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.

Friday, March 13, 2015

It's In The Mail! Bead Peeps Swap and Hop

I can't wait for my partner, Gloria Allen, to get her package!
I had such a hard time deciding what to send her.
I didn't want to give away anything...  
I love my beads!!!!
Hope she does too!

Here's a sneak peek...

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

New Earrings 2015 ~ Weeks 9, 10

Isn't it great to take a class and get excited about what you learned?
That's what happened in Tucson this year. I fell in love with die cutting shapes and enameling. Last time you saw the enameled earrings I made at the workshop.  This time I took it a step further.

Since I don't yet have a hydraulic press, I dug out and oiled my disc cutter. I actually had to punch out 3 to get two that match.  No worries, no waste - the third will become a toggle clasp or pendant.
After doming with my dapping set, I torch enameled with Thompson's "opaque aquamarine green". (yes, it does look somewhat turquoise).  I was so happy to find a nice selection of Thomson's enamels at Ornamentea in Raleigh.

This pair started with the purple trillion shapes I enameled in Tucson, but they needed something more.
Remember - No Waste?  I enameled the small circle left from the first pair (Thomson opaque bitter green)

Of course, I had to revisit silversmithing. The next two pair were forged from 20 gauge sterling silver wire... soldered, hammered and textured. Both sets of rings were actually formed on the same size mandrel.

I'm excited to say that all of these earrings are now for sale at Ollie's in Downtown Wake Forest, NC. (as of yesterday!) 
And I'm even more excited to say one of my necklaces has already been sold!
Ollie's is a great little coffee shop/gallery/gift shop. Denise offers unique items from local artisans.

Thank you, again, to Sarajo Spurgeon Wentling for hosting this challenge. 
Please click here to visit her blog to see what the other talented designers have created.

And check back soon to see what else I've been up to!