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”

Belle Armoire Jewellery Debut…

I’m not usually one for getting my work published in magazines – mainly because I’m too disorganised to get myself together for the submission deadlines but,when you get an invite from the beautifully put together Belle Armoire Jewelry, well you have to give it some careful consideration.

So that’s what I was doing around Christmas and today it’s safe to say that I’m just a little bit excited as I make my debut in Belle Armoire with seven pieces featured in a technique based article and a piece in the boutique section. You should have seen me run when the mail dropped this morning!

Metal clay and mixed media necklaces

Bronze clay and art bead earrings and bracelet

Wire macrame and bronze clay earrings

Wire macrame bangle

Fortunately I just about remembered to take some photo’s of the jewellery (apart form one pair of earrings) before I sent it off for consideration…

For this necklace I adapted a wonderful mixed media technique I was taught by by my good friend and AJE colleague Jenny Davies-Reazor at Bead Fest last year…

Mixed media necklace adapted for a technique by Jenny Davies- Reazor

These next pieces show case bronze clay and art beads..

Bronze clay, turquoise and Ebony necklace with ceramic focal by Karen Totten

Bronze clay necklace

Bronze clay bracelet

Bronze clay wire macrame earrings with lampwork beads by Puffafish lampwork

Bronze clay earrings with ceramic flowers by Karen Totten

And finally a spiral wire macrame bangle – unfortunately I’ve had the lovely lampwork beads so long I don’t remember who the maker is…

Lampwork and wire macrame bracelet

I hope you like the pieces…I guess now I might have to get myself a little more organised to make a few more submissions….watch this space!

Have a great weekend all.

Lesley

AJE Component of the Month – November Reveal

The components for this months challenge come in the form of these lovely beaded hoops from the seriously talented seed beader Kristen Stevens. Once again I forgot to photograph my own beads but they were the same as the purple pair in the centre of this picture.

Since they came in a pair I decided pretty quickly to make earrings but I wanted to try and do something a bit different. They’re very light and quite flexible so I began by looking for something that might give them a little more rigidity and structure. Whilst rummaging I came across my pot of copper washers and found some that the hoops sat quite nicely inside and I started to think about ways to attached the two elements – a little wire wrapping seemed in order.

I decided I wanted integral ear wires so I began by soldering some copper wire to the washers. I then had a bit of a ‘what if’ moment and used some solder paste to give the washers a more grungy, industrial look by dotting it around, melting it and then hammering it for a more battered look… I like this look a lot and I wish I’d thought to take process pictures but I always forget when I’m experimenting. I also punched a hole in the washers opposite the ear wire.

Next I had to attach Kristen’s hoop and this proved a little tricky. Because they didn’t fit snugly to the washer so it was difficult to keep them aligned – I kept wrapping too tightly and pulling the hoops to one side. Eventually I managed to get a more even and relaxed tension which held the hoops centred where I wanted them. Some ‘messy’ wrapping took care of the excess wire and created a contrasting accent.

For a little flourish I found some crystals that matched the colour of the hoops and added them to the bottom of the washers as dangles. Finally I formed the integral ear wires and here we have the finished product…

Because it took me a few attempts to get the wrapping right I did take a
bit of the surface colour of the hoops but in actual fact I really like
the effect and I think it works well with the grungy theme.

Many thanks to Kristen for providing up with such great beads to play with. Please use the links below to see what the rest of the team and out guests made for this challenge.

Lesley 

Cindy Martin Shaw
Shai Williams
Karen Martinez

Linda Landig

Caroline Dewison
Francesca Watson
Jenny Davies-Reazor
Lindsay Starr
Jennifer Cameron

Pre – Christmas Sale – 25% Off….

If you’re looking for some bargains while you’re Christmas shopping I’m running pre-holiday sales in both my shops from 8am GMT Friday 28th November until 12 Midnight 1st December. Use coupon code SANTA25 when you check out and 25% (excluding shipping) will be deducted from your order automatically.

THEA elements
THEA jewellery

Happy shopping!

 

Lesley

AJE Compononent of the Month – October Reveal

Yes, it’s that time of month again and for this months AJE COM challenge the components we got to work with were these gorgeous earthy fossil discs from Karen Totten of Starry Road Studio. These are right up my street and I chose a lovely chocolate/tan one in the middle of this image.

I wanted to give my design an old or tribal feel and knew I wanted to use leather. I had in mind to use a wire cocoon bead I made years ago and recently reclaimed from an old necklace but in the event it wasn’t substantial enough to balance Karen’s focal. So I started from scratch and made a new one in bronze wire and incorporated a wire bail to attach it.

I wanted to get a layered talisman effect so I added one of my bronze clam shell shards with some tiny seed bead dangles at the bottom.


I was originally going to keep it very simple and use a very thick piece of leather to suspend the focal from but I couldn’t make up my mind on colour so I started playing around with mixing thinner pieces. I used some chunky rustic Czech glass beads to create this woven pattern and made wire wrapped cord ends and a clasp to finish it off.

And this is my finished piece – quite a design departure for me as I don’t usually make short necklaces but it was necessary for this bold focal and I quite like the effect so I think there may be more to come…


Thank you for visiting today and I hope you’ll join me and visit our guest bloggers and the restof the AJE team to see what they have designed with Karen’s beads.

Lesley

Guest Designers
AJE Blog Team