Saturday, February 23, 2013

Freeform Peyote Challenge

Signup Here through January 31, 2013
Two very awesome ladies, Karen Williams and Mandi Ainsworth, decided it would be fun to host a Freeform Peyote Challenge!  I was so very excited to sign up, and today's the reveal day! I have to say, this has been a whirlwind of a project. I started out with something totally different, and it quickly grew out of all proportionate size. It would have been a 3 inch wide cuff if I had kept going. Now, there's nothing wrong with that, but not what I normally, back to the drawing board. Karen started a great facebook group for Freeform Peyote, and I got such inspiration from seeing all the different interpretations. One in particular stood out for me. It was simply made in two colors. Like a lightbulb, I realized that I could also do that. And my two colors immediately jumped out for me....silver and hot pink!
Now, most freeform pieces go through an....ugly duckling stage. Where you look at it and wonder if it will ever grow up to be beautiful. Not so for this piece. From the moment I started it, I love each and every stage of it. This has been such a wonderful piece for me, and will be a treasure in my collection for many years to come.
I did a few things differently on this one than what I've done in the past. I wanted a bit of structure, so I ladder stitched silver 11's for one end, then strung several types of silver beads until I reached the length I wanted, then did another ladder stitched row for the other end. So I started with a rectangle of silver, which I then filled in with lacy strands of beads.
I think the hardest thing to photograph is a freeform piece. There is so much to look at, so I tried to break it down for you.

The clasp end, silver lined triangle beads, accented with fuschia 15's.

The loop end is a pink and clear dichroic bead, with loops of the seed beads used throughout the bracelet encircling the bead.

 It definitely took on it's own shape..I was thrilled when I saw what was happening.

 A lovely bridge of silver twisted bugles flows down to a silver pond.

 Hard to see, but there is a pink cube bead, an AB clear crystal, and a frosted pink bead in this shot.

Another view of the bridge.

 I love the pink and silver mix here, reminds me of cherry blossoms.

Thanks so much Karen and Mandi, for this challenge. It gave me better understanding of myself as a beader, and what I'm capable of creating. And a lovely addition to my jewelry box!
Here's the list of the participants-have fun hopping!       Blessings, Shirley

Friday, February 1, 2013

AW-Hand Dyed Seam Binding Challenge

What? Two posts in one day? Say it ain't so! Yep! I actually FINISHED two projects due on the same day!
So, if you're looking for the AJE Blog Reveal, go here.

At the beginning of the year, I told myself that I would not enter so many challenges. Really. And then Karen Lackey posted this great challenge over on Artisan Whimsey for seam binding. Huh? Ok, Not a Sewer here....I vaguely understand that it's something to strengthen the seams of clothes...right?
Well, in the jewelry world, Karen has taken it to new heights. She hand dyes it and comes up with the lovely, yummy colors.Please go check out her Etsy Shop.  The color she chose for the challenge was a soft, pretty aqua blue. Which leads me to my next challenge. See, I don't do soft colors....I'm a primary, earthy toned kinda girl. Love purples. Love burgundy, matte raku....not so much on the soft, pastel colors. So that was another personal challenge, to see if I could actually work with a soft color palette. Sigh...ok, I'm in. Just can't stop myself.
Here's a pic of what Karen sent to me...

See? So soft and pretty!
Ok, so I stretched myself outside of all previous boundaries. I used fabric, I used netting, and I used kumihimo with fabric. Wanna see?? Of course you do!
As soon as I saw the color of the seam binding in person, it reminded me of a beautiful pendant I had of Marie Voyer-Cramp's. If you've never seen her lovely wooden pendants, you can check them out at Skye Jewels. I wanted to keep to the delicate, ethereal feel of the lightweight pendant, but I  didn't want to just string it on the seam binding.

 I have used netting in a few pieces, but I've never done tubular netting like this.

I used eyelash yarn, bronze pearls and faceted brown agate gemstones, along with the seam binding in the kumihimo side.

 Yes, I know that end of the kumi looks like a hot mess....but this was a learning experience, right?

 I didn't really know how to attach the clasp, so a simple knot on each side is what worked.

 This pic is just to show you how pretty the seam binding is with the wing of the butterfly....

 Here's a close-up of the netting and the kumi.

 And there you have it. Am I totally pleased? Not with the endings, but absolutely with where this challenge took me.And....I still have more left!!!  Hope you enjoyed the ride with me.
Blessings, Shirley

AJE-Component of the Month Reveal

Today is the day!And I actually have TWO reveals today! If you are looking for the Seam Binding Challenge, go here.
 I was so very stoked when I got the email from Karen Totten, of Starry Road Studios, telling me I had won a component. The very talented folks over at Art Jewelry Elements hold a challenge each month, and a couple of lucky commenters get to play along. Here are the components for this month's challenge:

(photo courtesy of AJE blog)

I got one of the caramel orangey ones. And no, I didn't think to take a pic of it when I ripped gently opened the package!  I adore ceramics, and have spent many happy hours painting figures in a friend's pottery shop.

So, I know Karen calls these pie beads, but I didn't immediately think 'pie' when I saw it. The first thing that struck me was the beautiful color. The next was the wonderful swirley design she stamped on it, with her own handmade stamps.
As when I participated in the challenge before with Diana Ptaszynski's component, I knew I wanted that baby front and center on a bracelet.
I have had a love affair with CRAW for quite a while now, and I have some gorgeous matte beads from Brightling Beads that just seemed perfect for this project.
I did run into some hiccups along the way. I tried to bezel the ceramic bead. And, while it looked pretty, it wasn't the concept I was going ripped it out. Yep. First time for me to do that much work, and just rip it out with no hesitation!
Here's the bezel:
And because the bezel made the piece so large, I needed two ropes of CRAW on either side....
So then, when I ripped out the bezel, I had these ropes that I need to tie into the focal somehow, without overwhelming it....
Now, you see those cute little beaded beads in the center of the ropes? Those were from the amazing Liz Reed of Crimson Moon. She provided a free tutorial on them, and I just love how they brought the two sides of the rope together. Thus they became my solution.
They mimic the shape of the ceramic bead, and the swirl of color.

The swirl pattern on the CRAW came about from a conversation with Heather Collin, and further playing with the pattern.

Close up of the clasp, also done in CRAW.I love the contrast of the matte and shiny, and the raku color with the dreamsicle orange.
Thanks Karen and AJE for letting me play along this month. It has been such a joy!
Blessings, Shirley