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 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

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.

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:

AJE Component of the Month – November Reveal

The components for this months challenge come in the form of these lovely beaded hoops from the seriously talented seed beader Kristen Stevens. Once again I forgot to photograph my own beads but they were the same as the purple pair in the centre of this picture.

Since they came in a pair I decided pretty quickly to make earrings but I wanted to try and do something a bit different. They’re very light and quite flexible so I began by looking for something that might give them a little more rigidity and structure. Whilst rummaging I came across my pot of copper washers and found some that the hoops sat quite nicely inside and I started to think about ways to attached the two elements – a little wire wrapping seemed in order.

I decided I wanted integral ear wires so I began by soldering some copper wire to the washers. I then had a bit of a ‘what if’ moment and used some solder paste to give the washers a more grungy, industrial look by dotting it around, melting it and then hammering it for a more battered look… I like this look a lot and I wish I’d thought to take process pictures but I always forget when I’m experimenting. I also punched a hole in the washers opposite the ear wire.

Next I had to attach Kristen’s hoop and this proved a little tricky. Because they didn’t fit snugly to the washer so it was difficult to keep them aligned – I kept wrapping too tightly and pulling the hoops to one side. Eventually I managed to get a more even and relaxed tension which held the hoops centred where I wanted them. Some ‘messy’ wrapping took care of the excess wire and created a contrasting accent.

For a little flourish I found some crystals that matched the colour of the hoops and added them to the bottom of the washers as dangles. Finally I formed the integral ear wires and here we have the finished product…

Because it took me a few attempts to get the wrapping right I did take a
bit of the surface colour of the hoops but in actual fact I really like
the effect and I think it works well with the grungy theme.

Many thanks to Kristen for providing up with such great beads to play with. Please use the links below to see what the rest of the team and out guests made for this challenge.

Lesley 

Cindy Martin Shaw
Shai Williams
Karen Martinez

Linda Landig

Caroline Dewison
Francesca Watson
Jenny Davies-Reazor
Lindsay Starr
Jennifer Cameron

AJE Compononent of the Month – October Reveal

Yes, it’s that time of month again and for this months AJE COM challenge the components we got to work with were these gorgeous earthy fossil discs from Karen Totten of Starry Road Studio. These are right up my street and I chose a lovely chocolate/tan one in the middle of this image.

I wanted to give my design an old or tribal feel and knew I wanted to use leather. I had in mind to use a wire cocoon bead I made years ago and recently reclaimed from an old necklace but in the event it wasn’t substantial enough to balance Karen’s focal. So I started from scratch and made a new one in bronze wire and incorporated a wire bail to attach it.

I wanted to get a layered talisman effect so I added one of my bronze clam shell shards with some tiny seed bead dangles at the bottom.


I was originally going to keep it very simple and use a very thick piece of leather to suspend the focal from but I couldn’t make up my mind on colour so I started playing around with mixing thinner pieces. I used some chunky rustic Czech glass beads to create this woven pattern and made wire wrapped cord ends and a clasp to finish it off.

And this is my finished piece – quite a design departure for me as I don’t usually make short necklaces but it was necessary for this bold focal and I quite like the effect so I think there may be more to come…


Thank you for visiting today and I hope you’ll join me and visit our guest bloggers and the restof the AJE team to see what they have designed with Karen’s beads.

Lesley

Guest Designers
AJE Blog Team

AJE Component of the Month – September Reveal….

Almost October already – how can that be? It seems like only yesterday I was planning my summer holidays and here we are charging headlong into autumn. So it is that I welcome you to another reveal for the AJE Component of the month challenge ( full details here) this month featuring these lovely copper pieces from Kristi Bowman which she calls goddess vessels.

The component I chose to work with was the white copper piece in the centre of the top row and I have to admit it did give cause me some headaches trying to come up with a design. For some reason I struggled for a while to find beads in a shape or colour that I felt worked well and then when I did find something I liked for a bracelet I didn’t have enough beads to do what I wanted to – argh! At one point I got quite quite stroppy, shut the door on the studio and went off to sulk.

But then 10 minutes later an idea popped into my brain to make some chain links that mirrored the shape of the focal and after playing around for a bit I hit on something I liked using steel wire. So all I had to do was find some beads to go with them and there they were sitting on my bead table – a new delivery of Czech glass flowers from Buttoned Up Beads Extra. The lovely blue of the beads went really well with the colour of the metal  and the result of the combination is this necklace called ‘Blue Steel”

It has quite a minimalist urban feel which I love… the strong  contrast of the two colours and the way the flowers, despite being very cool in colour add a certain softness appeals to me.

I played around with the positioning of the beads for a while, in the end opting for an asymmetrical format. The piece is finished with black brass chain and the focal is embellished with a little crystal and silver charm to balance the asymmetry.

I’m pretty happy with how this turned out in the end and it just goes to show that it pays to take a break when your muse isn’t playing ball.

 

Thanks to Kristi for providing this months challenge and to you for visiting this post today – please now join me in seeing what the rest of the AJE team and our guest have made with their components using the links below.

Lesley

Guests

AJE Team Members

Jenny Davies-Reazor
Sue Kennedy

AJE Component of the Month – June reveal

This months challenge components have been supplied by Linda who has very recently started working with clay and lovely pieces they were too…

I chose this pair of blue stoneware rose charms thinking that I would probably make a pair of earrings. However, they’re quite large charms and I felt that to avoid making them too heavy my design would have to be quite simple – nothing wrong with that of course but it wouldn’t make for the most interesting post for this challenge. So I decided instead to work with just one piece and create a necklace instead.

One of the things I liked about these pieces is the natural colour and texture of the stoneware. It’s been quite warm here in the UK over the last couple of weeks and I’m one of those people who, as soon as the weather warms up breaks out the loose, natural linen clothes and Linda’s charms are a perfect complement to that look. I also like to keep my jewellery quite streamlined and easy to wear in summer – nothing too fussy or heavy.

So the piece I made is a long beaded necklace that slips straight over the head and has the charm as the focal of a layered pendant section.

The necklace is strung on waxed linen with stone coloured farfalle beads, dark blue Czech glass saucer beads with a picasso finish and tiny brass spacers all from Smitten Beads. I’ve also used the brass spacers in the loops which attach the necklace to a lovely stone coloured lampwork hoop from Outwest.

The rose charm is suspended from the hoop along with two of my own bronzclay leaves on brass chain and finished with little blue Czech glass drops. I love the cool feel of this piece and it somehow seems quite calming.

I did try to work both charms into the necklace but couldn’t get it to balance satisfactorily so I went with my default ‘less is more’ approach and I’m happy with the result.

You can see what the rest of the AJE team and our guests did with their challenge components using the links  below.

Thanks for joining us.

Lesley

AJE Members

AJE Component of the Month – May Reveal

Each month one of the AJE team creates components for the rest of our team and a number of guests to design a piece of jewellery around. This months components were supplied by Sue Kennedy of Sue beads and I got to work with the cute set of chicklet beads second from the left in this picture…

Because these beads are flat I decided they would work well as bracelet focals but as I’ve made a few strung bracelets recently I wanted to do something different. I’ve always been fond of beaded copper bangles and used to make a lot of them so decided to go that route. These bangles are formed around a core of heavy gauge wire but on this occasion however, instead of wrapping the core with wire I decided to try wire macrame in order to get a flat band effect.


I threaded the beads onto the core with some Czech glass and copper accent beads and used 0.9mm copper wire to ‘tie’ simple square knots around it.

The ends of the core wire are looped with a couple of jump rings and a hand forged hook added to complete the bracelet. I used Liver of Sulphur to oxidise the wire and enhance the textural detail.

A fairly simple design but I really like this type of bangle and I think I may be making a few more.

You can see what everyone else made with their components by clicking on the links below and joining us on our blog hop.

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Guests



AJE Members

Lesley

AJE Component of the Month – April Reveal

This month’s components for the AJE challenge were ceramic buttons made by yours truly which could be used alone or as clasps. I love button closures…it goes back to my childhood when my seamstress Grandmother used to make clothes for me that were invariably finished with the cutest fabric covered shank buttons with little brass hooks or embroidered loops. They’ve long been used for jewellery too and I started making them myself in metal clay early last year so, when I was looking for inspiration for this months COM, and came across my moulds I decided to make some up in clay.

The button I chose to use myself is a little round stoneware one with a shell imprint and one of my favourite rustic glazes in a lovely earthy cream with blue green marbling.



I also love ocean inspired jewellery and I knew I had some art beads that would work well with the clasp as well as a matching set of my own stoneware beads in the same glaze plus a lovely sea green. I’ve long been hoarding one of Karen’s little whale beads and this was the perfect occasion to use it along with a cute lamp worked urchin bead from Caroline and a lamp worked soda bead from Jan Onipenco of Molten Mayhem. I also picked out some of my own bronze discs to add some texture and contrast.

I’ve made these up into a bracelet by simply stringing them on waxed Linen with seed bead spacers and finishing off with one of my bronze shell charms and a ceramic charm made with one of Caroline’s tiny birds. I’ve named it ‘Nantucket
Sound’ – I’ve never been there but from what I’ve read it just seemed
appropriate.

I really like how this has come together and I think the button closure gives it a sense of continuity.

Please use the links below to see what the rest of the AJE team and our guests have created with the button closures they were given…


Guests
Johana Nunez
Leah Curtis
Perri Jackson

AJE Team
 Lesley Watt
Keirsten GIles
Caroline Dewison
Rebekah Payne
Jenny Davies-Reazor
Jen Cameron
Diana Ptaszynski
Kristen Stevens
Francesca Watson
Melissa Meman
Linda Landig
Sue Kennedy

Lesley



AJE Component of the Month – March Reveal

Time for another AJE reveal and the component we all had to work with this month was a fantastic ceramic Luna Moth made by the lovely Caroline of Blueberri Beads…isn’t it stunning?

I have to say I was a little intimidated by this lovely fella as he is rather large and I was terrified throughout that I was going to drop and break him. Now, he is obviously intended for a necklace…unless you’re really into statement earrings and have very strong ears – and I decided that for me it needed to be a short one, again for safety reasons.

At first when I starting looking for accents I was struggling to come up with anything that seemed to either complement or match but, after a good rummage I found this lovely beaded bead by Malin De Koning…

The purples and golds matched my moth perfectly and I liked the way the blue beads added a little pop of contrasting colour so I decided to try and build on that. Eventually I found a selection of art beads I liked and wired them in bronze to form to different but hopefully complementary sections.

Here you can see ceramic beads from Marsha Neal, polymer clay beads from Rebekah Payne and one of my own patinated bronze rings and hooks. I also found some lovely hand dyed ribbon strings from Sowzere Designs in just the right colours which I plaited and added to the linked elements to complete the necklace – not the easiest piece to photograph but here it is…

I wasn’t sure about how the lovely turquoise flower sat at first but it’s kind of growing on me so I’ve it as is…what do you think?

I hope Caroline thinks I’ve done her component justice and I can’t wait to see what everyone else had made with theirs. You can join me on our little blog hop using the links below.

Guest

The AJE Team
Caroline Dewison – http://www.blueberribeads.co.uk 
Diana Ptaszynski – http://www.suburbangirlstudio.com
Jenny Davies-Reazor – http://www.jdaviesreazor.com/blog
Rebekah Payne – www.treewingsstudio.com
Lesley