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.

Sunday, January 18, 2015

New Earring Monday - 2015

Since my blogging really needs a kick in the ----, I've decided to join Sarajo Spurgeon Wentling and participate in the "New Earring Monday" Challenge. My understanding is that every two weeks, I post some earrings I've recently created.
I know I’m late getting started, but at least I’m starting!

And since it is January, I put together some simple, yet elegant garnet earrings. 

This first pair has 8mm round stones and Bali silver bead caps.

For the second pair I wrapped small faceted rondelles (that I found at the Whole Bead Show in NYC) onto sterling silver chain.

I love how they sparkle!

Thanks for looking!
Check back next week to what's new on the bench!
*Don't forget to click Sarajo's link above to see what she's created and link to other participants!

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Stiff - Another edition of the Inspired By Reading Book Club

I’m back!
It was an amazingly busy summer with many successful fairs and the Farmers Market in Southampton.
The most stressful event was the sale of my house and temporary move to a small cottage. We are so lucky to have neighbors offer us their summer cottage.

I’ve missed a few challenges and book club hops, but am ready to jump back in with a short post.

In August, the Inspired By Reading Book Club, hosted by Andrew Thornton, read Stiff: the Curious Lives of Human Cadavers, by Mary Roach.  Actually, I listened to most of it. I love audio books while working.

According to Amazon “Stiff is an oddly compelling, often hilarious exploration of the strange lives of our bodies postmortem.” I found the book to be very entertaining and informative. As usual, I had notes on many sections, but the discussion on the need to use cadavers in addition to crash test dummies, struck a personal note. In particular the explanation of how cars have changed over the years and how hoods are now made to just fold up like an accordion.  Friends will recall the time I literally drove my car under a school bus, and, yes, the hood crumpled up to the windshield so there was no impact.

So how I do I portray that in a piece of jewelry? ---  Fold-formed copper, of course.
Have I ever used that technique???
nah –

Thanks to Kim St. Jean’s video, I came up with this bracelet, which was purchased last week!     

I love the colors from the torch!

The other members of the group have also read Lavinia, by Ursula K. Le Guin.

 Be sure to visit Andrew’s blog for the full list of participants.

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

The Drunken Botanist ~ Inspired By Reading

The Drunken Botanist, by Amy Stewart is one of those books that I will need to buy. Stewart combines science, history, folklore and recipes to introduce us to “the plants that create the world’s great drinks”. It’s a book that I will continue to return to just to read a small snippet.  

For the Inspired By Reading Book Club I decided to try my hand, once again, at etching. Actually, I have successfully etched since I disintegrated my copper back in March. This time, I thought I’d try a copper cuff.  I chose copper because the old stills were made of copper. I rounded the ends of a 1”x6” copper strip from Impress Art/PJTools and used a leafy rubber stamp to represent the grain.     
This is my first cuff like this, and I have to say I'm pretty excited with the results!

As far as I know, the birds have no significance. Since I was etching I thought it would be fun to practice with the rubber stamps and try out my new disc cutter by making some 1”circles.

When I learned that gin is made from juniper berries, I knew I had found a use for the vintage German glass beads left over from October's book My Mother She Killed Me, My Father He Ate Me.
I’m really into dangles these days, so I made a copper circle to hang the “berries” from. As you can see, this time I created a mixed metal piece, with a soldered copper ring and sterling silver dangles and chain. The chain is about 24” long, but if the wearer prefers shorter from time to time, my handcrafted hook will slip into any of the chain links.


Check out the other creative folks in our group.
And do consider joining us next month as we read The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks.

Andrew Thornton, Laurel Ross, Alison Herrington, Constance Vale and Karen Hiatt

Monday, June 23, 2014

Blog Hop Overload

Note to self -
Resist commiting to new blog hops.

Don't get me wrong - I love a good challenge. Some of my most creative work has been done in response to challenges.

The problem is - This is my busy season. I have a show or market every weekend through Columbus Day. yikes!
 I just don't have time to hop and comment on the other participants creations.  That's not fair to them. Especially if I want them to visit me too.

That said, I will continue to participate in the Inspired by Reading Book Club each month. And I have another of Andrew Thornton's challenges coming up in August. Besides them, I will concentrate on creations for my shows.

AND my goal is to hop to a few other blogs each day.
Wish me luck!

Wednesday, June 4, 2014


*Bead Soup Blog Hop is here.
* Ocean Blog Hop is here.

If you’re looking for the latest installment of the Inspired by Reading Book Club, this is the place.
This time we read An Object of Beauty, by Steve Martin. Yes, that Steve Martin; comedian/actor. Who knew?

It’s a great book about the world of art dealers and collectors in New York City in the late 1990’s through present time. Martin follows the main character, Lacey, who will do just about anything to further her career.

This book offered connections on so many levels.
One story line referred to the 1990 art theft at the Gardner Museum in Boston – you must read The Art Forger, by B.A. Shapiro.

The narrator’s description of walking into the Basel Art Fair in Miami reminded me of my first visit to JOGS in Tucson – “a humongous convention center with its 17 entrances”… a “labrynth” which he did get lost in. I might have to check out one of the major art shows that pop up in The Hamptons this summer.    

I particularly enjoyed the references to places in NYC and the Hamptons that I am familiar with. I have dined at Saint Ambreous - in Southampton. Although lunch was all my wallet could manage. Nello was also in Southampton for a time. Many artists also had studios or second homes out here; Roy Lichtenstein, Jackson Pollack, Willem de Kooning, Andy Warhol, etc.

Intriguing also were the references to Maxfield Parrish, as the Parrish Art Museum has been part of the Southampton community for years. The museum was the brainchild of Samuel Parrish. I must admit that I did not realize they were two separate people. One (Samuel) loved art while the other (Maxfield) created it. My research shows that they both came from Quaker families in Philadelphia and probably were related – perhaps distant cousins.

Enough background you say…
What did I create???
First my inspiration… Pop Art and Andy Warhol’s Marilyn and Flowers.  I so enjoyed the illustrations in the book.

Off to my stash to search for blue and yellow beads. Instead I found Andrea Pirkey’s fabulous glass bead, “Dots”. 

Apatite chips and carnelian came off the shelf. The apatite went back after a visit to Island Bead and Jewelry(just to say hi – yeah, right!). I walked out with some lovely Czech glass ovals, a nice contrast to the circles in the bead. I also added small, round  African opal beads and knotted it all together with two strands of silk thread.

 Wait – “Where’s the new technique?” you wonder. Well, I’m thinking maybe it’s time to broaden my scope with all I’ve learned in the past year. Horizontal growth we called it when I was a first grade teacher and staff developer.

The hammered, soldered silver ring and toggle did come off my bench.

By the way, Warhol did create a blue and orange Marilyn! 

Please visit our host, Andrew Thornton’s blog for the list of participants.
And do consider joining us next time as we read The Drunken Botanist, by Amy Stewart. Andrew hosts a meet-up in his shop, Allegory Gallery, in PA on June 24. The hop will post the next day.

Ann Schroeder