Thursday, October 12, 2017

Art Bead Scene: October 2017

Seriously, how is it already October?!?  We've been on the run (and now I'm heading out to a jewelry making retreat in Michigan) but somehow I managed to get something made for the Art Bead Scene monthly challenge.  You can read all about the art and the artist over on the ABS blog HERE.

Title: Madame De Pompadour
By: Francois Boucher
Date: 1756
Medium: Oil on Canvas

I love the colors in this painting are so luscious!  The composition isn't totally up my alley, but I can roll with it.  As I was looking through my art beads, I gravitated toward a fancy flower pendant by Nancy Adams of Round Rabbit (boy I miss her beads now that she's not selling ceramics anymore!) that I've been holding onto for a long time.  I added some fancy dangles made from Czech glass flowers and lots of brass bead caps to the pendant.  For the body of the necklace I used more Czech glass in shades of teal/turquoise and pink as well as some vintage lucite.



If Madame De Pompadour wasn't wearing that pink ribbon around her neck, I think this necklace would be a fine replacement!

Tuesday, October 3, 2017

Inspired by Reading: The Marriage of Opposites

I skipped last month's Inspired by Reading Book Club, but I'm back in action for the September selection!  This month we read The Marriage of Opposites by Alice Hoffman.  I'd never ready any of Hoffman's adult books before... only one or two of her young adult titles.  It took me a little while to get into the story, but I'm so glad that I stuck it out.

The novel tells the story of Rachel, a young Jewish girl growing up in the early 1800's on the island of St. Thomas and follows her and those close to her through to her old age.  There was much beauty in the story as well as sadness and the frustration of coming up against society's rules and norms which are often so very unfair.  Rachel is such a strong, stubborn, and resilient character albeit often prickly to those she cares for the most.  This is a story filled with love, loss, and longing that was wonderful to watch unfold.  I loved how the stories of the characters ended up being even more entwined than you first thought as the lives of what seem like secondary characters come into view.


Despite a lot of lovely imagery and language in the novel, it took me awhile to decide what themes or images from the book I might use as a jumping off point for my creation this month.  I eventually settled on the idea of the Flamboyant Tree whose branches and flowers were repeatedly mentioned.  (I honestly wasn't sure if it was actually a real thing until I did a Google search!)

Flamboyant Tree or Delonix Regia
So just last week, and not for the first time in my beading life, I fell prey to not paying attention to what size something bought online actually was.  Shocking, right??  I've always loved the gorgeous pinks and oranges of Patricia Healey's copper and am particularly fond of her flowers.  So it seemed like a no brainer to snatch up one of her flower pendants that was on last chance clearance at Lima Beads (with an additional 10% off no less!).  But here's the thing....  55mm is HUGE!  Lol.  I'm sure none of you would have been surprised by the size when you opened up your package, but I sure was!  Ooopsie!  But no matter, I knew that someone out there would favor the bold design that this powerhouse of a pedant would need.  The color and flower shape were perfect for a flamboyant tree inspired design... I regret nothing!!

I dug into my box of orange beads and found a good number of chunkier carnelian and Czech glass beads that were contenders for the design.  In truth, I probably could have gotten away with even bigger beads, but this is what I had on hand!  I ended up using carnelian nuggets, faceted rounds in two sizes, and smooth rounds... so many yummy shades of orange, dark red, and peach.  


Not being super knowledgeable about plant life, I also wanted to see what the Bougainvillea flower looked like.  I found a picture where the blooms were just a wonderful mix of bright colors.  Most of what I saw were the pink to purple flowers, but this picture was perfect for the Golem Design Studio bead that I was thinking about using!

Bougainvillea
I decided to make a variation of a design that I've done before with the carved almond beads from Golem.  (I'm seriously addicted to their amazing designs and COLORS... so yummy!!)  I picked up a strand of this shape in what they call peacock in a mix of orange, pink, and purple.  Despite the name of the pattern, I think looks like flower petals in this color way.  I made a chain tassel and added tiny Czech class beads to the end of each piece of chain in complementary colors.  Sometimes I leave the chain plain for this style of necklace, but I wanted the extra pop of color for this one!


One of the other thoughts that had been vying for my attention while I read the books was the mention of moths beating against the windows.  This imagery came up several times, and though not in any way really central to the story, it stuck with me.  And, hey, a good excuse to pull out my moth beads!  It seemed appropriate to grab one of the small moth pendants by Lisa Peters Russ that I bought from Allegory Gallery after seeing them in a Facebook post (or it might have been a video).

I grabbed three of these cuties, but chose to work with the one with touches of palest green and tiny specks of what I would definitely call "haint blue."  Because of the diminutive size of the pendant, I tried to give it a little extra punch with some beads dangling from lengths of chain that sit behind the moth.  It was fun to pull out some of my tinier gemstones for this design like some AB vessuvianite, prehnite rice beads, faceted smoky quartz, and some Czech glass.  I finished the back with a bit of ribbon in shades of green.


Usually after a big show I go into a sort of jewelry making hibernation period.  I work so hard heading into a show that I'm just done for awhile afterwards.  I'm thankful for book club getting my mojo back way quicker than normal!

 

Sunday, October 1, 2017

Inspiration for the Honey Do List: October 2017

Last year, my husband Eric has decided to issue me a design challenge each month to get me out of my comfort zone and to help clear out my bead stash... and we're continuing the Honey Do List for 2017!  I know that I'm not the only one who loves a good design challenge, so I'm hoping folks will continue to play along!  

Here's this month's inspiration and what Eric had to say about it:


Last month I took an insect photography class at the Minnesota Landscape Arboretum so I figured one of those shots would be a good bet for this challenge.  The day of the course was insanely windy so taking pictures of moving insects atop briskly moving flowers was a challenge!  Luckily I got at least one decent shot of a Painted Lady butterfly...now take the idea and fly with it!

The reveal date will be Monday, October 23rd.  To make it super easy for you to participate and share your creations, I'll set up an Inlinkz link up so folks can add their blogs as they are ready.  Just stop by my blog starting on October 25rd and join the fun!  I'll leave the link up open for a while... so you have plenty of time to add your links.  (Last month's is still open... check it out HERE.)  No blog?  No worries!  Feel free to send me a picture of your creation and some brief comments and I'll happily share in my blog post.  You can reach me at sjdesignsjewelry@gmail.com  The more the merrier, so I hope you'll play along with me this month!


Monday, September 25, 2017

Honey Do List: September 2017

Last year, my husband Eric has decided to issue me a design challenge each month to get me out of my comfort zone and to help clear out my bead stash... and we're continuing the Honey Do List for 2017!  I know that I'm not the only one who loves a good design challenge, so I'm hoping folks will continue to play along!

Here's this month's inspiration and what Eric had to say about it:





I haven't been out with the camera as much as I'd hoped recently.  Looking for something to prolong the summer, I decided on posting these sunflower pictures.  One of these was from the MN Landscape arboretum, while the other was a self-planted seed from our own bird feeder!  I have plenty of shots of bees all over these things but wanted to stick with just the flower this time.  Show me some last gasp of summer in jewelry form!

I had really hoped to make a few more things for this challenge but between going crazy for the sunflower themed We're All Ears challenge (see that HERE if you missed it) and my three day studio tour this past weekend, I kind of ran out of time.  That being said, I'm super happy with the two necklaces that I did manage to make.  

First up, a necklace with a lovely polymer clay sunflower pendant from Summer Wind Art that Eric gave me for Christmas a couple of years ago.  I love the rich yet weathered effect that Ashley Bonney achieved for this focal... so yummy.  I stumbled across a little container filled with a mix of Czech beads that I got when I bought a friend's bead stash a while back that were a perfect complement to the pendant.  I wanted a few more beads for the necklace so I went digging for some cream Czech glass melon beads to play up the light tones of the pendant and some carnelian rounds to add a pop of color to the design. 



Since I have an obsession with matching, and I still had some beads left over, I whipped up some cute little earrings.  They aren't actually sunflowery at all, but they do go with the necklace anyway.


For my second necklace creation I went with a lot more COLOR!  I had several Humblebeads by Heather Powers in my stash inspired by Van Gogh's Sunflowers.  I knew I had to use at least one of them this month.  The winning bead was this gorgeous Sunflowers bird that I won at the Adornments Retreat in July... so perfect!  I paired him with a rustic ceramic stick from Diane Hawkey, a ceramic drop by Petra Carpreau of Scorched Earth, and some bright Czech glass.  The copper wire that I used is some that I patinated myself.  I love how this necklace came together and am even happier that it flew home with a very special lady during my show this weekend!







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Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Everything's Coming Up Rose Gold!

If you know me at all you know that I am so NOT a pink girl.  I've always been a tomboy... no frills and no pink.  Ok, maybe some fuchsia here and there but no pale, sweet colors for this girl.  My favorite colors are turquoise, teal, and almost all greens.  So what bewitchment has come over me that I've been on a designing kick with rose gold??  Apparently Vintaj has cast a spell on me with their new Rose Gold patina paint!  I'm hooked on this gorgeous color and just couldn't stop making new jewelry for the Art Wander in shades of pink!

Here's what's been tickling me pink this week!  The pictures just don't do this color justice... stop by the Art Wander this weekend to see them in person!

Art Wander
September 22 - 24


Friday, 1:00 pm - 6:00 pm
Saturday, 9:00 am - 6:00 pm
Sunday, 11:00 am - 4:00 pm 

For full Art Wander details visit: www.artwander.com











I'd love to hear your thoughts on this color.... yay?  nay?  meh?  If Rose Gold isn't your thing, never fear I have tons of jewelry in other colors!  :)


Friday, September 15, 2017

We're All Ears: September 2017

I have to laugh because Erin and Eric were on the same inspiration wavelength this month...  I was literally sitting down to read the We're All Ears inspiration post when Eric emailed me pictures of sunflowers that he took for the September Honey Do List!  (You can see the post with all the information on how to play along HERE if you're interested... I hope you'll play along with us!)  What a perfect flower to inspire us during the fading days of summer as we start to feel the first nip of autumn in the air. 

Photo credit :: via Unsplash :: Becca Romine :: Ciprian Lipenschi :: Nick Nice :: Thomas Smith :: 


Here's a little peek at some of the sunflower-y beads in my stash.  Since I was looking down the barrel of dueling sunflower challenges, I figured that it was only fair for me to use the earring-friendly beads for the We're All Ears challenge.  Eric will have to be happy with some sunflower inspired necklace creations.  :)


The first thing I made was a total no brainer for me.  I had picked up some flower charms from Golem Design Studio at Bead & Button this year and one of them was perfect sunflower colors!  I had already used one pair for last month's Honey Do List, so I already had a basic design/style in mind so there was no reason not to get to work!  Since I was on a roll, I went ahead and whipped up earrings with the other two remaining colorways.  I had lovely coordinating Humblebeads disks that were perfect for all three pairs (probably because I pretty much bought a set of every color that Heather Powers had at B&B!!).


Since I was still in painting mode trying to get some of my fan favorite designs finished for my next show that's approaching way too rapidly, I decided to add some paint to a few sunflower charms (or maybe some are really daisies) for a fun effect!  The unpainted pair was a last minute addition when I realized that the Czech glass I had in mind didn't match the painted sunflowers.  I had all the stuff out, so why not?


Lastly, I revisited my Golem collection... and this time fished out some fun polka dotted lentil beads.  These are certainly my least literal interpretation, but I thought the colors were spot on for sunflowers.


So that's it for me this time.  Check back with me on Monday, September 25th to see what other sunflower designs I come up with for the Honey Do List challenge.  I hope you'll consider playing along with us!

Check out the Earrings Everyday blog HERE to see what other sunflower earrings folks dreamed up!


Wednesday, September 13, 2017

Upcycled Beer Can Jewelry!

I'm so excited to finally be unveiling a little mini-collection of jewelry that I've been thinking about for quite a while... all made from recycled aluminum cans.  I've been saving cool looking beer and carbonated water cans for months.  Eric even bought beers just based on the beer can art.  (What a guy, right??)  I finally carved out the time to make a decent sized batch of earrings and necklaces over the past week.  Fair warning... this post is going to be heavy on the pictures and relatively (for me, anyway!) short on the words.

I have been slaving away over some really fun and (mostly) colorful earrings.  These guys are truly a labor of love because they are majorly time intensive.  Seriously, I counted up 11 distinct steps before I even got to adding the beads and ear wires!  For that reason, I'm pricing this little cuties at $26 a pair.  I've made these with copper, brass, and arte metal and used niobium ear wires for all of them.  (I love that niobuim is hypoallergenic, nickel and lead free, AND comes in tons of great finishes!)





While working on those bigger flowers, I ended up with a stray pair of small flowers with a daisy design (from Daisy Cutter Pale Ale from Half Acre in Chicago) so I decided to try a more diminutive style of earring.  I'm a little bit in love with this new, tiny design and hope to whip up a few more pairs before next weekend for those who like a smaller earring.  What do you think??


The earrings were my original idea for using my now sizable aluminum can collection, but I wanted to be able to do something with larger swaths of the beer-y artwork.  I decided to play around with some filigree wrapped pendants.  I had made some simple medallion necklaces last fall that sold really well for me, so I decided to use that design as a jumping off point for this new line.  I have these in either 20 or 28 inches for $28 each.  If you need a different chain length that is totally doable too.  I aim to please!

How many of these beer cans do you recognize?
Eric couldn't help but get in on the act too!  Where I'm more into colors and patterns overall, Eric all about the logos and other weird details you might find on beer cans.  He really wanted to be able to dap (curve) the aluminum pieces as well as the embossed brass circles behind them, but the aluminum tended to bend and look weird.  So, for his earring designs, we hung a smaller aluminum can circle in front of the curved brass.  I made him do the embossing and dapping himself... and he picked out the beads to go with each pair but I put them together for him.  Teamwork!

All of Eric's earrings feature art from Indeed Brewing cans.

This is hopefully just the very start of something... I've got more design ideas in mind but need time to play and experiment more.

All of these pieces will be available for purchase for the fist time at the Art Wander, September 22-24.  Got a favorite beverage can that you'd love to see turned into fun jewelry?  I'd love to talk to you about your special orders! 

Friday, September 8, 2017

Art Bead Scene: September 2017

This month the Art Bead Scene is all about bugs and bright colors!  It's an amazing print with tons of insect action by entomologist and pattern designer Eugene Seguy.  You can read more about the artwork and the artist on the ABS blog HERE.

Insects
Eugene Seguy
Published in 1920
Pochoir Print

I know that I can only post two official entries for the ABS competition, but I couldn't only make two things with this yummy inspiration!  I made a trio of dragonfly inspired earrings for now... I've got some other designs up my sleeve if I have time to circle back before the end of the month.

First up, a pair of pewter wings from Green Girl paired with some raku rounds from XAZ Bead Company.  The wings are already a decent size for earrings so I wanted to keep things fairly simple.  I just did some messy (for me anyway!) wire wraps around the beads and attached with a jump ring.  I liked the way the raku beads had some of the green tones but also the iridescence of real dragonfly wings.


Next, I just had to play with some copper plated dragonfly wings from Anna Bronze.  (True confession: I bought quite a bit from them at Bead & Button but this is the first thing I've made with my haul so far!)  These wings are so dainty so I wanted to keep any beads I added on a small scale to let the wings really shine.  There are loops at both ends of the wings so I had to add something to the bottom.  I chose some small metallic plated hematite and some crystal rondelles for the tiny dangles.


Lastly, I finally went for some serious COLOR!  I got these wonderful dragonfly charms in turquoise from Michelle McCarthy of Firefly Design Studio this summer and knew immediately that they would be perfect for this month's challenge.  (I adore the idea of having the whole year of ABS challenges ahead of time, by the way.)  I'm often guilty of being too monochromatic in my designs, so for this pair of earrings I really wanted to embrace a riot of color.  After looking at lots of different options, I settled on a pair of super bright disc beads from Heather Powers of Humblebeads.  I always like the combination of turquoise and red, so this was just the thing here.  (For some reason, these were really difficult to photograph... and my picture doesn't do them justice!)


Ok, back to work!  Lots more jewelry waiting for me on the bead table today.  Have a great weekend!


Thursday, September 7, 2017

Feeling the Blues

Don't worry, I don't have those kind of blues!  I'm too busy to feel down right now!  I've just really been feeling the new shades of blue patina paints that I recently picked up from Vintaj!  In particular the Deep Turquoise which is just a super yummy shade of teal.

Generally when I play in the paints, I prep way more metal than I'll actually use in one sitting.  That way if I accidentally squirt out or mix up too much of one color, I've got plenty of other things that I can add color to waiting in the wings.  So, when I tried out the new color (on something I still haven't finished) I just couldn't stop adding it to more things!  All of these new designs will be available at my studio later this month during the Art Wander studio tour September 22-24!

Eager to restock some of my most popular styles of bracelets, I made a batch that included some of the new color.  I even did a feather with the lighter Turquoise mixed in along the edges.  I quite like how that turned out!


Next up, a few new necklaces!  Some are new versions of older designs and there's also a brand new butterfly pendant that I want to play more with.  So dainty!


Of course I couldn't totally neglect the earrings during my little teal frenzy!  I added some white gold/silver mixture to the centers of the flower charms then a wash over the whole thing.  I love the shimmer that gives and it plays so nicely with the mercury glass and crystal rondelles!  I added pops of orange for my elephant earrings.  These are pretty petite for dangly earrings and super fun!


Thanks for stopping by to see what I've been up to lately.  I'm up to my eyeballs in show prep, so I hope to be sharing lots of new designs with you all soon!


Friday, September 1, 2017

Inspiration for the Honey Do List: September 2017

Last year, my husband Eric has decided to issue me a design challenge each month to get me out of my comfort zone and to help clear out my bead stash... and we're continuing the Honey Do List for 2017!  I know that I'm not the only one who loves a good design challenge, so I'm hoping folks will continue to play along!  

Here's this month's inspiration and what Eric had to say about it:



I haven't been out with the camera as much as I'd hoped recently.  Looking for something to prolong the summer, I decided on posting these sunflower pictures.  One of these was from the MN Landscape arboretum, while the other was a self-planted seed from our own bird feeder!  I have plenty of shots of bees all over these things but wanted to stick with just the flower this time.  Show me some last gasp of summer in jewelry form!


The reveal date will be Monday, September 25th.  To make it super easy for you to participate and share your creations, I'll set up an Inlinkz link up so folks can add their blogs as they are ready.  Just stop by my blog starting on September 25th and join the fun!  I'll leave the link up open for a while... so you have plenty of time to add your links.  (Last month's is still open... check it out HERE.)  No blog?  No worries!  Feel free to send me a picture of your creation and some brief comments and I'll happily share in my blog post.  You can reach me at sjdesignsjewelry@gmail.com  The more the merrier, so I hope you'll play along with me this month!


P.S. Apparently great minds think alike... the inspiration for the We're All Ears challenge on the Earrings Everyday blog is sunflowers this month too!  Check that out HERE and get double mileage for any sunflower inspired earrings you come up with!



Tuesday, August 29, 2017

Art Bead Scene: August 2017 Take Two

I wasn't sure that I'd have time to make the second design that I had percolating in my brain for this month's Art Bead Scene challenge... but I had some time to kill yesterday and managed to pull it off!  As a reminder, this month's artwork is an illustration by Kay Nielsen from a book called Twelve Dancing Princesses and Other Fairy Tales. 

Twelve Princesses on the Way to the Dance
Kay Nielsen
Published in 1923
Watercolor and ink

When I was pulling beads for my first design for the ABS this month (you can see that one HERE if you missed it) I stumbled on a pair of Patricia Healey copper flower charms that I had picked up in one of Andrew Thornton's de-stash events.  Unlike the pair that I used earlier in the year, this pair had some darker areas on the flowers which lent themselves to the inspiration artwork's darker tones.  I wanted to play with the long lines of the trees and some of the delicate details of the illustration.  To achieve that, I used some fine copper plated chain and added a metal leaf charm and a Czech glass leaf that I wire wrapped with some small metallic copper/peach seed beads. 


Ok, that's it for me today!  Short and sweet for once.


Monday, August 28, 2017

Honey Do List: August 2017

Last year, my husband Eric has decided to issue me a design challenge each month to get me out of my comfort zone and to help clear out my bead stash... and we're continuing the Honey Do List for 2017!  I know that I'm not the only one who loves a good design challenge, so I'm hoping folks will continue to play along!  

Here's this month's inspiration and what Eric had to say about it:


This month I wanted to use something fresh and summery, but haven't been out to take pictures much.  I ended up at the Arboretum and discovered this beautiful dahlia being destroyed by these equally beautiful beetles.  We'll just call this one "flawed beauty".  And shortly after taking this shot, we were all ushered indoors to avoid the axe-wielding loony who was running around the grounds.  I bet you artists will come up with something cool for this one!

August is traditionally a crazy busy month for me and this year is no exception.  Between attending shows at the Minneapolis Fringe Festival, gearing up for my big show the Art Wander in September, and life in general I often haven't known which end was up! 

For my first design I decided that I would go for some low hanging fruit... earrings!  I had picked up several darling flower charms from Golem Design Studio at Bead & Button and one pair was just the perfect color for this flower.  I poured out my collection of Humblebeads discs and found a coordinating pair to go with the charms.  I added in some copper plated bead caps and pink and peachy Czech glass to round out the design.  (While I had all my disc beads covering my bead mat, I found some to match the other three pairs of Golem charms for later.)


In digging through my stash, I found a scarab beetle from Vintaj that I've had from my early days of beading.  This little guy may have been one of my first Vintaj purchases from my local bead store (which is sadly no more.)  So, he's not the right kind of beetle, but I figured some fun with the Vintaj patina paints, and he would look a lot like his cousins from Eric's photo and would be perfect for a necklace design that's pretty literal.  Despite some serious custom color mixing and multiple coats of paint, I couldn't quite get the look I'd hoped for but I came close.  A wash of black paint in the crevices with a mix of copper, green, and clear glaze over the top helped I think.  Here's a look at the before and after extra painting!

Top: Ready to paint!  Bottom Left: First try.  Bottom Right: Final version.

Once I finally had my pendant finished, it was time to start figuring out the rest of the necklace.  I wanted to use my favorite iridescent green Swarovski pearls to play off the beetles' coloring and added pulled in a mix of Czech glass and some faceted prehnite.  This one called out to be asymmetrical (maybe because I've been doing a lot of symmetrical designs lately!)

I wanted to show the whole necklace but also give you a peek at the entire painted flower that's hiding under the beetle!

Since I still had extra beads on my bead mat, I went ahead and whipped up a matching pair of earrings to make it a set.








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