Sugar Me Sweet ~ Pendant: Cindy Gimbrone, Enamel Bead: Sue Beads, Lampwork: J Savina Beads, Ceramic: Golem Studio.

Monday, January 24, 2011

Bead Soup Goodies!

Today I was happy to find a nice little box of goodies in my mailbox from Nicole Valentine, my bead soup partner! My first thought when I picked up the box is "wow, this is heavy!" and when I opened it I found a pretty box tied with a bow and a little green drawstring bag. I opened the bag first and inside was a lovely glass ring shown in the photo below on the left. When I opened the box I found a gorgeous assortment of beads including a beautiful collection of Nicole's handcrafted beads. Check out the lampwork goddess bead with her cute little booty! The Schooner beer bottle cap bead is too cool and look at the gorgeous colors in the lampwork beads! There were also some charms made with Canadian pennies! Nicole is one talented lady! You can see more of her work in her Etsy store, N Valentine Studio.

My Bead Soup Goodies from Nicole Valentine
Bead Soup Goodies 4

I already have some ideas of what I'm going to make with these. I haven't sent my package of beads to her yet but it's going in the mail tomorrow. I hope she likes them!

Thanks again Nicole!

On a side note, I'm picking up my kiln tomorrow (Tuesday)!! I'm so crazy, stupid, excited. I feel like a 4 year old getting my first bike! ;-)


Friday, January 21, 2011

Owl at Midnight

It's time for another blog hop challenge! When Lorelei announced that she was hosting another blog hop I jumped at the chance to play! I participated in her last one, the Michael's Challenge Blog Hop and really enjoyed pushing my boundaries by working with beads chosen by someone other than me! This Challenge uses beads from Fusion Beads, one of my favorite online bead stores. You can see a list of the beads for this challenge here on Lorelei's blog.

The great thing about choosing Fusion Beads for this challenge is that we can all order the exact same beads, unlike Michael's which seems to have a slightly different selection from store to store. The only problem though is that since we were all ordering from the same place, some of the items sold out! So unfortunately I had to substitute a few. The owl clasp by Green Girl Studios, which was a major component of the selection sold out but I bought the next best thing, a cute owl pendant by Green Girl Studios. Close enough, right?

Owl Pendant

I was excited about the owl theme. I feel a special connection with owls and I'll tell you why. A year ago, New Years Eve morning I woke up suddenly from a deep sleep. I didn't know if I was hungry, thirsty or sick but my stomach felt "off" so I went downstairs for a drink of water. I filled my glass, walked across the kitchen and there in the maple tree outside our window was an owl. I raced upstairs grabbed my husband and dragged him down the stairs to confirm that my eyes weren't playing tricks on me. He looked and mumbled, yep that's an owl, and went back to bed. Obviously he wasn't as excited about this as I was but I had never seen an owl in the wild before and I felt that this might be some sort of sign.

The next morning I looked up owls online and found that they symbolize wisdom and intuition and that if you are visited by an owl, you may share these characteristics. Wow. This visit came at the perfect time. My son had been diagnosed with autism 5 months earlier and we were struggling with decisions for his treatment. I felt as though this visit from my nocturnal friend was a sign to follow my gut. So I did. Here we are a year later and I've never questioned a decision we've made regarding his treatment. Thank you Mr Owl.

I decided to call this piece Owl at Midnight to honor my late night visitor.

Owl at Midnight

For my necklace, I layered the owl pendant with a ceramic pendant from Chinook Jewelry. I strung the pendant with the wooden and fire polished glass beads from the challenge and finished the ends with seed beads (slightly different from the challenge seed beads but the color was close). I attached some Vintaj brass chain which I wove the leather cord through and finished the ends with a wooden bead and knot.

I enjoyed this challenge and even though I couldn't get all the materials I'm pretty happy with how it turned out. Thanks for hosting Lorelei!

Intuitively yours,

PS: Check out the other players in the blog hop! (You are here)

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Rollin' Rollin' Rollin'

Well, I did it. I cut into that big hunk of clay and got my hands dirty.

And it was FUN!

I really enjoyed the feel of the clay between my palms as I rolled bead after bead.

My Very First Beads

I made lots of round ones and experimented with marks and textures on a few. There are a few cubes in there too and some free form nuggets as well.

I'm letting them dry under some plastic right now and overall I'm happy with how they look.

If all goes as planned I should be picking up my kiln next Tuesday and hopefully I will attempt my fist bisque firing next Thursday!

I'll keep you updated.

Thanks so much to everyone who offered their encouraging words. Trying something new can be scary but sometimes you just need to dig in and get your hands dirty. :-)

Peeking under the plastic,

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Ok, now what?

I took a little trip to my local pottery supply store today. I picked out some clay and some tools but now I'm frozen. (Is it fear?) I don't know where to begin! (Or nerves?) All of the ideas I've had swirling around in my head have mysteriously disappeared. (I think it's both.) I think I need to come back to it tomorrow...


Feeling nervous,

Monday, January 17, 2011

I Dream of Art Beads

When I first started making jewelry waaaay back in 2005 I used a lot of pearls and crystals. I eventually discovered gemstones and Thai silver and worked with those for a while, but when I discovered art beads a whole new world opened up to me. Glistening glass, smooth ceramic and polished polymer clay beads and pendants, each individually crafted by an artisan with skill and vision began entering my world and I was enthralled! Absolutely taken by their beauty. At first I just horded them as though my creations weren't worthy of their beauty, but when I began to add them sparingly and then brazenly to my designs I felt like I had finally found my style. Art beads add something special to a design that no commercial bead can match. One of my favorite pastimes is just scouring the pages of Etsy for beads that light my fire and get my creative juices flowing. As a matter of fact it's rare for me to even make a piece these days that doesn't include at least one art bead.

For some time now, I've been dreaming of making my own art beads. But which medium? I adore lampwork glass beads. As a matter of fact last summer I took a lampwork bead course! I made some UGLY beads but it was a lot of fun.

My Ugly Lampwork Beads

Unfortunately setting up a lampworking studio in the basement of my townhouse just wasn't going to happen.

Next on the list... ceramic! I LOVE ceramic pendants. But could I make them myself? I went out and bought myself a copy of Jennifer Heynen of Jangles' book Ceramic Bead Jewelry. I read it cover to cover (several times) and then camped out on the Beads of Clay blog devouring each bit of information.

And I realized something... I think I can do this! This is my year to learn!

The only thing stopping me? A kiln.

Well, you know what my friends? As of today, that will no longer be an issue.

I'm so excited to announce... I BOUGHT A KILN TODAY!!!

Yep, this little bad boy is going to be mine!

Paragon, Caldera Kiln
Paragon Caldera Kiln

Sure, it's smaller than a shoe box but it will suit my needs fine. I should have this hot little box in my hot little hands in the next few weeks!

I promise to share my first attempts with you regardless of how ugly they may be. ;-)

And hopefully soon, I will be adding my own lovely art beads to my jewelry designs.

Smiling big smiles,


Sunday, January 16, 2011

Soup's On!

Bead soup that is. I'm so excited to participating in the largest ever Bead Soup Blog Party! This event hosted by Lori Anderson of Pretty Things, keeps getting bigger and bigger and this time has a whopping 210 participants! Lori (painstakingly) pairs up all the participants and we each send our partner a focal bead or pendant, a pretty clasp and some coordinating beads. Then we have to make a piece of jewelry with what we are sent! This is my first Bead Soup Party and I couldn't be happier to be paired up with fellow Canadian, Nicole Valentine. As luck would have it (mine anyway) she is a lampworker and all you need to do is scroll down my blog to see that I'm an absolute lampwork addict! I can't wait to see what she sends me. :-)

In the mean time I can drool over some of the items on her Art Fire site. Check it out!

NicoleValentineStudio - ArtFire Artisan Studio

Nicole Valentine Studio Beads

Just a few of her fabulous creations.

Now the big question is... What do I send her? Obviously not lampwork beads. I'm sure she has enough of those. ;-) Ceramic, gemstones, polymer clay? I can't decide.

I'll be sure to post photos though both of what I send and what I receive.

This is going to be fun!

Happy creating,

Friday, January 14, 2011

Dreaming of Spring

It doesn't snow all that much here in Vancouver, Canada. You may remember that from last years Winter Olympics where we had to have snow trucked in from higher elevations. But when it does snow is it ever gorgeous!! The mountains sparkle and glisten and the city comes to a halt as if to enjoy its majestic beauty. Really though it's because none of us have snow tires and driving in the snow is scary!

But then the inevitable happens. The rain starts and the lovely white blanket of snow turns to an ugly grey pile of slush. Sloppy, slippery, mucky slush. This has been the view from my window over the last few days. As the world around me becomes a mud flavored slurpee I have been thinking about Spring.

Did you know there are only 65 more days until the first day of Spring?

This necklace began with a gorgeous ceramic pendant by Shaterra Clay Studio. I absolutely LOVE her work. Her pendants are beautifully crafted and unique. I attached it to a sterling silver bail and on either side strung some sponge coral rounds and yellow lampwork beads by Radiant Mind. It is finished with an adorable flower and bee clasp by Green Girl Studios.

Making this Spring themed necklace was kind of therapeutic! I can almost feel the sun on my face. Ahhhh....

Much love,

Monday, January 10, 2011

A Million Little Dangles...

I go through phases in jewelry making. A particular style or technique will just speak to me and I'll create several pieces in a row in this style. I have always worked that way. I guess many artists consider this to be working on a "series" but my mind doesn't really work that way. It just kind of happens. My technique de jour has been tons of little dangles. I have always been a fan of this technique. I think it comes from years of making bridal jewelry. There just seems to be something special about a piece that jingle, jangles when you move. Perhaps it's the fact that it's very time consuming to create all of those little wrapped loops. There are days when the thought of such things makes me cringe but on other days I find myself in a Zen like state wrapping loop after tiny little loop. Such was the case over the last few days.

The first of my little dangle pieces started with a set of polymer clay beads from Humble Beads. I received this set just after Christmas and I couldn't wait to play with them. I would love to say that I was inspired by Van Gogh's
Starry Night but the truth is I was inspired by Humble Bead's Starry Night bead set!

Starry Night Necklace

When I saw this bead set I just knew my necklace had to be made of GOLD! Well, gold-fill anyway. I linked them together with antique gold daisy spacers and got to work attaching the many little dangles I had envisioned for this piece. The dangles consist of Swarovski crystals and pearls along with Czech glass melon beads and beautiful little lampwork beads by Pinocean. I think this might just be one of the coolest necklaces I've ever made. I just love it! I've been admiring Humble Beads "Kiss in the Garden" beads to create another in the "series".

The next piece in my little dangle phase is this lovely bracelet I've named Desert Rose. Since my gold wire was already on my desk I began looking through all of my Bead Soups for something that worked with gold. I had been building on this soup for a couple of weeks and it was ready to go!

Desert Rose

Desert Rose Bracelet

As usual, this design began with some art beads. This beautiful set by Radiant Mind is so pretty in shades of hot pink, copper and gold. I linked them up with some copper Swarovski crystals and added dangles in copper and pink as well as some pretty glass flowers. This piece feels very romantic to me. I hope someone buys it for their Valentine. :-)

My third little dangle design began with a set of lampwork beads that came all the way from the Netherlands! Anne's Glass Jewels has some really unique and beautiful beads and they arrived surprisingly fast considering how far they had to travel.

Passion Flower

Purple is my favorite color and although I didn't know exactly what I was going to do with these beads, I knew they were going to become a bracelet. I think I made and tore apart this bracelet at least 3 times before I came up with the finished design. And lo and behold, more dangles! These little dangles are made up of Swarovski pearls, amethyst rounds and purple glass flowers. What I think I love most about this design though is the extender chain with even more dangles!

I think I'm going to have to restock my headpins after all this!

I would love to know if other designers work this way too.

Do you create one style at a time or a series of one particular style?

Do you plan ahead or does it just happen like it does for me?

Much love and happy creating!

Thursday, January 6, 2011

New Year, New Jewelry!

Happy New Year everyone! The holidays are over and I finally have a little time to hit the studio! I wanted to share a few photos of some new pieces I've been working on.

WILD flowers

This asymmetrical design is a little wild and crazy for me which is why I decided to call it WILD flowers (emphasis on WILD). These gorgeous lampwork flowers are made by Tanya McGuire. Her flowers remind me of tiny Chihuly sculptures. I have combined them with her lumpy, bumpy beads as well as lampwork rondelles by Elizabeth Creations. Little jet black glass beads are spaced throughout.

Tequila Sunrise

Here I go naming jewelry after cocktails again! This piece started with a bubbly looking ceramic pendant by Golem Studios. The gradation of red through yellow reminded me of the drink Tequila Sunrise with the grenadine on the bottom, OJ on the top and the beautiful variations found between them. I have linked it with copper wire to matching Golem Studios ceramic beads and stamped copper washers by Susan Lambert (who also makes beautiful lampwork beads).

I am in LOVE with this one. When I purchased this amazing ginkgo leaf pendant by Shaterra Clay Studios I just knew that it had to be combined with copper! In my stash I found a strand of African turquoise that coordinated beautifully. The ginkgo leaf is a symbol of health and longevity in many cultures and I though Longevity would be the perfect name for this piece.

Luxe Earrings
Luxe: The condition of being sumptuously elegant. That sounds about right! These earrings are made with stunning Boro lampwork beads by Java Bead that I have combined with kyanite teardrops, swarovski crystals and pearls.

Waterfall Earrings
These earrings are just dripping with sparkly aqua dangles! Each dangle is suspended from a different length of sterling silver chain to create a shimmering waterfall effect.

I hope you're all having a great start to this new year! I have tons of new ideas that I can't wait to share. :-)
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