AJE Art Headpins Design Challenge Reveal

So today is the reveal day for the latest AJE design challenge and this month it’s all about headpins. I have a good collection of these little pretties and it seems I’m not the only one who is enamoured – just take a look at the participants list below…

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AJE Component of the Month Reveal – Fossilised pebbles

Today I am very pleased to be hosting the AJE Component of the Month reveal which features my fossilised pebble pendants.

Needless to say I did my usual trick of forgetting to take a photo of my own pieces so I’ve had to crop them out of the bigger image. Since I had a couple of spares I decided to have a go at two designs and fortunately the two were sat next to each other.

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AJE Theme Challenge Reveal – Summer

This months AJE design challenge is inspired by the theme of summer – something that is sadly lacking here in the UK as I sit here in a fleece at the end of June! However, my garden is still managing to live up to expectations and that’s where I’ve chosen to draw my inspiration from. I love that time in the garden when most of the hard work is done and you can sit back and enjoy the abundance of your labours…for a couple of months At least.

I decided to go with a beading project this month and since I was short on time I just went with the flow and let the beads take me where they would. I started with one of my own cabochons with a floral motif and created a bead bezel in matching colours. From there I added Czech glass flower and leaf beads and I was thinking at this point it might turn into a brooch. But as the shape developed I started to think more in terms of a pendant so I added some loops to the edging.

This was all feeling a bit heavy and solid so i added some fringing along the bottom edge to give some sense of movement and airiness…much better I think.

As the bead work is so detailed I’ve kept the necklace part very simple with watercolour chiffon silk ribbon and the final result is this necklace which I’ve called “Garden Party”. Quite a different style for me but I’m pretty happy with how it turned out.

Please use the links below to see how our summer themed challenge inspired the other participants.

Lesley

AJE Component of the Month – May Reveal

So as May draws to close another AJE design challenge rolls around and this month it was the turn of Sue Kennedy to provide us with components to work with and she chose these cute little lampwork heart and star cabochons…

These are the selection Sue sent me – aren’t they cute…?

Whilst I had originally thought to use all three of these together time escaped me and I didn’t get to start the challenge until the very last minute so I decided to concentrate on one piece. The coral coloured star reminded me of the starfish I used to go searching for in rock pools and caves as a child so that was the one I chose to use in an ocean themed piece.
starfish

Using one of my hand made molds I made a polymer clay urchin focal and before baking impressed the star into the clay to make a setting for it. Once baked I painted it with acrylic paints and then sanded it back to expose some of the clay and glued Sue’s cab into position.

I’m not usually once for using glue as a connection but I didn’t want to obscure the detail of the star with a metal setting. In this context and with these materials it’s very secure and I think it works. 
I love layered or stacked pendants so I added one of my copper clay shells and a tiny coral and seed bead charm to add further depth and interest… 
For the necklace I picked out some beads that reflected the colours of the focal and copper wire wrapped them – recycled glass, lampwork pumpkins and ocean jasper accented with mottled sandy seed beads.
A pretty copper chain with another tiny charm, an LOS (Liver of sulphur) bath for the metal/bead elements and a quick tumble and the design is finished. Now I want to head for the beach and get my toes into some sea and sand!
Many thanks to Sue for providing us with these lovely pieces to work with. Please go and visit the rest of the AJE team and our guests to see what they did with their components – links below.

Lesley

Guests


AJE Team Members

AJE COM Reveal – April is for Amulets

Today is reveal day for the AJE Component of the Month challenge for April and the pieces we had to work with this month were these wonderful polymer clay Amulets created by Jenny Davies-Reazor. I was lucky enough to get the gorgeous green swirly one at the bottom left of this image.
When my amulet arrived the first thing that struck me was that the swirly textural design and the colour palette were reminiscent of the ocean so that was going to influence my theme. I also decided I wanted to add some sort of stopper to create a little vessel – maybe for hiding secrets or special treasures in. My initial thought was that I could do this with a little round bead but I couldn’t find anything that would stay put but then, while rummaging around looking for inspiration I came across my Tracey Seder-Donoughe bead stash and this one leapt out at me. Not only was it a perfect colour match but its ‘waisted’ style made it a very secure fit – perfect.

I was also keen to add some sort of accent to the bottom of the amulet so I drilled an extra hole in the bottom and set about wiring it up along with the bead which I attached with a length of brass chain…so far so good.

 
Working with the ocean theme I added one of my own bronze shell charms to the bottom of the amulet and gave this a little accent bead that picks out the darker teal tone of the piece.

For me amulets tend to call for long necklaces and I decided to go with bronze chain but to give it some more depth and interest and to support the theme, I went for one of my favourite techniques and wove waxed linen threaded with tiny pearls through the chain.

At this point I felt I needed to add some embellishment for a bit more impact. I was thinking of this necklace as something a mermaid would wear to keep her treasures close so I added a cluster of dangles made up from bronze charms, pearls, Citrine, Ocean Jasper and Czech glass, all of which pick up the subtle tones of the amulet. I’m still thinking about what to put inside the amulet…

And that was it – job done and ‘Mermaid’s Treasure’ was complete! It’s not the easiest piece to photograph well and personally I think it looks much prettier in real life.

Many thanks to Jenny for supplying such a fun piece to work with – I got fully immersed in this challenge and thoroughly enjoyed the whole process. Please do now join our blog hop to see what the rest of the AJE team and our guests created.

Enjoy

Lesley
Guests: 
Marsha of Marsha Neal Studio
Alison of Alison Adorns
Jess of The Copper Cat

AJE Team: 

AJE Eye Themed Design Challenge Reveal.

Today is reveal day for our monthly AJE design challenge and this month it’s a theme based challenge hosted by Lindsay Starr. Lindsay chose eyes as her theme and you can find out more about the subject on her original post.

The past month has run away with me somewhat so I didn’t manage to get around to making components for this challenge. Instead I picked out this lovely Milagro pendant of Jenny’s and decided to work with that.

Milagro is the Spanish word for miracle and ‘Eyes’ are a popular subject for these folk charms symbolising the concept of watching. They are often attached to an image of a deceased person as a representation of the spirit of that person is watching over and defending others from spirits from the land of the dead, or pleading their case before the saints and the angels.

In my stash I also had one of these prettty angel charms by Green Girl Studios and I thought that combined with Jenny’s pendant this would depict the ‘watching’ concept well. Both pieces carry legends and the words ‘strength’ and ‘safe’ seem very appropriate.

Green girl Studios

I bought the striped ethnic beads from Bead Fest last year and liked the way they picked up the colours from the Milagro and the patina of the charm when strung simply with tiny seed beads.

The necklace is finished with a simple hook clasp and an single accent bead above the charm.

I’m quite pleased with the way the necklace supports the traditional meaning of the Milagro and is very wearable.

Many thanks to Lindsay for hosting this challenge. You can see what the rest of the AJE team and our guests came up with this theme using the links below.

Guests 
AJE Members 

AJE COM challenge – February Reveal

So here we are again…another month has flown by and it’s time for another AJE component of the month reveal. This months we were challenge to work with these lovely ‘Phaedra’ chain maille and crystal components made by Diana Ptaszynski – very bling!

Now I have to say these were quite a challenge for me since bling is not really my thing. I tend much more to the earthy and subdued and my inclination for anything sparkly is to treat it very simply and just hang it from a chain where it speaks for itself…but that didn’t fell quite right for a challenge.

So I was trying to thing of something that would better fit my aesthetic and still showcase Diana’s component and decided to try something with leather. I remembered a tutorial I had saved that involved loosely weaving leather cord into a necklace and decided to have a go at that. As the weave is quite loose I wasn’t sure if it would work but being made from aluminium jump rings the Phaedra is very light and it did work a treat. So in the end I did simply hang it from a necklace but I think it has a bit more impact than a chain!

I was fortunate to have a number of Phaedra’s in different colours and I chose to go with red because it worked best with the very dark blue of the leather. The combination wasn’t the easiest to photograph to get both elements captured accurately either so my apologies for the less than brilliant photographs.

 

I’m really keen to see what the other participants have made this month so I hope you’ll join me on our little blog hop via the links below:


Guests
AJE Team

AJE ‘Use Your Stash” Challenge Reveal.

For this months AJE challenge, instead of working with a specific component we were charges with getting into our bead stashes and designing with something we already have. This  is a good way to to get yourself going after the new year especially if like me, you creative motivation has gone into hibernation!
I bought these beads from Tracey Seder Donoughe at Bead Fest and I absolutely adore them. So much so that when I go to my stash I invariably spend time just looking at them still amazed at the incredible detail with each one like a tiny little vessel. They are also extremely tactile have the most wonderful feel to them that just makes you want to touch them.

It suddenly occurred to me that if I turned some of these into a bracelet then they would be there to see and touch whenever I was wearing it…almost like worry beads I guess. I pulled out half a dozen of the blue cream beads because they pair well with my daily uniform of jeans and would therefore get lots of wear. It’s a fairly simple design with the beads wire wrapped and linked to each other and I’ve interspersed them with labradorite dangles to give some fluidity and movement to the piece.

I’m pretty happy with it and am keen now to do something with the rest of Tracie’s beads.

I also managed to whip up a quick pair of earrings using some of my AJE team stash. I have a whole flock of Caroline’s bird beads and I recently acquired some egg shaped lampwork headpins from Jen Cameron in a beautiful mottle glass – a perfect match for these cute little earrings.

I wash also hoping to have a third piece finished for this challenge but life intervened so this beaded piece with a wonderful focal by Birgitta Legonkou is a work in progress. The theme for this is serenity and I’ll come back and share it when I do get finished.

In the meantime I hope you will take a little time to follow out blog hop and see what our guest designers and the rest of the AJE team have created for this months challenge – just use the links below. Happy hopping!
AJE team:
Lesley Watt – you are here
Guests: 
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

Lesley

Re-birth of the Sun – design Challenge Reveal

It seems like an awfully long time since I launched this winter AJE design challenge and I have to say I would like nothing more than to see some sustained sun right now…  so far winter in the UK has be unrelentingly grey and wet! But never mind – a blog hop of designs with a sun theme is a pretty good substitute and if you missed the original post you can find it here.

I have to admit that although this theme was my choice it did give me something of a challenge in that I struggle to work with yellows…a bit of a hinderance when it come to the sun. The first thing I did was make some ceramic pendants to put in my shop and made myself break out some yellows and golds for the glazes. Although though I didn’t use any of these in my own design there may be one or too appearing in the blog hop.

For my next design I turned to bead embroidery – my favourite past-time of the moment  to create this brooch. I used one of my own cabochons featuring the spiral symbol often associated with the sun, accented with beads in shades of gold and bronze and with a picot edging to give the effect of sun rays.
Next up is a pair of earrings featuring a tribal sun design which I’ve etched into hand cut and domed copper discs. The beaded drops feature faceted Citrine and Labradorite beads – simple but pretty.

For my final piece I wanted something a bit more substantial so I decided to make a necklace using a technique I learnt from Jenny Davies-Reazor which combines a cold set bezel and polymer clay. The focal of this piece features one of my own porcelain face charms set in a bezel formed from two Vintaj flower blanks. The bezel is attached to a textured polymer clay pendant which has been painted with acrylic and sanded back to create the effect of sky, clouds and the sun’s aura.

Because the focal is quite detailed I wanted to stay fairly simple with the necklace so I chose to go with inky blue/purple pearls interspersed with gold seed beads to pick up the hues in the pendant. Little brass sun discs add accents at each end of the necklace.

A crescent moon cut from sheet bronze and a Hematite star charm hanging beneath the sun signify it returning to the dominant position and another star charm hanging from the end of an extension chain completes the piece. It took me a while to get this one the way I wanted it but I’m really pleased with how it turned out in the end.

Please excuse the less than brilliant photo’s – I like to take them in natural light and it’s been in very short supply of late! I’d just like to thank everyone who has taken part in this challenge and I hope you now join me in visiting the rest of the participants to see what they’ve created – just click on the links below.
Guest Designers

AJE Team
Lindsay Starr

Lesley

Clearing the Decks for a Creative New Year…

2015 has been a pretty good year for me…

The first half of the year saw me really finding my voice with my ceramic bead designs and having jewellery designs published in the wonderful Belle Armoire magazine. Then after a fabulous and creative summer break with good friends in the USA I’ve been trying my hand at some new things and have found several new passions – not least bead embroidery, felting and mixed media decorative art.

So what’s in store for the coming year…? Well hopefully much more of the same. I really want to immerse myself in these new activities  and see what comes of it but that doesn’t mean I’ll be giving up on bead or jewellery making. In  fact I’m hoping for some cross-pollination that will allow me to come up with some original ideas for my own jewellery and bead designs.

For practicalities sake though this is going to involve some reorganisation and re-branding to make everything a bit more cohesive. To this end I am planning to spend the next few weeks creating a new standalone shop as a single outlet for my beads, jewellery and decorative art. It’s early days yet but I’m very excited to get started on this new venture.

In the interim both my Etsy Shops (see links at the top of the blog) will remain open but there will be minimal listing of new pieces. Since I don’t want to be transferring stock from one shop to another I’ve decided to end 2015 and start 2016 with a clearance sale in my bead shop and everything is now available with a whopping 40% discount – just used coupon code CLEAR40 and the discount will be applied at check out.

I’m also planning to have some jewellery destash events in January so keep an eye out here and on my Facebook page (or sign up for my newsletter using the link at the right of this page) for news of that…and there may be some beady goody bags up for grabs at some point – who knows.

So those are my plans for the early part of 2016…what about you – what exciting things do you have planned? Whatever they may be, big or small I hope your New Year celebrations are full of joy and that the coming year finds you healthy, happy and wise – and creative too of course!

Happy New Year my friends

Lesley

AJE Component of the Month – November Reveal.

Welcome to this months AJE design challenge which gave us the opportunity to work with these gorgeous lichen inspired organic ceramic components from Caroline.

To feed my current addiction to beaded bezels I chose the purple cabochon on the bottom row. There is thin line of seafoam on the cabochon where the glazes have reacted and I wanted to use this as my accent colour in the beading. Fortunately I had the perfect beads and partnered with a mix if matt and gloss purple beads I was really pleased with how the bezel came out.

As the cabochon is so organic I had to manipulate the rows to secure it so that the beading is heavier at the bottom of the piece which balances it out and stops the bead work looking to orderly.

I jumped straight into the beading and didn’t give any thought to what I was going to do with it until it was finished. I felt it needed something to contrast the soft natural lines so I had a rummage around in my silver stash to see if I had anything that might work. I found this Hill Tribe Tube and decided to use it as a yoke to suspend the focal from by sewing closed jump rings to the back of it and making a decorative link section.

I managed to find some colour matched organic lampwork beads and mixed these with silver dipped Greek ceramic cornflake beads and haematite seed beads to pull everything together.

I added black leather cord and decided that’s all I was going to do because when I tried it on I loved the way it looked and knew I was going to keep it – a simple silver clasp and job done!

Many thanks to Caroline for giving us these lovely pieces to work with and I’m very happy to have a second one to play with too. To see what the rest of the team and our guest designers did with their component join us on our blog hop using the links below.

Ravens – AJE October Themed Challenge Reveal

This month our usual Component of the month makes way for a themed challenge chosen by Karen Totten. The symbolism and mythology surrounding Ravens is broad and varied and crosses many cultures. If you would like some more insight Karen’s original post looks at the Native America perspective while Jenny’s recent post looks at Ravens in Celtic mythology.
I hadn’t intended to follow any particular cultural viewpoint but I did revisit the Edgar Allan Poe’s poem ‘The Raven‘ before I started…I had several ideas for challenge pieces and they do all seem to have something of a Gothic feel to them. Most of them are also works in progress rather than the complete article.
My first piece came about through the fortunate Bead Fest purchase of this gorgeous porcelain cabochon by Joan Miller which I decided to bead bezel. To really make the beautiful bird pop I kept to very dark colours with matt beads to reflect the matt black glaze, highlighted by beads with that oil-slick appearance you see on the plumage of black birds and red beads to pull in the background. The result was this ‘cameo in negative’ like appearance which I am really pleased with. I’ve called it ‘Nevermore’ from the poem.
I’ve been trying for a while to turn this into a necklace but as yet I haven’t been able to decide how to do it. I love how these blood red pearls work with the pendant but it seemed somehow too simple to use them alone. Ribbons, silk and chain came out and I still couldn’t come up with the right combination. Black lace has been in at the back of my mind all along but I kind of discounted it for being too obvious… but now I’m thinking I might have to go get some and give it a go if only to prove myself right! Otherwise it will sit in its project tray until the perfect idea strikes.
I’d just started my foray into felting when this challenge was launched and when I found this next pendant by Jenny Davies-Reazor in my stash I thought it would be a good subject for a non-jewellery piece. I love the shape of the pendant and the way it evokes the view from a castle window or some such. I bead bezelled the pendant onto beading foundation and then did a little experiment by needle felting directly onto it. This is a very small piece – maybe three inches square and the technique seemed to work although I’m not sure the foundation would stand up to the needle felting on a larger scale.  A few beads for added interest, a silk string to hang from and a backing of ultra suede completed my first miniature art piece.

Ravens (who will feed on carrion) are often depicted sitting on human skulls and have associations with warrior goddesses and battlefields in Celtic and Irish mythology (see Jenny’s post for more info). While this may seem a little macabre skulls are actually symbolic of courage, death and rebirth and amongst the many ideas the Raven symbolises are birth and freedom.

I wanted to have a go at interpreting this aspect of the Raven in ceramic clay but haven’t had a chance to work in this medium of late so I decide to try it out in polymer clay. I don’t have the greatest skills as a sculptor so this pendant is a little naive and clumsy but it’s a starting point and I may well pursue it in porcelain where I find it easier to achieve a more detailed finish.

    Last up is a mixed media piece called ‘The Night Watch” which combines wet and needle felting with polymer clay and bead embellishment. I’d recently completed a piece using these materials and it got me really fired up so this was the ideal theme to explore it further. The rather dramatic backdrop of the moonlit sky silhouetted by trees was created by wet felting and then defined with needles. The moon and sky are embellished with seed beads and the Raven, made from polymer clay is embellished and attached to the backdrop using tiny seed beads. The beads are actually a dark oily blue rather than the silver they appear and are an absolute nightmare to photograph! This piece is not quite finished yet…the trees need a little something extra to lift the texture but I’m liking where it’s going thus far.

    So there you have my interpretations of our Raven theme and I hope you enjoyed them…now you can use the links below to see what the other AJE team and guest participants have come up with it…I know there are some great designs to see.

    Art Jewelry Elements Team:
    Jenny Davies-Reazor
    Phantasm Creations
    Caroline Dewison
    Linda Landig
    Niky Sayers
    Jen Cameron

    Our Guest Bloggers:
    An Ordinary Miracle Day
    Linda Newnham
    Michelle McEnroe
    Sarajo Wentling
    The Copper Cat
    The Paisley Lizard

    Thank you

    Lesley

    Creative Rejuvenation…

    Yes – don’t faint…I’m actually writing a blog post for the first time in over 2 months! Considering my aim to post more this year I’m heading for a pretty epic fail by year end. It’s always difficult over the summer months with preparation for and enjoyment of holidays which occupied me for most of August and early September. Then the minute I got back from a fantastic trip to the USA I went down with a particularly nasty virus that laid me low for two weeks and I’m really only just back to fighting fit.

    I’ve also been doing some thinking about where I’m going with my work over this period as I’ve reached a bit of a hiatus and have had the feeling for some time that I need to pep things up a little… I still love making beads and jewellery but I do feel a little stale.

    My summer vacation was spent with creative friends and we spent a lot of time playing with new techniques and trying activities I’ve done little or none of before.

    My good friend Jenny Davies-Reazor taught me how to bead embroider cabochons and I’ve taken to this like a duck to water. These are the pieces I did while I was away…

    Cabochon by Lisa Peters-Russ

    And these are pieces I’ve done since I got home, this being the one thing I was able to do while I was feeling poorly and something which I find extremely relaxing – not to mention addictive.

    Cabochon by Joan Miller Porcelain

    Cabochons by Diana Ptazsynski, Sue kennedy and Caroline Dewison
    Wooden tile by Marie-Noel Voyer

    Wooden tile by Marie-Noel Voyer

    I was also lucky enough to have a needle-felting play date with the lovely Marsha Neal where she taught us to make these suer cute pumpkins.

    Marsha also works at Serafina Fiber Art and needless to say I came home with a big stash of beautiful wools to play with at home.

    The best thing about learning these two techniques is that I’ve been inspired to combine them to create some mixed media pieces which I’m really excited about. I used to do some traditional embroidery in a past life and like these idea of adding this into the mix too…

    Embroidered cushion circa 1990

    These pieces are mostly non-jewellery and I’m not sure where I’m going with them but I’m having fun exploring the possibilities…

    Beaded and felted brooch made with a pendant by Tree Wings Studio

    Ceramic cabochon by Jenny-Davies-Reazor

    This is a work -in- progress depicting my interpretation of an autumn goddess and will be one of a series of seasonal goddesses…

    Ceramic cabochon by Jenny Davies-Reazor

    Another work-in-progress test piece waiting to be embellished with beads…

    Polymer clay pendant by Roberta Warshaw

    For the time being I’m happy playing around with these ideas to see where they take me but then of course I need to think about what I’m going to do with the. Both my Etsy shops need overhauling and probably moving to another platform altogether so there is a lot to do in the coming months. I’ll still be working on beads and jewellery too but you might be seeing a lot more experimental work form me. I will also make a concerned effort to blog more frequently and keep you posted on developments.

    Until then – enjoy the rest of your weekend and enjoy the glories of this beautiful autumn season.

    Lesley

    The Rook and the Wren AJE Component of the Month.

    Welcome to the July reveal of the AJE component of the month challenge. This months art components were these cute little buttons and clasps made from old UK coins by Niky Sayers.

    Niky sent these out as a surprise package and I was happy to receive one of the beads which feature a pretty little wren motif.

    When I got my bead I had a vague recollection of an old fable about a wren and after digging around a bit online I managed to find an obscure copy of it and it’s called ‘The Rook and the Wren’. After reading it through I decided to use it as inspiration and try and put together a design where the elements would represent certain motifs within the fable. I wasn’t sure what I was going to do but after pulling out some art beads that fit the bill a bracelet seemed to be the obvious choice. Some of the components have pretty clear links to the fables, others are more evocative…it’s strung on waxed linen and all in all I’m pretty pleased with it…

    Rather than go into great detail I thought I’d let you read the fable for yourselves (please excuse the strange format but this is the only copy I could find) and then see what what you think of my interpretation…

    Pewter heart and nest charm by Green Girl Studio
    Rook and flower bead by Starry Road Studio
    Branch bead by Marsha Neal Studio
    House/tree bead by HumbleBeads
    Czech glass beads from Smitten Beads

    Many thanks to Niky for providing us with such a lovely piece to work with – if you would like to see what the other participants made with Niky’s components please join our blog hop using the links below.
    Guest bloggers

    Lesley

    Preview – 13th July shop Update…

    Well it’s taken a little while but I’ve finally got the first batch of goodies from my shiny new and very large kiln finished and listed in my Etsy shop. It’s been quite an adjustment from the little kiln I’m used to but everything seems to be coming out as I’d hoped and I’m very happy with the kiln. Here’s a little preview of what’s to come in tonight’s (Monday 13th July 7pm BST) shop update…maybe something will tempt you…
    Organic focal sets
    Floral focal sets
    Lunar hares…
    Bead Sets
    Charms and connectors
    I’m off to The USA for a holiday next month so this will be the last big update I do until after that so the next one will probably be late September. I will also be closing my order book to commissions shortly so don’t miss out if you see something you fancy.

    Hope to see you later.

    Lesley

     

    AJE Themed Design Challenge – Fireflies

    Today is the reveal of the second AJE themed design challenges and this months event is hosted by Jen Cameron and the theme she chose was fireflies.  This did turn out to be quite challenging for me since the last tie I saw a firefly was probably way back in my childhood. We do have them in the UK but more in rural areas that I don’t tend to frequent after dark!

    So I had to turn to Jen’s photographic images for my inspiration and it took me a while to come up with a plan.

    I was struggling to come up with a way to capture these masses fireflies in ceramic that was different from the other teams ideas so I decided to for silver clay instead. I used a stamp to create a grass design and then set lots of tiny 2mm cubic citrine zirconium into the clay – a bit of a race against time to do before the clay dried out. Once the piece was fired I gave it a heavy LOS patina to help the CZS stand out…it’s a bit of a pig to photograph so apologies for the less than brilliant image.
    I’ve not yet had time to make this up into a piece of jewellery but I have an idea in my head to rivet it to a copper back plate that will be etched with the legend ‘fireflies dance’. I’m thinking a chain of hand coiled links interspersed with citrine or yellow quartz beads to pick up the stones on the pendant but knowing me that may well change.
    Then last week I was finishing up a clay session and decided to have a go at doing an individual firefly like this little chap…

    It got a bit tricky when it came to the legs and antennae so I decided to use nichrome wore for these instead of clay…not exactly the elegant creature I had in the back of my head but a bit of fun none-the-less!

    So there you have my attempts at creating fire flies and if they’ve sparked a flame (sorry!) for me then you can see what out guest designers and the rest of the AJE team created using the links below:
    Guest Designers:
    AJE Team

    AJE Component of the Month Challenge – May Reveal

    It’s the end of another month already which means it’s time for another AJE Challenge reveal and the components we had to work with this month were a pair of these pretty beaded beads from Susan Kennedy of Suebeads. 
    I have a little stock of these beads and am very fond of using them for earrings because they are small and light but always pack a punch in terms of colour and textures – so that’s the route I took with his challenge.

    This first pair are very simple but Sue’s beads were such a perfect match for a pair of ombre ceramic drops by Diana Ptaszynski of Suburban Girl Beads that I really didn’t want to add anything more than a little wire wrapping and some simple wires.

    The blues of the elements work so well together and are such a natural pairing with copper.

    For my second pair I picked out a pair of Polymer Clay heads pins by Heather Powers of Humblebeads. I fed the wire of the headpins up through the beaded beads and bent them round bail making pliers to make a loop and then fed them back down through the bead wrapping the wire around itself a couple of times. I then wrapped the tails of the wire around the tip of my round nose pliers to create a little coil and then stretched these out to create tendrils

     These are super light, really comfortable to wear and perfect for colours for summer.

    Many thanks to Sue for the chance to work with these lovely fun beads. You can see what everyone else designed using the links below.

    Next month’s AJE challenge is another themed event and this time it’s all about Fireflies with the chance to win one of Jen Cameron’s lovely beads so check out the this AJE post for all the details but do hurry – the winners will be chose tomorrow, Monday June 1st.

    Guests
    AJE Team

    Belle Armoire Jewellery Debut…

    I’m not usually one for getting my work published in magazines – mainly because I’m too disorganised to get myself together for the submission deadlines but,when you get an invite from the beautifully put together Belle Armoire Jewelry, well you have to give it some careful consideration.

    So that’s what I was doing around Christmas and today it’s safe to say that I’m just a little bit excited as I make my debut in Belle Armoire with seven pieces featured in a technique based article and a piece in the boutique section. You should have seen me run when the mail dropped this morning!

    Metal clay and mixed media necklaces

    Bronze clay and art bead earrings and bracelet

    Wire macrame and bronze clay earrings

    Wire macrame bangle

    Fortunately I just about remembered to take some photo’s of the jewellery (apart form one pair of earrings) before I sent it off for consideration…

    For this necklace I adapted a wonderful mixed media technique I was taught by by my good friend and AJE colleague Jenny Davies-Reazor at Bead Fest last year…

    Mixed media necklace adapted for a technique by Jenny Davies- Reazor

    These next pieces show case bronze clay and art beads..

    Bronze clay, turquoise and Ebony necklace with ceramic focal by Karen Totten

    Bronze clay necklace

    Bronze clay bracelet

    Bronze clay wire macrame earrings with lampwork beads by Puffafish lampwork

    Bronze clay earrings with ceramic flowers by Karen Totten

    And finally a spiral wire macrame bangle – unfortunately I’ve had the lovely lampwork beads so long I don’t remember who the maker is…

    Lampwork and wire macrame bracelet

    I hope you like the pieces…I guess now I might have to get myself a little more organised to make a few more submissions….watch this space!

    Have a great weekend all.

    Lesley

    AJE March Hare Challenge Reveal.


    Back at the end of February the AJE team announced that we were changing our usual monthly Component of the Month event up a bit by introducing 4 seasonal themed challenges. For the first of these Jenny chose Hares as her theme representing spring and if you missed her great post about these fascinating creatures you can find it here.

    Today is reveal day and it’s certainly been a hare raising month for me (sorry couldn’t resist)! Hares are a popular icon for jewellery design and as soon as Jenny mentioned that she wanted them as her theme I started thinking about how I could develop something original. I don’t often sketch ideas for beads but in this instance it seemed the best way to get the ideas out of my head and after much scribbling I came up with this idea. I’m not good at realistic representations so I wanted to keep the form fairly simple and use the different mediums I work in to add interest.

    I made my first pieces up in a rustic stoneware clay using a layering technique. I cut the hare  and moon shapes out of a sheet of clay and then laid them onto another sheet of clay to create the background and then cut out the final shape. I wasn’t sure about these at first as I thought they were a bit dark but they grew on me and in the end I fell in love with the rustic feel.

    So I made some more up in a white porcelain stoneware clay and used some more colourful glazes.
    While I was making the ceramic pieces I started thinking about how these hares would translate to metal clay…typical of me to be always thinking ahead o myself. The eight and cost of bronze clay meant that I need to do something a bit more economical so I decided to make pendants the shape of the hare and add loops that would allow for embellishment. I a spring flower texture mat for some of these and made them in both copper and bronze, the latter with Cubic zirconium set in for the eyes. I also make some moon connectors to go with the pendants.

    Then I went on to make some up in silver which I love. The foot broke off the one in the middle so I have an idea to solder him onto some copper sheet with his own moon…when I get time.

    I also played around with combining metal clay with sheet silver and adding a pretty gemstone and fine silver heart drop to the bottom.

    While making this piece I also managed to tattoo a hare on my trousers when I sneezed and the hot hare leaped of the solder block! Fortunately I moved fast enough to avoid getting burnt but the studio floor didn’t fare quite so well!
    In the last couple of weeks I’ve been revisiting the ceramic hares and making some tweaks to the designs. The first batch where quite large so I wanted to make some more compact versions and these little fellows silhouetted against a full moon were the result. I love the way the bloom on the cream glaze looks like the moons surface.

    You’d have thought I’d have had enough of hares by now but no…I had an idea to separate out the the elements and make some sets that would give give people more to play with in their designs. I made some clay hare figures and moon faces up similar to the forms I’d used for the metal pieces and also made some tiny stars. When I showed these as a work in progress on my Facebook page someone suggested a crescent moon might look nice too…and they were right. These were great fun because I could mix the sets up to combine different glazes and give different effects. I think these are definitely my favourite so far.

    I was hoping to make some jewellery for this challenge with some of the hare beads I have in my stash but sadly I just haven’t had the time but I will still try and get them done in the future as I think hares are here o stay. I did just manage to finish  this very simple necklace for myself though…

    Speaking of which, if you are a member of the Facebook group Ceramic Art Bead Market you will know that we have a regular giveaway and from later today and for the next week this pendant will be up for grabs. You need to be a member of the group to enter but  the group is open to anyone with an interest in ceramic beads so if you haven’t already do come and join us to meet some great artists with some beautiful beads.

    So I hope you enjoyed meeting my little bunnies and will visit the rest of the AJE  team and our guests to see how this theme has inspired them.

    AJE Component of the Month – February Reveal

    It’s the end of another month
    (already?) and that means it’s time for another AJE Component of the Month (COM) reveal. This months
    components were these beautiful copper clay pieces byMelissa Meman featuring one of her own  textural designs and the I got  the rectangular pair to play with.

     
    My original intention was to split the pair and  make to separate items but time and energy have been against me this month so in the end I opted to stick with earrings. I always love the combination of turquoise and copper so I used a pair of lampwork headpins from Maryse Fritzsch Thillens to create some drops for the bottom of the earrings.

     I
    then added some tiny turquoise beads to some ear wires for a little
    extra lift and that’s it – job done. Very simple but I think the
    embellishments set of Melissa’s charms, which are and should
    be the star of the show very well. Apologies for the colour on this picture which seems to fade during the uploading process no matter what I do.

    Many thanks to Melissa for providing these lovely pieces to work with. To see what the rest of the AJE team and our guest designers have made just use the links below:



    AJE Team
    Guest Participants: