Thursday, June 23, 2011

Silver, Copper, Bronze...
Color Combo Challenge And More!!

Hey!! Wow it's been a long time since my last blog - Lordy I feel like I just knelt down in a confessional! But seriously - so much has been going on in 2011 and I'm a bit behind in my reporting!!

You know me, you know my style - I tend to create pieces for specific people - gifts... with specific people in mind. Which means I think about the person, and pull bits and pieces of them into the design. Well that tends to make it difficult for me to ... just make. So in mid January I joined a Facebook group called "Color Combo Challenge". This group is fantastic. I've watched it grow from less than 50 people to over 200 in a few short months. Each Monday a combination (palette) of colors is picked (or voted on) and you have one week to create a piece in that palette - the pics are then posted on Sunday or Monday and then the new colors are announced. I've had SO much fun! Besides the craziness of trying to find materials in the right colors and then creating something "just because" I've met some super great people and learned so much!!

Here are some pics of the pieces I've done for the Color Combo Challenge (the color squares show you the color palette we had that week):

8_Brown/Black, Topaz, Seafoam, Mint and Dusty Mint Greens

Necklace and Earrings: Bronze, Pale Green Granite (yep granite), Amber Glass Beads, Topaz Swarovski Crystals, Peace Stone, Sesame Jasper, hand-made chain and ear wires from vintage bronze wire. One lamp work bead is in the center of the focal - created by That Bead Girl. The necklace is approx 22" and the earrings are approx 2 1/2" long from top of ear wire.
Bracelet: Bronze, Green Granite (this piece has cool sandy pieces in it), Topaz Swarovski Crystals, Peace Stone, Amazonite, Amber Lamp Work Spacer by That Bead Girl, hand-made chain and forged closure.
Bracelet approx 7 1/4" long.

9_Honeysuckle (Pink) & Russet
Click Here to Buy Necklace! - or - Click Here to Buy Earrings!

Necklace: Bronze hand-sculpted rose focal with hand-forged texture. Two shades of pink lampwork beads by That Bead Girl. Swaros - Light Colorado Topaz, Smoked Topaz and Rose. Brown & White Enamel beads made by me (!) with hand-forged Antique Bronze wire work. Finished off with pink suede cord and hand-forged Antique Bronze hook with lampwork bead.

Earrings: Bronze flower drops with hand-forged texture. Pink Lampwork beads by That Bead Girl, Swaros - Light Colorado Topaz and Smoked Topaz. Antique Bronze wire.

11_ Mauves & Olive done with lamp work, Swarovski crystals,
vintage bronze and hand-dyed silk cord
Click Here to Buy Necklace! - or - Click Here to Buy Earrings!

Necklace: Beautiful lamp work heart by Bastille Bleu Lampwork and jungle twilight lamp work beads by That Bead Girl combined with vintage bronze wire to create what I think is a pretty cute necklace. Notice the vintage 10mm pink ab swaros (unsure the exact color but will find out)!! ;o) Piece is finished off with hand coiled beads, cord caps and a hand-forged vintage bronze "s" hook.

Earrings: More jungle twilight lamp work beads by That Bead Girl combined with green and pink swaros, and vintage bronze hand-coiled beads on hand-forged ear wires

12_Coral & Seafoam done with Fossil Coral Beads, Adventurine, Green Flourite, Red Jasper, Dark & Light Coral Czech Glass and Lampwork Beads and Bronze wire

SOLD... Necklace - Took the color challenge a little bit literal and used fossil coral beads for this necklace w/ adventurine and green flourite along w/ red jasper and coral & pink glass czech beads. Hand-forged bronze wire chain with hand-dyed silk cord. And two small lampwork beads at either end of the main focal section by That Bead Girl.

GIFTED... Earrings: Do not match the necklace - but I love these coral/pinky color shells (Strawberry Top Shells from Thunder Bird Supply). Matched w/ bronze hand-forged ear wires and coils along with VINTAGE peridot (or Chrysobryl (?sp)) swaros. I am checking on the Swaros.

14 - Teal/Seafoam/Royal - Bronze Component, Lampwork Beads,
African Jade and Blue Lapsis w/ Bronze Wire.

Bracelet - Bronze bracelet made from one of my bronze components, pretty blue/green lampwork beads by That Bead Girl, African Jade round beads and blue lapsis. Hand forged antique bronze wire chain. Closes with a square bronze toggle.

15 - Plum & Peach - Birds Eye Rayolite, Bronze Component,
Lampwork Beads, Harvest Stone, Swarovski Crystals w/ Bronze Wire.

Necklace - Birds Eye Rayolite focal surrounded by peach and plum lampwork spacers by That Bead Girl, Harvest Stone beads, and light peach Swarovski crystals. Purchased textured chain combined with bronze button component from my etsy shop as well as lampwork, Swarovski and harvest stone bead components. Hand forged closure. Necklace approx 20".

16_Pink Lemonade - Copper, Swarovski Crystals, Glass Beads,
Copper/Brass Wire, Copper Chain
Click Here to Buy Necklace! - or - Click Here to Buy Earrings!

Pink Lemonade Garden Party - Necklace & Earrings
Second try at 'beading' but first time on my own from start to finish. Came across a bracelet in a magazine this week that had these cool crystal bead components so I thought - hmmmm. Here's my try -

Necklace - "Beads" created from Sunflower, Vintage Rose, Rose Swarovski Crystals with size 15 pale pink glass beads. Combined with my own copper rose hips, hand-made jump rings from copper and brass twisted wire and Swarovski crystal w/ copper links. The toggle on this is a combination of Copper & Brass twisted wire and one of my copper twig with buds. Chains lengths are doubled to add to the flow.

Earrings - "Beads" created from Sunflower, Vintage Rose, Rose Swarovski Crystals with size 15 pale pink glass beads. Combined with my own copper rose hips as dangles. Hang from rose gold-filled ear wires for comfortable "non-greening" wear.

17_Green/Brown - Copper, Bronze, Swarovski Crystals, Harvest Stone,
Lamp work Beads, Suede Cording, Vintage Bronze Wire, Copper & Brass Chain
Click Here to Buy Me!

Necklace - dangle focal created from Lamp work beads by Bastille Bleu (rounds) combined with hand-coiled Vintage Bronze bail, patina'd Copper chain. Dangles are patina'd Copper Maple tree seed, Bronze rose hip, Swarovski crystals and a lamp work disc by That Bead Girl.

Focal hung from doubled beautiful green suede cord with side closure created from hand-coiled Vintage Bronze leather ends and hook with Copper/Brass chain and a rose-hip dangle with Swarovski crystals.
(Tutorial for the coiled bail from

20_ Teal/Gold/Purple - Bronze, Lampwork Beads,
Swarovski Crystals, Antiqued Bronze Wire
Click to Buy Me!

Necklace - Created this using a mold I made of a vintage pin. Used Bronze Clay, inset 2 fire-able CZs - Amythyst & Yellow Diamond. The Yellow Diamond lighted more than it was so it looks almost creamy clear. Then I took a piece of teal colored sea glass, smashed the crappola out of it and inset a small piece. Fired, tumbled, patina'd (carefully!!) w/ a torch to get some color on the lower wing and body. I added hand-made chain and Swarovski Crystals and Lampwork Spacers (by that bead girl). The chain on the necklace is purchased, the lampwork are all by that bead girl. The closure is also from Bronze clay. I'm SO excited that the piece worked w/ the crystals added in before firing - it opens up SOOO many more ideas for me!!

Earrings - used the lower wing of the butterfly for the earrings. These are done with hand made chain, Swarovski Crystals and again - Lampwork spacers by that bead girl. Hand-forged earring wires. If I had it to do over - and I prob will :o) I would add a crystal to one side of the wing and only two holes on the other side. I think they would dangle really pretty that way.

22_"Creamy Reds" - Pearls, Riverstone, Leopard Skin Jasper,
Swarovski Crystals, Sterling Silver
Click Here to Buy Earrings! - and - Click Here to Buy Bracelet!

Pulled this together quickly because I missed last weeks and 'needed' to do this! (LOL Afraid if I skip another week I'm doomed to skip all!) SO... I'm admitting that I was/am TOTALLY inspired by Jo Conway's beautiful LOOONNNG creamy pearl necklace that she posted in her shop this week.

Bracelet - Creamy little round ...Pearls, 6mm beigy/creme Riverstone, 8mm Black Diamond Swarovski round crystals, 8mm and 14mm Leopard Skin Jasper in cool reds, creams and black swirls. Finished off with 16g sterling silver "S" hook. Approx 8" finished.

Earrings - 8mm Leopard Skin Jasper, 6mm Black Diamond Swarovski Crystal rounds and 6mm beigy/creme Riverstone strung on hand made sterling silver earring wires. Approx 1 1/2" long

Thank you Jo for the inspiration! :o)

24_"Tropical Orange & Blue" Kazuri Beads, Lampwork Beads,
Swarovski Crystals, Copper & Brass Twisted Wire, Copper Viking Knit.

Bracelet - Hand-made copper viking knit chain w/ copper and brass twisted wire end caps. Decorated with two denim blue Kazuri ceramic beads, a large Swarovski Fire Opal Crystal and small Sapphire Swarovski Crystals, and two Orangie/Yellow lampwork bead spacers by that bead girl. Approx 7 1/2" finished.

Earrings - Hand-forged copper ear wires w/ copper and brass twisted jump rings from which dangle three small staggered lengths of chain with Swarovski Crystals (Fire Opal and Sapphire), a Clear AB Swarovski Crystal w/ Royal Blue lampwork spacer bead and Red Siam Swarovski Crystal w/ Orangie/Yellow lampwork spacer bead. Spacer beads by that bead girl. Approx 3" total.

25_Sea Green - Bracelet - Lampwork Beads, Swarovski Crystals,
Fine Silver, Hand-woven Sterling Silver Chain, African Jade.

I had some hand-woven sterling silver that I had made and used it for this bracelet. I used sterling silver wire to create the end caps for the chain and connected it to some sterling beading wire. The Lampwork Beads are gorgeous sea foam and pesto colored matte beads w/ silver made by Canyon Echoes Artisan Beads. They are combined with fine silver hand made bead caps w/ a carnation texture, four vintage pale green Swarovski Crystals and two larger black diamond Swarovski Crystals.

The center bead was created by me of fine silver and has a sea urchin texture. It's made with a large hole to fit over the viking chain but I wanted it to be the focal so I strung sterling beads and African Jade on the beading wire to go inside the fine silver bead. This allows the fine silver Urchin bead to slide back and forth and give it some movement.

28_Royal, Turquoise, White, Sand, Yellow - Lampwork, White Jade,
River Stone, Swarovski Crystals, Glass Beads, Sterling Silver.

Necklace - Lampwork beads by Firebabies, Focal by Bastille Bleu Lampwork, "Sea glass blue" spacers by Canyon Echoes Artisan Beads - tied together with beige River Stone and White Jade beads w/ silver balls. Hang on sterling silver rolo chain with a hand forged sterling silver s-hook. Small beads on hook and chain are crackled glass beads. Focal has Swarovski crystals in khaki, opal, sunflower, and sapphire.

Love how the lampwork from three different artists fell together in this set!! :o)

Some of these items are posted in my etsy shop - some are not -
if you are interested... let me know!! :o)

Saturday, February 19, 2011

More Pics from My Enamel Vacation...

More photos from my vacation... :o)

First - fine silver pieces created - then the enameling starts. The last pic there... that's my teacher and new friend Pam... watching her work was inspirational.

John C Campbell Folk School...

(Left) View from my dorm;

(Right) Some of the studios (the enamel area is building on left);

Enamel Bead Class...

Friday, February 18, 2011

"Bits 'n Pieces" Branching out!

Recently I noticed a number of jewelry friends buying ceramic buttons to use in their jewelry pieces. (Heck I even bought some from Winchell Clayworks in Maine... ok so maybe I bought them at first because she's from Maine and I love Maine but ... YOU should buy them because HER PIECES ARE DELISH!!)

Ooops I digress...

So I asked one of these terrifically artistic gals what she thought about fine silver, bronze and copper buttons - her words were something along the lines of... "you make them - they will come". It sounded promising. Here's my problem... since I started with my metal clay obsession, folks have asked me "do you have a store?", "do you sell your pieces?" ... my answer was always "No." See, the reason for this is... ::deep breath:: I'm afraid of a number of things - that people don't really like them, that they won't sell and that it will become work ... and this isn't work it's FUN... this is my hobby. (Read between the lines people... I'm a chicken.) I do love making 'components' I use to make the jewelry pieces - almost more than creating the pieces. I love making pieces for people - having a person to create for, knowing that person and making a piece that is totally special and customized for them - but I also like process of making the pieces I use to build the jewelry piece from!

So I decided to take a slow ambling walk toward selling pieces. I thought - let's create some components... some "Bits 'n Pieces" and see how it works. I started the process (sloooowwwwllllyy because ... yup - you know it - I'm a big ole chicken - have I mentioned I LOVE roasted chicken? ;o) and this was a big step) ... I created a FB fan page calDESIGN Naturals an etsy shop, a new banner - NOTICE THE NEW BANNER ON THIS BLOG??. I started putting all my ducks in a row and then I got a little push - my friend Johanna from Canyon Echoes found my etsy site and every so often would send cryptic notes like... "that should be in your shop" or "still empty" LOL her support made me laugh and kept me going. Then another friend Audrey from Principessa Glass found my FB page "found ya" and had a request - make her a pair of heart dangles that she can make earrings from. That was the final push.

Introducing... calDESIGN Naturals "Bits 'n Pieces" -

I started with 2 pair of heart dangles - one flat, one slightly domed, a flat heart pendant dangle and 2 pair of "buttons". All in fine silver (.999) and all scooped up in the first day! OMG - thank you my friends for making me feel welcome! Audrey reserved both pair of dangles and the pendant and two other friends (yes Johanna was one) scooped up a pair of square fine silver textured buttons w/2 holes and a pair of leaf-shaped fine silver textured buttons w/ 2 holes.

After an offer from Canyon Echoes to add my etsy site to her monthly email newsletter I loaded 10 pair of bronze "buttons". These buttons are fantastic! The torch-applied patina is incredible. Square, round, triangular, diamond, rounded triangular...2 and 3 holes ... textured on one side, flat on the other - these "buttons" are fun!!! Average size is approx 5/8" to 3/4". Textures include wood grain, sea foam, floral, flourishes, and more! Such fun to make!!! All have been tumbled for 8 hours to ensure they are work hardened.

It's been a fun trip into the wonderful world of selling what you create - I've had an order for more hearts and have fine silver (.999) and bronze drying as I type. :o) I can't thank my friends enough for the support - from answering 1001 questions to providing moral support to actually purchasing my little "Bits 'n Pieces" and requesting more - I love them and THANK YOU!!! :o) (These earrings are the first pieces made with any of my "Bits 'n Pieces" - Audrey made them for herself - she shined them up a little to knock down some of the patina so they would show a little brighter with her dark hair. LOVE these little babies!!:o) )

Next post - Color Combo Challenge... creating pieces "just because" instead of for someone. It's pushed me to just make and I'm really enjoying it. Come back to see more! :o)

Until next time... I leave you with this thought - Please take time to visit my friends using the links posted above. These gals make all their product by hand - in their work shops, rooms, studios. They are true artisans and I am so proud to present their work in my pieces.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Bronze! I. Love. Bronze!

I love bronze - oh wait, I already said that... but I want to scream it!! It's tough... it takes the not so delicate handling I give it and says "HA! I'll take that and more!" and I love it for that!! The clay works much like silver and copper it's just that it has a different firing method. And the new Prometheus bronze is a shorter firing time (perfect for my muffle kiln) and thanks to a wonderful artist from France - Sabine Alienor - I have been able to get fantastic results with firing using her technique. I have not had any failures in firing the bronze and whether it's simply brushed or tumbled it comes out fantastic. And... can it receive a patina! (I know - it sounded like a question but heck no! It was a statement for sure... It CAN take a patina!) I've used both liquid LOS patina as well as torch applied patina - o m g. The torch applied is my favorite the colors are incredible.

Here are some examples - the earrings you've seen before ...
the bronze holds a terrific texture and plain old squares can be hammered to form hand-forged texture.

My favorite earrings lately are the pair on the left - a delicate floral carnation texture, slightly domed leaf shape dangle on hand-forged vintage bronze ear wires. Peace Stones add a touch of organic color.

The other pair are hand-forged square bronze dangles with turquoise rondelles. Paired with vintage bronze ear wires and coils. Very light, very pretty!!

Cinderella's Pendant...

This piece I adore. I found a little skeleton key with lock in a scrap book store and thought - that looks like a pendant. Like a Cinderella carriage. I molded the lock plate and covered the key-hole area with polymer clay to make a bezel-like area in the pendant. The cabachon is ... polymer clay! Yes I actually made a piece from polymer clay that did not burn on me! The colors came out fabulous but I have to admit - I cheated... I used glossy coating vs all the hours of sanding that my friend Lisa does to get a coating free shine like this.

Below the Cinderella Pendant hangs a bronze key with a Principessa Glass lamp work heart and finishes with a Swarovski Crystal fringe in colors from the cab. The key is made from bronze and is cold connected to the lamp work heart. The cabachon was created to work with this heart! I had so much fun making this necklace. There are two Vintage Aspirin Peridot AB Swarovski Crystals and two small bronze colored lamp work spacers by That Bead Girl. The piece is completed with a hand-dyed silk cord in the PERFECT color by Jamn Glass and a hand-forged bronze "S" hook with another That Bead Girl spacer.

(I made the "S" hook a little on the large size so that it will help keep the necklace centered while wearing.)

I love this pretty necklace. It's approx 22" long.

Serenity Prayer Pendant...
While at Pam East's I found a secret for easily and efficiently cleaning a Photo Polymer Plate (PPP) and let me tell you it works!! I created this Serenity Prayer pendant using a PPP that was created from a design I did on the computer and transfered to the plate and then used like a stamp with the bronze clay.

It worked very nicely. I used some liquid LOS patina to darken up the words a little and then hit it with a torch to bring up some torch-fired patina colors. It hangs on a brown leather cord that knots in the back. It's a fabulous little piece - approx 1 1/4" diameter.

Double Heart Bracelet...

This bracelet is light and very comfortable to wear. The focal is formed with double hearts stacked on a diamond base. The hearts were wire brushed to bring up some shine while the base was left to provide a contrast. I combined the patina'd diamond shape bronze components with hand-made bronze coiled beads and Olive Jade rondelles. The piece comes together with brown suede cord and hand-forged bronze hook. The Olive Jade rondelles are very understated on their own but when combined with the leather, wire work and bronze they pop.

Until next time... I leave you with this thought - Please take time to visit my friends using the links posted above. These gals make all their product by hand - in their work shops, rooms, studios. They are true artisans and I am so proud to present their work in my pieces.

Earrings and Christmas!!

December was a carry over of craziness from November. Conference in San Francisco - return on Thursday - Friday off, Silver Clay class on Saturday, and then to the airport again on Sunday headed for Boston for work and a surprise 95th Birthday party for my great uncle. I was away for another week and a half and started to have withdrawals after all the wonderful fun on vacation.

When Creativity time is minimal what do you do? I decided to make earrings! What better chance to take out some aggravation than hammering wire!! Enjoy!!

A = Made from Sterling Silver hand-forged paddle wires, Purple Spacer Lampwork Beads from That Bead Girl and coiled sterling silver wire - on Sterling Silver Ear Hooks.

B = Made from Sterling Silver hand-forged paddle wires, Green Spacer Lampwork Beads from That Bead Girl and Fine Silver (.999) bead caps - on Sterling Silver Ear Hooks.

C = Made from Sterling Silver hand-forged paddle wires, Blue Translucent Lampwork Beads w/ fine silver by Canyon Echoes and Metalic Blue Lampwork Spacer Beads by That Bead Girl and fine silver (.999) bead caps - on Sterling Silver Ear Hooks.
(These are special for my fav Postal Lady! She takes great care of my incoming beads!!! AND my outgoing packages!!!)

D = Made from Red Spacer Beads by That Bead Girl and fine silver (.999) bead caps - on Sterling Silver Ear Hooks.

Red & Gold "Bead of the Month"
Bead of the month club! That Bead Girl has this and each month it's like a mini little Christmas. I got these a month or so ago - and thought they screamed Earrings!

Made from - Brass, hand-forged wire with brass coils. Dark Red Lampwork Beads w/ Gold Foil on the top beads. Gold spacer bead. Made the wires from Gold-Plated head pins and the worked beautifully.

Lampwork and Sterling
These were the first pair I played with! Took me 4 tries to get the darn hole maker to make the hole in the right place. ::sigh:: of course it was user error vs mechanical error.

Made on Sterling Silver hand-forged paddles with sterling wrap. The pinkish clear spacers are by Firebabies Lampwork and the beautiful center beads are Pinkish-hued Lampwork Beads with fine silver by Canyon Echoes. I love this combo!! They hang on Sterling Ear Hooks.

Ahhh Swarovski Crystals!
How did I get sucked into loving those? THESE beauties are vintage Swaros that I got from Brandy and are paired with a pair of pretty purple bicone Lampwork Beads by Bastille Bleu. Sadly I am having problems catching this purple color correctly. Hang on Sterling Silver wire and Earring Hooks.

Lampwork & Sterling
These earrings were fun - last pair I made and enjoyed making the coiled wire.

Made from - Sterling, hand-forged paddles, gorgeous lamp work beads from That Bead Girl (the color is actually achieved from putting copper on the beads while making them!! Cool huh?), sterling silver coils and silver spacer beads. Hung on Sterling Silver ear wires.

Meteors & Copper
I LOVE THESE EARRINGS! I couldn't resist these lamp work beads when I saw them on That Bead Girls site one day. I had NO idea what I'd do with them. Then poking around while making the earrings I thought - YES!! Try them.

Made from - Copper hand-forged paddles with copper coils and antiqued copper coiled spacers (did not make but love). They hang from rose-gold ear wires which looks perfect with copper but won't turn ears green! :o) I need to make more of these - have an idea for different style - combining a style I learned at The Lancaster Bead Company in Lancaster PA w/ these beads. Yep, got to make more!

Green & Brass
These beads are STUNNING and I had to put them with brass - the goldish hue with the green is gorgeous.

Made on hand-forged brass wire paddles with brass coils and small gold beads. The Green lamp work beads are by That Bead Girl. I made the ear wires from gold plated head pins and poof they worked perfectly.

Here are some additional earrings that I've made over the past few months... copper and bronze - OMG I LOVE BRONZE!! Next post will be about bronze!!

Copper Fern Gully - Copper diamond-shaped dangles with vine design and black alcohol ink. The lamp work beads are by Bastille Bleu Lampwork. I use rose-gold filled ear wires with copper so that they don't cause your ears to be green and the rose-gold blends in perfectly.

Copper - Art Deco Earrings with lamp work beads by Bastille Bleu Lampwork. Copper chain with slight patina and rose-gold filled ear wires.

Bronze (!) Turquoise Squares - created from Prometheus Bronze clay in the same manner as silver clay or copper clay - just has a different firing time. I love this product the color is fantastic, it's easy to use and not complicated to fire. Hand-forged ear wires and coils from antique bronze wire.

I wear these often! Bronze leaf shape is probably 2" on it's own! Textured in a delicate floral (carnation) texture. Hand-forged ear wire with Peace Stone and antique bronze wire.

I was lucky enough to pull my new Sister-In-Law's name in the gift grab and that meant silver jewelry! She asked for something specially for her - and knowing she loves bling I used clear czs in this Pendant/Earring set.

Fine silver (.999) is combined with the clear czs. They were hand patina'd to bring out the detail of the textured areas and tumbled for approx 4 hours to bring out the high shine. They hang from sterling silver wires. The pendant hangs from a sterling silver chain with a Swarovski crystal just above the focal.

Until next time... I leave you with this thought - Please take time to visit my friends using the links posted above. These gals make all their product by hand - in their work shops, rooms, studios. They are true artisans and I am so proud to present their work in my pieces.