Art Elements June theme Challenge Reveal – Sunflowers

So another month quietly and swiftly slips by and once more it’s time for a reveal for the latest Art Elements theme challenge hosted this month by Sue Kennedy. Sue chose sunflowers as her theme and these bright and bold beauties turned out to be the perfect pick for the heatwave we’re currently experiencing in the UK…no room for delicate blooms here right now! Continue reading “Art Elements June theme Challenge Reveal – Sunflowers”

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…

Continue reading “AJE Art Headpins Design Challenge Reveal”

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.

Continue reading “AJE Component of the Month Reveal – Fossilised pebbles”

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 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 ‘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

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

    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

    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 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 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 – 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 – 7 Days of Giveaways…!

    I just wanted to give you all a heads up about a very special event that will be starting over on the AJE blog tomorrow…a whole week of giveaways!!!

    The AJE facebook page recently sailed past 1000 likes and as a team we decided we wanted to celebrate and share that celebration with you. So we’ve all put up one of our own handmade art jewellery elements and each day 2 of these will be up for grabs for one lucky winner… which of course means you can have seven attempts to win one of these great prizes!

    You can find full details of the event here…just make sure you set yourself a reminder to pop by each day and. On behalf of the AJE team I’d like to say a big thank you to everyone who follows the blog and shares with us on our Facebook page for making this such a great community.

    Good Luck!

    Lesley


    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

    BEADFEST Bound…!

    Since I’ve been part of the online beading community I’ve become friends with many artists and designers from the USA and every year I suffer from acute attacks of envy when they all start preparing to show at or visit BEADFEST in Philadelphia. By comparison with most UK shows this event is HUGE and unlike most UK shows attracts large numbers of artisan bead makers for the three day expo. Not only that – over five days there are literally dozens upon dozens of workshops covering just about every aspect of jewellery making you might wish to try your hand at.

    Well this year there will be no envy and no living vicariously through other people’s photos because, thanks to some of my wonderful friends and AJE team mates I will be heading out to the USA on 18th August for a two week trip which will include BEADFEST. I am actually going to be there in person and I cannot begin to tell you how excited this makes me!!!

    I can’t thank these guys enough for their generosity in hosting me and helping me organise this trip…

    AJE Beadfesters Susan Kennedy, Linda Landig, (Genea Crivello-Knable
    photo-bombing), Karen Totten, Jennifer Stout-Cameron, Jenny
    Davies-Reazor and Diana Ptaszynski

    Here’s a sneak peek at just a few of the things I have to look forward to including my hosts doing what they do best…

    Diana’s Suburban Girl booth from Beadfest 2013

    And some of her lovely beads…

    Jenny and her booth…

    And her fabulous Goddess pendants…I wonder if she has one that gossips…?


    Jen at her Glass Addictions booth…

    And her amazing “Nightmare Insomnia’ beads…

    And here’s a selection of gorgeous goodies from some more artisan bead makers…clockwise from the left Joan Miller Porcelain, Staci-Louise Smith – SL Artisan Accents, Genea Crivello-Kable – Genea Beads and Karen Totten – Starry Road Studio.

    Green Girl Studios are most definitely on my shopping list…but then who isn’t!

    Mmmmmm – pretty!

    I think there may also be one or two more of my beady friends and customers around that I might just be able to catch up with in person – how fantastic is that…?! And of course, I will be taking a ‘few’ of my own beads with me too – you can’t go visiting friends and not take gifts can you!

    Many thanks to Diana, Jenny and Jen for the photographs

    I’m sure you’ll hear more from me about this is the coming weeks as I try not to bore everyone to death in my excitement. Now I need to go and pin a calendar on the wall and start crossing the days off…If you’re going to BEADFEST I look forward to seeing you there!

    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

    AJE Component of the Month Reveal – January

    January brought with it another opportunity to work with a wonderful component designed by one of the AJE team  – this time a beautiful Polymer Clay aspiration focal from the lovely Jenny Davies Reazor. Jenny created the frames for these pieces by making a mould from an old buckle. She then a added dictionary excerpts which she sealed with resin.

    The word Jenny chose for me was ‘explore’ to reflect my current journey in the ceramic clay world – most approriate… and the design I received was the burgundy/blue one at the bottom left of the picture.

    I love the ornate style of Jenny’s piece but it wasn’t a style I was used to working with so I was unsure as to where to start – It had holes at each corner so I was thinking a bracelet was the way to go… To get the ball rolling I pulled out some beads in the same colour palette and left them on my desk while I went off to do something else and ponder.

    A couple of days later I was trying to tidy up the studio and while shuffling the beads arrange I had an idea and started playing to see if it would work. An hour later this is what I had…

    I was not entirely sure about it as it’s not like anything I’ve designed before but I do find it pleasing so I’ve stuck with it. The faceted bronze barrels and vintage Czech glass paired with tiny blue/grey frosted rounds.

    The down side of just going with an idea in this way was that I hadn’t thought through the finishing of the piece and having been through everything in my clasp collection I had nothing that I felt would complete the bracelet satisfactorily. In the end I decided it need a bespoke bronze clasp but as I don’t have any other bronze ready to fire I haven’t been able to finish it so my design is incomplete. But I can show you how it looks at the moment…

    I decided to make a mould from Jenny’s focal and replicate the frame as a toggle clasp. Once this is fired I’ll try to patinate it to match the focal – maybe in one colour maybe multiples, I’m not sure yet.

    Neither am I sure how I’m going to do the bar element yet but I’m thinking maybe wire wrapped with some of the frosted beads…we’ll have to see.

    Hopefully my ideas will work and I’ll post the finished piece once it’s done. In the meantimeyou can see what the rest of the AJE team and out guest made using the links below.
    Lesley


    AJE Component of the Month – December Reveal

    Welcome to another AJE Component of the Month reveal which is a few days late as this is actually the last of the 2013 challenges. The components for December were these gorgeous organic swirl beads intricately decorated with tiny dots from Rebekah of Tree Wings Studio. I chose one in russet red like the one in the centre of this picture.

    What with everything that goes on it December I didn’t actually start my design until right at the last minute so I had to come up with an idea that was going to work first time. While I was pondering what to do I was staring out of the studio window from where I can see a bit of the woodland that surrounds the area. The sky was that heavy pinky grey colour that promises rain (we’ve already had a ton of the stuff), the branches of the bare tree were stark against the backdrop and a few birds sat huddled together against the elements.

    The earthy tones of Rebekah’s seemed to work with this image so I starting picking out some beads that I thought would work with the theme. I settled on a little grey bird by fellow AJE team mate Caroline Dewison along with some Czech glass flower beads. I made a focal pendant by wiring the focal and bird bead together with stainless steel wire and a russet crystal accent bead and hanging it from an antiqued silver ring. I wire wrapped the flower beads and added these to a length of chain attached to the bottom of the focal.

    I was really happy with this and finished the necklace very simply by adding a length of leather lacing from Smitten Beads wrapped with more stainless steel wire. The necklace is extra long and slips over the head without the need of a clasp – very casual and very easy to wear.

    I love the contrast of the flower beads – they give a watery effect to the piece and the stainless steel has that rain grey feel. I think it captures those wintry colours really well. What do you think….?

    To see what the rest of the AJE team and our guests have designed with their component just click on the links below.

    Happy hopping!
    Lesley

    Guest Designers:
    Ann – Bead
    Love
    Melissa – Bead Recipes


    AJE Team:
    Karen – Starry Road Studio
    Kristen – My Bead Journey
    Susan – Sue
    Beads
    Rebekah – Tree Wings Studio
    Caroline – BlueberriBeads