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Dia de los Muertos – our Component of the Month reveal

Time flies so fast in the Fall. Shows, nice crisp weather, classes to teach… and Halloween. This month at Art Elements blog (formerly Art Jewelry Elements) We have a super cool lamp work glass skull! These are the creations from Jen Cameron/Glass Addictions. And they are wicked cool.

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Aqua to bring out his eyes…

I knew I wanted a necklace, something colorful and festive. I was actually trying NOT to do too many flowers – like a self imposed regulation to make it harder? Who knows. I have been beading skulls and flowers a lot of late and was trying to do something different.

Creating the wire wrapped bail gave me more color – and a hanging mechanism that created a strong statement to set the skull off.

I used recycled glass/bottle beads, carnelian, Czech glass: anything and everything in my primary color palette. The back section is three strands: cobalt glass, seed beads and braided sari silk handspun yarn! I know – there IS a lot going on, but the colors played well and it created a volume that balanced the focal.

I DO have a second skull, staring up at me from the work table. The primary colors are so out of my usually palette – but I think these links will be in there somehow… The hoplite was a maybe, but the scale was wrong. We shall see!

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On deck. Rainbow eyes!

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My Dia de los Muertos mantle.

I do hope you celebrate the holiday – and the blog hop with us! Have a pumpkin spice something and check out these great designs from the team and out guests. Until next time…

Guest Designers

Staci Louise Smith

Karin Grosset Grange

Solange Collin

Art Elements Team

Caroline Dewison

Susan Kennedy

Laney Mead

Claire Fabian

Diana Ptaszynski

Cathy Spivey Mendola

Lindsay Starr

Niky Sayers

Lesley Watt

Cooky Schock

Jen Cameron

 

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!

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!  

 Guests
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
 

AJE Buried Treasure reveal

Welcome to the 2016 edition of “Buried Treasure” challnege sponsored by Art Jewelry Elements blog.

AKA “Use your stash” 

Its been great year so far for me – filled with friends, adventure, and best of all – studio time! I am working hard to balance time in the mediums that I love and allow time for new pursuits. After a week in Mexico working in metals, they are now demanding equal studio time. The snow days make me want to sit and do nothing but bead embroider, patially because I am sore from shoveling… 

Here is what I have to offer for this challenge – with pieces from my stash by Jen Cameron/Glass Addictions, Lesley Watt/Thea Elements and Sue Kennedy/Sue Beads: 

Lesley's cab and resin

Oceanic pendant – ceramic cab by Lesley. (Resin cab by me)

The glaze Lesley selected for this detailed spiral ammonite? Perfection! It accentuates the detail in her ceramic piece and breaks across the texture so well… I wanted to base all the colors of her cab and really showcase it. I like the resin cab… it has made me want to experiement with other resin cabs and collaging paper behind… creating layers in the piece. 

Sue beads in turquoise

I confess – I have done a piee similar to this before. I have a veritable hoard of Susan’s cabs. I am addicted. This apple green with turquoise makes my eyes happy. (Sounds silly – but you KNOW what I mean) 

These two came together easily, a pleasure to work with… then there is the piece that challenges you at every turn. Well, here is mine:

Jen/Sue WIP

Again – an ammonite cab by Sue. It has sat in a small glass dish nestled into those same gems and pearls for over a year. They were extras from another piece waiting to be put away. Then I liked the palette. Then it sat there to be pretty. Then it sat there to be on deck, and I finally decided what to do… After the aforementioned week in metals I decided to bezel set it. 

Yes it has issues. ( Bezel wire was too heavy a gauge. Bezel may be a bit less than 100% soldered…) But its for me and it represents moving back into metal after years. I’m happy with it! And yes – those ar the same gems that were in that bowl originally! 

Ammonite!

Please join me in looking at my team-mates work – and our guests this month. And maybe dig into your treasure trove of beads and USE them! What are you waiting for? 

AJE team:

Guests

Shai – Shai’s Ramblings

Melissa – Bead Recipes

Tammy – Paisley  Lizard

Sarajo – SJ Designs

Kathy – Bay Moon Designs

Lola – Bead Lola Bead

Samantha – Wescott Jewelry

Mona – Bijoux Gem

Suntsa – Suntsan
 

 

 

 

 

Tangled webs: the waxed linen blog hop reveal

Waxed linen. 

When I think of it I imagine the colorful options, know it is versatile, and then draw a blank. Its not in my wheel house. Friends like Linda Landig and Erin Seigel, to name a few, use it with great results. But for me… its a challenge. So thats exactly why I decided to join when Diana of Suburban Girl Studio announced this blog hop. 

I sat down with my journal – and a coffee – to try to sketch… I like to think visually on paper in doodles. The characteristics of waxed linen that I was drawn to: multi strands, an assortment of treasures, versatility for beads of varying size holes, and I wrote down one word more, that really started the ball rolling. WOVEN. 

Athena and Arachne. 

In Greek myth, Athena ( Goddess of wisdom, war, and patroness of the arts) enters a contest with Arachne. Arachne, a human girl of consumate skill at the loom, commits a fatal mistake by bragging of her talent and offending the Goddess. They weave tapestries in competition, and although Athena wins, Arachne’s skill is great. Arachne hangs herself in the tatters of her weaving. Athena, in a moment of mercy, transforms the girl into a spider so she is allowed to/cursed to spin all her days.

Polymer hollow focal

I created a hollow polymer focal with aluminum tubing inside to act as a channel for multiple threads. The owl, representing Athena, is cast from a reproduction drachma. The web for Arachne is a linoleum stamp that I carved to use in clay. I toyed with various spider options, but they ended up distracting from the focal… 

thread and beads choices!

I have an amazing assortment of waxed linen from Mary at White Clover kiln. I also delved into my Czech glass treasure, from back in the days at the Shepherdess in San Diego. Just making the color decisions was the hard part! 

knotting the strands

My original plan involved all three of these strands. Two are double strands, knotted at intervals with beads spaced an inch or so apart . The third was denser, knots, 8’s and drop beads, continuously knotted. I liked the contrast of the more open strand with the denser strand. But all three – was too busy. Here is what I decided on in the end: 

 Tangled web - Athena and Arachne

The front: greys, blues and golds. A linen tassle dangling from the embedded loop. ( Note the top. The channel inset in the pendant was too narrow. Wrapped loops solved that problem!)

Tangled web - Athena and Arachne (back)

The back: Arachne’s web

So I was left with a knotted strand – just waiting for a pendant. Here is the bonus necklace I created with one of my ceramic fairy pendants. ( Fired to ^10 reduction for you clay people out there)

Bonus piece

 So – if I can muse philosophical for a sec, I am glad I did this. I don’t see waxed linen being my go-to material. I respect it, and designers/artists who work with it. I can see using it as an accent in mixed media pieces. I am happy with my pieces, and would love to hear your thoughts!

 

Thanks to Diana for organizing the challenge. Please visit her page for the links to all of us participating! There are sure to be diverse offerings, and many beautiful things! 

Thanks to Mary Hubbard for the sample bag of the waxed linen from her shop! I purchased it from her at Beadfest a year or two ago, and the plethora of pretty colors really inspired me to try my hand at linen and knotting! 

To my fellow participants – I am currently photographing flowering cacti in Austin, TX – and visiting family. I apologize for the delay, but I look forward to “hopping” as soon as I can! 

Colors of Spring – February Component of the Month reveal!

February has been the longest month this year. I am so happy that – as you read this – March is here. Spring can spring anytime!  

Melissa Meman of Melismatic Art Jewelry shared the love with the AJE team this month. Literally: 

CoM hearts

When I recieved mine, all i could see was the wee pops of color that embellished the heart. They were small kernels of spring time color, an I was starved for more. My necklace is very simple, no new experimental techniques, nothing fabricated for this specific focal… but to me it was all to honor the color and call in Spring! 

Feb CoM

Hearts of Spring

Feb CoM necklace

The strand of seed beads is actually a rich dark plum. The Czeck glass was a medley of turquoise and aqua with a little pop of apple green. A few flowers to complete the focal… 

Here’s one more pop of green to entice Spring’s arrival. 

snowy daffodils

Have a great week, and please visit my colleagues and our guests this month! Their blogs with links can be found at Art Jewelry Elements. 

Until next time… 

AJE Component of the Month! May “flowers”

Welcome! Its that time of the month again! I seriously dont know where time has gone… The Art Jewelry Elements Component of the Month is an event I look forward to! … and yet always feel rushed…

Sue Kennedy of SueBeads provided a lovely ruffle edged lamp work bead this month. Seem like I have been thinking this over for ever – and suddenly its time! It has to be finished! 

I was happily out of my comfort zone with the colors. Orange and olive. The shape of the bead was a bit floral to me, and I knew I wanted to place it “flat” so the whole bead would show… Here are my sketches: 

May sketches

I try to use words more and more in my work – this is no exception. I found a quote by Marcel Proust that touched on the friends I have made in AJE and the floral associations I had formed with the bead.

“Let us be grateful to the people who make us happy, they are the charming gardeners who make our souls blossom.” 


Here is a close up of the bead and the copper washer I have framing it. The spiral wire will be the soft rivet to hold this into the polymer I am planning… 

Sue beads CoM

 The polymer: I wanted to use the orange and green again, and embrace a palette that isnt my usual. The polymer is 2 layers, textured, hand painted. There are copper tube rivets at the top, and two dangles at the bottom. (There was supposed to be one. I drilled off center. Now there are two. )

pendant detail

The necklace echoes the colors – yellow jade, a seed pod, carnelian, and mystery stones – agate? Jasper? (I hate when I dont label it all carefully after the  rush of shopping at a show…Sigh.)

necklace finished

The back of the piece, stamped with the quote. It is upside down when worn – another adjustment I had to make. But if you are showing the piece to someone while wearing it – it is convenient to simple turn it over instead of flipping it up… ( Nice way to justify… )

necklace back

I love using Sue’s beads. Last year we were table neighbors at Beadfest Philadelphia in August. The time is coming soon… hope we are neighbors again! 

Please share your thoughts! I am working from home lately and love to have some Internet time to chat… Stay tuned for next months AJE CoM – organic ceramic earring pairs by yours truly! 

 

 

April Component of the Month! Headpins…

 (If you are looking for the “Inspired by Reading” post and creative reveal – please click here. )

 I love it when a plan comes together. I received these simply gorgeous glass headpins from the hands of Jen Cameron for this month’s Component of the Month at Art Jewelry Elements. But I was out of town. I got home with 36 hours until the reveal… and I was tired and had mounds of laundry to do… When I sat down this afternoon I was thrilled to make it work – and I am pleased with the results. 

Jen's headpins

The headpins made me think of water. Not only the color, but the spiral and the tiny bubbles… I have been working on and off lately on a series of Goddess necklaces. This color and the element of water made me think of Yemanja. She is the Yoruba orisha, or diety of water, childbirth, the essence of the ocean. She was and is revered in many Afro-American regions, from Brazil to the Caribbean. (My Yemanja figure, shown on my “water” shelf with Sulis from Bath, is from New Orleans. ) Over time, Yemanja was seen to share many characteristics with the Virgin Mary: protectress of women and children, robed in blue, Mother of all… Mary is also known as Stella Maris/Star of the Sea thus linking her with the ocean as well. 

Water elementals

So I started browsing the stash… and started with a piece of sea glass. Here is a little “photo essay” of the selection process: 

planning pix

After that – the Parawire and the seashell were kept in the mix, along with copper links. I found the color blue more vibrant than the gems in my stash, and turned to Czech glass and crystal to satisfy my palette. The copper links are stamped “etoile” and “de la mer” to reference Yemanja/Stella Maris/Mary. 

the necklace

Coiled wire bail, dangle headpin, stamped copper links, wire wrapped crystals and glass beads, sari silk, seashell, hand made wire clasp. 

Not bad for a day’s work! What do you think?

Please stop by these blogs – my team mates and the guest designers participating this month: 

Guest Designers:

Erin Prais-Hintz

Kathy Lindemer

Alice Peterson

 

AJE Team:

Susan Kennedy

Lesley Watt

Melissa Meman

Linda Landig

Jen Cameron

Art Bliss weekend. The third time & charms!

This past weekend was the third annual Art Bliss art and mixed media retreat, just outside DC in Northern Va. I have made it to all three – I wouldnt miss it for the world! Planned and organized by the dynamic duo of Cindy Wimmer and Jeanette Blix – this is my favorite event of its type. Its hosted on a smaller scale, resulting in a more friendly, personable atmosphere than you get at the Beadfest/convention type events. Friendships are made and renewed every year. A very supportive sharing group that I am honored to call friends. 

Art Bliss

The welcoming mascot? Can a mannequin be a mascot? 

We have a winner!

Multi faceted and extremely energetic Dawn Gallup with her door prize win. 

Book signings!

Friday night’s Meet & Greet event was complete with book signings. Erin Siegel, co-author of  “Bohemian Inspired Jewelry” chatting at her table. 

Bead Soup book signing!

Lori Anderson, the creative genius behind “Bead Soup” with Sandi Volpe. 

Kerry Bogert and me...

Uber talented Kerry Bogert of Kab’s Creative Concepts – with me… and her new book “Rustic Wrappings”. 

Kerry's beads and cabs!

Kerry’s work  – colorful and fun. 

The party has started...

Reunion time! ( Me with Sandi Volpe and Jen Judd!)

Sally Russick and I are Birthday Twins. (But she IS younger…)

ArtBliss swag bags!

Sway Bags! The Art Bliss lunch tote and the collaged art of Dawn Gallup adorning our charm swap bag!

The 3rd annual charm swap!

The charm swap! Every year, just for fun, a few of us create and swap hand crafted charms. This year’s theme was “Fall into Bliss”. Its a very cohesive offering, great minds and all that…with copper, polymer, clay and beady beauties. 

The weekend is chock full of goodness and creativity,energy and laughter;  the coffee is on at all times, it is an absolute blast. I can only speak for myself – but I am refreshed and restored when I spend time with my fellow jewelry designers and artists. So often we are alone in our studios, and while I am thankful for the connectedness that the Interwebs provides – nothing beats the real thing. I hope art retreats NEVER go out of fashion!

Oh! Classes – yes! I took two and they were great! Let me get those pictures for you, come back tomorrow!

Up next – POLYMER!

Beadfest bounty.

I wanted to share with you some of the treasures that I brought home from Beadfest. As I may have mentioned – I am thrilled to be a part of this creative community, and found the environment of Beadfest invigorating. I came home with materials, artist beads, and ideas to last me a good while. I do have a tendency to live with the new materials for a while before incorporating them into new pieces. The artist beads and focals are handcrafted by colleagues, fellow artists; I want to share their information here – we all support each other with marketing, blogging, social media… wherever we can. And although I have unplugged these last two days in an effort to feel restored before I dive back into the studio – I am inspired to create with: 

S+S Shivam

Cabochons – S&S lapidary

Gems – Shivam imports. (Labradorite, citrine, garnet, labradorite, spiniel)

Dakota Stones

Dakota stones  – onyx, ?, dragons blood jasper, moss agate, apatite,?, amazonite.

Carol DeeZigns

Gorgeous enameled components from Carol Myers of Carol DeeZigns. Carol is the FIRST certified “Painting with Fire” instructor!

glass clay booty1

Lampwork Strands ( top to bottom) SueBeads, HMB Studios, Gardanne beads. 

Lampwork “stone” – Kerry Bogert of Kab’s Concepts. 

Polymer Buddha – Barbara Bechtel of Second Surf

Matte finish lampwork beads – JoAnne Zekowski of Z Designs in Glass

Moon/ocean lampwork focal – Jan Onipenco of Molten Mayhem

clay metal booty

Left: Ceramic components by Mary Hubbard of White Clover Kiln

Bottom: Bronze pieces by Staci Smith of Staci Louise Originals

Right: Ceramic and raku pieces by Diana Ptaszynski of Suburban Girl Studio

Green Girl treasures

Green Girl Studios!

Andrew Thornton originals

Andrew Thornton sculptural bronze components and focals. Andrew was one of my Bead Swap partners…

And – one of the highlights of Beadfest is the BEAD SWAP organized by Diana P. of Suburban Girls Studios. My lovely partner this year was Sandy Miller – and she showered me with goodness! Interesting that it was the ceramic artists I knew, and the lampwork artists that I am thrilled to be introduced to… I was tempted to unwrap one wee parcel each hour Saturday afternoon, but I quickly lost that will power and dove in: 

Bead Swap goodies

From top left to bottom right: Studio by the Forest, Nancy Schindler at Round Rabbit, Chinook ceramics, Outwest glass, Lori Lochner, and Lava Lampwork

 

Thank you to all my artist friends for doing what you do, sharing it with the world, and pursuing the (not always easy) path or a self-supporting artist! Until next year…