Meet the Mudlarks

Mudlarks is the meeting off two minds that are equally obsessed with the infinite possibilities that working with clay (or mud) provides. One of those minds in mine and the other belongs to my good friend Caroline Dewison of Blueberribeads.

Caroline and I recently attended a bead show together and during the run up to this we got to talking about bead shows in general and how difficult and expensive it can be to find good ones. We don’t really have the equivalent of Bead Fest in the UK but we do have a big one day event called ‘The Big Bead Show‘. This show is very much geared to commercial bead sellers and is not cheap to attend so very few artisans exhibit there. Somehow though, in the course of one conversation we managed to find out the cost of the show and convince ourselves that if we pooled our resources and exhibited together we could hopefully do well enough to make it cost effective. Continue reading “Meet the Mudlarks”

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

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










And The Winners Are…

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First of all, many thanks to everyone who took the time to enter for this challenge…Caroline and I were both delighted with the response and can’t wait to see what the winners design with their THEA Elements and Blueberri Beads loot!

So I won’t keep you waiting any longer…the 20 lucky winners are…

Gay Messander – http://gaysiemay.blogspot.co.uk/
Made By Jules – http://madebyjulesblog.blogspot.co.uk/
The Moon & Seven Stars – http://moonandsevenstars.blogspot.com
Heidi Post – http://expostfactojewelry.blogspot.co.uk/
Janet Bocciardi – http://www.honeyfromthebee.com/
Alice – http://alice-dreaming.blogspot.com
Dolores Raml – http://craftydscreations.wordpress.com/
Lucy Haslam – http://faerystone.blogspot.co.uk/
Pine Ridge treasures – Grateful Artist
Shirley Moore – http://beadsandbread.blogspot.com
Tracy Collins – http://travelsintimedesigns.blogspot.co.uk
Elizabeth Beads – http://elizabethbeads.blogspot.com
Mags – http://magsinhelmet.blogspot.com
Pepita – http://pepita-handmade.blogspot.co.uk/
Jo-Ann – http://itsabeadifulcreation.blogspot.com
Toltec Jewels – http://www.jewelschoolfriends.com
Judith Johnston – http://www.judith-johnston.com
Janine Lucas – http://www.esfera.me
Madeline Bunyan – http://madelinebunyan.com/mlj/
Chic and frog – http://www.chicandfrog.wordpress.com
 

Congratulations to you all…I will be sending out Paypal requests in the next day or so and once payment is received and confirmed your surprise beads package will be shipped. In the meantime please check that your blog link above is correct and don’t forget to put October 2nd in your diaries.

Thanks again.

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