Monday, February 23, 2015

Earring Monday ~ Weeks 5, 6, 7, 8

Yep - I missed a deadline while in Tucson - so - here I am catching up with 4 weeks of earrings...

First up ~ I also participate in Andrew Thornton's Allegory Gallery Design Challenges. About a month ago, we had the Desert Sands Challenge .Here's my post for that. I finally put together a pair of earrings with some great teardrops from that kit.

I love to take classes and learn new techniques when I visit Tucson for the gem shows. This year was no different. I took a torch enameling class from Joni Kisro at her studio.

We learned how to use Kevin Potter's hydraulic press and pancaked dies to shape earring components before enameling. I am in love with big tools!!!
I love the idea of transforming metal and adding color.
We were able to press out shapes for 12 pairs of earrings. Each pair could have an enameled shape and a back plate.

After "flame painting" these, I decided the colors were too pretty to hide behind anything!

I absolutely love these elongated hearts! One of the dangers of torching outside is that nature sometimes does unexpected things.  Can you find the the fried fly wing?

I know there's definitely more enameling in my future!

This last pair I designed for a friend who asked for something simple to go with her royal blue Mother of the Bride gown. Understated and elegant...

Thanks so much, Sarajo Wentling for encouraging me to take on this challenge.
Please visit her blog for the other participants!

See you in two weeks with more earrings!

Meet My New Friend...

Do you love a good challenge?
Do you like to meet new, creative people?

I do!  
My latest new friend is Gloria Allen. 
We were matched up as partners for the Bead Peeps Swap and Hop. We have to send each other beads, a clasp and a focal, with at least one piece artisan crafted.

If you really want to learn about Gloria you have to read this heartfelt blogpost
Because I can't give you any better insight than Gloria, herself, does!

Isn't this necklace stunning????
It's obvious that Gloria is inspired by Vintage and loves pinks, lilacs and pearls. 

So my challenge is to decide if I will force her to go completely outside the box or allow her to work within her comfort zone. 
Yeah ~ that's the teacher in me speaking.  
(It's called working within the "zone of proximal development" ~ provide just enough challenge to encourage growth.)

Don't worry, Gloria, I have some great ideas roaming around in my head.
You and everyone else will have to wait to see what I come up. 

Saturday, February 14, 2015

Desert Sands Challenge ~ at last

And here it is…
The long awaited Desert Sands Challenge post!
Thank you to Andrew Thornton for hosting and having patience with my tardiness.

I actually did finish my pieces while travelling to Tucson for the gem shows, but had difficulty photographing them without “busts”.

It’s always fun to get a box in the mail from Andrew. This time was no exception. I fell in love with the bronze, gold and ivory hues in this kit.

Not being a bead weaver, I tend to ignore those tiny little beads in the kit. This time I decided to meet them head on and string a multi-strand necklace. The silk strung bead strands and chain with wire-wrapped glass were gathered in Vintaj brass cones and connected with my handcrafted hook and eye clasp.

The irregular metallic glass bead told me it wanted to be a clasp. I used Parawire’s smokey quartz to crochet a choker. The cone-shaped etched glass bead adds a fun dangle to the clasp.

There are lots more great components left for earrings, bracelets, etc. And this great pendant crafted by Andrew.
Can’t wait to play with them!

Please check out the other challenge participants.
On Andrew Thornton's blog:

Sunday, February 1, 2015

Desert Sands Delay

If you are looking for the Desert Sands Challenge, I hope to post later today. 
We left earlier than expected for our road trip to Tucson. 
Since I'm the passenger, I have plans to work. 
Here's a sneak peak ...

Thursday, January 29, 2015

Into The Wild - Inspired By Reading Book Club

More than a year ago, I joined the Inspired By Reading Book Club, hosted by Andrew Thornton. After reading the selection of the month, participants are inspired to create. While most of us do create jewelry, it's definitely not a requirement. We'd love to see other artistic mediums.

I was playing along quite well until last August, when we sold our house and I moved twice. I read the books, bought or created components, and have several finished and half-finished pieces hanging around. I hope to compose a catch-up post next month.

So, now that the studio is set up and I've found most of my tools and supplies, I'm ready to play again!

This month we read Into the Wild, by Jon Krakauer. It is the story of Christopher McCandless, a young man in his 20's, from an affluent family, who decided to give away all of his money and venture alone into the Alaskan wilderness. Sadly after 4 months, probably due to his inexperience and naivete, McCandless perished.

Krakauer included historical references to adventurers and mountain climbers, as well as comparisons to his own experiences. My inspiration came when I read about Krakauer's obsession with Devil's Thumb. a mountain in the Stikine Ice Cap region of south east Alaska.

The name and description immediately brought to mind an artist bead I purchased just before Christmas at the Wake Forest Farmer's Market.

I know...
It didn't really scream Alaska to me, either.
But... do you get the thumb???

And we're supposed to be inspired ~ no one said it had to be an exact representation.

The bead did scream Sleeping Beauty Turquoise. Happily, I had some left from last year's Tucson trip. That and some chocolate brown freshwater pearls ~ Wah-La

I kept it super simple this month, because I am still getting my act together.

The pendant did pose a slight design challenge as the hole was slightly off center at the base.
I flattened 18 gauge silver wire to form a loop so it wouldn't look quite as lop-sided.

Now for the freaky part ~~~
This morning, I decided to research Devil's Thumb.

Check This Out!!!

'nuff said!

Hey Y’all  (I’m a southerner now!)
Don’t forget to visit AndrewThornton’s blog to see who else was inspired this month. 

We’d love for you join us next month! Our book is Geek Love, by KatherineDunn. It’s a bit bizarre, but I can’t put it down. I actually stayed on the stationary bike at the gym for 40 minutes because I didn't want to stop reading!  

Here's a link for future titles!

Monday, January 26, 2015

New Earring Monday ~ weeks 3 & 4

How exciting is this?!
I’m posting my new earrings on time!!!

With Valentine’s Day just around the corner, I decided to dig out my heart collection. Of course, I wasted over an hour searching for the red glass hearts I found in Portland last April. 
You see, when I moved from NY to NC, my method of packing up my workbench was to just dump everything into a plastic box.

I gave up on the red and chose 2 sets of silver hearts that have been around for a while.

I love these faceted pink opal disks I got from Rocky's Designs at The Whole Bead Show in NYC.  

Then I decided to pair the Bali hearts with February's birthstone - amethyst.


Drum roll, please...

Guess what I found when I was all done???

That's right - 
The red lampwork glass hearts!
They're dangling from hammered silvered rings that I soldered.

All of my earrings hang on my handcrafted earwires.

Yes, these will be listed on Etsy in time for Valentine's Day. 
Please visit Sarajo's blog to see who else playing along!

Friday, January 23, 2015

Design Challenges, Book Club, Swaps and Blog Hops ~ Why Do I Do Them???

Why do I stress myself with deadlines?

 It's simple ~ there are times when I need that deadline to get my act together, to give me a reason to go into the studio and create something. The life of an independent jewelry artist can be very solitary at times. The challenges and blog hops keep me connected with the creative community.I am inspired by the talent and variety of designs that come from a single bead kit.

Check out Andrew Thornton and Lisa Lodge's blogs for information about the kits challenges they sponsor. Lisa's Facebook Group and the Allegory Gallery Design Challenge Group are great sources for info.

The swaps encourage me to think outside the box and work at the edge of my comfort zone. You never know what your partner might send you. I try to send favorite items ~ things I have a hard time giving up or components I've creating specifically for my new friend. And I know I always push myself to create something that might impress my partner and the other hoppers.

I love participating in the Inspired By Reading Book Club. There are plenty of folks lurking on the Facebook group, but usually just a handful participate. I've read books I would not have picked up on my own and met quite a few great people through the blog hops and in-person meet-ups that Andrew hosts.

So to simplify my answer ~ challenges, creative book clubs and blog hops supply and endless source of inspiration and have led to many friendships.