Thursday, October 23, 2014

Royal Feather Challenge Blog Hop

It's been a long, long time since I have participated in one of Andrew Thornton's challenges where he concocts a wondrous kit of materials including a mystery component designed by Andrew himself...but I'm back!  I've certainly played along with many others along the way but, for one reason or another, haven't gotten in on one of these fun challenges in forever.

It's really cool to be doing this one at this point in time... and I'll tell you why.  Way back in July of 2011, I participated in my first ever design challenge which just happened to be Andrew's first ever Readers Challenge.  You can see that one HERE.  My blog wasn't even a twinkle in my eye yet and I really hadn't ventured too very far into the realm of selling my creations.  While I had been making jewelry for a few years I was still a newbie in so many ways.  Here I am almost three and a half years later and I've just left my library job to design and make jewelry full time, I'm a resident artist at a fabulous new gallery in my hometown called Unearthed Arts, I've done a variety of arts and craft shows selling my designs, and I've even had two pieces published in a magazine.  I've come a long way in a relatively short time!

Ok, sorry about all that.  Enough introspection... on with the challenge at hand!  It's no secret to anyone paying attention to the jewelry I make (or the beads that I buy!) that I LOVE shades of blue and green.  So when Andrew decided to do a pre-sale of his Royal Feather kit without showing us any more than the picture up above, I jumped on it right away before they all sold out.  It was a little while before my envelope of goodies arrived but the wait was totally worth it!  Here's some of what each of us received:

I'll admit that there was more bright green and less turquoise than I expected... but I was really excited about some of the purples and that feathery looking wooden bead.  I knew that I could work with this!

My first thoughts turned to doing a variation on a peacock necklace that I was in process on for my big fall art show.  I figured that was an easy enough place to let my brain start so I etched a big brass blank to be the focal for my first necklace.

Here is my original design (currently for sale at Unearthed Arts):

To play off the predominant colors in the kit, I decided to use green paint instead of the turquoise from my original.  I wire-wrapped the wooden peacock feather bead to the etched brass pendant and then added a variety of beads on three colors of waxed Irish linen including the purple from the kit.  I mostly used the crystals and some of the smaller Czech glass beads from the kit but added in a few extras from my stash as well.  This is the first time I've worked with the waxed linen where I've left so much of the threads exposed...I like the effect!

I etched a pair of earrings to coordinate with the necklace and used some of the small green Czech glass beads as dangles.  

My second pair of earrings is actually the first thing that I created with the kit.  When I dumped out the luxury bead blend I found a few clear leaf shaped sequins that I thought would add some fun movement and texture to earrings in a feather effect.  I painted two Vintaj Arte Metal tiered leaf pieces that I painted green and purple and those became the backdrop for the sequin pieces.  My peacock "feathers" dangle from gold colored Czech glass beads that I added fancy bead caps to... again thinking that they mimicked the feeling of plumage.

Even after all of these creations, I still have a bit of the original kit left.  I love, love, love Andrew's mystery component this month (and it's unlikely I'll let that one go!), but I just didn't get something made using that piece in time.  I have some other ideas bumping around in my brain... just need to find more time to actually pursue them!

This is a blog hop... I hope you'll check out the rest of the participants! 


  1. All of your creations are stunning, Sarajo! I didn't realize you had left your job - so exciting!
    I love the necklace. I enjoy working cords that way.

  2. I love your pieces! Your etched brass pendants are great. I love the style of necklace and the one you've done for the challenge is my favorite because I love the multiple strands of linen with spaced beads. Both pair of earrings are also great, but I am so totally charmed by the second pair that uses the leaf sequins. There are always fun, surprising beads like that in Andrew's kits that I can't always use, so it's fun to see these in such a lovely design!

  3. Your pieces are beautiful!!! I love the earrings that you created first. Great job!

  4. The etched brass pendant is fantastic. And really adds to the already wonderful kit beads! Love your work. Would love to learn the techniques and have your eye for detail.

  5. Congrats on being a full time artist! I love how you left waxed linen exposed in the necklace. I am in awe of your etching, nice work!

  6. Wonderful designs! I love how you carried the peacock and feather theme in so many unique ways!

  7. Beautiful designs one and all! You embraced the colorful peacock scheme with diverse techniques. I loved the etching in the earrings and pendant. I also love the feather-like sequin display in the bottom pair of earrings.