Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Muffin Tin Challenge Reveal: Redux

Think way, way back to January and you may remember that Heather Powers hosted a Muffin Tin Challenge where participants were encouraged to fill a muffin tin with all the goodies needed for a project and get as many as possible completed during the given time frame.  It was a wonderful creative challenge that helped me get my creative mojo going.  I used the challenge as a way to make some pieces to submit to Create Jewelry, a special issue of Stringing magazine and, since they actually wanted to see a number of my submissions in person, I wasn't able to actually show off my finished projects for the Muffin Tin reveal.  Better late than never, I'm finally going to share the rest of my creations!

Here is how my muffin tin looked when I first started.  I finished 7 necklaces and 6 pairs of earrings during the challenge but still had projects left in 4 cups when the challenge ended.  (I'm happy to say that I eventually finished all but one of the intended projects... Jenny Davies-Reazor's pendant is still waiting for some love.)

Moth Collector: This necklace features a resin filled pendant that I made, a mix of silver plated chain, mookaite, rhodonite, and septaria.  I'm always pleased when I can successfully achieve asymmetry!

Seahorse Cove: Andrew Thornton's porcelain pendant was the starting point for this necklace.  I had grabbed this one and several others at his shop Allegory Gallery when we visited Ligonier last fall.  I used a mix of ceramic, glass, and apatite beads with sari silk at the back.  I'm thrilled with the way this one turned out!  I'm still pretty new to mixing fibers into my designs so I'm proud of myself for getting out of my comfort zone.

Proud Peacock: This one started with a set of beads from Gaea.  I added some brass beads and some random gemstones in complementary colors and had fun playing with a mix of waxed Irish linen colors.  This one is BIG... a real statement piece for sure!

Lotus Blossom: My sweet husband bought me this ceramic lotus flower pendant from Diana Ptaszynski of Suburban Girl Studio for Christmas.  I added in a couple of types of jade and some brass beads along the waxed Irish linen.

Cracked Earth: This amazing sunflower pendant from Tracee Dock of The Classic Bead was in my wonderful grab bag on my first Bead Cruise.  Yes, it has been languishing in my stash for that long!  Well, the time was right for it to get out of cold storage and into a design mixed with red creek and crazy horse jaspers as well as some petrified green opal nuggets and some metallic peanut beads.

Last, but not least is Secret Sunflower:  This is the one necklace out of the bunch that actually got published!  I used a cheerful shadowbox bead from Round Rabbit and added Czech and recycled glass links in bright pinks and oranges.  This was my first time having a necklace appear in a national magazine so that was pretty exciting.  This is one design that I just can't bear to part with.

I'm very happy to say that all but Lotus Blossom and Cracked Earth found good homes at this past weekend's show, The Edge of the Big Woods Art Wander!  Another huge thank you to everyone who Wandered by over the three day studio tour.  It was wonderful to see old friends and make new ones.
This week finds me tired but happy.  I'm giving myself a couple of days where I'm not pushing too hard but still getting things done before I get back on what passes for a normal schedule around here.  Thanks for stopping by today... have a great week!  

Monday, September 21, 2015

New Earring Monday: Weeks 37 and 38

Happy Monday everyone.  I don't know about you, but I'm looking down the barrel of a super busy week.  If you haven't heard me mention it yet, this weekend is my big three day art show... The Edge of the Big Woods Art Wander!!!  I've got tons to do before the show starts Friday afternoon and, per my usual way, I'm sure I'll be scrambling until the last minute (and possibly beyond).  Luckily, I thrive under pressure.  It's a super fun show and totally worth all the frantic energy that goes into it.

Last month I shared all my art bead spoils from Bead Fest Philadelphia HERE... I've managed to make a pretty good dent in my new found stash.  I'm proud of myself for getting in there and using so many of my new pretties instead of just rolling around in them and hoarding them all!  (Of course, I probably shouldn't give myself too big a pat on the back since using them meant that I didn't need to put them away!)

Time is at a premium, so I'm going to let the earrings mostly speak for themselves.  Enjoy!  And if you're in the local area, come see me this weekend at Studio J on the Art Wander!

Left to right beads by: Firefly Design Studio, Humblebeads & Jenny Davies-Reazor, Humblebeads & Firefly Design Studio

Left to right beads by: Humblebeads, Humblebeads & Nichole Valentine, Humblebeads & Spacer Bead Shop

Left to right beads by: Humblebeads & Nichole Valentine, Humblebeads & Firefly Design Studio, Humblebeads

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Monday, September 14, 2015

New Earring Monday Special Edition: Art Wander Preview!

I'm not due for another New Earring Monday post until next week, but I've been so busy making new earrings for the Art Wander that I thought a special edition was in order!  (Also, I shared some of them in my email newsletter that went out yesterday, so the cat's out of the bag so to speak!)

The Edge of the Big Woods Art Wander is a three day studio tour that takes place throughout Carver County Minnesota.  My house is s studio on the tour again this year with guest artist Jules Rentz of Jules Loft.   Here are the basic details for my local followers and friends:

Studio J
1966 Fountain Lane
Waconia, MN 55387

Art Wander Hours:
September 25 - 27

Friday, 1:00 pm - 6:00 pm
Saturday, 9:00 am - 6:00 pm
Sunday, 11:00 am - 4:00 pm 

For full Art Wander details visit: www.artwander.com 

Ok, onto this week's extra does of earring goodness!  I hope you'll stop by next weekend if you are in the area... Jules and I would love to see you!

Some fall inspired leaves and owls!
I'm not ready to give up on flowers just yet...
Art beads in action with polymer clay from Humblebeads mixed with lampwork from Tanya McGuire and ceramics from Firefly Design Studio

Monday, September 7, 2015

New Earring Monday: Weeks 35 and 36

Happy Monday, everyone and also, for my American friends, Happy Labor day!

As promised in my post on classes at Bead Fest, I'm sharing the last of my class projects here today for New Earring Monday.  Kathleen and I decided to try out one of their 45 Minute Beginner Workshops that were new this year.  The idea for these classes was that they would be quick, fairly easy, and you wouldn't need any supplies.  Unfortunately, that may not have been made super clear to all the instructors...more on that in a minute.

Anyway, we decided to sign up for the Faux Fire Opal Earrings class that used ICE Resin and what they call their Fire Opal inclusions.  I steered us toward this particular class for a couple of reasons:  1) Earrings are my favorite thing to wear and to make, 2) I'd already signed up for classes that would yield 2 bracelets and 2 pendants, 3) I've wanted to try ICE resin but have been chicken.

The classroom for these beginner classes was in a little area right off the show floor.  I think that the idea for these classes was giving folks another avenue to take a break from shopping and get a little dose of education squeezed into the weekend.  Our instructor for our little class was Jen Cushman from ICE Resin and it was fun to hear a little more about the background for their product and learn more about it's properties.  She also shared some of the challenges she and other instructors had faced with this particular classroom space (for instance no electrical and one of the classes required tools that had to be plugged in... oops!)  Jen had originally planned to have us make our own ear wires for this project, but when she realized that folks wouldn't be bringing ANYTHING to class at all, that part went out the window and she bought a mix of findings from a nearby vendor.  In the end, all most of us did was pour the pre-mixed resin with the fire opal inclusions (a shiny, colored plastic material) already added into the bezels.

After we poured the resin in, our bezels looked super cloudy... like almost white with all the bubbles.  Jen assured us that the bubbles would clear away as they cured but also showed us a trick to blow hot air from your mouth onto your bezels.  That helped a bit, but they were still pretty cloudy when we left them to cure overnight.  When we picked them up Sunday morning on our way out of town, they looked much better, but still have some bubbles in there (it's hard to tell from the picture I snapped).  When I got home, I tossed the findings and the original rhinestone rondelles that Jen had given us in favor of all brass findings and some different beads to make it more my look.  I think these will look great with the new Steampunk outfit I'm contemplating!

My verdict:  our class was a fun way to spend 45 minutes at Bead Fest, but they have some kinks to work out if they are going to offer this type of thing again.  While my finished earrings aren't perfect, I'm pretty happy with them and look forward to playing with ICE Resin in the future.  I'm going to get over my fear of mixing the two parts together... it will happen!

My second pair of earrings this week were designed to go with one of my new necklaces.  I made the necklace with a graduated strand of impression jasper but I pulled the biggest stones out because of the scale of the pendant.  I used those larger stones along with some of the smaller rondelles, some shell pearls, and brass accents.  Here are both the earrings and the necklace they go with.  The necklace features a ceramic pendant by Tracee Dock of the The Classic Bead.

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