AJE Eye Themed Design Challenge Reveal.

Today is reveal day for our monthly AJE design challenge and this month it’s a theme based challenge hosted by Lindsay Starr. Lindsay chose eyes as her theme and you can find out more about the subject on her original post.

The past month has run away with me somewhat so I didn’t manage to get around to making components for this challenge. Instead I picked out this lovely Milagro pendant of Jenny’s and decided to work with that.

Milagro is the Spanish word for miracle and ‘Eyes’ are a popular subject for these folk charms symbolising the concept of watching. They are often attached to an image of a deceased person as a representation of the spirit of that person is watching over and defending others from spirits from the land of the dead, or pleading their case before the saints and the angels.

In my stash I also had one of these prettty angel charms by Green Girl Studios and I thought that combined with Jenny’s pendant this would depict the ‘watching’ concept well. Both pieces carry legends and the words ‘strength’ and ‘safe’ seem very appropriate.

Green girl Studios

I bought the striped ethnic beads from Bead Fest last year and liked the way they picked up the colours from the Milagro and the patina of the charm when strung simply with tiny seed beads.

The necklace is finished with a simple hook clasp and an single accent bead above the charm.

I’m quite pleased with the way the necklace supports the traditional meaning of the Milagro and is very wearable.

Many thanks to Lindsay for hosting this challenge. You can see what the rest of the AJE team and our guests came up with this theme using the links below.

Guests 
AJE Members 

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

AJE Component of the Month Reveal – January

January brought with it another opportunity to work with a wonderful component designed by one of the AJE team  – this time a beautiful Polymer Clay aspiration focal from the lovely Jenny Davies Reazor. Jenny created the frames for these pieces by making a mould from an old buckle. She then a added dictionary excerpts which she sealed with resin.

The word Jenny chose for me was ‘explore’ to reflect my current journey in the ceramic clay world – most approriate… and the design I received was the burgundy/blue one at the bottom left of the picture.

I love the ornate style of Jenny’s piece but it wasn’t a style I was used to working with so I was unsure as to where to start – It had holes at each corner so I was thinking a bracelet was the way to go… To get the ball rolling I pulled out some beads in the same colour palette and left them on my desk while I went off to do something else and ponder.

A couple of days later I was trying to tidy up the studio and while shuffling the beads arrange I had an idea and started playing to see if it would work. An hour later this is what I had…

I was not entirely sure about it as it’s not like anything I’ve designed before but I do find it pleasing so I’ve stuck with it. The faceted bronze barrels and vintage Czech glass paired with tiny blue/grey frosted rounds.

The down side of just going with an idea in this way was that I hadn’t thought through the finishing of the piece and having been through everything in my clasp collection I had nothing that I felt would complete the bracelet satisfactorily. In the end I decided it need a bespoke bronze clasp but as I don’t have any other bronze ready to fire I haven’t been able to finish it so my design is incomplete. But I can show you how it looks at the moment…

I decided to make a mould from Jenny’s focal and replicate the frame as a toggle clasp. Once this is fired I’ll try to patinate it to match the focal – maybe in one colour maybe multiples, I’m not sure yet.

Neither am I sure how I’m going to do the bar element yet but I’m thinking maybe wire wrapped with some of the frosted beads…we’ll have to see.

Hopefully my ideas will work and I’ll post the finished piece once it’s done. In the meantimeyou can see what the rest of the AJE team and out guest made using the links below.
Lesley