Welcome To My New World…

Yes, it’s true…after announcing twelve months ago that I was planning to rebrand my business and launch a new shop I’ve finally got my act together and done it!

Six years ago I gave up my day job and launched my jewellery business.

Naming the business was no easy thing but while I was searching for inspiration online I came across this description of the Greek goddess THEA:

THEA was the Greek goddess of sight and the lights of the sky as personified by her children Helios, Selene and Eos – goddesses of the sun, moon and dawn. She also had dominion over gems and precious metals and their inherent light.

Continue reading “Welcome To My New World…”

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 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: 

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

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

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 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


Autumn Design Challenge Reveal

Welcome to the Autumn Design Challenge and Blog Hop hosted by myself and Caroline Dewison of Blueberri Beads. Today’s participants will be showcasing designs made with a selection of THEA Elements and Blueberri Beads, beads and components that Caroline and I liberated from our own beads boxes and of course, we are playing along too.

So then, this is the set of Caroline’s beads I kept for myself – a lovely chocolate brown puffy heart and co-ordinating beads in shades of pecan and pistachio…

 

I wanted to pull the heart pendant out of the group and find a bronze component to complement it and since the aim of the challenge was to use our older components I had to have a good rummage in my rather large collection that is a mish-mash of things that may be a bit flawed, a little bit fugly, experiments that didn’t quite work first time around and quite frankly – some things that I have no idea as to why they are there!

I had a vague notion about doing something layered and in a single colour and eventually dug out a couple of text connectors I made way back last year and rejected because once oxidised, the text wasn’t really clear enough against the textured background. It occurred to me that if I clean them up and just left the patina
around the wording they might be OK… why I didn’t think this at the
time I don’t know…maybe I did and just got distracted.

The text comes from one of my favourite poems “He wishes for the cloths of heaven” by W. B Yeats…

Had I the heaven’s embroidered cloths,
Enwrought with golden and silver light,
The blue and the dim
and the dark cloths
Of night and light and the half-light,

I would spread the cloths under your feet:
But I, being poor, have only my dreams;
I have spread my dreams under your feet;
Tread softly because you tread on my dreams.

This seemed an appropriate sentiment to combine with a heart so I cleaned one up and it did indeed come up sparkling so I attached it with linen cord so that it would act as a kind of bail. I made a beaded bronze chain with some gorgeous Czech glass beads that have a gorgeous matte bronze sheen (hard to see here but they look like rough Pyrite nougats) and finished it off with a bronze wire clasp and this is how it finished up…


I like the fact that it seems to feel quite delicate but at the same time has a sense of solidity…

So that left me with the set of beads…I was thinking that a bracelet was the way to go but I couldn’t find any of my own pieces that seemed to work well for that. What I did find was a couple of last seasons leaf clasps that I thought I could maybe put to a new use. As one was green and the other orange I patinated them both in an antique bronze and strung them on waxed linen with the beads along with one of Caroline’s birds and a matching bead I just happened to have in my art bead stash.

I had a hank of tiny aged seed beads that were a perfect colour match so I threaded strands of these through the clasps and plaited them together to create a loose rope. I finished off with brass bead caps and another bronze wire clasp.

The result is a lovely soft autumn hued necklace and I think the leaves look pretty good as connectors…

I had just two ceramic beads left which obviously meant the making of a pair of earrings…I found a couple of flat flower discs and dapped then into bead caps then and added a pair of dagger charms to hang from the bottom. Pretty simple but effective none the less…

So that’s my offering and I hope you like the designs and will join me in visiting all the other participants using the links below… I can’t wait to see what everyone’s done. Many thanks to everyone who has taken part in this challenge and of course to Caroline for hosting with me and providing such lovely beads to work with.

 

Janet Bocciardi –
http://www.honeyfromthebee.com/

Pine Ridge
treasures – http://www.gratefulartist.blogspot.com

Melissa Trudinger –
http://beadrecipes.wordpress.com/

Lesley










AJE Component of the Month September…

I’m hosting the monthly component challenge over at AJE in September and I’ll be giving away one of my bronze bursting seed pods in lovely rich autumnal shades to 3 lucky readers…

So, If you fancy throwing you hat in the ring just pop over to the AJE blog and leave a comment on today’s post – winners will be chosen at random on Sunday night.

Have a great weekend all.

Lesley

This Weeks News…

Finally! The news I’ve been waiting for…planning permission for my garage conversion was granted on Wednesday and I now have a start date of May 27th, just ten days away – yippee! Which means of course that I will be spending part of the weekend sorting out this mess although, having had a false start it’s not as bad as it was.

I’m quite conscious that under those empty boxes are a lot more full of perfectly usable household items and clothing which have ‘somehow’ accumulated but which I just don’t need. I don’t have the time or resource to deal with this myself at the moment but hate the thought of it going to waste so I’m using an local ‘Eco Clearance’ company who aim to recycle and redistribute as much as they can to the most appropriate area which will leave me with a clear conscience at the same time. Then we get get down to the business of turning it into something a bit more like this…

I’ve still got lots of decisions to make about things like flooring, wall tiles and paint but I think I need to get a feel for the space before I can do that properly. Needless to say excitement is mounting.

I’ve been building  a log list of things to I need for the new work space when it’s finished but I haven’t been able to resist buying a couple of new toys already, the first being this Silhouette Cameo Die Cutter. It’s widely used for sign making and paper crafts but thanks to some very inspirational people in the field I’ve discovered it can also be used to create beautiful jewellery.

Caroline Dewison of Blueberri Beads has designed some beautiful etched pieces using vinyl cut on the Cameo  which achieves a much crisper edge than many other methods.

And Wanaree Tanner, doyenne of the metal clay world has developed a process for using it with sheets of dry metal clay to produce gorgeous cut out work. Check out their work and you’ll see why I just had to have one of these.

Photo by Wanaree Tanner

I’ve also treated myself to this little bench polisher. I’ve always done a lot of my finishing by hand but when I was preparing for the Big Bead show I started getting pains in my hands from the sheer volume of repetitive work and I’ve noticed that I can’t do as much now without my hands beginning to twinge. Obviously it would be a disaster if I couldn’t work because of this so it seemed that this would be a sensible investment.

I haven’t tried either of these gadgets out yet but the Cameo will be trialed on some display cards I need to make for a consignment of components I’ll be sending off to a Bricks and Mortar bead shop in the next few weeks (more of that in a future post) – cheaper to practice on card than clay methinks!. As for the polisher, I’m sure it won’t be too long before that gets a spin…I just need to find it a temporary home.

Something else I’ve been doing this week is making a bit more jewellery and I’m really enjoying it since I’ve been so consumed with the component side of things it’s great to have a bit of a change. My jewellery shop has also been a little neglected of late so I’ve been trying to make some new stock and use my own components more…not always easy when you have a huge stash of other peoples gorgeous goodies.

I will also be concentrating on jewellery whilst the building work is being done as it’s going to be difficult to do much component making. This means there will be no major THEA too updates until after the studio is complete but the shop is well stocked so there is still plenty to choose from. Likewise I won’t be able to make custom orders but am happy to take them for completion in the latter half of June.

Another little bit of excitement for me will be the publication of my first project piece in the June edition of ‘Making Jewellery’ which hits the shops on May 30th. I can’t show you what it is yet but of course I’ll post some pictures when it’s published…It’s a bumper issue with 100 project so worth a look.

Well that ‘s my news for the week..things are about to get a little hectic as you can see but while the building work is going on I will be writing regular posts to show you how it’s progressing so watch this space.

Have a fantastic weekend.

Lesley

AJE Earring Challenge Weeks 5 & 6/52

I’m hosting the AJE Earring challenge reveal today and had a great time looking through the designs on out Pinterest board to choose just a few favourites. There is such a variety of designs and it seems like everyone is having fun with this – I certainly hope so! I was really pleased with my own earrings for weeks 5 & 6 – sometimes I’m a bit unsure but happily there were no doubts this time round.

For this first pair I used some 22 gauge oxidised bronze wire to create macrame pina and suspended some beautiful Borosilicate lampwork beads from Brendan Blake from then. A couple of little Czech glass teardrops add a final flourish and voila…

I just haven’t found the time to list these yet and I’m not sure I’m going to either…

My second pair on the other hand have already been snapped up and will winging there way to the USA tomorrow morning. I’ve just bought a whole load of new  texture mats and wanted to try them out and these beautiful patinated seahorse charms were the result. They’re quite big and very striking so all I’ve added are some tiny etched handmade beads by Radiant Mind ans some hand forged wires to complete the look…

Pop on over to the AJE blog to see the the other participants entries and don’t forget to join us for reveal 4 on Sunday 3rd March. happy designing folks!



Lesley

AJE Component of the Month – January Reveal

This month’s components were dished up by Karen Totten in the form of these delicious Pithivier style beads. Gorgeously crimped and puffed, it was very hard to pick just one but in the end I chose the lovely verdigris one top centre.

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As soon as I got my hands on it I new I wanted to team it up with a bronze piece I’d been working on and create a double focal pendant for a necklace. My piece has a very organic feel to it and not only does it pick up the brown tones of the bead, there is also an echo of the leaf motif in the structure of the bronze element too.

I had some heavily veined turquoise nuggets that I thought might be a good match and indeed they were. I love the contrast of these two colours and decided to stick to this limited palette.  I’m having a bit of an affair with wooden beads at the moment and picked out some of my favourite tiger ebony twisted facet and rounds to add some contrast.

My initial thoughts had been for a long necklace with chain but I ended up stringing the beads on linen cord with some tiny bronze cube spacers. The design is fairly simple as I didn’t want to detract from the focal and asymmetrical patterns seemed to do just that. A simple hand forged bronze hook clasp completes the piece.

I played around with the length for a while and eventually settled on quite a
short piece by my standards with the pendant sitting just below
the collar bone where it has maximum impact. I really like this necklace – it’s so wearable and I love the colours and yes… I’m keeping it for myself! Thank you Karen!

To see what the rest of the AJE team and our guest designers have created just use the links  below.
Happy hopping.

Lesley