Saturday, September 25, 2010

Catching Up -
Ramblings & Musings - Part 2
PLUS Creations!

I spent a few hours with a friend one Wednesday afternoon as she tried her hand at jewelry making - beading. She had expressed interest but was unsure if it was really something she wanted to pursue so I thought wwweeelll... I have a 'crap ton' of beads - natural, lampwork, swaros, etc; a 'crap ton' of beading wire, crimps, crimp covers and tools - so I invited her over for a play day.

She walked into my kitchen where I had moved all my jars of beads onto a huge lazy susan on the table and looked at those and then at the trays of little plastic jars w/ more beads and said "OMGosh I don't know where to begin". I watched her pour over the beads... thinking of a bracelet first for her daughter and thinking purple (what is it with tweens and teens and purple??) and she reached for a Paradise Designs long purple focal that I had always imagined on a necklace and she made THAT the focal for the bracelet. She combined it with some purple spacers that went w/ the focal, some swaros and some shampoo glass spacers and came up with a really pretty bracelet. (And no... I stupidly did not take a photo but I'm going to either get one the next time I see them or ask them to send me one.) Not knowing it was created as a 'necklace' focal she just went with her gut and thought of that bead as I hadn't... as a bracelet focal. She did the EXACT same thing for hers - she reached for a Canyon Echoes focal that to me read necklace all over it, turned it sideways added swaros and lampwork spacers and voila another bracelet that I hadn't 'seen' in the bead.

I learned a lot from her today and it all came back to me when I saw the spoke to the flight attendant about her necklace. (Last post... Work-Work Takes Over - Ramblings & Musings.)

Now for some jewelry -

I've been away for quite a while - work-work has kept me very busy but it seems to be leveling out again. I did managed to squeeze in a few pieces.

Sea Treasures Necklace...
Sea Treasures was created from a focal of varnished sand dollar with piece of cobalt colored sea glass by Northern Sea Glass (they have awesome antique Japanese & Korean Fishing Floats too!) and a fine silver star fish with a 4mm ruby cz in the middle that I made. The glass beads are hollow lampwork beads by That Bead Girl and it is interspersed with shampoo glass spacers. A fine silver artist mark and hand forged sterling silver pendant bail finish the piece.

Bracelets have become my new favorite things to wear and make!

I purchased these two lovelies from Sea & Sand Designs (floral bracelet) and Lune Designs (plum colored beaded bracelet) for myself sometimes I just have to splurge - and I love supporting the artisans I've come to know. I love these pieces and encourage you to visit their shops for beautiful pieces. AND Keirsten (Lune Designs) has a terrific sense of humor... check out her blog... The Cerebral Dilettante!

I MADE the next few ...

Rose Garden (I never promised you...) was done for a wonderful lady who welcomed me into her project group and became like family to me over the 2 years we worked together. She recently re-evaluated her goals and decided to go back to her love - teaching - and to continue her education to gain her teaching certificate and teach History in Canada. She's a terrific mentor, project leader, and friend and I know that she will bring History to life for the lucky students who get her as a teacher.

The bracelet is made from beautiful rose garden 'chintz' lampwork beads by Bastille Bleu Lampwork. It contains small fine silver lentil beads textured with a carnation texture and made by me. It also contains Swarovski crystals and is held together with a magnetic clasp. I hope she enjoys wearing it as much as I have enjoyed finding just the right beads and creating the piece for her.

Beach Dreamin'... I made this for my god-mother. When I was growing up we use to go to her parents cottage (my great aunt and uncle) and to my other great aunt and uncle's cottage) in York Beach Maine. I LOVE Maine, I love the beaches there - sandy and rocky... COLD... and hot all at the same time.
My god-mother now owns her parents' cottage and has created a beautiful summer home for herself. The focal point of York Beach lies between Long Sand and Short Sand ... "Nubble Light" Light House. This picturesque lighthouse is known by anyone who has gone to York, traveled the Maine coast line or seen a book of light houses. It's picture graces calendars, note cards, and I imagine millions and millions of envelopes, boxes and albums of photos by the people who have visited.

When I think of the beach (besides the sand in your bathing suit that makes you crazy) I think of cozy, relaxing, Martha Steward meets Shabby Chic. And when my friend Nikki of Bastille Bleu Lampwork showed this set of blue chintz beads I immediately thought of the beach cottage. (The fact that I had missed my god-mother's birthday might have helped that thought along but still! it's the thought that counts! ;o) )

The bracelet has Bastille Bleu Lampwork blue chintz beads, a focal bead made by me of fine silver - big hole style with urchin texture created from a texture mold I made of an urchin shell - and green translucent enamel. It also has a sand dollar fine silver lentil bead and a carnation fine silver lentil bead. A fine silver star fish charm w/ green enamel and a sea shell charm also made from fine silver. To memorialize the "Nubble" as us 'locals' call it - I made a line drawing from one of my many photos of the light house, created a PPP (photo polymer plate) and then stamped it onto the clay. I added texture to the area where the rocks are by hand and then fired it. When it was done I tumbled it to bring out the shine and then added Liver of Sulfer to the piece to give it an antique look. I was able to obtain pinks and greens and blues along with the darker normal antique color of LOS. When you look at the charm it looks like the sun is setting an the colors are reflecting off the wet rocks along the base of the light house. I'm very pleased with the effect and the charm as a whole. This bracelet too is finished off with a magnetic closure.

Tweens... in one of my other blogs I asked "what is it with tweens and teenagers and their love of purple?"... I made this Peaceful Purple bracelet for a tween 'belonging' to a co-worker. Her mom said she loved purple and was into peace signs. My initial thought was to make the closure a peace sign but it got a little out of focus as I worked on it and so the peace sign because a charm.

The focal is a lampwork bead pillow by Bastille Bleu Lampwork and the purple dot beads and green spacers are also from hers. The purple spacers are by That Bead Girl and the cute little heart is by Principessa Glass. It has pale blue Czech spacers as well as lavender purple Swarovski beads and olive green pearlized Swarovski pearls.

The chain is a safety precaution in case it unhooks and it also will allow her to wear the bracelet for a long time by moving the hook she uses to close it to one of the jump rings added onto the chain. The s-hook closure is hand forged sterling silver wire. The end caps on the green spacers are fine silver stamped with a carnation floral stamp and dapped to form the slightly domed shape needed to fit over the spacer. I also added a fine silver leaf that has my artist mark on it and the peace sign charm also made from fine silver is the same carnation texture as the leaf and bead caps.

Alicia's Frog...
This little necklace was made for a friend for her August birthday. She loves frogs - yah I don't get it but she does!! AND I happen to have seen a frog bead on Bastille Bleu Lampworks etsy site and knew I had to have it. I created a "A" pendant w/ a fine silver artist mark leaf. The "A" pendant is highlighted w/ LOS patina.

And finally:

Desert Oasis ... this piece was spur of the moment and I LOVE IT!!
A turquoise/teal big hole bead w/ ivoried silver on it from Bastille Bleu Lampwork creates the focal point. Then I've added beautiful mushroom colored lampwork beads w/ silver as well as butter cream lampwork beads also with silver both from Canyon Echoes. The blue spacers are from That Bead Girl and the 8 little white-ish looking beads are river stone. The bracelet started out w/ a magnetic closure but she opted to have an S-hook attachment instead so I removed a couple of the river stone on each side to allow for the piece to close correctly. I adore how this came out and how I was able to "go shopping" in my bead hoard... ahh I mean bead supplies and find pieces from three different artisan's that work together so well in a piece!

ALMOST caught up... more later! :o)

Work-Work takes over...
Ramblings & Musings

OK so - Work-Work (another way of saying the work I do that pays the bills) has taken over. They've changed my role (yep again) and it's still computer based nothing creative so thank goodness for my jewelry obsession... which brings the reason for the big delay in blog posts AND why I'm typing this at 30,000 feet on Delta heading for Lancaster PA.

I have three diseases...

1) ID Disease
2) Promotional Product Disease
3) Jewelry Disease

Strange? Well yes, lest you forget - this is me thinking here!

I walk into the airport and my eyes automatically scan around and notice... TSA people are wearing their IDs on imprinted lanyards, baggage handlers and outside folks are displaying their ID in armband badge holders. Stewardess... ahhh flight attendants rather - are wearing theirs w/ a mix... lanyards, badge reels, beaded lanyards. THAT is ID Disease.

For instance you may not have noticed but - I believe it was Season 2 of "24" (I didn't see Season 1) they all used STRAP CLIPS to display their badges. Season 3 they switched to badge reels... some had translucent blue, others had solid black. Did you know that on "Rock of Love" with Brett Michaels his "VIP pass" that he gave out to the ho.. ummm 'ladies' on the show were 3/8" black break-away lanyards w/ white break-aways and white universal slide attachment holding an NPS swivel hook? I'm tellin ya, it's a freakin disease!! Once you start to work for an "ID" company you develop "ID Disease".

Promotional Product Disease - do YOU notice how many people are wearing 'branded' lanyards? From businesses using them for their employees (this mixes in w/ ID Disease) to bands selling them w/ holders for their show tickets (I guess Brett's budget was to cheap for Rock of Love lanyards!) Then there are the pens, the cups, the travel mugs, the bags. Actually, from where I'm sitting I can see Delta imprinted STYROFOAM CUPS and napkins (upgrades are gooood). I have an ipod w/ our company logo on it... and more bags than you can shake a stick at. This is the disease you get when you work for a promotional products company (and no... these diseases don't go away!)

On to the one that matters most right now... JEWELRY (do you spell it Jewelry or Jewelery???) Disease. Since starting on my journey into precious metal clay 13 months ago - yes it's been over a year now - I've started paying attention to what people are wearing. Sitting in first class is a great way to scope out what's popular, fun or different. (Like I said upgrades are good.) I've notice necklaces are smaller - ladies are wearing petite pendants on their necklaces - although don't get me wrong there was some serious BLING boarding the plane, but for the most part I've noticed a reduction in size on the 'basic' chain & pendant. "Big Hole" bead bracelets are becoming more and more popular with the regular folk. I can't tell a Pandora from a Troll (although in my head when I type troll I'm seeing the creepy little guy that lives under the bridge and bugs the billy goat) so I can't say which they are but it seems more and more folks are sporting big hole bead bracelets... which brings me to the reason that I decided I needed to type about my diseases...

The flight attendant today had on a simple black pleather cord folded in half worn lariat style w/ beads on the ends and little gold stoppers of some sort to keep the beads from falling off. To my bleary eyes (I was trying to nap when she came by and I was able to get a good look) they looked like lampwork. The next time she came by I had to as.. "Lampwork beads?" no - Pandora. Hmmm this made me INSTANTLY think of my friend Audrey at Principessa Glass and the cool new way she's been creating necklaces with big hole beads. (This link goes to her jewelry pieces the other link goes to her lampwork bead store.) Which leads me to think - what other techniques do we automatically think of when creating jewelry that could be done differently?

(The necklace above is by my friend Audrey. I LOVE how she's been using big hole beads lately - it's different and fun and well - see for yourself by clicking here!)

PS... TSA agents in Philadelphia International Airport were sporting Strap Clips today...

(It's a disease!!)