Spring Fever Design Challenge Reveal

Today’s the day we finally get to see what everyone has made with the
beads they received as part of our ‘Spring Fever’ design challenge. To
recap, all the participants were sent a surprise package containing one
of my flower focal sets, one of Caroline’s bird focal sets and a length of sari silk courtesy of Claire from Smitten Beads.
These have now been turned into pieces of jewellery and I for one can’t
wait to see what they’ve become. But first I have to share with you my
own designs…

As always I left this until pretty much the last minute and very stupidly forgot to take pictures of my individual beads…how many times is that now…?

Anyway, for my first piece I decided to work with Caroline’s focal pendant set of a pretty china painted bird and leaf. I started by trying to think of a way to use them independently rather than the set they came as but they really are made for other and look so good together I decided to just go with it. I wired the bird onto a large disc bead to act as a kind of bird table and wired another loop underneath. To this I added the leaf element together with one of my bronze flower charms and some Czech glass flower dangles.

I wanted this to be a long necklace and my natural instinct for this style is to let the focal group do the work and keep the rest very simple but as the host just using a chain for a challenge piece felt like a bit of a cop out so some sort of embellishment was needed. In the end I decided on purple Irish linen woven through the chain and threaded with pearly seed beads.

I love the finished look – subtle and elegant but a bit more eye catching than chain alone would be.

The necklace is completed with hand forged brass ‘S’ clasp and a couple more Czech glass dangles.

Ceramic bird and lead focal beads by Caroline Dewison, Purple disc bead by www.marlasmud.etsy.com, Brass chain, Irish linen and pearlised seed beads from Smitten Beads
Because we put extra sets up for the challenge I didn’t actually get one of my own focals from the original batch and decided I would take something from my stock. Of course, by the time I got around to it I didn’t have a lot to choose from so my focal is more neutral in colour than the other pieces and I was  concerned that it looks a bit more autumnal than spring like. However, since any spring flower that wants to blossom in my garden this year has had to battle it’s way through the untended remnants of last autumn, it doesn’t seem wholly inappropriate…!

Another of Caroline’s birds has found it’s way into this necklace along with one of my bronze flower connectors which acts as a focal clasp.

 The focal elements are accented with ivory lampwork glass, Czech glass and rustic seed beads. I love the earthiness of this  and think it could actually be worn at any time of year.

Ceramic focal, bronze connector and clasp by me THEA Elements, Ceramic bird bead by  Caroline Dewison, ampwork beads by Pebble Dreams, Seed beads from Smitten Beads

I also ran out of Sari silk but I was determined to use all the elements of the challenge so raided my own silk stash to find something suitable. I couldn’t find any sari silk that fitted anything like a spring palette so I picked some pretty hand dyed silk strings instead and used these to create some simple macrame wrapped bangles…

As you can see, I have quite a stash of Caroline’s bird beads so I sat a couple of these in the centre of hoops of 14gauge bronze wire. Starting from the centre and working outwards I worked a square knot around size 5/6 seed beads.

The wire hoop is connected with simple loops and the silk strings tied of and left as tails to give bangles with a fresh fun look… I think I could get addicted to making these!

Hand dyed silk strings by Diane Turton, Ceramic birds by Caroline Dewison

So there you are then…I hope you’ve enjoyed seeing how this challenge inspired me. I’d like to say a huge thank you to everyone who has taken part in this challenge and made it so much fun, and to Caroline and Claire for joining me to make it happen in the first place. I hope now you’ll join me on the blog hop to see the rest of the wonderful designs…just click on the links below to see more.

All these pieces will be available in my Etsy shop shortly but please let me know if you are interested.

Enjoy!

Caroline Dewison – http://www.blueberribeads.co.uk 
Lori Bowring Michaud – http://artfullyornamental.blogspot.com/
Erin Prais – Hintz – http://treasures-found.blogspot.co.uk/

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