor on Thursday night while the general public has to wait until Friday morning to shop.  Over the course of the week I managed to do some pretty serious damage in the shopping department!  My main focus was on art beads... although I also picked up a ton of new Czech glass beads too.  Here's a look at some of my new artisan made goodies!

Beads from Golem Design Studio, Humblebeads, Allegory Gallery/Andrew Thornton, Xaz Raku

Beads from Joan Miller, Green Girl Studio, Firefly Design Studio, and Marsha Neal

Beads from Patricia Larsen, Diane Tarulla, Diane Hawkey, and Nikki Thornburg-Lanigan

My big splurge... Anne Choi beads!
In addition to all our beady shenanigans, Eric and I had plenty of time to explore the growing craft beer scene in Milwaukee, see family, and enjoy some delicious food and cocktails.  You can read more about that side of things over on the Beerploma blog soon.  (He's a bit behind.)    

For now I'll leave you with this extra snapshot from the Bead & Button show floor.... Me posing with the Swarovski crystal covered 1956 Porsche 356 Speedster.  This little sports car is covered with 247,148 crystals to the tune of something like $150,000 worth of Swarovski.  Yowza!  



Have a happy and safe Fourth of July!!

Saturday, July 1, 2017

Inspiration for the Honey Do List: July 2017

Last 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... and we're continuing the Honey Do List for 2017!  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!  

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


We spent a wonderful day with our friends Vicky and Ken in New Ulm last month.  As part of that day trip we visited the grounds of the historic August Schell Brewery (the second oldest family owned brewery in America) and found this beautiful peacock out courting.  I took about a hundred pictures and this side view though his feathers was my favorite.  Now is the time to break out those colorful blues and greens and show us YOUR stuff!

The reveal date will be Monday, July 24th.  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 July 24th 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!

Friday, June 30, 2017

Artisans Create Together Color Palette Challenge: June 2017

Each month there are two great color palettes put together to inspire members of the Facebook group Artisans Create Together.  I don't always get around to creating something new for this design challenge, but this month I manage (although barely!) to make two designs for one of the color palettes.  Here's the deliciously soft and beachy color palette:


These aqua tones are some of my favorites so I had no trouble at all finding some gorgeous beads and focals to work with... pairing it down to something manageable was more of the problem!  There's a decent amount of soft neutrals in the inspiration collage to work with too.

My first design is in line with the beach theme of many of the inspiration photos.  I started with a cute seahorse focal by Michelle McCarthy of Firefly Design Studio.  For some reason, as soon as I picked the bracelet bar up I knew I wanted to try something with a length of 7 ply waxed Irish Linen that I had cut too short for a different project.  I had already tied a loop (that would have been for a button clasp) but I decided it could just as easily be the "ring" for a lobster clasp.  I added a couple of wire wrapped links on the clasp side to round things out.    


Next up I decided to play with an oversized ceramic pendant by Tracee Dock of The Classic Bead that I got in one of her destash bundles a while back.  I love the funky repeating floral pattern she used.  I had fun stringing an asymmetrical pattern of Czech glass beads... many of them a fortunate Bead and Button purchase!  I wanted my design to have pops of the cream from the pendant so I used the creamy flowers and a mix of rondelles that had some lighter neutral tones included.


I love participating in these challenges (I know, I know, you haven't noticed before!) because they give me some focus for my creative process and often force me to think about things in different and new ways.  If it weren't for this color palette challenge, who knows how long it would take me to get around to using these lovely art bead focals.  Thanks for stopping by and checking out what I've been working on today!

Thursday, June 29, 2017

Insects! Art Elements June Challenge

The editors over at the Art Elements blog occasionally host themed challenges (as opposed to their fabulous Component of the Month challenges where participants get an art bead to play with).  The theme for June's challenge is Insects!

Cecropia Moth. Photo by Ashley Fly

I love how open ended this challenge is since the only rules are that you use art beads that relate to the theme.  I've got lots of good bug beads in my stash to choose from... bees, moths, butterflies, fireflies, ladybugs.  Oh my!  What to choose?  I decided to set the bees aside at least since that ties into this month's Inspired by Reading Book Club selection.  (If you're interested you can see those designs HERE.)

While working on a design for last month's book club, I ended up with a stringing pattern using labradorite and Czech glass that I liked but didn't work for the project I had in mind.  Instead of scrapping it, I decided to pair a sweet little firefly pendant from Green Girl.  Voila!   


Next up, another new necklace!  This one started with a small blue dragonfly pendant from Earthenwood Studio that I got in a mixed lot of beads from one of Andrew Thornton's destash events.  I guess I've just been in a stringing mood because I didn't even consider doing anything different for this one.  I had just gotten the perfect blue Czech glass rondelles at Bead & Button from Nirvana Beads that became the main component of my design.  I added in some darker blue Czech glass beads in a variety of shapes including a set of flowers with some brass accents in the mix.  


Last but not least, I also made a little pair of earrings for the challenge!  I made good use of some of new goodies from Bead & Button... an adorable pair of butterfly charms from Michelle McCarthy of Firefly Design Studio matched up with some wonderful disc beads by Heather Powers of Humblebeads.  Simple and sweet to finish things off!


This is a blog hop... stop by and see what all the participants came up with!

Guests
Sarajo Wentling - YOU ARE HERE

Art Elements Team

Wednesday, June 28, 2017

Inspired by Reading: The Bees

This month's book club selection for the Inspired by Reading Book Club was The Bees by Laline Paull.  I really tried to get into this one... I gave it way more pages than I normally would before giving up... but after 170 pages I finally had to let it go.  For whatever reasons, the story of the lowly sanitation worker bee, Flora 717, just didn't do much for me.  To me it seemed like strange circumstances just buffeted Flora from one job to another in the hive... jobs that she should never have held.  Since I didn't read any farther, I don't know for sure, but it felt formulaic like she was just going to keep getting new part time positions all the way up the chain of command.  I also had a hard time with the mixing of what felt like authentic bee behavior with the anthropomorphisms the author gave the bees.  


Not liking (or finishing!) a book didn't stop me from playing along!  Just don't be looking for deep symbolism here!  Anyway, I have a bunch of bee themed beads in my hoard so it was a challenge to decide what to play with first... especially knowing I might not finish more than one design at this late date.  In the end, I chose to start by playing around with a little design set that I bought from Michelle McCarthy of Firefly Design Studio at Bead & Button this year.  There was actually a third piece to the set, a matching round bead, that I ended up not using in this necklace but I'm sure I'll eventually find the perfect use for it!

I had some copper wire that I had darkened with liver of sulphur a while back (memo to self... I need to patina another batch soon) that I used to make my wire wrapped links.  My design started with the ceramic donut from Michelle's design kit.  I knew I wanted to use it as a wire wrapped link so I dug around and found some yellow Mookaite coins to balance out that side of the necklace.  for the other side I did a mix of Mookaite faceted rondelles and smooth yellow agate rounds in a honey yellow.  I had a vision for the back part of the necklace to be strung with a mix of Czech glass and seed beads so I wanted something a little different for the clasp.  I decided to dust off my wire working skills and try my hand at a copper hook clasp.  I used raw copper and then antiqued it with liver of sulphur.  It's not perfect, but pretty good for a first try!


Next up: a necklace featuring a pendant by our very own Andrew Thornton he made for Allegory Gallery's Sweet Honey Challenge.  I love the way he created the effect of honeycomb dripping with honey in this polymer and resin focal.  I added a little raw brass bee that I "antiqued" with some black paint.  (I actually started out with a different, darker brass bee from Vintaj, but it didn't pop like this one does.)  As I was pulling beads together I thought that this would be a good time to use some little hexagonal hematite beads as well as some honey colored Vintage German glass.  I strung those with some seed beads and tiny Czech glass rondelles for one side and went with beaded links for the other. using Czech glass flowers and rounds.  I guess I was just keeping up the asymmetrical theme!  I love how this one turned out and I don't think I can bear to part with it!


I also whipped up a little seed bead and jump ring bracelet in colors that made me think of honey and a button that TierraCast calls "Flower of Life" but I think looks like honeycomb... especially in this gold plated version.  This one was made with some lovely metallic leather from Tracee Dock's shop Classic Elements.  These seed beads have the loveliest glow that I'm afraid my picture doesn't capture.


Thanks for stopping by to check our my latest book club creations!

Monday, June 26, 2017

Honey Do List: June 2017

Last 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... and we're continuing the Honey Do List for 2017!  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!  

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



This spring I've really been taking a lot of bird pictures and wanted to use one of these shots for this month's challenge.  I thought this rose-breasted grosbeak would be an interesting subject due to the stark black and white colors with a pop of bright red.  Try using this color combo for a piece!

It was so fun seeing this little guy at our friends' cabin... I had never seen a rose-breasted grosbeak before and he was so handsome!  I wasn't entirely sure what I was going to do with this inspiration immediately, but when I finally had time to peruse my art beads, I found a sweet little ceramic robin bead by Melanie Brooks of Earthenwood Studio that fit the bill.  The bird has loops on both the top and the bottom so I wire-wrapped some little Czech glass rondelles to a nest bead from Green Girl Studios to complete the pendant.  (If you haven't seen this little nest in person before, the back says "Home."  I just love that!)  


Unlike many of my recent designs, this time I decided on an asymmetrical design with beaded links.  I pulled together a collection of Czech glass and ceramic beads in reds and blacks along with some speckled white and grey brown ceramic beads that just happened to be called "Birch with Speckles."  How perfect is that for the birch bark our little grosbeak is perched upon?!?


I had grand plans of a second necklace with a more abstract response to the inspiration photo but didn't quite have the time to pull it together.  I've been hanging onto this "Fly Free" bird from Erin Prais-Hintz of Tesori Trovati for quite some time.  I think that part of my brain block on it has been trying to decide what to do with the two loops at the bottom on the branch.  The fuchsia stripe reminded me in a way of the red patch on the grosbeak's chest and I thought that the cream/white strip with the dark background works with the birds coloring too.  This little pile of beady goodies is as far as I've gotten so far, but I hope to turn it into something soon.  I'll keep you updated!  Got a great idea for the bottom of the pendant?  I'd love if you shared!


As a little P.S. to this post, we just saw a rose-breasted grosbeak at our backyard bird feeders this past weekend for the first time!  It was almost like he was reminding me to get to work on my project!





get the InLinkz code

Friday, June 23, 2017

Art Bead Scene: June 2017

June's inspiration artwork for the Art Bead Scene challenge is a gorgeous riot of color!  This drawing done in pastels by Odelin Redon is called Profile on Red Meanders.  For some reason, it reminds me of the crayon resist artwork I got to do in elementary school... you know where you paint over your crayon drawing with black paint and the paint doesn't stick to the waxy crayon marks.  It goes without saying that my childhood drawings were not nearly this sophisticated, but the contrast of the black with the super vibrant just took my brain there.  But I digress!  You can read more about the artist and the artwork over on the ABS blog HERE.  

Profile on Red Meanders
formerly Jeanne d'Arc
Odelin Redon, 1900

I ordered the little booklet that the ABS did for this year's challenges so I'd been percolating several ideas for this one for some time.  I had several promising options, but narrowed it down to two projects in the end.  (I'm thinking some of the others will get made in the very near future before I forget what they were or lose the beads in messy workspace!)

A while back I won some adorable and super colorful polymer clay charms made by Susana Paredas of Earth Expressions by participating in a challenge in the Artisans Create Together Facebook group.  The bright colors were perfect for this challenge so it was time for them to become earrings!  I added a collection of Czech beads in greens, purples, and fuchsia to make a fun dangly design.


My second design is a far more subdued take on the inspiration artwork.  It started with a pendant that I made playing with a Mokume Gane technique with polymer clay that I learned on this year's Bead Cruise with Eva Sherman.  In all honesty, my mix of colors didn't turn out exactly as I'd hoped/envisioned... I'm still getting the hang of picking colors for maximum contrast!  Nevertheless, it ended up being a happy accident that the colors I chose went well with this month's artwork.  I picked a dark purple, a light purple, green, and a light coppery color to go in some copper plated bezels and bracelets from Nunn Design.

My colors all lined up and ready to go!
Lucky me, I picked up some medium sized English cut Czech glass in a lovely mix of metallics at Bead & Button that included purples, golds, copper, and green shades... a perfect compliment to the pendant and the artwork!  I added in some plated hematite cornerless cubes, metallic O-beads, tiny copper colored Czech glass, and some seed beads to string this necklace.  It was hard for me to capture the metallic shimmer of the pendant but, trust me, it's there!  



Here's a closer look at the pendant and beads!
I made two different pendants with these colors but haven't had time to finish the necklace for the second one yet.  The pattern is much tighter and chaotic feeling on the second one.  I've been kicking around some ideas for a multi-strand design for the other one.  Here's a tiny sneak peek at what I'm hoping to do... stay tuned!

A design waiting in the wings...


Saturday, June 17, 2017

We're All Ears: June 2017

Summer is finally here... and with the warmer weather many buggy friends have arrived.  Some not so welcome (mosquitos, ticks, ants) and others that bring a smile to my face every time I see them.  This month's inspiration for the We're All Ears challenge from the Earrings Everyday blog is one of those friendly bugs... the firefly or lightning bug (which is what I always call them.)

By Bruce Marlin - Own work http://www.cirrusimage.com/beetle_firefly_Photuris_lucicrescens.htmCC BY-SA 2.5Link
Erin mentioned in her blog post that she's only seen fireflies a few times in her life.  At first I was a little shocked and taken aback by that... I mean they were all over the place when I was growing up in Alabama!  But then I stopped and thought about it and realized that I really have only seen them maybe twice in the 17 years I've lived in Minnesota.  I guess I just didn't think about it since the mosquitoes make it unpleasant to be out at dusk.  I just assumed that they must be out there... but I think we may be too far north for these magical little critters to thrive here!


I feel like the picture above is what summer nights of my childhood felt like... just a vast expanse of flickering fireflies.  I know there were really never quite this many, but things just feel different when we are children.  My friends and I spent countless hours chasing lightning bugs, holding them in our hands mesmerized by the flickering light of their tails, bringing an unlucky few home in jars to light our bedrooms.  

When this challenge was announced overachiever me wanted to try and make some little firefly charms out of copper sheet using Heather Powers' "metal sketches" technique and some patinas.  Realistic, time crunched for two trips in two weeks me said "Shut up, that's not happening!"  Sigh.  Maybe I'll give that idea a try down the road when I have time on my hands.  *Laughs hysterically.*

Rational me remembered that I had a strand of little green and gold Czech glass ladybugs in my stash.  (At least I think they're ladybugs since I have the same shape in red with black... but I'm not sure why the bead makers decided on this particular color combo.)  I dug the little guys out and made the executive decision that they would have to work as fireflies... maybe they're just short!  

The first design that came to mind involved having the little buggy beads dangling from some sort of flower.   The flowers are mostly white with faint touches of color so I added more of the green in the centers.


The second pair of earrings didn't end up the way I was initially imagining them, but I like the end result so much better!  I thought I could pull something off where I had little piece of waxed linen with seed beads tied to the ends hanging behind, and reaching below the bug bead.  I made one that way and it just didn't sit right and I wasn't loving it.  The earring design was fine without that but lacked something.  I rummaged through my tubes of seed beads and found some in a similar green that, thankfully, fit onto the topmost jump rings.  A small touch, but it gave the needed pop the design had been lacking.


I don't often work with gold, but it just seemed the right thing to do for both of this month's pairs because of the gold in the bug beads.  I also thought the tiny gold filled bead underneath the bug was reminiscent of the firefly's tail.

In other news, I also made a firefly necklace the same weekend that I made these earrings.  You'll have to wait to see that one though until the reveal for the Art Elements June Theme Challenge.  Find out more about that HERE.