Here's this month's inspiration and what Eric had to say about it:
Since I haven't been out taking pictures this season yet, I went back in time to my pictures from last summer's trip to the UK. This was an amazing metalwork gate we discovered in the gardens outside Alnwick Castle and I think gives lots of options for jewelry inspiration!
As soon as I saw Eric's inspiration photo this month, my mind started going a million miles a minute with tons of ideas burbling around in there! The vines, the leaves, the keyhole, the color and sheen of the iron work, the vibrant greens in the background.
The first thing that I made was all about the iron frame and the swirling leaves and vines. At last fall's Inspired by Nature Retreat I scored some cool Vintaj Arte Metal deco rivets that I wanted to finally play around with. If you aren't familiar with deco rivets, they are decorative pieces with sharp prongs on the back that can be punched through paper or material and folded down. In this case, I used my round nose pliers to roll those prongs into loops. I thought the shape and pattern of the deco rivets was perfect to represent the functional part of the gate. I also had some sweet little Arte Metal leaves that were a similar shape to the leaves around the lock. To add some color to the design, I incorporated some little Czech glass leaves into the mix!
My next design focuses on the keyhole in the gate. I had several cool escutcheon focals in my stash, but one by Nancy Adams of Round Rabbit (who sadly, no longer makes jewelry components) caught my attention. With Minnesota being under a Safe at Home order (and having been super cautious about going out even before that order) I've been trying to spend at least some of my time organizing and putting away my ridiculous bead stash that's been all over the basement. I had just put away some really cool matte finish melon beads that I got last summer and in looking at the pendant knew immediately that they were a great match. Apparently I've been in a stringing mood lately (also a symmetrical one) so I started playing around with different combinations including some metal "pringle" beads.
I really wanted to play with some Vintaj metal blanks and riveting and layering for this challenge. I knew I had a lot of great leaves and vines in my stash so it was really more an issue of trying to narrow it down.
For this next piece I went for one of my larger brass blanks in a shape that somewhat mimics the leaves on the gate. I had a copper ivy vine that I thought looked nice draped across the piece. (It's connected with a jump ring but I did use a bit of super glue underneath to keep it one place.) I embossed the blank and then painted it with a mix of green patinas for a nice contrast. I kept the color focus on the greens from the photo's background... adding a lampwork bead by Tanya McGuire and some glass links. This one is long and can be slipped right over your head.
I got a little fancier with this last pendant design. I went for an Arte Metal circle blank this time that I embossed and highlighted with sandpaper. (I'm glad that I hoarded a bunch of Arte Metal pieces since they don't make them any more! Although you can get some of it at the Vintaj Salvage Esty shop.) The black background was to represent the iron work. I had a fun brass piece perfect for layering and riveting that I'd gotten as a prize or in a goody bag years ago that I wanted to put over that background. The holes in the brass decoration were a little big for just the rivets, and that would have been boring anyway, so I picked out some little flower spacers to further embellish. I painted the flowers blue for the sky and the leaves and vines green for the greenery in the background of the photo. I'm pretty pleased with the end effect. It's a tiny bit off center, but considering that there were three rivet points, I think I did ok. The body of the necklace is strung with a ton of Czech glass in shades of blue and green for a bright, happy look.
And, look, my good friend Monica Peña of Mariposa Originals Jewelry played along with an amazing necklace! I'm smitten with how she used her vintage key and some fun Vintaj components! Here's what Monica had to say bout her creation:
Great inspiration photo! I took the opportunity to dip into my stash of vintage keys for this project, combining it with Vintaj medallion and ivy components for the focal, reminiscent of the gate's metalwork. I softened the overall look with the addition of green Czech glass leaves and Sari silk for a comfortable, lightweight necklace.