Saturday, October 31, 2015

Art Jewelry Elements Component of the Month: Ravens!

Usually, the Art Jewelry Elements blog offers up a specific Component of the Month for their editors and a few lucky guests to design with for their monthly challenge.  For October they shook things up a bit and are allowing anyone to participate... and it wasn't even limited to jewelry this time!  The theme for the month is the raven.  Karen Totten wrote a great introductory post about the facts and myths surrounding ravens (and how they differ from crows) that you can read HERE.  To keep the raven love going and further inspire us, Jenny Davies-Reazor just shared a post about the ravens of Celtic myth that you can check out HERE.

Common Raven, from "Into the Woods".
Eric and I both love ravens and have a few different art pieces in our house, so I had to play along... but first I had to find the perfect art bead to feature.  In digging through my mess of beads and supplies (good gravy but I need to block out some serious time to get my studio under control!!) I found a pendant that I had totally forgotten about from Kylie Parry.  I bought it in a destash bundle quite a while back and (hangs head in shame) it was still in the box she shipped to me.

As usual, I forgot to snap a picture before I began my design.  Sigh.
Technically, it's supposed to be a crow (at least as far as her listing goes) but I think he looks raven-y enough.  He's got the ruff of feathers around his neck anyway!

I used mostly gemstones (jasper and carved agate) as well as some Czech glass.  I also added a cool metal bead that I bought in Santa Fe a few years back that's a mix of copper and silver.  For now, the back is copper plated chain to match the other copper findings but I'm tempted to replace that with some black deerskin leather lace.  I'd love to hear your thoughts on that.

This is a blog hop.  Check out today's post on the Art Jewelry Elements blog to see what everyone else was inspired to make HERE.  Thanks for stopping by!

Thursday, October 29, 2015

Art Bead Scene October 2015: Take Two

When I initially started working on this month's Art Bead Scene challenge, I had a couple of different art beads pulled but wasn't sure if I'd actually pull both projects off.  The earrings were relatively quick and easy so I got them done right away.  (You can see them HERE if you missed them.)  The necklace that I had in mind took a little longer to come together, but I did manage to pull it off before the end of the month!

Ma'at from Tomb of the Queen Nerfertari
Valley of the Queens
This time around, I wanted to focus more on Ma'at's wings as well as the rich gemstone colors in the artwork.  My starting place was a wonderful ceramic wing pendant from Earthenwood Studio that I've been hoarding forever.  I love the bronzy, slightly metallic glaze that she used on this piece (I think she calls it oxidation).  I pulled some lapis barrel beads that I've had forever and some matte carnelian rounds (boy, do I wish I had picked up more of those babies!) to get started.  I added in some faceted hessonite garnets and some metal cube beads (they look somewhere between antiqued brass and copper).

I knew that I wanted to pull all the elements together with multiple strands of waxed Irish linen and this is what I came up with for my second go at this challenge!

Monday, October 19, 2015

New Earring Monday: Weeks 41 and 42

Wow!  We are week 42 of 2015 which means only 10 more weeks in the year... and only 5 more New Earring Mondays left!  That just blew my mind a little bit.

This week I'm going to kick things off by sharing another special order that came out of the Art Wander.  In this case, the customer had seen a necklace she liked at my house on the Wander, but ended up walking away.  When she got to Unearthed Arts, where I have my jewelry all the time, she saw a similar design and decided to buy it as a gift... just one problem, she needed earrings to go with it!  We finally got the chance to meet up and design what she wanted and here it is what we came up with...

Next up, I've been playing with a design that I debuted at Art Wander... my long oak leaf and owl earrings.  I've been trying some new colors (love these beads!).  I've only sold two pairs of this style so far, so I should probably slow down on production, but I love this design!  I'm in desperate need of an Etsy shop revamp, and I'm thinking I'll list these there and see what happens.  I know long isn't for everyone, but I'm hoping that the right person will find these little hooties.

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Sunday, October 18, 2015

Art Bead Scene October 2015

The inspiration for this month's Art Bead Scene challenge is a painting of the goddess Ma'at from the tomb of Queen Nefertari.  You can read more about the artwork and Queen Nefertari over on the ABS blog HERE.

Ma'at from Tomb of the Queen Nerfertari
Valley of the Queens
At first I was at a loss for what to create this month.  In all honesty, I think all the yellow in the artwork was throwing me off... yellow is most definitely outside my design comfort zone!  Then my package of goodies from Havana Beads arrived and a light bulb went off when I saw my new lampwork beads in person.  I had managed to snatch up a couple of sets of her matched earring pairs (and I'm still kicking myself for not buying the third set she had...)  Here's the set that got my creativity jump-started:

I started out thinking I'd use the cobalt blue pair on the left.  The color is very similar to lapis lazuli and that dark blue was the color that resonated the most with me from the painting.  The crusty feeling to these matte lampwork beads speaks of antiquity... they could have been uncovered in an ancient Egyptian tomb.  (And, by the way, I love that this set is called "Treasure Coast."  Seems fitting!)

As I continued to dig around looking for something to pair with my new lampie lovelies, I ran across a pair of little ceramic scarab beads that I bought last October when we visited Allegory Gallery (I'm pretty sure that they were some of Eric's picks).  Since the scarabs are more of a teal color, I decided to switch to the darker turquoise/teal pair.  I don't usually work with gold plated or filled findings, but made an exception in this case.  Luckily, I had some gold colored German wire and some other gold beads and findings that I bought in my very early days of beading on hand.

While I don't think I'll run out and start doing a lot in gold tones, I'm really happy with how these earrings came together.  I'd like to think that the end result would be fitting for a queen!

Friday, October 16, 2015

We're All Ears October 2015

For this month's We're All Ears challenge, we have been challenged to create earrings to accessorize a look from the fall fashion runways.  Erin Prais-Hintz found a great collection of looks from designer Monique Lhuillier's fall line.  She chose a trio of looks from two different color themes.  I love the rich colors and immediately thought that some Swarovski pearls might be just the ticket for this month's challenge.

For this wine colored trio, I pulled some of my Bordeaux colored Swarovski pearls (one of my favorites!)  I originally thought I'd do a two tier style with two sizes of the pearls... something similar to a pair I made for myself ages ago with brass instead of silver.  But then my eyes rested on some oval pewter links that I've never played with.  I decided that they would add a more casual feel to the earrings while still giving a dramatic effect.  I think that they would look cute with outfit A or possibly C (but the coat's collar might get in the way of the dangles!)

For the purple mini-collection, I went with a more sleek and paired down look with a larger sized Swarovski pearl in dark purple with silver plated "pringles" and lighter purple crystals.  I feel like the simplicity of the beads on the long arched ear wires feels elegant and would pair well with either look D or F.

Monday, October 5, 2015

New Earring Monday: Weeks 39 and 40

Hey folks... it's already New Earring Monday again!  I have to admit that the last two weeks haven't been super productive in the earring department.  Leading up to the Art Wander I was in mostly bracelet and necklace mode.  The week after the show was mostly spent tagging jewelry and restocking my area at Unearthed Arts... and recuperating from a busy September!  I welcome October and a (hopefully) slightly less hectic schedule.

I haven't been a total slacker.  I did manage to complete two of the four special orders that came out of the Art Wander that were for earrings.  So I guess that's my theme this time!

First up, a pair of earrings made for a new customer.  She brought me a pair of earrings on long, arched ear wires with some bright lampwork beads.  She liked the style but wanted something more neutral.  I didn't have any art beads that fit the bill for her, but I was able to pull out a couple of other boxes of beads to show her some options.  She ended up liking some Czech glass saucer beads in s funky iridescent light blue and brown.  There's color there but it's subtle.

My other special order came from an ex-coworker who found a necklace that she loved but needed earrings to go with it.  Again, I was able to pull out some of my bead boxes to show her some options for custom earrings.  (This is one of the best things about being a studio on the tour instead of a guest artist... I've got all my supplies at my fingertips and can easily adapt a jewelry piece or make something new for a customer.)

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Thursday, October 1, 2015

Inspired by Reading: Mr. Penumbra's 24 Hour Bookstore

September just flew by for me... I can hardly believe that it's already October 1st!  I had to skip several of my favorite challenges (even though I had some perfect beads) since I was so busy getting ready for the big show I had last weekend.  Thank goodness Andrew Thornton decided to push back the date for this reveal or I would have missed the Inspired by Reading Book Club too!  Hopefully October will be a bit more calm and I will get back into the swing of things.  Ok, let's be honest, that's probably wishful thinking!

Anyway, onto the business at hand... the September selection for the Inspired by Reading Book Club was Mr. Penumbra's 24-Hour Bookstore by Robin Sloan.  I picked this one up in paperback at a library conference a while back on the recommendation of my friend Dena... and now I finally had an excuse to read it!

I'm going to apologize for not having super deep or coherent thoughts about the book... it's been more than a month since I finished reading it and all my brain power has been siphoned off in other directions.  This was a super fast and fun read for me and I plowed through it to find out what was going to happen.  This is totally goofy, but I also loved the fact that the paperback edition that I have glows in the dark... so fun!

Our main character, Clay, finds himself working the overnight shift in a very strange 24-hour bookstore where actual sales are few and far between.  The story ends up being part mystery and part adventure as Clay seeks to unravel the mysteries of the bookstore and it's odd owner and discovers that something much bigger is going on behind the scenes.  I don't want to give too much away, and also I have mush-brain, so I'll leave it at that.

Blame it on all my pre and post show craziness, but I went fairly literal again this month.  I had gotten the cutest little ceramic book bead from fellow book club member Mary Harding and I decided that this was the perfect time to finally use it.  I knew from the moment I saw that little book bead that it was for me and me alone, so this challenge was perfect timing for me to actually make something for myself.  We'll consider it a reward for a successful show!

There are some great colors in that little book (and if you know Mary's work you aren't surprised to hear that) so I had a good starting point for pulling together a design.  Feeling in a mostly gemstone mood, I grabbed some agate, petrified green opal in a great diamond shape, carnelian, and a yellow gemstone of some sort.  (Any guess on that one?  I'd love to hear your thoughts!)  For an extra pop of orange I also pulled in one Czech glass rondelle... I had two different ones pulled out and I'm not 100% sure if I'm happy with this one, but I was past out of time!

I added some little charms dangling off the bottom of the book including a little brass key that symbolizes the unlocking of the mysteries of the bookstore and ancient order behind it.  I would normally just use chain at the back of a necklace like this but, on a whim, I went digging through my ribbon stash and found the perfect piece.  I keep trying to get myself to do more with various fibers, so this was good for me.  I like the soft feel of the ribbon on my neck, so, who knows, maybe I'll try this more often.

Head on over to Andrew's blog HERE to see what everyone else created for this month's challenge.  My sweet husband is playing along again this month with his photography and you can find his post HERE.