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 Although, I have some difficulty following the narrative  and many characters, I am intrigued by the story and historical references and am compelled to continue listening.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.

Monday, May 4, 2015

Bead Peeps Swap and Hop ~ WIP - UPDATED!!!


Unfortunately, I had to travel unexpected for a family emergency and was unable to do justice to the goodies sent to me by my partner, Gloria Allen.

I'm putting together a quick post with what I have accomplished and will update it as soon as possible.

Gloria sent a great selection of beads and components.
I can't wait to play with them all.

For now I have started a necklace with the bead created by Studio St James  matched with the labradorite, pink glass and white shell pearls from Gloria. I've added sterling silver silver from stash.

and a pair of sweet earrings.

Please check back to see what I've created with the rest of the goodies.


Thanks to everyone for your patience ~ especially my partner, Gloria Allen.  Please check Gloria's blog to see what she did with soup I sent her!

Gloria didn't realize she had sent artisan beads, so she sent a second package. I certainly had a lot to work with!

Here's the finished necklace with the heart pendant from Studio St. James. I also added some smaller shell pearls from my stash to complete the length.

These yummy lampwork caramels by Two Sisters Designs were in my first package.

Mystery gemstones (appear to be some kind of quartz) from Gloria mix beautifully with my freshwater pearls, cherry quartz and sterling silver. 

Another pearl necklace with the blush shell pearls and crystal.

The bracelet was inspired by all the other pieces I created.

I had a lot of fun creating this cluster of mother of pearl beads with the glass spectra beads.    

Some more earrings to coordinate with the necklaces!

polymer clay by Sue St. James
with cherry quartz

glass spectra by BSue Boutique

And finally, this brass medallion definitely created a challenge.
I decide to punch holes, add chain and turn it into a bracelet.

Thanks again to Gloria for all the amazing goodies!
And to Linda Anderson for her hard work organizing the swap.

Now for the hop...
Do take time to check out the other fabulous artists who participated!

Partner List  

 Our Hostess: Linda Anderson from http//

KristinaHahn Eleniak
CatherineLa Vite
JaniceWarden Bergeron
Ingevon Roos
KellyHosford Patterson
Sue Kennedy
Maria RosaSharrow
Seed Beaders
RebeccaRobertson   (White)

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

GIRL READING - Inspired By Reading Book Club. April 2015

This month the Inspired By Reading Book club read Girl Reading- A Novel by Katie Ward. I wondered why it's considered a novel. At first glance, Ms. Ward's book appears to be a collection of short stories set in various time periods. However, there is a common thread throughout the book - the obvious - a "girl" or woman reading in each vignette. And the artist; painter, photographer who has "caught them in the act". Not so obvious are the references in each chapter to an artistic element from the precious chapter.

I woke up one morning thinking I wanted to represent the painters in the story. I thought about how to depict the painter's pallet in a jewelry design.
So, here we have what is to be a pendant. I'll add a ring or bail of some kind and probably hang it from a copper chain.   

I'm pretty excited with how it came out. I used a spoon shaped pancake die to cut the basic oval shape. I got creative with Eurotool's hole punch and my dremel grinder to form the handle. Finally, Indents made with a metal punch and dapping block were filled with enamel.

Visit Andrew Thornton's blog to see who else played with us this month.
(You'll have to scroll through one of my other posts for links. I wrote this whole post on my phone while traveling by train between NYC & New Haven Connecticut and I don't know how to use all of the functions.)

Monday, April 20, 2015

New Earring Monday.... ( through week 16)

Yeah - I lost track of what week it was, so I checked Sarajo's post for dates.
I'll try to get back to bi-weekly posts ~ but ~ no promises.
And, since I should be preparing for my very first North Carolina Art & Craft fair, I'll try to make this brief.

First up are my offerings for April's birthstone.
I acquired (purchased) a bunch of Herkimer diamonds in Tucson. For those who don't know, Herkimer diamonds aren't really diamonds. They are faceted quartz that come out of the ground just like you see them here. They are mined in Herkimer, NY.
 (Yay! NY!)

New earring cards for Ollie's Cafe & Gift Shop
Inspired by Sarajo Wentling
created for a 6 year old's April birthday!

I love these sterling silver discs I created with my disc cutter!

Since May is just around the corner, I had to dig out some emeralds.

Aren't these sweet!

A few weeks ago, I demonstrated flame painting copper at Ollie's during Art After Five.  Here are a few of the pieces I created...

I love the way these came out.  I tried a different technique.
I put the torch really close to the metal and pulled it away quickly.

demonstration mode
heavy equipment!

The shapes were cut on my Harbor Freight hydraulic press using pancake dies from Potter USA.

Finally, I've also had a lot of fun with my disc cutter and wooden dapping blocks.
Someday, I'll figure out how to photograph shiny sterling silver.

I might oxidize the next batch. But I do love these shiny!

Looks like I just might have enough inventory foe "Spring Daze" arts and crafts fair in Cary, NC this Saturday 4/25.
Stop by if  you're in the neighborhood!

Don't forget to click here to visit Sarajo's blog to find all the other earring artists!

Saturday, April 4, 2015

Home By Toni Morrison ~ an Inspired By Reading Book Club post

Sometimes I wonder why Andrew lets me stay in “the club”. 
I don’t think I’ve met a deadline yet.

The Club is the Inspired By Reading Book Club, the brain child of Andrew Thornton, owner of Allegory Gallery in Ligonier, PA.  Each month we read a book, create and blog. This month our book was Home, by Toni Morrison.
It’s the story of a young black man reclaiming his life after returning from the Korean War.

The San Francisco Chronicle said the book “Brims with affection and optimism.” Perhaps I missed much of the symbolism, but I found it to be somewhat dark and depressing. Because of that, I had a difficult time deciding on a project.

At the very beginning of the story, Frank Money and his younger sister sneaked into a crawl space to watch two horses in an overgrown field.  One was rust colored and the other deep black.

My design idea was very literal – I had planned to use a Green Girl horse pendant with black onyx and carnelian.  The horse looked too rustic and out of place with my faceted onyx so I ended up with two necklaces.

I removed the horse, added a black onyx nugget as a focal piece and highlighted with sterling silver bead caps and daisies, and shiny copper nuggets.

Then - I hung the horse with a hammered silver ring from a silver chain. (I mass produce the rings so I always have a few in stock.) I wire wrapped more of those shiny copper nuggets to the chain for texture and interest.

Please go to Andrew's Blog to learn more about the book and check out the other talented members of the group.

Thursday, March 19, 2015

Spring Awakening Challenge

When I saw the beautiful blue and green palette of the Spring Awakening  challenge, I just had to have the kit.

Every month or so Andrew Thornton puts together a collection of beads and components for the Allegory Gallery Challenge and blog hop. 

Participants purchase the kits and then work their magic. It is so much fun and inspiring to hop around and see the completely different approaches everyone has taken with the same raw materials.

I like to sort and organize the beads by shape, color, type or whatever catches my fancy.

The first beads to catch my fancy were the green and black glass – maybe vintage German?
My first thought was to use peridot, but that didn’t show off the beads.
Back to my stash for black onyx.  Perfect!
The additional assorted greens are from the kit. Of course, the bracelet is finished with one of my signature toggles.

You may have noticed that I’ve been obsessed by multi-strand designs lately. I decided to challenge myself to use some (a lot) of those smaller beads Andrew always includes. This bracelet went through a few reincarnations before completion. I’m quite happy with the finished product. 
It received great reviews at the Ollie’s (the gift shop that carries “my line”), although I haven’t put it up for sale yet.

Finally, I had set aside an eclectic mix of beads to go with Andrew’s mystery component, a polymer clay pendant in a lovely shade of spring green.  It was fun to create a mismatched, yet balanced “chain”.

There's plenty more to play with, including that luscious green waxed linen cord. Check back Monday to the earring designs floating around in my head.
I’m looking forward to hopping later to see what all the other creative folks have done. 

Hope you’ll join me!!!

Sunday, March 15, 2015

Geek Love ~ an Inspired By Reading Book Club selection

 Geek Love, by Katherine Dunn, is one of those books that took me by surprise. I had a completely different idea as to what the book would be about. I suppose if I had actually taken a good look at the cover, I might have had a clue.

My predictions really don’t matter ~ what does matter is the fact that I was intrigued by the story and couldn’t put the book down. I actually stayed on the stationary bike at the gym for a full 45 minutes because I didn’t want to stop reading.

Geek Love follows the lives of a carnival family. The father has genetically engineered his own freak show by giving his wife drugs and other concoctions during pregnancy. Each child has a different abnormality that makes him/her “special”.

When I read that Arturo, also known as “Aqua Boy” was born with flippers instead of limbs.  I immediately thought of Cynthia Thornton’s Green Girl fine pewter pendants. I remembered she had a few sea turtles so I contacted Cynthia and she put a them aside for me to pick up in Tucson.
Have sea turtles – now what?

While taking an enameling class with Joni Kisro I had a brainstorm. 
Shapes cut with
Potter USA's pancake dies.

Use an enameled piece as a focal and hang the turtle from it. I went back to Joni’s the next day after picking up trade beads at the African Market and put my plan in motion.

When I returned home, I dug through my stash for coordinating components, decided on a design and got to work. I haven’t decided on a closure so for now the necklace is adjustable - just tie the extra long waxed linen wherever you want.

 The glass spacers are from Robbie Daly.

Back to Geek Love…
And “the Reds” The girls who worked the midway and ticket booths all had to have red hair, natural or otherwise. I wanted to play off of that somehow. Strolling through To Bead True Blue, I paused at the Woman Shops World  booth. Maybe they had sari silk or ribbons I could use.

Then, there they were ~ tassels!
And I found little red crystals to match from African Gems.
I had it in my head that I wanted to crochet a really long wrap around necklace. (Cynthia Thornton was crocheting necklaces with some sort of fiber while I chatted with her.) 

But, alas, at that point I was back in North Carolina snowed in and had to make do. 30 gauge brown Parawire worked perfectly. (yes, another Tucson purchase!)
I am seriously obsessed with this clasp I created!

Just for fun I put together a few pair of coordinating earrings.

These ceramic beads are from Golem Designs  with Vintaj caps.

If you haven’t read Geek Love, you should!

You should also visit the other members of the group and perhaps think about joining us next time! 

Andrew Thornton and Laurel Ross   Andrew's blog will give you more info about the group.