Here be headpins ! The AJE Component of the Month reveal.

Welcome to the reveal of the AJE headpin challenge!

This month we decided to highlight these small, delicate and super versatile elements. I have quite a collection from Jen ( Glass Addictions) Sue ( SueBeads) and Marsha (Marsha Neal Studio)

This collection sits just above my bead table...

This collection sits just above my bead table…

I decided to try something I had never heard nor seen done. I wanted to bead embroider the head pins. WITH the wires intact. Could it be done? Hmm. Lets try.

Headpins finally placed.

First shapes looked too much like outline of USA, second version works!

So the short answer? IT WORKS!

The headpins sat rather tall on the Stiff Stuff, so I had free rein to bead with abandon and build up some height. As I wasn’t bezeling them, I wanted tall beads around to integrate them into the overall piece. Here is is before backing:

The abalone shell pulled all the colors together...

The abalone shell pulled all the colors together…

I stitched the wires down to hold them in place and secure them. the back is a mess, but Ill show you anyway… This isnt for the faint of heart. Nearly every third stitch got looped on a wire and snagged. See the far left int he bottom picture? Many stitched snagged. I didnt even know when that happened to pick them out. So I added a bit of glue there. Gee, guess I will have to keep this one since it has issues.

Beading around the wires proved problematic.

Beading around the wires proved problematic.

details of Jennifer's headpins in the piece, and a SueBeads dangle!

details of Jennifer’s headpins in the piece, and a SueBeads dangle!

Pearls! Pinch beads! Fire polish! Abalone! No rules seed beading ! And I had SO MUCH FUN.

Not sure what to do now? Silk? wire wrap gems? What do you think?  Until next time – Ill be off creating with my new headpins  created by Thornburg Studios and Bead Fairy!

New beauties from Thornburg Studios and Bead Fairy

New beauties from Thornburg Studios and Bead Fairy

Please join the AJE team and our guests on this blog hop! I am sure I speak for the whole team that we have so many guests this month. Enjoy!

Bead Fest: there and back again…


Every square inch is used…

Its a whirlwind. I felt such a sense of relief as I left to set up… yes – before the show started!  The week prior was so busy and stressful! Thursday was set up, airport trip to pick up friends, and time to socialize!


The debut of the shrine pendants! 

I  was happy to debut my polymer shrine pendants – which were well received! I will be continuing to work with this shape and format. Lovely to see familiar faces, to talk beads, to meet new people !

And with Cooky Schock and Heather Boardman as my booth neighbors – I couldn’t ask for a better home away from home.


The “Mythic Nature ” line in cabs and pendants. 


A few of the monthly goddesses on display


And a last minute batch of goddesses – of course! 


I always wish I had taken more people pictures… 


So I am really glad when friends take pictures! 

There was some shopping. There were some high jinks. There was a lot of coffee.


The lucet – braiding Zen

New this year: the lucet. Braiding from one cord with these fork shaped tools. Easy once you get your tension right… Cooky has these stunning hardwood lucets made in Wales by an artisan woodworker.

And the beads. And cabochons. And headpins. I was pretty restrained – only 4 strands of gems. I couldn’t handle the thought of being at Bead Fest and NOT buying stones! But the real treat for me is the artwork beads and components by my friends and colleagues in Artisan’s Alley!


What Bead Fest post would be complete with out the “loot” picture? 

Now – to recover, unpack, and plan for the September shows on my calendar!

Have a great weekend…

Retail therapy. (aka procrastination)

So Bead Fest is right around the corner. I have some 200 pendants and cabs that need to be glazed. Yesterday I glazed, loaded and fired the kiln and make polymer sugar skull cabs. Today – I felt like playing hooky. So I went on an art field trip…

Good day for drive!

I had a couple different ways to justify the trip – although no one challenged me. <smirks> I had NEVER been to Amy Blevins bead store even though it was a short hour away. And there were some enticing things she was posting online that I wanted to check out. There were classes this weekend with  the charming Cynthia Rutledge; cant hurt to take a peak!


My destination! My “local” bead store…

vintage theater

Vintage style…

I don’t have any local bead stores in northern Delaware. I am so glad to support my friend, and a local-ish store… I had some show and tell with me – and the August goddess is ready to bead. I needed a few things.

What a welcoming foyer!

What a welcoming foyer!

Lisa Peters Art cabs and eye candy beads!

bead porn

Yes, please.

Shh… class in session

The store is lovely! Brightly lit in a corner spot on the charming small town main street. It has everything and more you could want/need/lust after for your projects. I needed to show a little restraint – but I found all I needed and more! I could see myself taking a class there in a heartbeat. The joy of a class in a setting like this – as I was discussing with Amy  – you aren’t rushed. Class sizes are smaller and much more personal than at the larger bead shows. Great one on one with the instructor, and shopping right there.  I know sometimes the big shows are the only access people have to classes – but after the Shepherdess years I am thoroughly spoiled. Bead & Glass Boutique is the class room climate I prefer!

selfie time

Mischief managed

So the August goddess is glued and ready. The aquas and teals are my favorites, but I wanted to do something different this month. I wanted to play up the antique/ivory/bone palette. So – Umm. I needed beads. And waiting for Bead Fest? Nope – leaves me no time left!

needs inspiration

August goddess

Antiques and ivory

My favorite palette

Oh yes. O beads, mini daggers, 8 hex beads in bronze, those triangles! And Amy gave me a great tip for stacking the 2 hole – umm are they the super duos? Well, anyway – I have a plan, and inspiration!

Time to get started…

Oh – speaking of Bead Fest – I will be back in the glaze cave tomorrow morning. If you are planning to attend, I would love to offer you this admission coupon! See you there!

Admisssion pass

All about ammonites – the July COM reveal at AJE

Its no surprise I love ammonites. I mean – organic design, natural, spiral… So this month for the COM Lesley shares these lovely ammonite pendants with us! Here is the one I received, already paired with some jasper in a corresponding teal tone.

paired with this jasper - a natural match

paired with this jasper – a natural match

I had in my head a plan to keep the front simple and create a braided triple strand in the back. I wanted to make matching cones from polymer to accent the pendant and transition to the triple strand. I made them – and they were “meh”. So I made some beads to go with…

Polymer beads and cones made to match Lesley's focal.

Polymer beads and cones made to match Lesley’s focal.

Ok – that’s better! Lets see – kyanite, smoky quartz, that teal jasper ( what IS that variety called?) and a little mother-of-pearl for brightness. Now which color palette of seeds? I had a little too much fun spilling them all and swirling them around on the bead mat. 

pearls? seed beads? colors?

pearls? seed beads? colors?

Here it the finished piece! 

The finished necklace

The finished necklace

I did end up with a loose braid of sorts. It is seed beads in matte olive and matte aqua with a slim strand of soft leather threaded through… I am pleased with the way it visually connects to the black glaze in the impressions. 

the loosely braided back of the piece - seed beads and leather

the loosely braided back of the piece – seed beads and leather

Please take a look at my fellow AJE members and our guests! See what else people have created with these lovely ammonites. 

Summertime – the Art Jewelry Elements theme reveal

Summer collage

Sumer Solstice has come! Summer is fully upon us: this weekend market by fireworks, trips to the beach, barbecues… And the reveal of the Summer theme over at Art Jewelry Elements.

What you see above is my beach summer compilation, I set myself the challenge to NOT do a beach theme this month. Just to make it more interesting… My motif is the moth. Flitting about in the indigo twilight, circling summer candle flames… colorful and interesting but often playing second string to their more illustrious butterfly cousins.


I have a handful ready to glaze. And like all best laid plans, the kiln at the studio is down for repairs so I am delayed in high firing these porcealin prototypes. But no worries. I will keep making them until I can glaze fire! I am drawn to the downward arc of the top wing shape… and want to see them glazed with fine lines of iron oxide to allude to the striations on the wings, with spots of color accents… So many possibilities.

Porcelain moths

porcelain batch 2

In the interests of the reveal I glazed a few as tests. And broke one… I am thinking gold leaf on the repair? Kintsugi-like.

First glazed tests

The broken white moth also is glazed in a crackle glaze – I am thinking some sepia ink to accentuate the crackle. But for me – its the little aqua one. I amy not have a finished piece – but I have plans…


What do you think? I think there are more moths to be made for Beadfest!

Until then – please hop along with the AJE team and our Summer theme guests!

Caroline Dewison
Susan Kennedy
Lesley Watt
Jen Cameron

Half a year of Goddesses?

I know June has just begun, but I am already finished my beaded goddess for this month. I am thrilled with the progress I am making. The design aspects flow more readily each month. I have abandoned symetry – which can be a challenge for me. And I have NOT hit a slump. If anything, the last 2 months went easier and faster… I know the blog has languished a bit, more htan a bit. There is a revamping in the works for this summer – thats all I’ll say for now.  

So take a look at half a year of goddesses:

6 goddesses. Jan - June


Glass treasures – the May COM reveal

Once again – a month comes to a close. I may not have blogged much – but I do have treasures to show you! Its time for the Art Jewelry Elements COM reveal!

I am spoiled. Sue gave me a selection of these new wee gorgeous cabochons when we briefly met up at Bead Fest April in Philly. I was greedy and asked for THREE (!!!) of these stars. I envisioned them as a crown over a celestial goodess face. 

Sue star cabs

But its Spring, and I have had a chance to go to the beach a few times. Walking dogs, with a coffee, early in the morning is my favorite pastime. And beach combing. Very quickly this became a starfish, destined to be nestled in a mermaid’s hair. (Late in the month I realized that #MerMay is a thing on social media. Google it). So when a new batch of stoneware face cabs came out of the high fire gas kiln… this happened: 

May 2016 COM

Shells from Bethany DE, antique coral, abalone from NZ (long story)… Sue’s cab sets the palette, and Caroline’s sea urchin bead completes the piece! Here are some detail shots: 

COM details

I need to stitch on some beaded loops or closed rings. That part always happens last as it seems like a chore to me. 

Umm – so I was at the beach this past Memorial Day weekend – and I always pack beads. The weather was a bit grey… so while tired dogs napped after morning hikes… 

Mermaid tapestry

This is a small tapestry. The enamleled mermaid is from Anne Gardanne. I have been treasuring it… You know I am doing a beaded goddess each month? Well, I have further challenged myself to sculpt all those cabs. So this is a bonus! The May goddess is done; the June piece is laid out. I am not sure where I am going with this – but that purple! It was as if Sue’s cab and Anne’s mermaid were destined! I’d love to hear what you think… 

I was very inspired, and rather prolific; please visit my team mates and our guests to see other creative designs featuring Sue’s wee cabs!  

Allison Herrington
Lola Surwillo
AJE Team Members
Susan Kennedy – host
Diana Ptaszynski
Kristen Stevens
Jenny Davies-Reazor ( here)
Caroline Dewison
Lindsay Starr
Lesley Watt
Jennifer Cameron
Niky Sayers

April is for Amulets! The AJE reveal

 Amulet beads

This month over at Art Jewelry Elements I was very excited to share my new polymer amulet beads. They are vessels – hollow and completely functional. I wanted to see how people addressed this, and what they inspired in our team and guests. See that one in the picture below with a labyrinth? That one is mine! 

More beads

I knew right away I wanted a way to have a scroll inside – that would be removeable and hold a secret ( or shared) message. I fabricated the copper V shape to act as a bail of sorts, allowing the vessel to hang. But then what? The labyrinth is a very evocative symbol to me – of journeys, of life, of the twists and turns of fate. So after pondering a while I decided to stamp words… 

my vessel

“I’ll walk where my own nature would be leading: It vexes me to choose another guide.” Emily Bronte

my own nature

That seemed perfect for a piece about journeys, and amulet, to be worn near the heart, a personal talisman. Labradorite, apaptite, green garnet – all pulling out the cool tones in teh polymer amulet bead. Its long – hangs down to my stomach; I knew it would be whan I selected that quote! The scrill is a piece of resin paper, very organic and fiber-y. No message as of yet – we will see what note I want to leave for myself! 

My journey amulet

Thanks for stopping in – and please take a look at the other offerings this month!
Marsha of Marsha Neal Studio
Alison of Alison Adorns
Jess of The Copper Cat
Brooke from Artistic Endeavors
AJE Team: 

The eyes have it! The March theme reveal at Art Jewelry Elements

Welcome! Its the end of March and time for the reveal over at Art Jewelry Elements. This month’s theme was very illuminating. I found myself thinking of and researching so many eye motifs… 

Eye inspirations collage

The Egyptian Eye of Horus, Lover’s Eyes and an eye brooch designed by Salvador Dali. (clockwise from top left)

By happenstance, Rachel Helinki of Dida Metals posted a glorious eye pendant/necklace she has created – incorporating one of Joan Miller’s porcelain eye cabochons. I was planning to use a similar cab – so I asked Rachel to appear here with me as my guest… Here is her offering, words and images: … 

“The lovely Jenny Davies-Reazor asked if I wanted to partake in the AJE Monthly Challenge & after seeing the theme — it was a total no brainer for me.  Eyes are a major design element that I like to focus on with my work, so I couldn’t resist participating!  
Eyes are actually why I got into metalsmithing to begin with.  Two years ago I was diagnosed with an chronic autoimmune disease of the eyes.  Metalsmithing had always been a dream of mine & the thought of experiencing any kind of vision impairment really put everything in motion for me.  I took a weekend workshop where I had access to materials & tools and never looked back!  
Eyes & chronic illness are themes I like to explore personally through metalwork.  I have several eye pieces that I wear as talismans that give me strength when I need it.  I know that many people look to the eye as a symbol for so many different reasons & that it has roots in many different cultures (Thank you Lindsay M Starr for pulling together a great list — I’d not known of the Lover’s Eye before your post!)
For this challenge, I’d like to feature one piece in particular — a pendant featuring a gorgeous porcelain cabochon made by Joan Miller!  Joan’s piece was perfect for setting — it has a fun iridescent, detailed iris, but still allowed me to add interest with the setting.  The entire piece is hand fabricated from fine & sterling silver using traditional metalsmithing techniques.  One of my favorite details on this is the bezel which is shaped to look like eyelids!
I’d like to thank the Art Jewelry Elements ladies for hosting this challenge & allowing me to participate (& Jenny in particular for letting me guest post on her blog)!  “

Dida eye1

Detail shots

See? I am utterly enchanted with that necklace! I hope to finally meet Rachel next weekend at Bead Fest Spring – we have been Instagram acquaintances for a while! 

So… the cab ended up in a very different setting for me… 

the beaded eye

I was going to do a wall hanging in an Egyptian style… no – then I was thinking crystals and a teardrop a la Dali… I definitely was keeping to the blue palette in a nod to the traditional evil eye amulets. Then this happenned: 

Eye beading WIP

Now I have to engineer a backing and attach it all together… The frame is polymer from a large! mold I made. It is colored with paint and Gilders paste. I want to use the Latin phrase ” Respice, Adspice, Prospice” somehow in this piece. (It translates as “Look behind, look here, look ahead” or so I have read. Translation apps arent cooperating with me today.) Maybe small stamped brass strips riveted to the frame? Ill keep thinking on this – any ideas are welcome! 

Thanks for stopping by! Please feel free to leave comments for me and for Rachel! We would love to hear from you. Oh – and dont forget the other participants: 

Guests – 
AJE Members – 






Journal 52 – one week at a time

Journal table

I have three work tables in my “clean” studio. This year one of them is designated the journal space. I have tried unsuccessfully many years running to put a consistent daily/weekly art journal practice in place. I have tried loose papers, even vintage Filofax cards. This year I signed up for a FREE challenge – called “Journal 52“. Run by the dynamic duo of Effy WIld and Sarah Trump – I recieve a themed prompt once a week. Two actually – so you have options. There’s a FB group for sharing and building community. I love it. And I am happy to say I am consistent, and consistently loving it.  

journal montage1

The whole art journal thing for me is play and practice. A chance to doobde, to recontitute my dried up, forlorn drawing skills, to try new media and techniques, to get messy and push paint around… all with the caveat that NO ONE HAS TO SEE IT. Or I can share if I desire. The freedom to play and produce work for me, for my soul, from my soul… with no show deadline. Its refreshing and joyous.  

journal montage2


True self

I am a little behind as I was away last week – but the weekly prompts are so good I look forward to catching up… 

Stay tuned for more as the year progresses!