Preview – 13th July shop Update…

Well it’s taken a little while but I’ve finally got the first batch of goodies from my shiny new and very large kiln finished and listed in my Etsy shop. It’s been quite an adjustment from the little kiln I’m used to but everything seems to be coming out as I’d hoped and I’m very happy with the kiln. Here’s a little preview of what’s to come in tonight’s (Monday 13th July 7pm BST) shop update…maybe something will tempt you…
Organic focal sets
Floral focal sets
Lunar hares…
Bead Sets
Charms and connectors
I’m off to The USA for a holiday next month so this will be the last big update I do until after that so the next one will probably be late September. I will also be closing my order book to commissions shortly so don’t miss out if you see something you fancy.

Hope to see you later.

Lesley

 

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.

Shop Update Friday 30th May…

Pendants, connectors, beads, buttons, charms…hope you can pop by – THEA elements.

www.theaelements.etsy.com

www.theaelements.etsy.com



Thank you.
Lesley

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

Mud Messing Round 2…

Yes – I’ve been messing with mud again…After the excitement of completing my first firing last week I couldn’t wait to get back to it and play some more. I’m limited to working with low fire earthenware clay until my new kiln arrives so I decided to make up some quick pendants and play with some glazes a bit more. Most people would test their glazes before using them on real pieces but I get so exited seeing the end result I just got straight to it – I’ll test more with the new kiln – honest I will! So then, this is the little assortment that came out of the kiln this morning…

I find it really interesting to see how the same glazes can vary from item to item and I’m assured by those in the know that there are no end of factors that can influence the firing outcome. I guess this would be really frustrating if I were trying to match the pieces of a dinner service but for beads I kind of like it…I’m something of a haphazard person and don’t like to be too regimented in anything I do.

This little Physalis pendant was my first attempt at simple modelling, something I don’t think I’ve done since I was a child and not in any big way even then. I do a fair amount of repetitive work with my other mediums so with clay I would like to spend a bit more time doing one off or small groups of work to keep it fresh. I’ve got a whole lot to learn about the basics before I start going down that road but that’s the long term plan.

These two are staples of my Bronze Clay inventory and I wanted to see how they would translate to glazed clay. They’re rather rustic and the owl does look a little dishevelled poor thing… that’s down to my over-ambitious use of multiple glazes. I have to remember that they don’t blend in the same way as metal patinas do but then again nothing ventured… He also seems to have been born with Heterochromia Iridum – different coloured eyes, but he shares that with David Bowie so that’s no problem for me.

On these last two I used underglaze with no top coat of gloss – mainly because I forgot to order any but also because I just wanted to see what it did as I’m a big fan of matt or etched finishes. I think the fir cone might be better glossy but I really like the flower pendant and the effect created by wiping the glaze off the raised areas.

So whilst I may not be going about this in the most scientific manner I’m having a ball and I can’t believe that it’s only two weeks since a discussion with my AJE team mates sent me hurtling headlong down this path – thanks guys!

Now, I have bronze and silver work I have to get back to for a couple of days but I don’t think it will be too long before I’m back with this again…especially since today was rather a good post day…

See you soon for more mud messing !
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 – 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.

s

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