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: 

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










AJE Component of the Month Reveal – September

Time for another little tour around the blogs of the AJE team members and guests to see what they’ve done with this months component – my own bursting seed pods…
Well the first thing you’ll notice is that the component I’ve used isn’t one of the colourful ones pictured here. When I made these I had an idea in my head for using two caps to create some sort of collar necklace but, by the time I got around to making it much later things had changed. I’d been busy making new autumn stock for the shop and fallen in love with a chunky pine cone pendant which was demanding to be used.
 Part of the attraction of this piece was the natural kiln produced patina and I decided the pod needed to match and so my design was driven towards a very earthy and muted (even for me) palette. I used the pod to cap a ceramic bead from AJE team mate Diana and attached this to the pine cone to create a focal pendant.

I mixed some more of Diana’s beads with some carved ebony beads that I have a passion for and accented them with tiny brass spacers that echo the texture of the pine cone. On one side I added one of my bronze acorn caps and on the other one of LeAnn Weih‘s gorgeous ceramic birds. The beads are strung on waxed linen attached to a couple of textured bronze ring connectors. and finished with a hand forged bronze wire clasp.

I was thinking of using some sari silk at the back but whilst I was rummaging I came across this lovely printed cotton ribbon from Smitten Beads and it was such a perfect match I decided to go with that instead – I really like the folksy feel it gives. I used a double thickness and a simple capped rivet to join the ends on the underside at the back.

And this is the finished design…

Since the Beatles song ‘Norwegian Wood’ just happened to come on the radio as I was finishing the piece I took it as a sign and decided to make that the name.

I hope you like my design – looking back on the past few COM’s I have noticed a certain similarity in my designs so I’ll have to try and shake it up a bit next time…but I’m happy with this one.

To see what everyone else has done with their components just use the links below to visit their blogs:

Guest designers:

Erin Prais-Hintz – Tesori Trovati
Cate – Fulgorine
Claire Lockwood – Something To Do With Your Hands

AJE team

Jennifer Cameron

Jenny Davies-Reazor
Francesca Watson
Melissa Meman
Linda Landig
Susan Kennedy
Rebekah Payne
Caroline Dewison
Lesley Watt                 You are here!

Have fun!

Lesley

Another Milestone and a Giveaway…

2013 has been a pretty good year for me so far and I’m delighted to be able to celebrate the fact that THEA Elements has now passed the 2000 sales mark in just a little over 18 months. I’m gobsmacked by this and I’ve said it before and will continue to say I am immensely grateful to everyone who has supported and encouraged me throughout this period. So in the time honoured tradition I’m having a giveaway to say thank you. Since I’m celebrating 2 thousand sales there 2 prizes up for grabs…

First up  is a little collection of my bronze components with a bit of an autumnal feel. There is a  lovely sea urchin pendant that’s been enameled with glass frit, a leaf skeleton clasp, a pair of maple leaf headpins and a pair of bronze scroll ear wires by made by the lovely Lisa Quinn…Think you could do something with these…?

The second prize is a pair of my wire macrame earrings featuring lovely etched lampwork beads by Sue Priest, accented with Czech glass and oxidised copper wire and hung from hypo-allergenic Niobium ear wire. I love the soft muted colours of and have called them ‘After the Rain’.

So,
two lucky people will walk away with one of these prizes each and it
could be you because all you have to do to enter is leave a comment on
this post. But there are are lots of ways you can increase your chances
of winning too… Do any of the following and leave an additional comment each time and you will get an extra entry for each one:
  • Share this giveaway on your own blog.
  • Share this giveaway on your Facebook pages, Google+, Twitter etc.
  • Become a new follower of ‘The Gossiping Goddess’ – see sidebar.
  • Become a follower of my Facebook page.
  • Follow me on Pinterest
  • Like my Etsy shops THEA jewellery and THEA Elements.
  • Anything else of you can think of to spread the word.
Don’t forget to leave a separate comment for each method to maximise your chances though!

The giveaway will close at 8am BST (UK time) on Wednesday 25th September 2013 and I will randomly select and announce the winners later in the day.
So
all that remains is for me to once again say a huge thank you to
everyone who has made 2013 such a great year so far and long may it continue…oh – and good luck with the giveaway!
Lesley




THEA Elements and Blueberri Beads Autumn Design Challenge… NOW CLOSED TO ENTRIES

I know it’s still summer in theory but I’m already thinking about autumn (my favourite time of the year) and since it’s been rather a long time since  I hosted anything on my blog I’ve decided that this would be the perfect theme for a design challenge. What’s more, my friend Caroline of Blueberri Beads is of the same mind so we’ve joined forces to give you the chance to get some great beads at a bargain price and then show us what you can do with them…

Caroline has kindly contributed 20 sets of her lovely ceramic beads and I have added a couple of pieces of bronze to each one – all ready and waiting for someone to turn them into a beautiful autumn themed design. They will available at a cost of just £10 GBP (inc. shipping) per set to 20 lucky people who will be randomly selected from their comments on this post. If you win you will receive a surprise package containing one of the bead sets pictured here which can be used with beads from your own stash to create as many pieces as you like and then join us for a blog hop on Wednesday 2nd October.

So, do you fancy having a go…silly question – of course you do…! 
All you have to do to enter is comment on this post or on Caroline’s blog post but please note – you must be willing to take part in the blog hop on Wednesday October 2nd. There are are lots of ways you can increase your chances
of winning too… Do any of the following and leave an additional comment each time and you will get an extra entry for each one:
Don’t forget to leave a separate comment for each method to maximise your chances though!

The draw will close at 8pm GMT on Monday 19th August 2013 and I will randomly select and announce the winners later in the day and send them my Paypal address. Payments should be made as quickly as possible to ensure beads are shipped in good time.

It’s as simple as that so good luck and I’ll see you back here on the 19th and hope you’ll be with us on October 2nd.

Lesley

Brit Pack Beaders – We’re Back…!

Well actually we’ve been here all the time but everyone on the team has been so busy this year that it’s taken us until now to all be able to take on our next challenge – where did the last 6 months go that’s what I want to know!

If you’re new to the BPB’s you can find out more by visiting the page tabbed at the top of this post but the basic premise is
that we are a group of 5 jewellery and component designers (Claire Braunbarth, Jo Tinley, Rebecca Anderson, Bo Hulley and myself) who take on Bi-monthly jewellery Challenges. For each
challenge, one person will choose a theme based on anything they like –
could be music, literature, film, visual images anything at all that
inspires that person. Each person is then allocated one of five design
items – clasps, focal beads, accent beads, decorative embellishments and
stringing material, and must send each pack member one of those that has some relevance to the
theme. Ultimately, everyone will all end up with a
design kit put together by five people with which to create a piece of
jewellery inspired by the theme.



For this challenge it was Bo’s turn to decide on the theme and she chose this painting by
Dante Gabrielle Rosetti…

Oil on canvas, dated 1870, 109.2 x 90.5cm, Aberdeen Art Gallery & Museums Collections

The painting depicts Jane Morris, the wife of William Morris posed as Mariana from Shakespeare’s ‘Measure For Measure’ a women deserted by her betrothed (click link on picture for more information). It’s a rich and sumptuous painting and the team has once again put together some wonderful components for the challenge…

Along with choosing the theme Bo was responsible for providing the clasp and sent me this lovely floral button clasp…

Focals were down to Claire and she commission Pippa Chandler to make these lovely Polymer Clay flower beads which perfectly match the key colours of the painting…

Jo has supplied a lovely selection of lampwork and Czech glass accent beads which again pick up the rich tones but also add some balance with some lovely neutrals…

String materials were down to Rebecca and she sent me this gorgeous silk string in graduated shades of peachy pink and some dark blue waxed linen…

My job for this task was to provide embellishments so I made some little bronze links and charms influenced by some of the motifs in the painting – Mariana’s hair decoration, the tapestry…and the tiny heart is perhaps a little nod to the heart break of her desertion.


 

I think you’ll agree this really is a lovely collection of components to work with…

If you’d like to see how we all do with this challenge then join us back here on Wednesday 31st July when we’ll be revealing our finished designs. You can also check out what the rest of the team think of the challenge by visiting their latest blog and Facebook posts…
See you back here n the 31st.
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