Monday, 28 May 2012

Daisychain Challenge

Jo, from Daisychain, is hosting a fantastic challenge on her blog. Five lucky people will have a chance to create something with one of her flower bangles.

There will be a mini blog hop on the last day of June, Saturday the 30th.

Have a look at Jo's blog for more details on how you can enter. Her Etsy shop is definitely worth a look, too!

ABS May Challenge - Little House Cuff

The Art Bead Scene's May challenge was inspired by the painting Italian's House at Monmarte by Maurice Utrillo. This beautiful painting has an organic palette with vivid greens, salmon, terracotta, creamy white, and a surprising splash of blue.

For my entry, I chose to work with the greens, salmon, and terracotta colors. I used a dusty sage green silk for the cuff, glass beads in shades of green, and Swarovski crystals and carnelian to pick up on the earthy browns and terracotta. There's also a vintage glass bead in an amber color dangling from the hammered, copper chain.

Of course, this wouldn't be an Art Bead challenge without that extra handcrafted touch. I chose to make my own beads for this month's challenge. The little house and faceted round are made from paper clay (or air dry clay), painted with acrylic inks, and finally varnished for protection.

The little house I made is almost a reverse of the ones in Utrillo's painting - mainly green with an eye catching white door.

I couldn't escape the sense of depth in this painting, so I found myself adding more layers and details to the cuff. I love the organic feel of the cuff - the rough silk edge, the hammered copper, and the variety of shapes.

You can have a look at the other entries for this month and previous ones on the ABS Flickr pool. There's some amazing artisan eye candy there!

Tuesday, 22 May 2012

Time Traveler's Necklace

This necklace has a few old elements and some new styles for me. I'm still new to asymmetrical jewellery, and it takes that extra bit of time to get a piece just right. But when you do, the result can be beautiful.

The total length of the necklace is 38.5". Definitely a stretch from my usual 18 inch necklaces. The bead work is lengthened even further with the addition of beautiful, soft silk ribbons.

Another first for me is the hand painted lava stones. I used red and tangerine yellow artist paints to create a fiery look on the stones. I incorporated a paper clay bird, painted with acrylics, I made on the previous day.

I added vintage lampwork, faceted glass, coral beads, and two old coins. Added to the mix was a selection of gorgeous carnelian, garnet, and chalcedony gemstones.  

The focal coin is a half penny from 1934, which I painted to match the lava stones. The second coin is a Jamaican cent from 1973 painted to match the acid green colour of my paper clay bird.

The element I love the most on this necklace is the antiqued watch face. I re-purposed a fairly new watch face, antiqued it with several paints, and wire wrapped it. I wrapped vintage coral beads along the top and bottom of the watch face to better frame it.

I love how all of the different elements, old and new, came together beautifully in this necklace. This has quickly become one of my favourite creations and definitely an inspiration to keep trying new styles and techniques.

Tuesday, 1 May 2012

When it works...

I've been swamped lately, but somehow that's helped to push my creative envelope. There were so many contests I wanted to enter in April - the ABS monthly challenge, a couple on forums I frequent, etc. - and I barely got around to any of them. But, at the last minute (literally 23:59!) I completed this mixed media necklace.

I had originally come up with the design for the ABS April theme Boreas by John William Waterhouse, but lacking an art bead, I couldn't enter. Instead of giving up, I made the necklace for a contest on Bead Buddies. The challenge was to create something with 5 different materials. In my necklace, I used vintage glass beads, silk, gunmetal copper wire, rose quartz, and a metal filigree stamping.

On another forum I frequent, UKBeaders, I was lucky to win the March contest and received a prize of vintage beads from Old Bicycle Shop. Davida, who offered the prize, kindly let me choose the beads.

Inspired by the bleak yet beautiful palette of Waterhouse's painting, I chose mostly muted colours with splashes of rich blue and sparkly facets. I used some of the beads Davida sent me, including the pale blue floral beads and floral filigree stamping, combined with the silk and gorgeous rose quartz as a nod to the delicate femininity of Boreas.

Asymmetry isn't something I normally try. But recently, after reading Lori McDaniel Anderson's blog, I've been tempted to try it more and more. I love how this piece just worked. Inspired by one contest, and the generosity of another, plus the final push of a last minute challenge, I was able to create something beautiful.