Thursday, April 30, 2015

Girl Reading: Inspired by Reading Book Club

The selection for this month's Inspired by Reading Book Club was Girl Reading by Katie Ward.  Generally speaking, I don't really look into what a book is about or even always read the book jacket before diving into a book club book.  In my "normal" reading this is not the case, but I figure I'm reading (or attempting to read) it anyway, so why bother.

This book had an interesting structure that left me wondering if it should really be considered a novel at all or if it was truly a series of vignettes.  After finishing the book, I'm still not 100% sure of my answer to that although the last chapter does sort of pull things together.  Basically each chapter focused on one woman each at a different point in history and how she ends up being portrayed in the act of reading in a piece of artwork.

I really enjoyed the scavenger hunt aspect of looking for the mention of the artwork from the previous chapter.  I'm assuming that happened for each one although I didn't pick up on it in each chapter so it could have only been occasional.  While I enjoyed most of the chapters, I think I really was hoping for more cohesion.  

Instead of picking one of the chapters to focus my creativity on, I went way more generic.  While some of the stories were very interesting to me, nothing really jumped out at me as an idea.  That's the way it goes sometimes.  Luckily, I had a couple of different book pendants to choose from to take a more literal approach (including a cutie from Mary Harding!).

This is terrible to admit, but I ended up just making something with the resin filled bezel that I had made with an old business card (reduce, reuse, recycle y'all!).  Why?  Because I suspect that the other two pretty book pendants are going to be for me... not for sale.  I've been under a crazy time crunch lately so I just couldn't justify the time to make something for me to keep.  :(

And as an added bonus I thought I would do what Laurel from book club suggested and write a haiku!  So here it goes:

Girl reading a book.
Artist captures the moment.
The act caught in time.

Make sure to check out what everyone else made this month.  Andrew will all the links over on his blog later today HERE.

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Unfinished Business

The last couple of weeks have been a frenzy of jewelry making activity for me as I work to get as much jewelry made as possible before my husband and I set off on a long road trip.  I don't know about you, but I often get a bit overwhelmed by everything on my to-do list and all the new ideas zipping around in my head.  One tactic that works for me when this happens is to focus in on unfinished business in order to clear some mental space for brand new projects and ideas.

What do I mean by unfinished business??  Mostly I mean the jumble of bits and bobs piled up around my workspace... half started, partially thought out, and then abandoned while I flit off to some other idea or run out of time before an event.  Here are some of the items still hanging out in purgatory even after my recent jewelry making blitz.... hopefully theses will become something soon too.

Here is my confession:  I have the tendency to make up big batches of resin pendants or painted metal pieces, finish a few projects, then set aside the rest for another day.  "Another day" has a bad habit of not coming around and the piles of unfinished business grow larger.

Here's a little collection of necklaces that I made with resin pendants that have been languishing on my bead board for a long time... some since last fall!

And here's a little bevy of brass beauties that have finally become what they were meant to be!  The leaf in the bottom left corner has been waiting since the 2014 Bead Cruise!

Whew, that was a lot of stuff!  But now I feel so much lighter without all those projects hanging around my neck like an albatross and I can get down to business on my next round of projects with a clear mind and a clean(er) workspace!  I hope that I've inspired some of you to tackle some of your unfinished business, whatever that may be.  Feel free to share with me if you did!

P.S.  I'll be taking all of the resin necklaces to Unearthed Arts this week... just as soon as I can get everything priced and tagged.  I just delivered all these brass pieces (and a whole lot more!) to Uptown MN at the MSP airport.

Monday, April 20, 2015

New Earring Monday '15: Weeks 15 & 16

Happy Monday!  Thanks for stopping in to check out my latest installment of New Earring Monday!

In my post last Friday for the We're All Ears April blog hop, I mentioned that I've been having lots of earring fun with Vintaj decorivets so I thought I'd share some of the fruits of those labors today.

Both pairs this week feature their Marcasite Peapod decorivets.  The first set has some awesome onyx beads that I bought from Allegory Gallery last fall when they had a Dakota Stones trunk show.  I love the matte finish with the shiny polka dots!  I used some Picasso finished Czech glass for the second pair.

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Friday, April 17, 2015

We're All Ears: April 2015

Once again, Erin Prais-Hintz has come up with some amazing inspiration for us to play with for the We're All Ears monthly challenge over on the Earrings Everyday blog.  For this month, she has chosen a selection of photos of the City of Arts and Sciences in Valencia, Spain.  This complex was created to honor the melding of science, technology, nature, and art.  You can see more photos and read more about it over on the Earrings Everyday blog HERE.

I took inspiration from the great expanses of windows in many of these structures... and also the pointy bits at the top of that last picture.  I've been having LOTS of fun making earrings with a variety of decorivets from Vintaj lately, so this pair was a natural extension of that play.

I grabbed a pair of the diamond shaped decorivets that I had just bought that have a great marcasite type texture to them (echoing the pointy bits I mentioned earlier) and paired them with some faceted pyrite puff squares.  The shine and facets of the pyrite made me think of the windows and the puff shape reflected the curves that these structures all share.

This is a blog hop, check out what everyone else was inspired to make this month!

Thursday, April 16, 2015

Art Bead Scene: April 2015

This month's inspiration for the Art Bead Scene challenge is the lush Self-Portrait with Thorn Necklace and Hummingbird by Frida Kahlo.  You can read more about the artwork and the artist HERE.

Self-Portrait with Thorn Necklace and Hummingbird, 1940By Frida Kahlo
While there is a lot of great imagery to pull from in this painting (leaves, moths, hummingbird, cat, thorns, and dragonflies), I ended up designing a piece that focuses more on the colors of the painting.  I'm slowly making a dent in the stash of enameled copper pendants from Becka Beads that I've had in my hoard for years.  With all the black in the painting, I immediately thought of this one:

I wanted to let the pendant and it's pretty colors do most of the talking so I pulled a collection of little gemstones together to wire wrap along the chain using a mix of onyx, faceted aquamarine, and faceted dyed agates.  The blue of the aquamarines is a little brighter than the color in the painting, but it fit nicely with the color in the pendant so I feel ok with taking small liberties!

At the last minute I added a little bird charm and some crystal and matte aquamarine dangles to the pendant.  I'm still not sure about that part of it... I'd love to hear your thoughts.  Should I keep or ditch the dangles?  Thanks for the input!

Monday, April 6, 2015

New Earring Monday '15: Weeks 13 & 14

Hello, and welcome back to my newest installment of New Earring Monday!  I'm posting a little later than usual this week... but it's still Monday!  Apologies for my photos... I was seriously fighting both time and the light.

This time around it's going to be the Twin Cities Bead Bazaar edition.  A couple of weeks ago, my friend and fellow jewelry designer Marcia and I went to this local bead show where we had a ton of fun and bought ridiculous amounts of fun new beads and supplies.  It's not a huge show, it's held in a gymnasium at a community center, but there are always plenty of treasures to be found!  (By the way, you can check out Marcia's website HERE... she creates great stuff!)

You might be thinking, well that's great, but what does that have to do with earrings?  Well, this week's post features earrings that I made with some of the great art beads I bought at the show!  

First up a pair of earrings featuring lovely lampwork from Jeff Barber.  I was drawn to the colors and patterns in this little pair.  They give off a sort of Monet feel to me that I loved.  They feel springy, but still subdued.  I added some little pewter flower petal spacers (also from the bead show) and some blue Czech glass.

My second pair features a cool set of little flowers from Tanya McGuire.  Pictures really don't do them justice... they are an amazing grey black with some iridescence.  They look almost oily, but in a really good way!  (I used a bigger version of one of these guys in red for the February Art Bead Scene Challenge.  You can check that out HERE if you missed it.)  I wire wrapped them with some fun silver plated "pringle" spacers from and plated hematite from the bead show and added a little bit of chain with faceted hematite and some silver plated charms for movement.

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Thursday, April 2, 2015

Home: Inspired by Reading Book Club

This month the Inspired by Reading Book Club read Home by Toni Morrison.  I've read some of Morrison's other books over the year, but Home was new to me.  Home tells the story of Frank Money, a broken and angry veteran of the Korean War who is on a quest to save his little sister Cee and return her, and himself, home... to a place he swore he'd never return.  I read the book a while ago now and made the mistake of not writing down my thoughts and impressions of the book right away.  Now the details are a little fuzzy for me but I do remember being appalled, but not surprised by, the horrible racism Frank and Cee both were subjected to and the injustices and injuries they both endured.

As soon as I read the opening chapter of the book I had my inspiration.  The as of yet unnamed Frank and his sister have crawled under a fence onto private farmland where they encounter two stallions fighting for dominance.  Here's the description the narrator gives: "they stood like men.  Their raised hooves crashing and striking, their manes tossing back from wild white eyes."  This scene of wonder soon turns to horror as the children try to make their way back to the fence.  They stumble upon some white men dumping and burying a black body in the field.  Frank is telling this story looking back on events of his childhood and tells the reader at the end of the chapter that he had forgotten about the burial for a long time and only remembered the horses.  "They were so beautiful.  So brutal.  And they stood like men."

I immediately thought of some earring charms that I bought from Nancy Adams of Round Rabbit a million years ago.  (Ok, maybe not a million, but before she was Adams anyway.)  They feature two stallions rearing up at each other and I had gotten them in two different glaze colors so I figured I'd whip something up with both sets!  (Plus that clears out space for new art beads... I can buy more now, right??)  I also thought that the star at the top of each charm could represent Frank's military service and the hearts at the bottom his love for his sister.

These are very much variations on a theme.  For the first pair I wire-wrapped the charms to the ear wires and added some fun little maple leaf Czech glass beads.  I really love the cool blues in this pair.

For the second pair, I tried something a little different to connect the charms... I used some copper balled head pins and made wrapped loops behind the charms.  I like the effect and will try this technique again.  This glaze combination is one that I have gravitated to on more than one occasion.  I love the "mango" color with the pale blue... it reminds me of a sunset.    

But wait, there's more!  This is a blog hop.  If you want to see what Home inspired everyone else to make, pop over to Andrew Thornton's blog HERE.

If you're interested in these earrings, they should be heading to Unearthed Arts in the next few days.