Friday, January 29, 2016

Inspired By Reading ~ The Magicians


I can't believe it's been three months since my last post.
I have been reading and I have been creating for the Inspired By Reading Book Club, hosted by Andrew Thornton. I just haven't found the time to write and post.

The most recent book for our club is The Magicians, by Lev Grossman.  The story line feels like a marriage of Harry Potter and The Chronicles Of Narnia.  Although I am still reading the book, a few images have spoken to me.

At one point during the testing to determine Quentin's magical discipline, sparks flew out of his fingertips. Lightning bolts came to mind, so I created these earrings out of 18 gauge sterling wire.

One of the professors brought a lizard to the testing. I thought I must have a lizard my stash of Green Girl Pewter. And there I found Cynthia Thornton's Gecko Ball. I created a simple pendant with a sterling silver chain tassel.

If you want to learn more about this book, and see another design, you really should visit Sarajo Spurgeon Wentling's blog Sj Designs Jewelry.

Wednesday, October 7, 2015


if you're looking for the latest Ispired by Reading post,  please come back after 10/8.
It's been delayed because I returned to Southampton NY for my 40th HS reunion.
~ yep- I'm that old.
I had a blast!

I can't wait to finish the really cool design I stared for Mr. penumbra's 24 Hour Bookstore!

Saturday, September 12, 2015

New Earring Monday ~ weeks 35-36

OK - I know it's Saturday and I'm 5 days late, but at least I'm here.
I was in major production mode for an event, so I made plenty of earrings - even took pictures. Time to edit those photos and write this post eluded me for a bit.

First up is a collection coral and sterling silver earrings. I love to dress io simple beads with Bali bead caps. These are 10mm. I soldered and hammered the rings in the middle and used 8mm coral.

These were created to go with a collection of coral necklaces.

Next, is a mixed group - fluorite, vintage Himalayan glass and carnelian.
Yes, they, too, have necklaces!

Finally, you know I had to play with the big machine!*

So, we have a long county heart (2") that I annealed and curved around a mandrel (I see a channel dapping block in the near future.) and teardrops.

I love, love, love the satin finish on the first two. I discovered it by accident using a large wire brush from Harbor Freight on my dremel.

*"big machine" = hydraulic press

Please visit, my friend, Sarajo's blog to see who else has played along this week.  click here

Thursday, August 27, 2015

The Night Circus - August's offering for the Inspired By Reading Book Club

Le Cirque des Reves, The Circus Of Dreams, lives in Erin Morgenstern's imagination and on the pages of her novel, The Night Circus. This is a circus like no other. It arrives overnight without notice and disappears the same way. It is only open after dark.

I listened to the book back in June during my 10 hour drive north to the Hamptons. Since it was a while ago and I am not feeling super intellectual at the moment, I'll quote the blurb from the back of the book...

...behind the scenes, a fierce competition is underway: a duel between two young magicians, Celia and Marco, who have been trained since childhood expressly for this purpose by their mercurial instructors. Unbeknownst to them both, this is a game only one can be left standing...
... Celia and Marco soon fall in love, setting off a domino effect of dangerous consequences, leaving the lives of everyone ... hanging in the balance.

I loved the myriad of unusual characters, the plot twists, magical elements, and, of course, the love story.

I was drawn to the description of the lighting of the bonfire each time the circus opened in a venue. I wanted to replicate that effect some way in a piece of jewelry. I had some torch issues, so it didn't come out quite the way I wanted it to. If you squint, you might see flames.

The crystals represent the shift of flame colors  as twelve archers light the fire...

First yellow, then clear sky blue, warm bright pink, ripe pumpkin, sparkling crimson, incandescent wine, shimmering violet, indigo, midnight blue, black, and, finally, blinding white.
As I write, I realize I have forgotten the black and blinding white crystals. I also plan to use a shorter connector.

This next piece came about quite by accident. The last time I was in NYC I picked up a gorgeous strand of red coral at Wonder Sources on 38th St. I love the contrast of the rectangular ceramic beads from Golem Studio. I purchased those (and more) directly from Vladislav, the artist, in Tucson last February.

As I tied knots in the silk cord, I remembered that the circus tents were striped white and black, with no other color. I also recalled the "Revelers", a society of folk (groupies) who followed the circus, wore black and white with a splash of red to distinguish themselves from other circus patrons.

So - back to my stash for a bumpy black and white lampwork bead by Jason Powers. I repurposed a black Chinese crystal necklace that hasn't sold in a few years and a splash of red - more ceramic from Golem.

I love the results!

Thanks for visiting!
Please visit our book club leader, Andrew Thornton's blog to learn about the next book and links to see creations by the other participants.   click here!

Monday, August 24, 2015

Earring Monday ~ again

When I began this challenge back in January, I had every intention of keeping up with it. I really do want more exposure for my blog.
I have to say I am impressed that Sarajo is able to keep up with posting, even with her travels.
So after a few months hiatus, I'm ready to give it a try again.

Recently, I've been experimenting with enamels and hotter torches. I found my trusty butane torch doesn't work that great with larger pieces or multiple firings.
I raided my husband's tool box and pulled out his "plumber's" torches - with his blessings, of course.
He had both mapp and propane hidden in there!

For this batch, I used the mapp torch. I definitely need to get used to the heat because there are a few "crispy" edges.

These first two actually have  the same color enamel - transparent copper green.  The teardrop has a white base, while the oval was enameled on bare copper. I love the color variations!
Hover, you can see where there was too much heat on the first pair - that brown is not supposed to be there. And if I didn't tell you, some of you would have thought I did it on purpose.
There I go giving away trade secrets again.

stump gray

love this color - aquamarine green
It's tricky because different amounts of heat will change the color

This last pair was my test run for the buzzard pendant I created in response to Swamplandia. It took three firings with several differnt colors.
You can check out that post here.

In case you're wondering, I used Kevin Potter's pancaked dies to cut my shapes. Then I added dimension with my oval, wood dapping block from Contenti.

Don't forget to  Sarajo Wentling's blog to see who else is playing along this week.

I'll do my best to be back in two weeks with more earrings !

Thursday, August 6, 2015

Swamplandia – another edition of the Inspired By Reading Book Club

I was disappointed to miss last month. I was traveling once again ~ busy on Long Island attending retirement parties, family events and participating in the Sag Harbor Arts and Crafts Fair. In case you’re wondering (and even if you’re not), in spite of the pouring rain, I had a good show, with follow up opportunities.

I enjoyed Swamplandia, by Karen Russell. The story follows a family of alligator wrestlers who run an ailing tourist attraction in the Florida Everglades. Chief Big Tree and his children struggle to keep Swamplandia open after their mother, the main attraction, succumbs to cancer. They also have to contend with competition from “The World of Darkness”, the new high tech amusement park on the mainland.

It wouldn’t be a book club selection if there wasn’t a bit of the supernatural or weirdness involved in the story.  Sixteen year old Ossie considers herself to be a spiritualist and believes that she has relationships with ghosts. After finding a ghost ship (really a dredge from the 1930’s), Ossie imagines herself in love with a young man who perished in an explosion and decides to run off and marry him.

The obvious inspiration for this book would be alligators. So, as I read, I checked my stash and a few suppliers – no alligators. Then Ossie and Ava stumble upon the decrepit ship with a swarm of buzzards overhead. There was my inspiration! Somehow, someway, I was determined to create a buzzard. Luckily, Kevin Potter has a great bird pancake die and it was on sale when I wanted it. I headed out to the hydraulic press with some 20 gauge sheet copper. The next challenge was how to make it look like a buzzard…

After an internet search for buzzard images, a trip to Ornamentea in Raleigh for Thomson enamels, and four torch firings of different layers and colors, I’m pretty excited with the result.

I don't always counter-enamel, but felt this piece needed it  

I've added a bail and chain, maybe I'll add some beads, but haven’t decided if I prefer copper or silver chain. 
What do you think?

Please visit book club leader, Andrew Thornton's blog here to learn more about our group

and visit other participants listed below...

Friday, May 29, 2015

The Children's Book - another edition of the Inspired By Reading BookClub

How time flies…
Another month has gone by and it's, once again, time for the Inspired By Reading Book Club reveal. And, once again, I'm traveling (I'm back in NYC for my daughter's graduation from Hunter College ! Yay!) I'm posting from my phone and apologize in advance for the quality of my photos.  

I'm excited by my design because of a personal connection to the components. 

This month we read "The Children's Book" by A.S. Byatt. Actually, I've been listening. I was able to download the audio version from the library. The story takes place in England in the late 1800's. It is a mix a "real-time" narrative, reminisces and political commentary. Although, I have some difficulty following the narrative  and many characters, I am intrigued by the story and historical references and am compelled to continue listening. 

Right from the beginning Byatt lavishes us with vivid descriptions, rich in fairy tale, folklore and history. I thought I might want to try my hand at mosaics - perhaps a small pendant in a bezel cup with resin. Since I had no clue how to go about it, that idea was scrapped. 

At one point, Phillip, a runaway and aspiring artist admires a large pot - gold and silver with cobalt.  I knew then that I wanted to use some of the beautiful lapis I purchased at Wonder Sources the last time I was in NYC. Still no clue what to create. 

As I listened further, Byatt described another character in detail, including her pocket watch. I was reminded that my grandfather's watch fob was in a box of incomplete projects. Several years ago I had planned to link gold and silver plated fleur de lis to complete the chain. I'm glad I never did. 

Instead, I soldered sterling silver and gold-filled links, as well as, lapis links. I love the way it coordinates with the 14k gold, two toned antique piece. The new section is removable and can be connected to a chain to make a simpler necklace. 

Please check our group leader, Andrew Thornton's blog to see what the other very creative folks have done.