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”
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.
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.
Ravens (who will feed on carrion) are often depicted sitting on human skulls and have associations with warrior goddesses and battlefields in Celtic and Irish mythology (see Jenny’s post for more info). While this may seem a little macabre skulls are actually symbolic of courage, death and rebirth and amongst the many ideas the Raven symbolises are birth and freedom.
I wanted to have a go at interpreting this aspect of the Raven in ceramic clay but haven’t had a chance to work in this medium of late so I decide to try it out in polymer clay. I don’t have the greatest skills as a sculptor so this pendant is a little naive and clumsy but it’s a starting point and I may well pursue it in porcelain where I find it easier to achieve a more detailed finish.
Last up is a mixed media piece called ‘The Night Watch” which combines wet and needle felting with polymer clay and bead embellishment. I’d recently completed a piece using these materials and it got me really fired up so this was the ideal theme to explore it further. The rather dramatic backdrop of the moonlit sky silhouetted by trees was created by wet felting and then defined with needles. The moon and sky are embellished with seed beads and the Raven, made from polymer clay is embellished and attached to the backdrop using tiny seed beads. The beads are actually a dark oily blue rather than the silver they appear and are an absolute nightmare to photograph! This piece is not quite finished yet…the trees need a little something extra to lift the texture but I’m liking where it’s going thus far.
(already?) and that means it’s time for another AJE Component of the Month (COM) reveal. This months
components were these beautiful copper clay pieces byMelissa Meman featuring one of her own textural designs and the I got the rectangular pair to play with.
My original intention was to split the pair and make to separate items but time and energy have been against me this month so in the end I opted to stick with earrings. I always love the combination of turquoise and copper so I used a pair of lampwork headpins from Maryse Fritzsch Thillens to create some drops for the bottom of the earrings.
then added some tiny turquoise beads to some ear wires for a little
extra lift and that’s it – job done. Very simple but I think the
embellishments set of Melissa’s charms, which are and should
be the star of the show very well. Apologies for the colour on this picture which seems to fade during the uploading process no matter what I do.
Many thanks to Melissa for providing these lovely pieces to work with. To see what the rest of the AJE team and our guest designers have made just use the links below:
So yesterday I arrived home very tired but very happy after an amazing holiday in the USA which gave me the chance to meet a whole bunch of awesome people as well as to attend Bead Fest. If you were one of those people be it friend – old or new, customer, social event organiser or vendor then thank you so much for making me feel so welcome and contributing to me having such a great time – I really am grateful to you all.
I have plans for a number of blog posts in the near future inspired by my visit but since I am still suffering a little from ‘plane brain’ this first post is all about the beads… heavy on pictures and short on words. There are beads I bought as well as numerous beads that other artists and vendors were generous enough to swap with or gift to me and as you will see – I was very much in my element.
I’m going to start with the beads of my lovely hosts without whom none of this would have been possible. Diana Suburban Girl Studio Ptaszynski and her lovely hubby Colin met me at the airport and put me up for the first few days of my stay. Very generously Diana also offered me the opportunity to sell my own beads from her booth which of course meant I had more money to spend on buying beads – thanks Diana and everyone who bought my beads.
|photo courtesy of Kathleen Lange Klik|
Considering I had access to trays and trays of these beautiful beads all day I was
actually very restrained but if I’d had a bigger suitcase and higher customs
limits it would have been a whole different story…
Jen Cameron was hosting me for a road trip straight after Bead Fest but as you can see she was having a great time at the show… I think maybe the strain of making inventory while recovering from a broken arm finally got to her though!
Jen makes gorgeous lampwork headpins and I managed to bag a good selection along with some cute little beads…
The last leg of my trip was spent with Jenny Davies-Reazor – an artist and teacher who has inspired me to many new things during my stay but that’s definitely for another post.
Again I was reasonably restrained and could have got completely carried away looting Jenny’s huge and wonderful range of ceramic and mixed media pieces…
Don’t worry that I had to limit myself though – these lovely ladies have all been warned that I will be making a return visit next year to stock up further!
Before I even left the UK I’d made a list I things that I had to have and at the first opportunity I headed straight for Staci Louise Smith’s booth to snag this little (well not so little actually) bronze clay and copper Sugar skull… Staci’s work is so unique and original I just had to have it.
Another must visit vendor on my list was Hands of the Hills and if it hadn’t been for the sheer weight I would have spent a lot more time and money there…lovely vendors and all sorts of beautiful things to be had.
Heather Powers of Humble Beads was vending at Bead Fest for the first time this year and I was so excited to able to meet Heather and shop ‘in the flesh’ for her wonderfully creative beads. Hard to choose when you’re faced with so many lovelies but I think I did a pretty good job…
I’m also a really big fan of etched lampwork and soda beads so I was very happy to be able to do some swapping with Genea Crivello-Knable and get these wonderfully earthy, crusty beads and headpins – just perfect for autumn designs.
One of the biggest hightlights of this trip was meeting so many of the AJE blog team who have become such good friends and supporters online. No less than 9 of the 13 members made it to Bead Fest and I had such a great time with these lovely ladies…
From left to right: Karen Totten, Melissa Alford-Meman, Sue Kennedy, Me, Diana, Kristen Stevens (back) Jen, Linda Landig (back) and Jenny. And of course there was much swapping of lovelies among the group…
Gorgeous totem sets from the uber talented Karen…
Melissa’s amazing mixed media pieces including polymer clay, metal clay and a resin set hand made bezel…
Great pieces from Linda’s new line of ceramic – who’d know she was new to this…
And always fabulous – Kristen’s beaded hoops and beads. Kristen also made me some beautiful beaded jewellery but I’m saving that for another post.
I also managed to get my hands on a few Basha Beads courtesy of Cooky Schock – love the ancient rustic feel of these…
Although there may seem to be a lot of beads here… there were in fact a number of vendors I never made it to just through being somewhat overwhelmed and exhausted. Although we met at the show one of these was Marsha Neal Minutella so I was absolutely delighted when I got to Jenny’s and found out we were going to visit Marsha who lives close by.
Marsha is one of the first ceramic bead makers I came across, an absolute force of nature and an all round delightful person so I can’t tell you how excited I was to find myself actually standing in her studio – when I grow up I want a work space like that. She is also incredibly generous and had I been there earlier in my trip and had more space my pockets would have been loaded with a lot more beauties like these. Can’t wait to meet up again next year Marsha…
So as you can see I had a pretty good time increasing my bead stash but I do feel a little greedy keeping everything for myself so, I am planning to do a little giveaway or two once I’ve sorted myself out a bit so keep an eye out for that. A lot of the artists featured here will also be listing Bead Fest inventory in their shops so do check them out using the links in this post.
My own beads are being shipped back later this week and as soon as they arrive I will be doing a big shop update but this trip has left me feeling hugely inspired to make some jewellery so until then I think this little lot will keep me more than busy!
So, If you fancy throwing you hat in the ring just pop over to the AJE blog and leave a comment on today’s post – winners will be chosen at random on Sunday night.
Have a great weekend all.
The bead I received was the egg yolk yellow and turquoise one at the bottom right of the picture. I don’t work with yellow very much but the turquoise is such a lovely foil for it and this bead has such a sunny disposition I couldn’t help but smile. This was obviously going to be a summer piece and after playing around with a few ideas I decided on a necklace – a very simple design because I think it lets the colours and the shapes sing.
I managed to find some lampwork pumpkin beads that were a perfect match and wired the beads together with bronze wire to create a yoke. I used some pretty little Magnesite rice beads strung on waxed linen to hang the yoke from and completed the necklace with a handmade bronze hook clasp
And that’s it – nothing fussy or flashy but very eye catching I think…
While I was working on this the John Denver song ‘Sunshine on my shoulders’ kept running through my head so I took this as a sign and named the necklace after it.
We haven’t seen much sun here in the UK yet but appropriately we do have blue sky and sunshine this morning so maybe my necklace could be the harbinger of summer – you never know…
Many thanksto Sue for the beads and you can see what the other participants have done with their beads by clicking on the inks below and I hope you all have a happy and sunny weekend.
Birgitta Lejonklou http://lejonklou.blogspot.com/
Heidi Post http://www.expostfactojewelry.blogspot.com/
Lola Surwillo http://beadlolabead.blogspot.com/
Kay Thomerson http://kayzkreationz.blogspot.com/
AJE design team
Jennifer Cameron http://glassaddictions.com/
Jenny Davies-Reazor http://www.jdaviesreazor.com/blog
Susan Kennedy http://www.suebeads.blogspot.com/
Linda Landig http://www.lindasbeadblog.com/
Melissa Meman http://melissameman.blogspot.com/
Rebekah Payne http://www.treewingsstudio.com/
For this first pair I used some 22 gauge oxidised bronze wire to create macrame pina and suspended some beautiful Borosilicate lampwork beads from Brendan Blake from then. A couple of little Czech glass teardrops add a final flourish and voila…
I just haven’t found the time to list these yet and I’m not sure I’m going to either…
My second pair on the other hand have already been snapped up and will winging there way to the USA tomorrow morning. I’ve just bought a whole load of new texture mats and wanted to try them out and these beautiful patinated seahorse charms were the result. They’re quite big and very striking so all I’ve added are some tiny etched handmade beads by Radiant Mind ans some hand forged wires to complete the look…
Pop on over to the AJE blog to see the the other participants entries and don’t forget to join us for reveal 4 on Sunday 3rd March. happy designing folks!
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.
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.