Monday, July 27, 2015

New Earring Monday '15: Weeks 29 and 30

Happy New Earring Monday, everyone!  Every year I, foolishly, think that things will settle down... that next summer won't be as crazy, etc.  Every year I am WRONG... dead wrong.  Well this year is no different.  The last few weeks have been nuts and there's really no end to that in sight for now.

I have not been as diligent about making sure that I get plenty of studio time lately, but I did make time to fulfill a special order for my friend Andrea.  I was honored that she asked me to make a jewelry set for her to wear to her daughter's upcoming wedding.  Here it is!

The set started with Andrea picking out a lovely purple and silver lampwork bead from Beadygirl Beads.  I added in some lampwork spacers from both Beadygirl Beads and the Spacer Bead Shop, amethyst, ametrine, and crystal to complete the necklace.  For the earrings, I went dangly... Andrea has short hair and these will show off great!  Faceted ametrine rondelles are paired with amethyst teardrops and some sterling and Swarovski crystal ear wires from TierraCast.

Adding to all the travel and other fun things my husband and I have been up to, I also really need to be in production mode for my biggest show of the year... Edge of the Big Woods Art Wander.  (Twin Cities friends, I hope you'll check it out!)  So, to that end, my second pair of earrings for this week is really a whole batch of my best selling chiclet earrings!  Not exactly innovative or new for me design-wise, but it is a small dent in the work that needs to get done in the next two months for me to be something that resembles ready for my show!  Thanks for humoring me (and letting me bend my own challenge rules)!

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Friday, July 17, 2015

We're All Ears: July 2015

I love the inspiration for this month's We're All Ears Challenge hosted by the Earrings Everyday blog!  Erin always finds something super interesting to spark our creativity, and this month is no exception.  She stumbled on the primitive folk art quilts of the Sidde people.  Here are just a couple of the images... you can read and see more over HERE.

I might have gone just a little bit crazy with the earrings this month.  I started pulling beads and just couldn't stop making things!  Not the worst problem for a jewelry designer to have.  :)

The first things I thought of were the paper beads that I have had in my stash for quite some time.  Some were bought individually and gifted to me by my husband.  Others were originally in a necklace that was gifted to me several years ago.  The ones from the necklace were made by African women and sold to help them be independent.  While the matching pairs of paper beads I had weren't quite as colorful as the quilts, I think they still have a similar spirit/feel to them.

My first two designs are variations on a theme.  They both mix the paper beads with recycled glass teardrops from Lima Beads.  A while back I was inspired by Lynda Carson's use of these teardrops and grabbed some in several different colors... and then let them sit and sit in my stash.  The recycled glass felt like the perfect compliment to the paper beads.  These (and most of my earrings this month!) are LONG... not for the dainty earring wearers out there!

The next two pairs are also similar to each other and both started with some ceramic donut beads from my most recent bead subscription box from Blueberry Cove Beads.  I  added some of the smaller, skinnier paper beads as dangles on these.  I originally thought about running wire or a headpin all the way through the donut but decided that I didn't care for the look of it that way.  Plan B was to run a longer headpin through each of the holes in the donut bead from the inside.  I think the mismatched pair might be my favorite of the whole bunch!

Next up... a couple of pairs using some patterned wood beads.  I bought a bunch of these guys in coordinating colors the first year (probably the first months) that I was making jewelry what seems like a million years ago.  At that point I was mostly stringing (on stringing wire... not fibers yet) and I found the holes in these to be too large for that purpose so they got set aside until now.  I added some orangey Czech glass for one pair and dangled them from some brass gears.

That's already a lot of earrings... but wait, there's more!  This next set is more neutral and monochromatic.  One pair uses some carved coconut pieces (also from Blueberry Cove Beads) wire wrapped with more of the larger paper beads.  Then for one of the more muted pairs of paper beads, I decided to add some Red Creek Jasper (one of my favorite stones!) in coordinating colors.

And last but not least (I hope!)  I made a slightly smaller pair of earrings using more tiny paper beads and some carved wood beads in a nice light color.  These are more beads from my very early days of jewelry making.

That, my beady friends is it for me!  I can't wait to see what everyone else made this month!

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Art Bead Scene: July 2015

It's time once again for me to play along with the Art Bead Scene challenge.  July's inspiration is Still Life with Shells by Dutch Golden Age painter Balthasar van der Ast.  It feels like a display of summer beach treasures from days gone by... these are the best of the best specimens someone has collected with care.  Overall, the colors seem more muted than I'd expect for the middle of summer, but the fruit does offer some small pops of color to the otherwise pale scene.  You can read more about the art and the artist over on the ABS blog HERE.

Still Life with Shells, 1640
BBalthasar van der Ast
This inspiration piece just screamed out for a somewhat literal interpretation (to me, anyway!) and I had just the thing in my stash.  I had gotten a pair of shell charms made by Diana Ptaszynski of Suburban Girl Studio in my Bead Cruise goody bag.  Lucky for me, I was sitting next to Diana and she offered me the matching pendant that just happened to be in her bag!  (Thanks again Diana... you rock!!!!)

The earthiness of this color palette led me to go straight to my gemstones... the rich mix of colors in Red Creek Jasper seemed like a no brainer.  I have several different sizes and shapes of this stone, but I just received a graduated strand of Red Creek Jasper that was perfect for the challenge in an order from Lima Beads... great timing!  To stretch the length out a bit as well as add some additional color and texture, I pulled in some Swarovski pearls and various brass beads.  I also finally braved playing with some of the WoolyWire that I had acquired a while back.  The "Flame" strand had just the right colors to bring out the reds in the painting and the jasper!  I'll admit that there was some trial and error with the Wooly Wire and I don't think I quite have the technique for keeping the cut ends nice and smooth figured out.  After a couple of attempts I'm pretty happy with the bail I made.

I knew that I had to complete the set and make earrings with those adorable shell charms.  I wire wrapped a bunch of tiny Red Creek Jasper Rounds to a jump ring and simply strung that and the charms loop right to the ear wire.  Voila!

Monday, July 13, 2015

New Earring Monday '15: Weeks 27 and 28

It's hard to believe that this year is already more than half over.  Gulp.  But I'm still at it with the earring making!  This round I was challenged with a lack of time and good lighting, but here's what's new with me on the earring front.  Check back this Friday for more earring creations from me when I share my July We're All Ears post!

I decided to revisit some fun brass decorative drops this time.  I haven't made anything with these in quite some time and I thought I was overdue for something fun and flirty.  I paired them with some of my smaller gemstone beads... Green paisley jasper for the first pair and fluorite in the second.

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Thursday, July 2, 2015

Inspired by Reading: An Atlas of Impossible Longing

After last month's failure to finish our book club book (I'm still working on getting it read!), I'm happy to report that I did manage to finish our June selection An Atlas of Impossible Longing by Anuradha Roy!  It helped that this was a much shorter book and that I had a plane ride to and from San Diego to put a dent in it.

This is another novel with an unusual narrative structure.  It's told in three sections from characters in three different generations with fairly large amounts of time separating the sections.  The first section focuses on Amulya and his wife Kanabala in their home at Dulganj Road, Songarh.  It also introduces their sons Kamal and Nirmal... ending when Nirmal's young wife dies in childbirth.  The second section shifts between Nirmal, his daughter Bakul, and the orphan boy Mukunda.  The final section is really Mukunda's story although it brings things full circle.

The title is really very apt... there are so many characters who are in impossible situations where what and/or who they long for are an impossibility.  One major relationship seems to get resolved at the end of the story, but so many others have no real resolution.  While this is probably much more true to life, I found it somewhat unsatisfying as a reader.  What can I say, I'm a sucker for a happy ending!  

I was struck by the idea of the gardens Amulya cultivates with only pure white flowers and used that as a jumping off spot for my designs.  The gardens provide a backdrop to the story throughout all three sections of the novel so it seemed a fitting inspiration.  I decided to make a few pieces related to this theme... sometimes I just get on a role.

I started with two pairs of earrings.  My original idea was to use some fun bead caps that I picked up on my trip to Asheville, NC back in May.  They remind me of Lilly of the Valley flowers (which are also white) and that was part of the appeal.  I wanted to play with white flowers dangling down from the bead caps on chain.  As I was trying different things, I decided that three of the white bell flowers was just a little too much so I substituted in a tiny faceted hematite round into that third spot.

For my second pair of earrings I pulled out the fancy leafy chain that I bought a while back with earrings in mind.  I loved the idea of the silvery leaf fringe hanging down from gemstone beads.  Since I wanted to keep with the all white idea, I chose some matte crackle rock crystal beads paired with silver plated bead caps to fancy it up a bit.

I was still feeling the creative spark, so I rounded things out with a fairly simple charm necklace.  The large poppy pod from Nunn Design is quite hefty in weight.  I used a large fancy silver plated ring to anchor the charms and added in some white Czech glass and a white howlite bead.

Pop on over to Andrew Thornton's blog to see what the rest of the group made this month HERE.  Have a happy and safe Fourth of July!