Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Art Elements' Component of the Month for February

Jenny hosted this month's Component of the Month over at Art Elements. She created lovely polymer clay hearts that she sculpted with cracks/breaks and then used wire to 'suture' the broken heart back together. I fell in love with them as soon as I saw them.  The green one really spoke to me so I requested a green heart cabochon (below).

 I decided to pair the beautiful green heart with one of Jenny's dryad pendants (below). They are created with ceramic clay and then she adds leaves/berries with polymer clay. I took the liberty of clipping off the wire for hanging (sorry Jenny) so I could use it as a cabochon.
 I already knew that I would create some sort of mixed media background to attach them to once I beaded around them. And of course I fortgot to photograph the cabochons by themselves once they were beaded.
So here they are fully beaded and already attached to my background.
I just love the heart on the tree...Reminiscent of hearts carved into tree trunks with lovers' initials.

 But my green heart belongs to the dryad Chrysopeleia. In Greek mythology the tree that Chrysopeleia resided in was put in danger by a flooding river. She was rescued by a hunter named Arcas when he re-routed the river and secured the tree from danger by creating a dam. Chrysopeleia became his lover and bore him 2 sons.
I created the tree for Chrsopeleia by using a piece of silk blend fabric which I had dyed and sun printed on several years ago. I needle felted the tree using brown wool fibers and a wool blend yarn. Her foliage is an acrylic blend fuzzy yarn that I needle felted onto the background. I did some hand embroidery along the tree trunk and branches as well as outlined some of the leaf printings in the background fabric. I also needle felted a piece of pale green silk to 'ground' the tree at the bottom and used more embroidery. Then I attached the beaded dryad and heart to the tree and added more beads here and there throughout the tree and ground.

After I was satisfied with the embellishments I wanted to frame it but I had needle felted and stitched to just about the edge at top and bottom! So........... I machine stitched some green fabric around the edges so that it would be large enough to staple onto a gallery wrapped canvas (below).

Then I put it in a floater frame and Voila...


I tried and tried to steam out those wrinkles in the background fabric, but they just won't go away! When I dyed & sun printed the fabric I think it must have been wrinkled up like that while wet and then the sun just permanently set the wrinkles-like steaming pleats into silk. They just don't want to release now. So I just stitched the outline of the leaves in the background letting the wrinkles create a crinkly, textured effect. This was so much fun I think I would like to do a series of dryads;-)

I can't wait to see what the other AE team members and particpating guests have created with their healing broken hearts by Jenny!

Here is the list of participants, go check them out for yourself.

 Guests-

Art Element Team-
Lesley
Laney
Lindsay
Caroline
Cooky
Claire
Diana
Jenny
Jen
Susan
Niky


Tuesday, January 31, 2017

January's Component of the Month-Leather Cabochons

Lindsay over at Art Elements, chose to create leather cabochons for the January component of the month.  That's right, I said LEATHER cabochons! I knew that leather is moldable and malleable, but never considered creating a cabochon out it. Brilliant Lindsay & thank you.
As soon as Lindsay posted photos of these beauties they reminded me of aboriginal art. Probably because of the dots she painted on them but the colors and the fact that they were leather just made me think of aboriginal/tribal jewelry. As soon as my cabochon arrived I knew exactly what I would make-a talisman type necklace with a tribal/aboriginal feel to it.
I was so excited to get started that I completely forgot to photograph it BEFORE I beaded around it. So here it is after beading and before completing the necklace.

I pulled out various components and found objects that I could use as talismans to hang from the necklace. I chose a carved Camel bone pendant that I have had for years. It has dots carved into it and seemed to go right along with the leather cabochon. I added a piece of coral, a piece of beach glass, a bronze goddess pendant by Lesley Watt, a ceramic acorn by Caroline Dewison, a small ceramic heart by Scorched Earth on etsy, a piece of etched brass by me and some feathers and beads.
When I beaded around the cabochon I chose some small wooden beads to use around the outer edge that have the look of bone which ties everything in nicely since I decided to hang everything from a deer antler.
I knew I wanted to dangle the talismans from the cabochon but didn't want to do a traditional fringe hanging off the beaded cabochon. I wanted something more rustic and tribal. So I went with the hammered copper and wired the cabochon to the copper.
I love how everything just seems to 'belong' on this piece. The etched brass is from my favorite stamp- 'Be still woman and know who your are'. Quite appropriate for my talisman necklace. And I love that the piece of coral looks like a bone of some sort.
 This is quite a heavy necklace but not too heavy to wear occasionally. It is certainly a 'statement' necklace! I may end up just hanging it in my studio to ward off evil spirits & keep the negative energy at bay. Or it may end up in a special case or frame to show it off.

I can't wait to see what all the participants have created with their leather cabochons.
Here's the list of everyone who is playing along this month:

Guests:
Ann
Renetha
Patty
Sherri
Kelly
Linda

AE Writers:
Lesley
Laney
Lindsay
Caroline
Cathy
Cooky
Claire
Diana
Jenny
Susan
Niky

Saturday, January 7, 2017

Art Elements December Dragon Challenge

Fellow Art Elements' team member Niky Sayers, hosted December's theme of the month. She chose 'dragons'. Immediately I was hooked and ready to start working on dragon themed pieces.
I sorted through supplies I already had to see if there might be anything to use. The only thing I had were glass eyes.
I remembered seeing someone who had beaded a Dragon's eye brooch and posted to Facebook so I just had to try and create my own brooch. I am beyond thrilled at how it turned out. Especially since I beaded and ripped beads out, then beaded and ripped beads out numerous times. I got the beading around the glass eye done quickly-just some super duo beads at the sides then used some 11˚ beads to peyote stitch some eyelids. Once I got that far I just couldn't get the  combo of beads or the color and size I liked until my 3rd or 4th try. I am finally pleased with the combo of matte & shiny- round , dagger, rizzo and magatama beads. It has a pin back which I forgot to photograph for you.

I think I will be making more of these little brooches. As long as it doesn't take 4 tries to get them right it should be fun!

Once I realized I didn't have anything that I could use for the theme other than the glass eyes I perused etsy. Below is one of the cabochons I found. It is jasper that has been carved into a fabulous dragon.
It had a hole at the top to create a pendant so I stuck a bead in the hole then beaded all around the cabochon. This piece could have made a lovely LARGE necklace or I a beautiful bracelet but I wanted to do something a little different so I used this beaded piece to top a little wooden box which I painted/inked and glued some decorative paper inside.
So now I have a lovely little dragon box to store my dragon brooch in~

While sifting through etsy for dragon related items, I also found this cute little connector (below) from Green Girl Studios. I wanted to make the dragon 'pop' so I tried colored pencils first which worked pretty good. Then I used water soluble oil pastels that look awesome but of course rubs off very easily. So I tried rubbing some Dorland's Wax Medium on top of the pastels (which rubbed off most of the pastel & pencil color) so I added more color on top of the wax medium. Once the wax medium dries/sets it is a pretty good sealer/protectant- will just have to wait & see how it holds up.
I paired the connector with Czech glass saturn shaped beads and a pre-made chain of sterling silver with 3mm faceted labradorite beads.
This is a reversible necklace in my opinion because I absolutely love the back of the component with the Roald Dahl quote.
 This was such a fun theme for me. I had such grandiose plans at the start but the holidays always have a way of throwing me off track with creative projects. I think I will continue this dragon theme since I had such a long list of things I wanted to make and didn't have time.
One item that was on my list to make: something that everyone needs--a magic wand. I had planned to make one with a dragon's claw at one end, holding a sphere. Then there are the dragon cabochons that fellow member Jenny Davies-Reazor makes-I NEED to have some of those to bead around! And fellow member Laney Mead creates lampwork dragon beads which I think I NEED also!  I believe there will be  several pieces of jewelry in the future with a 'Game of Thrones' feel to them. So many ideas....
With the new year and new plans for creative pursuits I am just hoping my hands can keep up with all the inspiration swirling in my head!

I can't wait to see what the other team members and our guests have created with this dragon theme.
Let's go blog hopping and find out.
Here are the participants:
Guests
Shai Williams
Kathy Lindemer
Anita Rao
Kelly Rodgers
Tammy Adams

AJE Team
Susan
Jenny
Cathy
Jen
Niky
Diana
Laney
Caroline
Claire

                                                     

Sunday, October 30, 2016

Art Elements Component of the Month

I just love the team over at Art Elements!! Since joining I have been inspired to produce WAY more work than I would ever have created 'alone'. It really does take a village for me to get creative and work in my studio!
Every month there is a theme or a component of the month challenge at Art Elements.
Sugar skulls were the component of the month for October and was hosted by Jennifer Cameron. Jen creates beautiful lampwork glass beads and headpins. Fittingly, for October she created glass sugar skulls and distributed them amongst the group.  I also received the wonderful antique key with the glass bead on the end:-)
As soon as my sugar skull arrived I knew exactly what I wanted to create. (haha)
I happened to be working on the caged trinkets tutorial for the AE blog when the skull came so I had wire weaving on my mind. I cut some pieces of wire, flattened the ends into paddle shapes and twined thinner wire around the padddles. I ended up with a flat woven piece that fanned out at the top. Like the photo below.

I then wired the sugar skull onto the woven piece and HATED it! It did nothing to enhance Jen's work.
As I was taking the skull off the woven wire thingy I saw a piece of copper that I had cut and shaped a while back to be a loose bezel round a cab (which never came to fruition). When I put the sugar skull in the copper shroud I loved it-until I began to create the necklace for it.
Here's that version below.

The wire it was hanging from was just way too long and the ceramic spike from Scorched Earth that I hung from the bottom was just way tooo much. I could've shortened the wire it was hanging from and switched out the spike dangle but I didn't. I decided that I would just do a complete turn-around. And I was really determined to use that blue spike dangle! I thought the color blue of the spike blended so well with the 'eye' glass bead on the key as well as matched the eyes of the sugar skull.
Sooooo, then I decided to try my hand at some micro macrame. I did a LOT of macrame back in the 70's and have done a few very simple knotted necklaces but after seeing fellow AE member Cooky Schock's lovely work, I thought why not give it a try.
Here is that version.

Meh. Note to self: practice your half hitches before attempting to create something pleasing to the eye. It's not completely horrible but then again it's just not working for me. I wanted to enhance Jen's sugar skull and the macrame wasn't highlighting anything other than my need to work on my knots.
Sooooo.... I left it on the work table for a week, mulled it over at 4 am when I couldn't sleep and decided to revisit the copper shroud and make the sugar skull into a grim reaper'ish looking fella.
 Reluctantly, I changed out the blue spike and used a glass headpin from Nikki Thornburg. The black/white of the glass headpin leads your eye up to the mouth of the skull quite well I think. Plus the headpin isn't as long as the spike was and the blue of the spike was such an 'attention hog' that the black/white combo looks so much better. What do you think?
Besides, I had already planned to repeat the blue of the glass bead on the key and the skull eyes in the necklace with sodalite beads. I definitely have enough blue going on without the spike.
As you can see in the photo above,  I used copper that I hammered into bone-shaped paddles and used the blue sodalite beads between the 'bones'.
I had a bit of a dilemma with the sugar skull pendant sliding all around the key and also the copper wired loops holding the necklace also slipping. So I wrapped enough copper wire around the key between the pendant and the wire loops to keep them all pretty stable.
Here's a better look at that magnificent glass bead on the key & the sugar skull. Awesome work Jen!!!
Hopefully, after so many incarnations I have done justice to these beautiful glass pieces. I don't think I have ever re-made anything that many times.

The necklaces below aren't part of the sugar skull challenge but I wanted to share them since Halloween/Day of the Dead/All Hallows Eve/Samhain is almost upon us.
I've already worn the above necklace a few times. The raku pod came from Marianne Kasparian and the little skull came from Nikki Thornburg.
The one below is also a skull from Nikki Thornburg. She ended up looking rather queenly don't you think?
I am looking forward to seeing what all the other paticipants have created with Jen's sugar skulls.
Here's a list of everyone who decided to join the fun.


Guest Designers
Staci Louise Smith
Karin Grosset Grange
Solange Collin
Art Elements Team
Caroline Dewison
Susan Kennedy
Laney Mead
Claire Fabian
Diana Ptaszynski
Jenny Davies-Reazor
Lindsay Starr
Niky Sayers
Lesley Watt
Cooky Schock
Jen Cameron

 Thanks for stopping by!

Thursday, September 29, 2016

AJE September Tree Challenge Reveal

The theme challenge of the month over at Art Jewelry Elements was 'trees'.  I was delighted that Caroline chose trees for the month of September. Trees happen to pop up quite often in my work.
I also happen to take a LOT of pictures of trees. They are a constant source of inspiration.
What's not to like about trees? They are beautiful during every season. In fact, I think during winter they might just be at their most beautiful.
If you read my last post, you saw that I ordered some fabulous jewelry elements from blueberribeads.
The first thing I made with trees in mind were these cute little earrings using the gingko leaf headpins. I paired them with Czech glass beads and some copper washers that I distressed and aged. Can't wait to wear these!!
Gingko Headpin Earrings
                                                Trees and leaves and acorns-oh my!!
Trio of Tree Themed Necklaces

The next tree piece I created was the necklace (above left & below) using a gorgeous porcelain tree pendant made by Caroline over at blueberribeads. I wanted to showcase this lovely pendant so I didn't want a lot of busy beading on the necklace itself. I did use some smooth black river rocks that I drilled holes into and threaded the rocks with a couple of matte green jasper beads between them. I used two pieces of dyed silk fabric that I ripped to size in a shade of green that complemented the pendant.
Porcelain Tree Pendant Necklace

The next tree related piece was also one of Caroline's cute little gingko leaf beads and one of her acorn pendants (above right & below). I also didn't want anything heavy or busy to distract from the focal bead & acorn so I threaded the acorn pendant on copper wire and up through the bead. Then to add a little more green I hung some green Czech glass beads from the copper wire holding the acorn. I used the same green Czech glass beads to thread onto C-Lon bead cord and crocheted the necklace.
Gingko Leaf Bead With Acorn Pendant Necklace

Next up for my tree inspired pieces was a piece of copper etched with a leaf that I hung from African Opal beads knotted on waxed linen (above center & below). I added the little fetish turquoise bird just for fun.
Etched Copper & African Opal Necklace

Of course I couldn't do a challenge without doing some bead embroidery so I decided to use this Chinese Paintbrush jasper cabochon that looks like a landscape. Remember when I said I love trees in winter? Well, to me this looks a bit like a forest where the trees have lost most of their leaves. And because I just love those little acorns that Caroline made I wanted to dangle an acorn from this pendant. It was the perfect color and acorns are a promise of rebirth, growth and potential. Perfect to hang from a forest that has lost all its leaves.  I attached the beaded pendant to a piece of driftwood and created the necklace from Chinese Paintbrush jasper coin shaped beads knotted on waxed linen.
Chinese Paintbrush Cabochon With Acorn Pendant
Chinese Paintbrush Jasper, Acorn & Driftwood Necklace

And last but not least........I received this lovely 'Greenman' cabochon from Jenny Davies-Reazor and naturally he needed to be included. So I started some bead embroidery around him and lots of fringe that hopefully mimics foliage. I am sorry I didn't get to complete a necklace using him but it's on my to-do list.
GreenMan Pendant

I have so many tree inspired necklaces, art quilts and felted pieces that I created previously I might just have to do another blog post on tree related art.

Thanks for stopping by. Please have a look at all the participants for the tree theme challenge this month.

AJE Team
Guests

Until then, live your life creatively~
cathy




Saturday, September 17, 2016

Creative Impulse

Have you ever had such a strong desire to create that you had to drop everything else you were doing and just go for it?
I had an episode like that recently. I recently joined the team over at Art Jewelry Elements blog.
I ordered some beautiful ceramic components from Caroline Dewison at blueberribeads. Caroline is a
fellow member at AJE. As you can see she makes gorgeous pieces! Check out her website.
I was thinking about the September tree challenge over at AJE when I placed this order.
When I deposited this package of goodies on my work table the raku bunny bead called out to me- use me first please!!  In spite of working on 14 other things at the moment I just had to create something right then and there with that rabbit.
I began pulling out an assortment of beads, wire, chain and some hand dyed silk fabric and ribbon.
I was so excited about the color of the silks bringing out the rusty color of the rabbit. I knew it had to have a tassel hanging from it.
First Version
The above photo is the first version. I really like it but the soldered copper pipe that I used as a tassel cap was a little too overwhelming for the raku hare. I wanted the tassel to complement and enhance the color of the raku glaze not overpower it.  I also thought the silver solder was a bit too much with all the copper & rust. So I brushed it lightly with some copper alcohol ink. Meh...Still not what I wanted!
Soooooo...
Second Version
I found a vintage copper filigree cone in my stash to use for the tassel. It is not nearly as bold. Now the raku bunny bead is the star of the necklace instead of the soldered copper pipe.
I finished the necklace off with some textured black resin tube beads, copper beads, seed beads, copper wire and copper chain. I also added some smaller copper chain in with the tassels and attached a metal leaf, metal acorns and one of my polymer clay headpins from the August headpin challenge.

Close up of first version

Close-up of second version
Looking at these photos I still like the soldered pipe version but the copper filigree cone is a better fit for the look I was going for. What do you think?

This necklace looks like fall with those bronze, gold, copper & purple colors. It also reminds me a little of witches and sorcery! I never imagined having a rabbit as a familiar but it's possible.

After creating this necklace I was able to move on to all the other projects that are in various phases of development. I am working on several pieces for the tree challenge. Check it out over at AJE and join us. You still have time.

Until then-live your life creatively~
cathy

Tuesday, August 30, 2016

August Design Challenge-Art Headpins!

This was definitely a challenge for me... I have just recently joined the Art Jewelry Elements group and thought I would sit this art headpin challenge out. Then after returning home from a quick trip to visit relatives I figured I should just go ahead and jump right in. 
Well...I didn't have time to order some of the lovely glass or ceramic headpins that some of my fellow AJE members create so I decide to just make my own.
So what do I make? How about polymer clay?  I haven't played with it in years, but what the heck, let's try it.  When I went to my stash the only colors I happen to have are black and purple. Hmmm-Ok, I can make it work.  Used a bit of Pearl-Ex powders on the clay before cooking and here they are.
Polymer clay headpins
 I thought it was too much Pearl Ex, so I sanded them. Then they were too blah, so I added dabs of gold ink here and there. (sorry I forgot to take photos after the sanding and dabbing of ink)
I attempted to go for something fun & funky and a little bit out of my comfort zone. I used a copper pipe (with patina added) to hold my tassels made of strips of sari fabric. I used several lengths of chain mixed in with the sari strips and dangled the polymer headpins from the chain, but first I threaded a mix of metal and ceramic beads on the headpins. Sorry these photo are not doing the headpins justice. They really aren't that black. They have splashes of purple and gold.
Close up of chains and dangling headpins

Silk sari tassel pendant
With so much going on in the pendant itself I decided to keep it simple & just hang it from 2 pieces of soft black leather. The colors have a kind of Mardi Gras look to it.
Funky tassel necklace


Not completely happy with just the polymer clay headpins I turned to my wire. I curled and hammered and then when I went to give them a nice patina with my liver of sulphur IT DID NOT WORK! It was the powdered form and it is quite a few years old. I tried doubling the amount-nothing. So I used heat to give a little color to my wire and then used a patina for metal to give some of them a blue/green color.
Here's my collection of brass & copper spiral, twirly headpins.

Copper & brass wire headpins
 And here is what I did with them. The headpins didn't turn out to be the stars of the show but I do like how they enhance the project.
Spiral headpin with patina added
Especially when I decided to pull out the wire to create a little basket to hold a piece of beach glass and brain coral in. This little spiral headpin with the patina gives just the right amount of color.
Woven wire basket with headpin attached
I added a necklace made with chain and recycled glass beads as well as some Czech glass beads.


Woven wire necklace
Since my true love is bead embroidery I just had to come up with something that I could incorporate a headpin with.

Close-up of twirly headpin
Close-up of beaded ceramic face
I used a ceramic face cabochon I made years ago when I used to play with stoneware clay and beaded around it. I paired the beaded head with some copper discs (etched & domed slightly) with a blue/greenish patina added. Used regular old copper balled headpins to connect the discs to each other and the beaded piece. Then used a swirly headpin with metal bead to dangle from the bottom.
I hung it from a piece of copper wire that I flattened in areas. Again, no liver of sulphur meant I had to try and patina with heat. I added some matte amazonite beads and a clasp to finish.
Mixed media necklace
Creating this piece using the bead embroidered cab along with metals and wires really made me rethink my whole jewelry making process. I have been so focused on bead embroidery that I forgot how much I love metals.
close-up of copper headpin
So I had to start another pendant that incorporates another wire headpin.
It isn't finished YET. I will do another piece of bead embroidery to hang the metal pendant from.
This is a piece of brass, flooded with solder and embedded with a brass filigree flower and a metal ring around it. I threaded an African opal bead, turquoise fetish bird bead & metal beads onto the spiral headpin. I believe I have a stone cabochon that will be perfect to pair with this. Stay tuned for the finished piece.

And finally I made a pair of earrings just because I needed another pair.
I did take the quick and easy way out and used store bought ear wires for photographing. I will probably go back and make my own ear wires so that they will look more cohesive.
Etched brass earrings with brass spiral headpins
The earrings were made with etched brass. Metal and glass beads were threaded onto the brass spiral headpins.

I can't wait to go blog hopping to see what wonderful things the other AJE team members and reader participants have created.
Here they are if you want to check them out:

Guests :

Alison Herrington 
AJE Team:


Until next time...Live your life creatively~
Cathy