One of my favorite blogs, “Love My Art Jewelry” hosts a monthly give away called “Strut Your Stuff“. Each week the Strut Your Stuff post features one piece of jewelry that has been made with mostly handmade components. At the end of the month, one of the featured jewelry artists wins a generous gift of handmade beads, pendants and other components.
I sincerely want to thank each of the artists that donated these items and those who organized the giveaway. I encourage you to visit their shops and marvel at all this talent!
So, now I’ve begun designing with some of these goodies and I will keep you updated as I progress further. Today I’ll share my first necklace, which I named “Windswept”.
The sweeping lines on the pendant reminded me of tall grasses blowing in the wind. The lines also look a bit like waves, but its abstract, so I think it is up to each person’s interpretation. It is really a beautiful and unique pendant, handcrafted by the talented hands at Porcelain Jazz.
The bail on the pendant was quite large and the pendant is a bit on the heavier side, so I decided to string it on sage green suede leather lacing. The leather really brings out the green in the sweeping lines of the pendant. I knotted on handmade beads by Yolanda’s Clay, Jera Luna Designs, and Bo Hulley Beads. I also knotted on a glass flower dangle that I’m not sure about. What do you think? Do you like the addition of the flower or shall I snip it off? Does it look distracting and out of place? Opinions appreciated.
Beads Of Clay, also known as BOC, is a nonprofit organization that promotes and educates others about creating and using artisan-made clay beads. I’ve met the nicest, funniest and most creative artists through this group. Recently BOC added a Design Team to their organization.
Four times a year, different groups of 5 jewelry designers are given a collection of BOC artisan clay beads and asked to design one or more pieces of jewelry with them. I was included in the first group to give it a go.
Before the team received their beads, we were given this picture of what was to come. The directions were:
The black and white picture is a teaser. It shows you everything you will receive, but without color. Look at the shapes and think about them first. Then when you get the pieces, you can write something about this experience and include it in your blog post with your finished designs.
1, Does looking at the shapes without color, help?
2. Did not knowing the colors make it more difficult to consider a design?
3. Did the design style change after seeing the actual colors?
So before I saw the color picture, I spent some time thinking in B&W. I did a preliminary sketch, although I rarely sketch my designs ahead of time.
In the end, not much stayed the same! The pendant is still there, (duh!). I kept the chain as an asymmetrical element. I did write a note that maybe the brick shaped pieces should go elsewhere, and indeed, they became an inspiration for another necklace, which ended up using the shell shaped beads as well. It was an interesting exercise to design without color or actual beads. It reinforced something I already know about myself. I am a kinetic, tactile learner. I have to have the beads actually in my hands. I often have the initial inspiration as a mental picture, but that is just a starting point. I’m definitely a hands-on designer.
So, eventually all these gorgeous beads arrived! Let me take a moment to identify each artist represented below.
The Vintaj brass pieces are from Marla James, of Marla’s Mud, who organized this challenge for us.
As it turned out, I started with those gleaming rectangular raku beads. I bought some forest green Greek leather cord so I could make a knotted leather necklace. When I went to Bead Fest in Philadelphia last April, I picked up some very cool, light green African recycled glass, which looked awesome with the green tones in the raku. I got the small rustic striped beads in Philly also.
I added some commercial ceramic beads, some carved wood, 2 bone beads and some African brass beads that I already had in my stash. I finished the necklace with a cool button clasp made of horn and metal.
I then dangled the 2 fan-shaped beads from the ends of the leather. Let me tell you, the leather was so short at that point that I had the hardest time tieing those knots at the ends of the dangles! Lesson learned: allow more cord than you think you’ll need! The “Rustic Raku” necklace is now available in my Etsy shop.
I kind of let the second necklace go till the last minute. I finished it Friday afternoon! The colors were so bright and happy that I had a lot of fun while I was designing it.
In addition to Sharleen’s pendant, I had some round beads she made that were already in my stash and had the same light brown-tan glaze color. Score! So I used one of those beads to accent the pendant and I wired a brass bead cap and a gorgeous lampwork disc bead by Radiant Mind beneath that. I love how they all work together to make a striking pendant.
The BOC beads fit together color-wise, but they were all different shapes, sizes and textures. I felt I needed something to unify the whole design. After a little experimentation, I decided to place one wood and one turquoise Greek ceramic spacer bead between every bead on the necklace. I think that repeated pattern was just what this necklace needed. Then I added a swirly lampwork glass bead, that I think was made by Serena Smith and I included a carved turquoise polymer clay bead by Barbara Betchel, of Second Surf.
The “Laugh” connector is something I found at Michaels a couple of years ago and it fit in perfectly with this sunny theme. I dangled Marsha’s donut-shaped piece from it and placed a little brass bird in front of it. Suddenly I realized that these beads were telling a story of a sunny day, with clear blue skies, birds overhead and someone laughing with joy on a warm day! Hence the name, “Laughing In The Sunshine” necklace.
I hope you enjoyed this little tour of my thought process as I designed these necklaces. I encourage you to read the blog post about this challenge at Beads Of Clay and then please visit the other 4 awesome designers to see what they made with the same BOC beads.
I am on the Beads Of Clay (BOC) Design Team. Every month or so, five of the Design Team members are given some beautiful handmade clay beads and asked to design one or two pieces of jewelry with them. I received a delightful selection of BOC beads with the “assignment” to design two necklaces using these beads and whatever else I wished to add. I have completed one necklace and I’m currently working on the 2nd one.
I wish I could show you what is on my bead table today, but it is top-secret until the reveal date which is July 15th. In the meantime, I had fun using PicMonkey to alter the picture of my finished necklace. This is what is on my bead table today!
Beads of Clay Blog hosts Second Saturday State Of Your Studio. Participating bloggers give a glimpse into our studios and current projects we have underway. I missed the Second Saturday State Of Your Studio post for February, but I’m working on Spring cleaning in March!
One of my New Year’s resolutions was to de-cutter my studio and my life. It’s a year-long project. The Hamilton printers cabinet that I received for Christmas has been a big help. I had many un-housed beads that were cluttering every surface of my studio. I’ve taken all my faceted and special shaped gemstones and pearls and placed them in drawers in the printers cabinet. The rest still reside in drawer units I bought at IKEA a number of years ago.
Now here is here is the organizational work I am most proud of. There are about 7 drawers with very small compartments. Before we bought the printers cabinet, I checked to see if tic-tac style boxes would fit in the compartments. Perfect! So I have purchased a couple hundred of these babies and filled them with my seed beads, fire polish and crystals.
This was a very time-consuming task. Every time I thought I was all done, more seed beads would show their ugly little faces, buried in some remote place in my studio. Then I’d have to buy more tic-tac boxes and continue organizing. This was further complicated by the fact that I couldn’t find any tic-tac boxes locally and had to go to a town about 30 miles north of us. Worse than that, three times, when I got home and opened the packaging I found that all the boxes had cracks in them. So I had to go north again and exchange them. But its done now and I love it.
The colors in the drawers are arranged by the color wheel. Here is a close up of some of the blues. There are compartments for seed beads, fire polish and crystals here.
My bead room companion, Chochi, joined me while I was taking these pictures.
By getting my studio better organized and making many runs to Goodwill, I have been able to eliminate 4 of these white plastic drawer units, the purple rolling cart and a large wooden bookcase!
On Wednesday I gave you a peek at my work table. So now that I’ve still got you all in my studio, I’m going to keep you here one more day and today I’ll share some of my reorganizing efforts that have been a spin-off of receiving an antique Hamilton Printers Cabinet for Christmas.
The printers cabinet gives me loads of space for organizing my beads. Let me pull open a couple of drawers for you. I put my art glass in the top drawer, with all my lampwork glass from Beads and Botanicals on the left side of that first drawer.
Lampwork from other artists fills out the rest of that drawer.
The next drawer contains my ceramic bead collection.
In the back row, the two bird beads and the bead tied with raffia are from Nan Emmett of Spirited Earth. The blue flower pendant and the green circle are from Nancy Schindler of Round Rabbit Extra. The curved bracelet focals in the front right compartment are by Shattera of Shattera Clay Studio.
Yesterday I hung a favorite watercolor, by Susan England, above my printers cabinet. Susan and her husband, Andrew, run a small, remotely located, vacation spot in Costa Rica, called Cabinas Los Cocos . My husband and I have stayed there several times. Susan is an artist and painted this scene from the mangroves behind their place. This picture fills me with so many happy memories, that I knew it would fill my studio with joy.
BOC Second Saturday State of Your Studio
This post is part of the monthly Beads Of Clay Second Saturday State of Your Studio blog hop, where you can share the state of your studio (your creative space) with other clay bead makers and jewelry designers.
What? It’s not the second Saturday??? That’s right, it’s almost the third Saturday of the month. Ah well, better late than never!
I am so excited about the Beads of Clay Open Studio Fall Event today, from 2:00-5:00 EST. This is an online event, hosted by a group of phenomenal clay artists over at the Beads of Clay Blog.
Head on over to their blog this afternoon and you can get in line for tons of free give-aways. Who doesn’t love free??? Then start visiting the various artists’ online shops for great discounts on clay beads, pendants and findings! Its time to stock up. See ‘ya there!
These handmade ceramic leaf earrings are new in my shop this week. I bought them from a Yakima, WA artist, on a recent trip to eastern Washington. I thought they’d be perfect to share in conjunction with the Beads of Clay Event.