Thursday, January 28, 2021

Beading in the New Year with Allegory Gallery :: Part 2


Welcome to the second installment of my contributions to the Allegory Gallery Bead in the New Year challenge!  I got a little distracted from this second set of prompts what with a Facebook jewelry sale and LOTS of more involved cooking going on lately.  I have no regrets!  I'm still having fun at my own pace and keeping my creativity and productivity going.   Ok, onto the next 10 days of prompts!

Day 11 :: Create a Piece Using one our Luxury Bead Blends

While I did use a tiny bit of one of the Allegory Gallery Luxury Bead Blends I have stashed around my studio space back on Day 4, that didn't feel intentional enough.  Plus the whole point of this is to challenge myself and to keep on making!  So it was back to the bead table armed with some memory wire and a baggie of the Grasslands Bead Blend to whip up a little bracelet.  All the beads that I used came from the bead blend except for the two Czech glass flowers on the ends.

Day 12 :: Make a Project from a Craft Book

So... I'm taking a little liberty with this prompt.  Instead of doing a project from a craft book, I decided to finish up a project from a class I took on last year's Bead Cruise (remember travel? sigh) with the talented Beki Haley.  The design is called Royal Crest and it was my very first bead weaving project.  It felt pretty good to finish something that's been waiting for almost a full year!  Learning to make a warped square (the part that's the bail) is super useful... I can see doing that again in the future for certain designs.  Yay learning something new!!

Day 13 :: Let's See Something You Made Using Ceramic Beads

While I've played pretty fast and loose with a few of the prompts thus far, I took today's challenge to heart.  I only used one non-ceramic bead in this necklace!  When looking for good options for today's prompt I unearthed a ceramic pendant and bead set from my friend Diana Ptaszynski that seemed perfect for the prompt.  I added in some smaller irregular ceramic rounds and knotted them all on four strands of waxed Irish linen.  To pull out the colors from the accent beads, I used one strand of a kind of a minty colored linen along with the strands of brown.  I tied one wooden round above the leaf pendant, which seemed fitting and allowed things to sit a bit better.  The back is two different styles of Vintaj natural brass chain.   

Day 14 :: Break out the Polymer Clay and Create Something

Again, I'm taking liberties here.  I actually have a tray filled with canes I made in November during Heather Powers' online version of her Inspired by Nature Retreat.  I just haven't had the time and energy to finish my last canes and actually make beads.  Hopefully before the month is out I can circle back to that project.  

Soooo... that leads me to what I actually managed to do.  I took two polymer clay butterflies that I made after taking a different class with Heather at a retreat a few years ago (I think at Adornments).  I was inspired to make more little butterfly shapes when I got home but then never got around to doing anything with them.  

Day 15 :: Organize at Least One Part of Your Craft Area

Insert maniacal laughter here.  Seriously, my beading area needs a serious intervention.  Stat.  But, the truth is I'd rather create than clean... and creating is a seriously messy business!  No full scale, or even moderate scale, clean up had been undertaken but I have managed to put away some of my newer acquisitions and/or make something with them so I don't have to find a home for them.  Sigh.  Maybe I'll find some time next month for some much needed organization.  For now, this is the terrible mess I live with on my bead table.

Day 16 :: Use the 2021 Pantone Color of the Year

I'm not gonna lie... I'm often not super excited about Pantone's choice for Color of the Year.  2021 is no exception although I will say that I've hated other year's more, lol.  Despite my lack of enthusiasm, I managed to make not one but two things for today's prompt!  

First up I made a cute little pair of earrings with some adorable beer much charms that Michelle McCarthy of Firefly Design Studio made for me.  It's like she predicted Pantone's choice with her glaze color which is clearly "Illuminating."  ;)  I paired the charms with some Czech glass to coordinate.  

While digging for the beads for the earrings above, I pulled out a strand of fun yellow glass beads with a cool texture to them from Allegory Gallery.  I'd never even cut them off their strand so they were just sitting there on my mat.  As I looked at them I realized that maybe they would be an interesting bracelet... perhaps mixed with some grey.  Hmmm.  I ended up choosing some English cut Czech glass with a Mercury luster finish.  My friend Anna said it reminded her of a Lemondrop cocktail.  That may be what I name this design.   

Day 17 :: Focus on Metal as the Main Element in a New Creation

This is another place where my original intentions didn't come to fruition.  I still have another project somewhat thought out on my bead table but haven't had a chance to get out my jeweler's saw and make it happen.  Sigh.  As much time as I have on my hands I feel like I should be doing a little better, but there's always something that gets in the way.  I'm honestly happy I've been as creative as I have this month! 

Anyway, when I was prepping for a Valentine's/Love themed jewelry show for this past weekend, I ended up making a pair of earrings that I think fits the bill for this prompt.  The main elements of this design are some lovely patinated copper connectors by Patricia Healey  I added some brass drops as well as tiny Czech glass flowers along the bottom and Vintaj Natural Brass ear wires.  So, while it wasn't my original idea, metal is the star of the show here for sure!

Day 18 :: Utilize Natural Materials to Make Something

But I wanted to play with unnatural materials!  Ok, just kidding.  I think I'm getting just a little bit loopy over here.  This is another new piece that I created with Valentine's Day on the horizon.  The lovely ceramic pendant with botanical imprint is by Lesley Watt.  I knotted it on waxed Irish linen with beads in wood, yellow jasper, and brass.  Gemstones, wood, and linen feel like they match the prompt well enough!  I'm really glad I had the cream colored wood beads and I think they were just the element I needed to pull this all together!  

Day 19 :: Construct a Non Jewelry Piece Using Beads

Of all the prompts, this one is probably the very most outside my comfort zone.  About the only time I normally make something that isn't jewelry is leading up to Christmas when I make ornaments.  I actually have a great idea for this one, but haven't had the time to do it yet.  My friend Diana Ptaszynski sent me a cute little doll to bead embroider... I hope to at least get that started before this month is over.  I'll check back in with my progress if I can get a decent amount done.

Day 20 :: Get Together Virtually with Some Friends to Craft

Getting together in person still feels like a very distant dream (thanks, COVID) so I'm very thankful for all the other ways we have to communicate these days.  Earlier in the COVID times when we were all very much in lock down mode (ok, we still mostly are, but when most of the nation was shut down) my friends Anna, Monica, and Miranda got together via FB messenger calls several times to drink and craft and generally just catch up.  While we have all been friends for a few years, this year has brought us much closer together along with our friend Loralee.  We haven't had a organized call in a while, but not a day goes by that we aren't chatting online, sharing designs, asking for design or pricing advice, sharing the highs and lows of our everyday lives.  I honestly think I may have gone crazy this past year without the support, love, humor, and community that these remarkable women have given me and each other.  

Thanks for staying with me as I recounted days 11 to 20 of the Bead in the New Year challenge.  I hope to complete as many of the remaining prompts as I can before the month ends.  Stay tuned!

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