Surfacing: the Art Elements “tidepool” theme challenge

This month I dove into the theme late. I had been away for many weeks, and I am doing my grief work after losing my mother. I relished the chance to dive into the beads, to busy my hands and still my mind a bit.

Lesley selected the theme “Tide pool” and it is  – as these themes can be – so rich that it was hard to narrow my ideas down to one piece. My first ever tide pool experience was in La Jolla CA on vacation with my husband before we relocated there. I was enchanted by the calm encapsulated worlds amidst the rocks and tumultuous spray.

My plan was influenced by the enameled fish I received from Anne at Gardanne Beads. While it takes my pieces from tide pool to ocean – I feel both worlds are represented…

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My teaser sketch – after I had selected artisan beads.

The preliminary stages had me stitching on the densely encrusted tide pool items at the bottom of the 3″ square. The fish swims amidst leather kelp; (if you EVER get a chance to go the the Aquarium in Monterey Bay CA, do so! The kelp forest is ethereal!). Then there is that rather unsightly blob in the lower left. Needle felted from a scrap of wool – its simply a form, an armature of sorts for…

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What is that blob?

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Oh my…

… the anemone! I didn’t have exactly the right colors to achieve an ombre effect on the arms? tentacles? but I am still pleased. so now – the piece in its entirety. All 3″ of it!

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“Surfacing”… my finished tide pool inspired piece.

Details: 1. the anemone in situ. 2. Caroline‘s sea urchin bead sitting on top.  3. Close up of Gardanne Beads enamel fish and Sue Beads lamp work star.

Framed in a stained wood frame – the piece is ready to hang. I like the layering of coral and kelp over the fish – creating some depth. This was a very inspiring theme to work with – thank to Lesley for the topic! Now – please – head over to my friends and colleagues blogs – to see what they have created! 

Guests

AE Team Members:

The annual “Use your Stash” challenge at Art Elements!

January. Wow. Come and gone… I spent some quiet time off work, reviewing, planning… and I had a most magical vacation! ( Details coming soon – here! Stay tuned…) And I dove into the hoard of beads to use a few treasures from my stash. For a few years running we  have designated January “Use your stash” month at Art Elements blog. When you are part of such a generous creative team – the bead hoard grows. Here is what I started… and actually finished:

There were plans for many bezel and tab set pieces. They are sitting in the top right, quietly awaiting time with saw and torch. The Wire framed pieces will emerge first – frames of wrapped wire, with crystal dangles… The hare beads are by our Caroline. The fox – Heather Powers of Humblebeads.

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Every day talisman. Ceramic eye by Karen Totten

I decided to use some of the focal I had been saving as brackets for myself. I like to accessorize my FitBit – which I wear daily. I do utilize certain stones for their properties…   Hematite is used for grounding, for staying centered and stable, rooted to the Earth. Paired with an eye talisman bead of Karen’s – this feels very powerful to me. Stay centered – on the self – on the journey…

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Jen’s harlequin bead

This lampwork stunner is by Jen Cameron. I call is a harlequin as it reminds me of a jester’s motley. The colors are gorgeous. I wanted this to be something I could wear and enjoy!

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Blast from Diana’s past!

When I pair brackets with my Fitbit – I often stack a few on together. This paisley bracelet  bar of Diana’s was so earthy, and lovely as is… so it is partnered with deerskin lace in a triple wrap. Done. Soft, and fun to wear.

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Heart and stone – with cab by Sue Kennedy

So there hasn’t been much  seed beading this month – but I had two pieces planned that I was able to make progress… Sue is my go-to artist for small cabs to pair with other things. And although they are small – they re gorgeous. Above is a stone heart, and below? Its a whole world in glass! A miniature planet… that I have paired with river rock. The above is a pendant… not sure where the bottom piece is taking me…

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Glass planets, deep and blue!

And one more – an experimental piece.

I am always playing with ways to incorporate seed bead work and metal – happiest when I am truly doing mixed media. So here are some explorations of stitched wire frameworks incorporated into the bead embroidery.

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Mandala design with cab by Lesley.

I think this will give me options for the necklace portion, to wire wrap and keep a cohesive appearance. And I liked how the wire framework accentuated the mandala 5 petal design. Thats how the idea came to be – from the cab itself.

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Wire frame stitched in…

Please join the AE team and our guests this month – see what they have unearthed from their stash to start this year off creatively!

 

Sue’s Scarabs: the July COM reveal

I knew from the first it would be a bracelet.

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Bead/cap by Marsha Neal Studio. Scarab bead by Sue.

Do I dare? Do I dare tackle my first ever freeform peyote stitch project? I am a Virgo to the fullest, a lover of order… I do well with freeform bead embroidery – but that is a structured stitching – so I can go wild with bead shapes and colors and textures and patterns. Freeform peyote is all that freedom AND learning the structure. Adapting, working in a sculptural way.

So I tried it! I was working “along the length” of the bracelet so the bead closure and loop were in place early on in the process. The first step is stringing beads – of different sizes and colors… then going back along the length to start the peyote stitch pattern. This is the beginning:


There was a lot of tangling. Some cursing…. I decided to use 4 lb Fireline. Thin enough for multiple passes through beads, but strong and forgiving. ( I really don’t like Nymo) There are mistakes, there are sections that “ruffled” up but in general… IT WORKED!

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Here are the shots of the completed bracelet. It fits (me) perfectly! I will definitely take this further and experiment more with freeform peyote!

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Please pour a coffee and take a look at what my AE team mates and our guests have created! I would love to hear your thoughts… 

Guests

Deb Fortin

Lennis Carrier

Barb Fernald 

AE Team 

Diana

Lindsay

Claire

Lesley

Caroline

Laney

Cathy

Niky

Sue

(I apologize if the links are dead. I’ll fix ASAP. Waylaid by a stomach flu on vacation…. for now see all the links at Art Elements.  

Flights of Fancy! The “Insect” theme reveal at Art Elements

Summer: outdoor living on the deck, the smell of charcoal, garden dirt under your nails… ( And festivals and clay camp but thats another story) When I think of summer insects I go to winged things. I love butterflies and moths! Their delicacy of structure and the boldness of color and design. So I knew immediately what I wanted to do:

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Stoneware for an earthy look, and coming soon porcelain for a more ethereal quality. Cut from slabs of clay – I drew a series of templates from vintage illustrations; my own childhood books. Carved and textured, drilled, awaiting the kiln… a moth to flame?

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Stoneware – waiting for stains and glazes. Sadly still a WIP.

With three shows in four weekends AND teaching every day – the moths haven’t been glazed and fired yet. I WILL have these soon, and for Beadfest if you are interested.

In my precious down time this month – I beaded. And I had to bead insects!

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The classic, high contrast Monarch

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A study in iridescence.

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Matte finish for contrast to the others.

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The trio takes wing.

 

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These three are all brooches, approximately 3: in wingspan. I plan to frame them in shadowbox frames so they are easy to display when not being worn. And I have to give a shout out to Caroline! Her moth pin was a gift – and started this flight of fancy!

 

 

 

 

Please stop by the  Art Elements team’s blogs – and our great guests this month!  Pour a cold iced tea, and sit in the shade!

Guests

Mona Arnott

Melissa Trudinger 

Sarajo Wentling

Divya N

Art Elements Team

Cathy Spivey Mendola

Diana Ptaszynski

Lesley Watt

Caroline Dewison

Lindsay Starr

Niky Sayers

Claire Fabian

Love is… the February Component of the Month reveal!

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This month I had the pleasure of creating pieces for the Component of the Month at Art Elements blog. While February does bring hearts to mind – mine were “real”. They were damaged and repaired, they bore their scars – yet maintained their beauty. Or at least that was my inspiration.

I am thrilled to see what my team mates and out guests have created! ( Links at end of post) But let me show you what I did:

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Follow your heart.

I HAD to put a heart and a compass together. This was a bonus cab, simple crackle without the tear and stapled repair that the larger hearts had… I wanted a follow your heart meaning. The heart cab is bead embroidered on Stiff stuff with a loose representation of flames, and a toy compass.  Then it has been stitched onto a new messenger bag I am altering. I want something that can get dirty at the studio. I plan to embellish it with patches, paint and stitches. A chance to wear my heart on my sleeve shoulder.

 

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Starting to make my statements…. The butterfly is a shaped beaded pin. Shaped pieces are on my “to-do” list. The hand is from the AVAM.

So then I was thinking… I guess I should work with a heart like the components I mailed.  So I took a small stapled/crackle heart and created polymer wings. The wings are cut to fit exactly with the small cobalt heart. The piece is rather large for me – and brings to mind Egyptian scarabs… which I was ASLO working on for themed challenge at Art Elements. Phew. I’m not sure how I will finish this – silk? chain? gems? What do you think?

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Take flight heart

So  – thanks for stopping by and thanks to all who participated this month! I think I will keep making hearts and share the love even though February is fading away…

And now without further ado: 

 

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!

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

 

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
 

 

 

 

 

Beaded bags and amulet bags – a blog hop!

 I remember thinking the blog hop schedule would give me plenty of time… 

I met Christine of One Kiss Creations when we were partnered on an ornament swap. I still hang my driftwood with beaded snowflakes every year, and enjoy it all winter. So when the magic of the internet told me she was co hosting ( with Therese Frank) an amulet bag hop… I decided to go for it… Beaded amulet bags. So many options! 

Well – I have attempted this, and I apologize that nothing is finished… I have more ideas, and when I have even more time… but let me show you what I have worked on: 

beaded bag WIP

This piece was pure bead embroidery – and I LOVED doing it. The basic idea and directions came from Beaded Embellishment by Robin Atkins. I loved my palette – so very me. And I loved watching the design grow. The problems (see below) began when I started assembling the bag. I have very limited sewing/construction experience. The piece IS complete – although it is lacking a snap closure. The beadwork did not quite line up at the front where the flap folds – so I have a few more beads to add to camoflauge that area. AND a strap. I became rather frustrated with assembly and will confess, this piece was put aside for a long while… 

beaded bag as is

The second piece I am much happier with – and learned quite a bit. I actually bagan this peyote stitch bag ten years ago?! The delicas and the bottom section, stitched int he round – was squirreled away in a bag… SO I tackled this. I decided to vary the beads and made a bead soup with the original beads, adding more new colors as hte original colors were depleted. I love the variation this has given me. A teammate over at Art Jewelry Elements said it reminded her of Roman glass – so there is the button closure! Spot on!  I adore peyote stitch and could do this all day! My thought for next time? Use rounds not delicas! The bag is SO firm. I plam to stitch silk to the sides as shown on my sketch. The ends will terminate in a knot, and a few charm or crystal dangles. 

peyote amulet bag

On a completely different note – I had done this as well, and thought it would apply. The leather belt pouch was made by my friend Betty at Emperor’s Needle. She has a booth at the PA Renaissance Faire. I beaded the embroidered element onto stiff stuff, then stitched it to the leather with the final round of beads. 

beaded leather pouch

As these are my first attempts I would love to hear what you think…

Thank you Christine and Therese for hosting and challenging me! Please take a look at the other participants fabulous creations! 

Therese ( hostess)
Christine (hostess)
Jenny ( that’s me!)
Bobbie
Ana
Amy
Cynthia
Karin S
Maryanne
Liz
Lori
Paula
Jasvanti
Dagi
Kepi
Samantha
Alicia
Motidana
Becky

Art Jewelry Elements Art Camp – and the COM reveal!

 August. Bead Fest. End of Summer. Back to school. And AJE Art Camp! 

This year I am thrilled to share today’s reveal with Lesley Watt! She came for Bead Fest and a vacation… We sat down Friday in my studio to work on projects… her COM was done. Mine was not… 

The ceramic piece we were working with is a rustic coin by our friend and colleague Diana P. of Suburban Girl Studio: 

Dianas rustic coins

Diana’s Rustic coins – our August Component of the Month. 

 I confess – I had an older rustic coin that I had altered. I poured resin, trapping a thin sliver of snakeskin inside. Although Diana sent me a new coin for the COM – I decided to challenge myself to finish the piece I had started… The coin no longer has the center opening so I was leading towards bead embroidery. Although I sadly covered up some of the crusty glaze on the edges, I love the matte aqua and really wanted to play up that color. The snaleskin showed best on a white substrate… and as I worked a snake emerged. Yes – that is one of Diana’s small cabs there in the “head” of the snake. It was a perfect fit. 

JDR WIP and details

 Here is the finished piece! I am happy with the results and plan to hang it on a wide silky ribbon. I liked the pearls with the 15* anchor bead – echoing the dot pattern of Diana’s hand stamped design. And the little seed pod beads were a perfect companion to the stoneware clay. 

Snakeskin JDR

Now – with out further ado I turn it over to Lesley! 

Thanks Jenny.

So as Jenny said, I was lucky enough to be staying with the esteemed designer of this months COM and was able to make my piece in her company. Ever the comedian here she is trying her best to distract me…!

 Work space LOL

My particular component was a lovely mellow sea foam colour and I just happend to have bought some African Turquoise brick beads at Bead Fest which were a perfect accent. I also brought with me from home some of Diana’s beads in the same rustic style and some leather. I went for a design strung on waxed linen and created a bail with some seed beads. I then raided Diana’s bead box for some brass spacers to intersperse between the turquoise and rustic beads.

 Lesley's COM WIP

Here’s the completed necklace which I finished with leather cord but I may well change this for some chunky brass chain when I get home. The design is simple and symmetrical but I love the way the natural stone works with Diana’s piece to give a soft but earthy feel – very me.

Lesley's COM final

Many thanks to Diana for giving us the opportunity to work with her lovely components. If you would like to see what the rest of the AJE team and our guest designers created please click on the links below.

Guests
 
AJE Team