Needless to say I did my usual trick of forgetting to take a photo of my own pieces so I’ve had to crop them out of the bigger image. Since I had a couple of spares I decided to have a go at two designs and fortunately the two were sat next to each other.
So as May draws to close another AJE design challenge rolls around and this month it was the turn of Sue Kennedy to provide us with components to work with and she chose these cute little lampwork heart and star cabochons…
These are the selection Sue sent me – aren’t they cute…?
Whilst I had originally thought to use all three of these together time escaped me and I didn’t get to start the challenge until the very last minute so I decided to concentrate on one piece. The coral coloured star reminded me of the starfish I used to go searching for in rock pools and caves as a child so that was the one I chose to use in an ocean themed piece.
Using one of my hand made molds I made a polymer clay urchin focal and before baking impressed the star into the clay to make a setting for it. Once baked I painted it with acrylic paints and then sanded it back to expose some of the clay and glued Sue’s cab into position.
I’m not usually once for using glue as a connection but I didn’t want to obscure the detail of the star with a metal setting. In this context and with these materials it’s very secure and I think it works.
I love layered or stacked pendants so I added one of my copper clay shells and a tiny coral and seed bead charm to add further depth and interest…
For the necklace I picked out some beads that reflected the colours of the focal and copper wire wrapped them – recycled glass, lampwork pumpkins and ocean jasper accented with mottled sandy seed beads.
A pretty copper chain with another tiny charm, an LOS (Liver of sulphur) bath for the metal/bead elements and a quick tumble and the design is finished. Now I want to head for the beach and get my toes into some sea and sand!
Many thanks to Sue for providing us with these lovely pieces to work with. Please go and visit the rest of the AJE team and our guests to see what they did with their components – links below.
Today is reveal day for the AJE Component of the Month challenge for April and the pieces we had to work with this month were these wonderful polymer clay Amulets created by Jenny Davies-Reazor. I was lucky enough to get the gorgeous green swirly one at the bottom left of this image.
When my amulet arrived the first thing that struck me was that the swirly textural design and the colour palette were reminiscent of the ocean so that was going to influence my theme. I also decided I wanted to add some sort of stopper to create a little vessel – maybe for hiding secrets or special treasures in. My initial thought was that I could do this with a little round bead but I couldn’t find anything that would stay put but then, while rummaging around looking for inspiration I came across my Tracey Seder-Donoughe bead stash and this one leapt out at me. Not only was it a perfect colour match but its ‘waisted’ style made it a very secure fit – perfect.
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.
Working with the ocean theme I added one of my own bronze shell charms to the bottom of the amulet and gave this a little accent bead that picks out the darker teal tone of the piece.
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.
Many thanks to Jenny for supplying such a fun piece to work with – I got fully immersed in this challenge and thoroughly enjoyed the whole process. Please do now join our blog hop to see what the rest of the AJE team and our guests created.
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.
So here we are again…another month has flown by and it’s time for another AJE component of the month reveal. This months we were challenge to work with these lovely ‘Phaedra’ chain maille and crystal components made by Diana Ptaszynski – very bling!
Now I have to say these were quite a challenge for me since bling is not really my thing. I tend much more to the earthy and subdued and my inclination for anything sparkly is to treat it very simply and just hang it from a chain where it speaks for itself…but that didn’t fell quite right for a challenge.
So I was trying to thing of something that would better fit my aesthetic and still showcase Diana’s component and decided to try something with leather. I remembered a tutorial I had saved that involved loosely weaving leather cord into a necklace and decided to have a go at that. As the weave is quite loose I wasn’t sure if it would work but being made from aluminium jump rings the Phaedra is very light and it did work a treat. So in the end I did simply hang it from a necklace but I think it has a bit more impact than a chain!
I was fortunate to have a number of Phaedra’s in different colours and I chose to go with red because it worked best with the very dark blue of the leather. The combination wasn’t the easiest to photograph to get both elements captured accurately either so my apologies for the less than brilliant photographs.
I’m really keen to see what the other participants have made this month so I hope you’ll join me on our little blog hop via the links below:
Welcome to this months AJE design challenge which gave us the opportunity to work with these gorgeous lichen inspired organic ceramic components from Caroline.
To feed my current addiction to beaded bezels I chose the purple cabochon on the bottom row. There is thin line of seafoam on the cabochon where the glazes have reacted and I wanted to use this as my accent colour in the beading. Fortunately I had the perfect beads and partnered with a mix if matt and gloss purple beads I was really pleased with how the bezel came out.
As the cabochon is so organic I had to manipulate the rows to secure it so that the beading is heavier at the bottom of the piece which balances it out and stops the bead work looking to orderly.
I jumped straight into the beading and didn’t give any thought to what I was going to do with it until it was finished. I felt it needed something to contrast the soft natural lines so I had a rummage around in my silver stash to see if I had anything that might work. I found this Hill Tribe Tube and decided to use it as a yoke to suspend the focal from by sewing closed jump rings to the back of it and making a decorative link section.
I managed to find some colour matched organic lampwork beads and mixed these with silver dipped Greek ceramic cornflake beads and haematite seed beads to pull everything together.
I added black leather cord and decided that’s all I was going to do because when I tried it on I loved the way it looked and knew I was going to keep it – a simple silver clasp and job done!
Many thanks to Caroline for giving us these lovely pieces to work with and I’m very happy to have a second one to play with too. To see what the rest of the team and our guest designers did with their component join us on our blog hop using the links below.
Yes – don’t faint…I’m actually writing a blog post for the first time in over 2 months! Considering my aim to post more this year I’m heading for a pretty epic fail by year end. It’s always difficult over the summer months with preparation for and enjoyment of holidays which occupied me for most of August and early September. Then the minute I got back from a fantastic trip to the USA I went down with a particularly nasty virus that laid me low for two weeks and I’m really only just back to fighting fit.
I’ve also been doing some thinking about where I’m going with my work over this period as I’ve reached a bit of a hiatus and have had the feeling for some time that I need to pep things up a little… I still love making beads and jewellery but I do feel a little stale.
My summer vacation was spent with creative friends and we spent a lot of time playing with new techniques and trying activities I’ve done little or none of before.
My good friend Jenny Davies-Reazor taught me how to bead embroider cabochons and I’ve taken to this like a duck to water. These are the pieces I did while I was away…
I was also lucky enough to have a needle-felting play date with the lovely Marsha Neal where she taught us to make these suer cute pumpkins.
Marsha also works at Serafina Fiber Art and needless to say I came home with a big stash of beautiful wools to play with at home.
The best thing about learning these two techniques is that I’ve been inspired to combine them to create some mixed media pieces which I’m really excited about. I used to do some traditional embroidery in a past life and like these idea of adding this into the mix too…
Embroidered cushion circa 1990
These pieces are mostly non-jewellery and I’m not sure where I’m going with them but I’m having fun exploring the possibilities…
Another work-in-progress test piece waiting to be embellished with beads…
Polymer clay pendant by Roberta Warshaw
For the time being I’m happy playing around with these ideas to see where they take me but then of course I need to think about what I’m going to do with the. Both my Etsy shops need overhauling and probably moving to another platform altogether so there is a lot to do in the coming months. I’ll still be working on beads and jewellery too but you might be seeing a lot more experimental work form me. I will also make a concerned effort to blog more frequently and keep you posted on developments.
Until then – enjoy the rest of your weekend and enjoy the glories of this beautiful autumn season. Lesley
Welcome to the July reveal of the AJE component of the month challenge. This months art components were these cute little buttons and clasps made from old UK coins by Niky Sayers.
Niky sent these out as a surprise package and I was happy to receive one of the beads which feature a pretty little wren motif.
When I got my bead I had a vague recollection of an old fable about a wren and after digging around a bit online I managed to find an obscure copy of it and it’s called ‘The Rook and the Wren’. After reading it through I decided to use it as inspiration and try and put together a design where the elements would represent certain motifs within the fable. I wasn’t sure what I was going to do but after pulling out some art beads that fit the bill a bracelet seemed to be the obvious choice. Some of the components have pretty clear links to the fables, others are more evocative…it’s strung on waxed linen and all in all I’m pretty pleased with it…
Rather than go into great detail I thought I’d let you read the fable for yourselves (please excuse the strange format but this is the only copy I could find) and then see what what you think of my interpretation…
Many thanks to Niky for providing us with such a lovely piece to work with – if you would like to see what the other participants made with Niky’s components please join our blog hop using the links below.
It’s the end of another month already which means it’s time for another AJE Challenge reveal and the components we had to work with this month were a pair of these pretty beaded beads from Susan Kennedy of Suebeads.
I have a little stock of these beads and am very fond of using them for earrings because they are small and light but always pack a punch in terms of colour and textures – so that’s the route I took with his challenge.
This first pair are very simple but Sue’s beads were such a perfect match for a pair of ombre ceramic drops by Diana Ptaszynski of Suburban Girl Beads that I really didn’t want to add anything more than a little wire wrapping and some simple wires.
The blues of the elements work so well together and are such a natural pairing with copper.
For my second pair I picked out a pair of Polymer Clay heads pins by Heather Powers of Humblebeads. I fed the wire of the headpins up through the beaded beads and bent them round bail making pliers to make a loop and then fed them back down through the bead wrapping the wire around itself a couple of times. I then wrapped the tails of the wire around the tip of my round nose pliers to create a little coil and then stretched these out to create tendrils
These are super light, really comfortable to wear and perfect for colours for summer.
Many thanks to Sue for the chance to work with these lovely fun beads. You can see what everyone else designed using the links below.
Next month’s AJE challenge is another themed event and this time it’s all about Fireflies with the chance to win one of Jen Cameron’s lovely beads so check out the this AJE post for all the details but do hurry – the winners will be chose tomorrow, Monday June 1st.
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…
It’s the end of another month
(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:
Well Christmas is almost upon
us now and I just wanted to take this opportunity to wish you all the very
best for the holiday season.
2014 has been a pretty good year for me and I hope 2015 will continue in
the same vein. I have lots of ideas brewing in my head including the continued
development of my component offering and a complete overhaul of my
jewellery range. I am also hankering to have a go at some new creative projects like larger,
ornamental and functional clay pieces and hand made books.
The only reason I will be able to put these plans into action
is because of the support of you, my friends and customers and as a little thank
you I will be offering a 10% discount in both my Etsy shops throughout
January. Just use coupon code HNY10 when you check out and your discount
will automatically applied.
I will also be offering a number of special discounts to my Newsletter subscribers in 2015 so if you’d like to take advantage of these don’t forget to sign up using the link in the sidebar of this blog or via my Facebook page.
In the meantime enjoy your festivities, recharge those creative batteries and I will see you next year.
I am very happy to be taking part in this annual event organised by Sally Russick again as I missed it last year having fallen and broken my ankle and not got myself together enough to participate. This year however I’m fighting fit and delighted to have the lovely and talented Erin Prais-Hintz as my swap partner. You know you’re in for a treat when you’re gift arrives packaged like this…pretty enough to grace any tree itself!
And what was inside certainly didn’t disappoint…Erin sent me this adorable botanical bird with a juniper berry pattern in the polymer clay and resting on a beautifully beaded branch of berries – I love it!
She couldn’t have picked a better subject for me since both my Christmas tree and my soft furnishings share a similar feathered theme…
And here’s the ornament nestled happily near the top of the the tree…
Erin also sent me this beautiful ‘Call me Rosebud‘ pendant which I’ll be turning into a piece of jewellery for myself as soon as I get a chance…
Erin thank you so much for your beautiful gifts and your generosity – both very much appreciated.
So what did I send Erin in return…? Well after much debate I decided I wanted to make something in ceramic that was jolly and fun. The result was this happy little snowman with his own decorations and a little birdie friend to keep him company.
The holly decoration was applied with china paint after the glaze firing for an added flourish. To where he is now and Erin’s beautiful Christmas themes pop over to her blog at the link below
If Erin likes her snowman half as much as I love my bird I will be more than happy!
Many thanks To sally for organising this lovely event again…it’s been great fun to participate and now I hope you’ll join me in a little festive blog hop to see what everyone else has made.
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.
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.
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.
OK I know Bead Fest was weeks ago now but I did promised that when I got back I would give away some goodies. Well September kind of got away from me and snook out the back door and now here we are running headlong into October. Better late than never though especially when it comes to a giveaway and here’s what’s up for grabs…
This little bundle of loveliness will be won by one lucky person and consists of:
The Green Girl pendant is double sided and has an Emily Dickinson quote on the back – how lovely is that…
I will also be giving away two “Anchors Away’ inspiration packs kindly donated by Diana Ptasztnski of Suburban Girl Studios. The pack were designed by Erin Siegal for a bead cruise and feature one of Diana’s ceramic anchor beads along with an anchor charm, seed beads and waxed linen.
To be in the running to win one of these prizes all you have to do is leave a comment on
this post. But there are are lots of ways you can increase your chances
of winning too… Do any of the following and leave an additionalcomment for each thing you do and you will get an extra entry for each one:
Sign up for my newsletter using the link in the sidebar of this blog.
Share this giveaway on your own blog.
Share this giveaway on your Facebook pages, Google+, Twitter etc.
Become a new follower of ‘The Gossiping Goddess’ – see sidebar.
Almost October already – how can that be? It seems like only yesterday I was planning my summer holidays and here we are charging headlong into autumn. So it is that I welcome you to another reveal for the AJE Component of the month challenge ( full details here) this month featuring these lovely copper pieces from Kristi Bowman which she calls goddess vessels.
The component I chose to work with was the white copper piece in the centre of the top row and I have to admit it did give cause me some headaches trying to come up with a design. For some reason I struggled for a while to find beads in a shape or colour that I felt worked well and then when I did find something I liked for a bracelet I didn’t have enough beads to do what I wanted to – argh! At one point I got quite quite stroppy, shut the door on the studio and went off to sulk.
But then 10 minutes later an idea popped into my brain to make some chain links that mirrored the shape of the focal and after playing around for a bit I hit on something I liked using steel wire. So all I had to do was find some beads to go with them and there they were sitting on my bead table – a new delivery of Czech glass flowers from Buttoned Up Beads Extra. The lovely blue of the beads went really well with the colour of the metal and the result of the combination is this necklace called ‘Blue Steel”
It has quite a minimalist urban feel which I love… the strong contrast of the two colours and the way the flowers, despite being very cool in colour add a certain softness appeals to me.
I played around with the positioning of the beads for a while, in the end opting for an asymmetrical format. The piece is finished with black brass chain and the focal is embellished with a little crystal and silver charm to balance the asymmetry.
I’m pretty happy with how this turned out in the end and it just goes to show that it pays to take a break when your muse isn’t playing ball.
Thanks to Kristi for providing this months challenge and to you for visiting this post today – please now join me in seeing what the rest of the AJE team and our guest have made with their components using the links below. Lesley
Well I’ve finally gotten to the end of my Bead Fest bead making marathon and all I have to do now is individually wrap each bead and pack them up ready to fly out ahead of me… not much to do there then!
While I’ve been busy with this preparation my Etsy shops have been a little neglected. Actually that’s a bit of an understatement for my jewellery shop which for some time has needed a major overhaul and restock and I’m hoping to tackle this on my return from the US…after all I will have lots of new beads to play with.
In the meantime though, I’ve decided to pave the way by having a sale in both my shops. From now until close of play on Wednesday 14th August you can get 30% of all items using coupon code SUMMER30.
This months challenge components have been supplied by Linda who has very recently started working with clay and lovely pieces they were too…
I chose this pair of blue stoneware rose charms thinking that I would probably make a pair of earrings. However, they’re quite large charms and I felt that to avoid making them too heavy my design would have to be quite simple – nothing wrong with that of course but it wouldn’t make for the most interesting post for this challenge. So I decided instead to work with just one piece and create a necklace instead.
One of the things I liked about these pieces is the natural colour and texture of the stoneware. It’s been quite warm here in the UK over the last couple of weeks and I’m one of those people who, as soon as the weather warms up breaks out the loose, natural linen clothes and Linda’s charms are a perfect complement to that look. I also like to keep my jewellery quite streamlined and easy to wear in summer – nothing too fussy or heavy.
So the piece I made is a long beaded necklace that slips straight over the head and has the charm as the focal of a layered pendant section.
The necklace is strung on waxed linen with stone coloured farfalle beads, dark blue Czech glass saucer beads with a picasso finish and tiny brass spacers all from Smitten Beads. I’ve also used the brass spacers in the loops which attach the necklace to a lovely stone coloured lampwork hoop from Outwest.
The rose charm is suspended from the hoop along with two of my own bronzclay leaves on brass chain and finished with little blue Czech glass drops. I love the cool feel of this piece and it somehow seems quite calming.
I did try to work both charms into the necklace but couldn’t get it to balance satisfactorily so I went with my default ‘less is more’ approach and I’m happy with the result.
You can see what the rest of the AJE team and our guests did with their challenge components using the links below.