Wednesday, 31 October 2012

Meet the Moss Goddesses and other clay musings...

Clay, clay, clay. That's all I've got on the brain recently. Well, there's more than that, but I can't get clay off my mind. I've tip toed in the realm of polymer clay before. I've made a handful of beads, a few faces, and a sprinkling of sculptures. But now I want to understand the clay. I want to experiment, try techniques, and perfect them.

So, I'm back at it. Mostly, I've been playing with acrylics on baked clay. I've also been doing a little texturing and carving. Today, I'd like to show you my Moss Goddesses.

I've never seen this kind of face cabochon before. It all came together one evening. I'd set out to make some face cabs. I started picking up bits from my stash - gemstones, sterling silver...and it went from there.

This moss goddess was my prototype. I just made her and decided to see what would happen. She has two emeralds and a ruby in her forehead, plus a sterling silver nose ring and spiral on her cheek. The moss and painting was done after baking. I liked it, but I wasn't over the moon about moss. I shared some photos of her in one of my groups on Facebook, and peopled liked her. Must be something right! She was even popular enough to prompt a commission.

And so my second moss goddess was born. This one has rubies and just a silver nose ring. The application of the 'moss' is a lot neater, and I'm seeing even more potential. I've already started on other beads with a similar moss application.

Oh, and in case you're wondering, the moss is most definitely not real moss. That would be something!

I'll be playing with clay again today. I plan on working on some rustic cats (RustiCats! Naming them is as much fun as making them) and will share some faux leather clay books and owls with you in the future. For now, I leave you with a tiny Pebble Owl. He's the mere size of a penny...

Monday, 29 October 2012

Giveaway - don't miss it!

Another exciting giveaway has come up. Tanglebeads is doing a giveaway of $90 worth of stock from her Etsy shop. If you win, you choose what you get! Tania makes beautiful lampwork beads and jewelry.

Have a look at her blog to find out more.

Sunday, 28 October 2012

Blog neglect and pretty jewelry...

I've been meaning to blog since the History Hop. But things have been incredibly busy. A jewelry show, working on a new Etsy shop, swaps, commissions, and every day life have kept me from my little blog.

The good news is I have lots of pretty things to show you. And, since pictures speak louder than words, I'm adding quite a few.

I've been using brass in my wirework recently. Specifically red brass or 'Nu Gold.' It's gorgeous. The colour is something like gold filled, it's very responsive, and fantastic to use. Heather Rats of Mama's Craft Room swapped me the wire, and I can't thank her enough for introducing me to it. (Check out her Autumn Harvest necklace a couple posts down, soo beautiful!)

I love making my own earwires, so, naturally, the first thing I made was earrings. Here are a few...

Brass, lampwork by Tania Grey, and agate gemstones
Agate gemstones, brass, and vintage glass melon beads from Old Bicycle Shop

Brass, lampwork by Tania Grey, vintage lucite, and glass crystals

Hammered brass and glass crystals

Hammered brass hearts

Brass, lampwork by Tania Grey, and vintage glass beads from Old Bicycle Shop

Hammered brass and magnesite

Some of these earring sold at my show, but the rest are going in my Etsy shop, once it's open. But I couldn't stop with earrings. How about some other rings? I started with a couple of wire wrapped gemstone rings.

Moss agate and garnet wire wrapped rings in brass

How about amethyst? The color of this stone was hard to catch in our overcast light in England. You'll have to believe me when I say it's a beautiful, intense purple.
Faceted amethyst gemstone and brass ring

 I thought I'd try a different style of ring. I made the bands differently on these and used glass pearls. These took a lot less time to make, but are still lovely.

Glass pearls and brass

And finally (yes, finally!), another gemstone ring. This one has a rose quartz in the center with a peridot stone either side. I'm liking the look of these 'trio' rings, and will try my hand at more.
Rose quartz, peridot, and brass ring

I just realized there's another turquoise ring I didn't photo, but it's a lot like the moss agate one. These are so fun to make and were popular for ogling at my show. Hope you've enjoyed seeing my new work, too!

Saturday, 13 October 2012

History Hop Reveal!

Today is the reveal day for the History Hop. It's a hop that takes you back in time to appreciate the beauty and styles of jewelry - from the ancient to the 20th century.

This is the first blog hop I've hosted, and I couldn't be more pleased that 20 other artists decided to join me. I'd like to thank Sandra Wollberg again for sharing the beautiful blog hop button she made for us. Thanks Sandra!

And thank you all for participating! Now let the fun begin...

Ancient Rome

Ever since I went to the British Museum in London, I've been in love with Roman jewelry. That's probably the reason I started this blog hop. 

At the museum, I recognized some of the gemstones that Romans used. Carnelian, onyx, lapiz...Serpents, wire, bangles, and gold were popular.  I found a lot of helpful information here and used it as a reference for my design. 

What did I make? I didn't have a plan, really. I ordered some very thick 2.9mm brass wire from my friend Tanya, of PloiThai. I immediately started working on a bracelet. But instead of cutting it down, I used the entire length to make a meandering zigzag. What did that look like? A snake!

Coiling serpents were often used in Roman times and symbolized immortality. Mine wasn't real gold, but the brass polished to a beautiful golden shine. I shaped my snake, hammered it, and etched in a pattern for the scales. 

I didn't want to cover the snake, so I wire wrapped gemstones around the circular part. I dug through my stash and found carnelian, lapis lazuli, tiny topaz, and some blue sapphires Tanya sent me.

 I secured the stones with more brass wire creating a decorative pattern as I went. I didn't want to over complicate it. See the sapphires? There's a tiny topaz nestled between them.

The bangle can be worn with the snake going up or down the arm. It's a comfy fit mid-forearm or works well around the wrist with the tail trailing along your hand.

 Going up...

...and down.

I'm planning to make more Roman inspired jewelry, as well as exploring other time periods. I love how naturally this piece came together. It's Roman inspired with my own wire twist.

Below is the full list of participants. Be sure to check out their blogs as they post throughout the day. I can't wait to see what everyone made.

Happy hopping!

Ahowin - Art Nouveau
Alicia Marinache – Victorian
Becca's Place – Renaissance
Beti Horvath – Ancient Egypt and Art Deco
Cherry Obsidia – Ancient Mecynae Greece
Cooky – Renaissance
Jennifer Davies-Reazor – Medieval
Kathleen Douglas – Indus Valley
Kashmira Patel – Etruscan
Lady Grey – Victorian
Laney Mead – Pre-Columbian
Leah Curtis – Ancient Roman
LiliKrist - Persia
Melissa – Mesopotamian
Melissa Trudinger – Art Nouveau
Micheladas Musings – Ancient Romans
Sandra Wollberg – Art Nouveau
Sharyl McMillian-Nelson – Art Deco
Tracy Stillman – Victorian

Tuesday, 2 October 2012

A glowing commission and gemstones...

Davida of Old Bicycle Shop commissioned me to use some of her beads in a wirework piece. She sent me these gorgeous but challenging fluorescent beads. I was a bit stumped at first. I don't normally use beads like the leaves. But I mulled it over for a day and the ideas began to flow...

This is probably the most complicated and detailed bit of wirework I've done. I started with the center leaf, carefully wrapping it and designing as I went. I added some of the small, yellow beads to the wirework and attached one of the beautiful faceted green beads above. The design grew from there.

From the center leaf, each set of outer leaves has a gradually less complex design. I wanted it to linger and trail like vines, mimicking the leaf style. By far, I think the hardest thing was repeating the same wirework on the outer leaves. I'm one of those wireworkers who doesn't like doing earrings because of the symmetry, know what I mean?

Once the focal area was finished, I wrapped the large, faceted yellow beads adding a twist of wire on each bead for a bit more sparkle. The beads are beautiful and  sparkly enough, but why not? More sparkle the better!

And on that theme, I decided to do a two strand style of chain to finish off the necklace. It was time consuming to wrap all those little faceted beads, but well worth it. The necklace really shines.

I added a handmade extender chain so the necklace can be worn or displayed at varying lengths. It's finished off with one of the faceted green beads.

I have to give credit to Davida. She chose the beads and left the design to me. The colors and sparkling facets were perfect together, even if they were a challenge for me.

I keep checking Old Bicycle Shop to see if these beauties are in stock. Not yet, but I'm sure they will be! Davida also stocks a variety of unique and vintage beads, which I've used before. Have a look, you won't be disappointed!

Where are the gems, you say? Davida also chose an apatite and silver plated wirework pendant I'd previously made. I updated the pendant with a chain and a handmade extender.

A tiny apatite drop from my friend Tanya of PloiThai and FusionMuse finishes off the chain.

Hope you enjoyed the eye candy! And check out Davida and Tanya's shops for more beautiful beads and gems.