Turning Tides – Art Elements Design Challenge

I swear someone is stealing days from the months…I can’t believe it’s time for another Component of the Month design challenge reveal already! But it is and the pretties we were give to play with this month come in the form of these gorgeous lampwork focals by Jen Cameron. True to form I forgot to photograph my particular bead but it looks similar to the one back left in this image. Continue reading “Turning Tides – Art Elements Design Challenge”

Art Elements – October COM Reveal – Sugar Skulls

This months Component of the month comes to you courtesy of Jennifer Stout-Cameron who provided the Art Elements team and our guests with these super funky sugar skull beads. I love these beads and wanted to do something fun in keeping with their quirkiness but, the bright colours are not usually something I would work with so it took some thinking. Much of said thinking revolved around flowers and dangles but I didn’t have quite the right colours and then an idea struck me while rummaging around in my jewellery box.

Continue reading “Art Elements – October COM Reveal – Sugar Skulls”

BEADFEST Bound…!

Since I’ve been part of the online beading community I’ve become friends with many artists and designers from the USA and every year I suffer from acute attacks of envy when they all start preparing to show at or visit BEADFEST in Philadelphia. By comparison with most UK shows this event is HUGE and unlike most UK shows attracts large numbers of artisan bead makers for the three day expo. Not only that – over five days there are literally dozens upon dozens of workshops covering just about every aspect of jewellery making you might wish to try your hand at.

Well this year there will be no envy and no living vicariously through other people’s photos because, thanks to some of my wonderful friends and AJE team mates I will be heading out to the USA on 18th August for a two week trip which will include BEADFEST. I am actually going to be there in person and I cannot begin to tell you how excited this makes me!!!

I can’t thank these guys enough for their generosity in hosting me and helping me organise this trip…

AJE Beadfesters Susan Kennedy, Linda Landig, (Genea Crivello-Knable
photo-bombing), Karen Totten, Jennifer Stout-Cameron, Jenny
Davies-Reazor and Diana Ptaszynski

Here’s a sneak peek at just a few of the things I have to look forward to including my hosts doing what they do best…

Diana’s Suburban Girl booth from Beadfest 2013

And some of her lovely beads…

Jenny and her booth…

And her fabulous Goddess pendants…I wonder if she has one that gossips…?


Jen at her Glass Addictions booth…

And her amazing “Nightmare Insomnia’ beads…

And here’s a selection of gorgeous goodies from some more artisan bead makers…clockwise from the left Joan Miller Porcelain, Staci-Louise Smith – SL Artisan Accents, Genea Crivello-Kable – Genea Beads and Karen Totten – Starry Road Studio.

Green Girl Studios are most definitely on my shopping list…but then who isn’t!

Mmmmmm – pretty!

I think there may also be one or two more of my beady friends and customers around that I might just be able to catch up with in person – how fantastic is that…?! And of course, I will be taking a ‘few’ of my own beads with me too – you can’t go visiting friends and not take gifts can you!

Many thanks to Diana, Jenny and Jen for the photographs

I’m sure you’ll hear more from me about this is the coming weeks as I try not to bore everyone to death in my excitement. Now I need to go and pin a calendar on the wall and start crossing the days off…If you’re going to BEADFEST I look forward to seeing you there!

Lesley

Bead Soup Blog Party 6 – Today’s the Day!

So here we are then, today is the first reveal of three in Lori Anderson’s Bead Soup Blog Party 6 and of the pieces I’ve created with the soup sent to me by my lovely partner Jenny Cameron. When I first opened my parcel from Jenny I found so much and such variety that I had all sorts of ideas racing around in my head for all the things I wanted to do. Inevitably though, life and lack of time intervened and when I look at this picture now I realise I’ve barely scratched the surface. No matter though, the unused soup will stay on my work table and when I have a little free time (something I’ve promised to give myself in August) I will while it away some happy hours creating more and I’ll post it here at a future date.

Now let’s get back to what I did do. Although there were several pieces I would class as a focal I knew straight away that it would be the big red lampwork bead I’d choose – so tactile that I kept picking it up and rolling it in my hands. I love the organic nature of this bead and the way it looks like hot lava is slowly enveloping it. I felt it had a slightly futuristic, urban feel to it and I decided pretty quickly I wanted to use metal with it in some way eventually settling on sterling silver wire and, as far as planning goes that was it. I just sat down, cut three pieces of wire, threaded them through the bead and started bending and twisting. I’ve tried this before and more often that not I’ve ended up with a complete mess but happily, this time the muse was with me and I liked the results. So time for a picture I think – I’ve called this piece ‘Red Nebula’…

I’ve used the first of those three wires to create a yoke to support the bead and the second has been wrapped loosely around the yoke. I had it in my mind to create tendrils with the third wire but it had other ideas and became a kind of frame for the bead. Jenny also sent me some glorious red silk which I’ve wire wrapped and suspended the yoke from using hand forged hook clasps. I felt it needed a little something extra at this point to add a final flourish and I picked some lovely dark pearls from my soup mix threaded onto silver pins – I think that little bit of asymmetry sets it off quite nicely, what do you think?

I don’t find silk easy to work with and I’m fully aware that it’s not very ‘bohemian’ of me to have ironed it, but I like it and although I wasn’t sure at first, this piece has grown on me over the last few days.

So that was the focal sorted – now I had to come up with a design for my clasp, a vintage rhinestone piece that was really going to challenge me. I’ve never, ever created a piece of jewellery that could in anyway be said to have a vintage influence. Not that I have anything against the style, I just tend to see it as pretty and sparkly whereas I’m more rustic and earthy and consequently, I had very little in my bead stash that was an obvious choice to complement the clasp. I did think about going contemporary  with the steampunk pieces Jenny sent but these are so new to me me I realised I would need a lot of time to work something through and time was running out. Then I thought maybe rhinestone and black leather (who knows why) but I really wanted to have a go at doing something that at least nodded towards vintage and, after rummaging around in my own jewellery box I found an old pewter brooch that I hadn’t worn for about 20 years and an idea began to form.

Because pewter is soft I was able to cut the pin off the brooch and drill through the mounting blocks so I could attach some jump rings without having to drill into the brooch itself. I was making this piece very late in the day which turned out to be quite fortuitous as a parcel of gorgeous rustic pearls arrived the previous day and they definitely had a look of bygone days about them. I was planning for this to be a bracelet when I started but the balance didn’t feel right so this is what I turned it in to…

In addition to the pearls I’ve used lovely champagne Czech glass
Rivoli beads and sections of antique style chain. I really like the mix
of the brass and silver coloured metals here and I think it adds to the
aged feel. The clasp is too pretty to be hidden away so I’ve offset it
to one side…

I fiddled around with this quite a bit adding dangles and
embellishments but in the end decided less is more – it may not be true
vintage style but it’s my style and even though I think it’s pretty I’d
wear it myself for an occasion!

To me this is the type of necklace that benefits from matching earrings so I made a pair. Jenny’s soup included some lovely little brass beads and some creamy potato pearls which matched perfectly with the Rivoli beads and the chain links to make a very elegant set.

I did also manage to make two extra bracelets in a design that my regular blog readers will have seen a lot of lately (checkout the tutorial page for details); one using another of Jenny’s own lampwork beads and one using the cute little bus token she sent, instead of a button. These will be going to the ‘Global Genes Project, 7000 Bracelets Appeal‘ along with some other bracelets I’ve made recently.

So I hope you like what I’ve done with my bead soup even though there is so much I didn’t use. Just keep your  eyes peeled for future posts because there will be with second helpings of bead soup. In the meantime I’d like to thank Jenny for her warmth and generosity as my partner and Lori for another amazing feat of organisation. please hop over and visit Jenny to see what she’s done with the soup I sent her and enjoy the rest of the party visiting the blogs in the list below.

Lesley Watt, The Gossiping Goddess
Jennifer Cameron, Glass Addictions

Hostess, Lori Anderson, PrettyThingsBlog.com
Alice Craddick,  Alice’s Beads and Baubles
Alicia Marinache,  All The Pretty Things
Amanda Tibbetts,  Amanda Made
Amber Dawn Goldish, Inventive Soul
Annita Wilson,  AW Jewelry
Beti Horvath, Stringing Fool
Birgitta Lejonklou,  Create With Spirit   
Candida Castleberry,    Spinning Spun Sugar
Carolyn Lawson, Carolyn’s Creations
Cassie Donlen, Glass Beadle
Cheryl McCloud,  One Thing Leads to Another
Cheryl Roe, BeadRoe
Christina Hickman, Vintage Treasures Jewelry
Christine Hendrickson,  Clamworks
Cilla Watkins, Tell Your Girlfriends
Cindy Wilson, Mommy’s Dream
Cindy Wimmer, Sweet Bead Studio
Cory Celaya, Art With Moxie
Cory Tompkins, Tealwater Designs
Cris Peacock, Cris’ Page
Cynthia Deis, Shiny Little Things
Cynthia Machata, Antiquity Travelers
Cynthia Wainscott, Exotic Peru
Dana Hickey, Magpie Approved
Denielle Hagerman, Some Beads and Other Things
Diane Valasek, Dragonfly Close
Doris Stumpf, Glaszwerg
Dyanne Everett-Cantrell, Dee-Liteful Jewelry Creations
Elaine Robitaille, Too Aquarius
Eleanor Burian-Mohr, The Charmed Life
Enik√∂ Fabian, Perl-eni
Erin Prais-Hintz, Treasures Found
Heather Davis, Blissful Garden Beads
Heidi Post, Ex Post Facto Jewelry
Hilary Frye, FryeStyle
Inge von Roos, Inge’s Blog
Jami Shipp, Celebrating Life
Jayne Capps, Mama’s Got to Doodle
Jennifer Pottner, Rock Candy Beads
Jennifer VanBenschoten,  Jewelry, Art and Life
Jenny Davies-Reazor, Jenny Davies-Reazor
Jenny Vidberg, Shyme Design
Jessica Dickens, My Jewelry, My Life, Me
Jessica Klaaren, Beadful-Things by Jessica
JJ Jacobs, Coming Abstractions
Joan Williams, Lilruby Jewelry
Judith Johnston, Judith Johnston
Judy Riggs, Rigglettes
Judy Turner, Silver Rains
Julie Anne Leggett, The Peaceful Bead
K Hutchinson, Jumbled Hutch
Karen Meador, Dreamcatcher Ranch
Karyn Bonfiglio, Plus Size Bangles
Katherine Gale, Terra Beadworks
Kathleen Lange Klik, Modern Nature Studio
Katja Benevol Gabrijelcic, Slovonske Technobe
Kelli Jacobson, Creative Moon
Kelly Ramstack, Adventures with Kelly
Keri Lee Sereika, Pink Lemonade
Kim Bender-Hora, KimmyKat
Kirsi Luostarinen, Kirsi Luo Korut
Kitty Bozzini, Kitty Lampwork
Laura Demoya, The Bead Therapist
Laurie Hanna, Laurie’s Jewelbox
Leah Curtis, Beady Eyed Bunny
Linda Inhelder, Must-Haves Jewelry
Lisa Liddy, Metal Me This
Mallory Hoffman, For the Love of Beads
Marge Beebe, Rock Creek Creations
Marianna Boylan, Pretty Shiny Things
Marion Simmons, Shade Tree Studio
Marla Gibson, Spice Box Design
Marta Weaver, Marta Weaver Jewelry
Marti Conrad, Marti C’s Clay Blog
Maryse Fritzsch-Thillens, GlassBeadArt, Lampwork Beads
Melanie Brooks, Earthenwood Studio
Michelle Hardy, Firefly Visions
Mikala Coates, Maybe Just Perhaps
Mowse Doyle, HoCArt
Nancy Boylan, Snazzy Doodle Designs
Nancy Peterson, Beading From the Heart
Nicole Rennell, Nicole Rennell Designs
Niki Meiners, 365 Days of Craft
Niky Sayers, Silver Nik Nats
Norma Turvey, Moonlit Fantaseas
Paige Maxim, Paige Maxim Designs
Pamela Gangler, She Always Loved Pink
Patricia Johnson, Patricia L. Johnson Glass Art
Perri Jackson, Shaktipaj Designs
Raida Disbrow, Havana Beads
Renetha Stanziano, Lamplight Crafts
Shannon Hicks, Falling Into the Sky
Shannon LeVart, Miss Fickle Media
Sharon Driscoll, Right Turn Art Werks
Shelley Graham Turner, Fabric of My Life
Sherri Stokey, Knot Just Macrame
Shirley Moore, Beads and Bread
Skylar Bre’z, Brising Beads
Stacie Florer, Soul to Substance
Stacie Stamper, Park Avenue
Stacy Alderson, Iridal’s Attic
Stephanie Haussler, Pixybug Designs
Stephanie Stamper, Rainy Day Designs
Suzette Bentley, Ellie’s Bijoux
Tammy Jones, Jewelry Making Daily
Tanty Sri Hartanti, TJewellicious by Tanti
Terry Matuszyk, Pink Chapeau
Vonna Maslanka, Just Vonna

Full of Flavour and Nicely Spiced…Soup’s here!

I don’t usually do two posts in one day but my bead soup arrived today and I just can’t wait until tomorrow to share it with you. Just look at all those gorgeous little packages – I actually made myself a cup of tea and sat and looked at them for a while…and then I ripped into them!
If you don’t know Jen Cameron, she is a glass artist who makes amazing lampwork beads and uses them in her own jewellery designs. She’s also a very clever lady because she’s put together a soup that combines items that are right up my street, with things I’ve never used (and in some cases don’t know how to use) and are going to challenge me big time. That really excites me and I can’t wait to dive into the unknown.
Unsurprisingly there was too much in those little packages to get into one shot and anyway, you’ll want more than one spoon of this tasty soup – so how’s this for starters…
Not one, not two, but four gorgeous lampwork focal beads and one of Jen’s ‘lampworkified’ keys. I love earthy organic beads and these are no exception and that key, well that’s a fun challenge I’m really looking forward to. Then we have a good handful of colourful enamelled beads, again by Jen, Czech glass beads, Vintaj chain and yes, some Sari silk. From our e mail exchanges, Jen and I discovered that we had quite a lot in common one of which was finding Sari silk hard to work with. We both love it in other peoples work but always think it looks awful in our own. So she’s set me another challenge here and since I noticed that she used it very successfully herself in a challenge piece last weekend, I guess I’m just going to have to rise to that!
Here’s a better look at those lush focals…

I somehow managed to miss these lovely little pearls when I took that first picture.

And now we come to the unknown element, the materials I’ve never worked with and design styles I have never attempted – Steam Punk, found objects and vintage…where these are concerned I know nothing but I’m so looking forward to changing that.

So here we have my lovely vintage crystal clasp, some big wooden buttons, a glass vial, Steam Punk gears in wood and metal, vintage Swarovski flowers, Mica sheets and washer beads, some cute little brass star beads, a Washington DC bus token and a vintage fabric measuring tape. I am a little nervous when I look at these…the only thing I’ve ever done with a Mica sheet is slump glass on it but as I said, there is a certain frisson of excitement at the thought of working with materials I have no preconceptions of and the freedom that entails.

So there you have my bead soup with all it’s depth of flavour. This will be sitting on my worktable for the rest of the week and hopefully sparking my imagination until next week when the fun will begin.

This parcel got to me in the UK from Indiana in just 4 days and hopefully Jen’s soup will arrive with her soon too. If she likes it half as much as I do this – I’ll be very happy.

Lesley