Wednesday 9 December 2015

History Hop: Paleolithic Style reveal!

Today is the reveal for the most recent instalment of the History Hop. Our inspiration this time was the Paleolithic era. This was a time in early history when primitive humans began to use tools and create art. There's more info on the period in my original post here.

Before I show you what I made, I'd like to thank all of you for taking part! I'm excited to see what each of you made. I hope you had as much fun creating for this challenge as I did!

I drew most of my inspiration from the cave paintings and simple tools of the era. I kept thinking back to the materials primitive man might have used - stones, fiber, gems...The first pair of earrings I made were inspired by the faceted tools called hand axes that our Paleolithic cave dwelling friends used. I carved my own "hand axes" from polymer clay. I used black as a nod to one of the many stones they would have used - obsidian.

I paired my little hand axes with rough amethyst gems and organic styled art glass pebbles by Julia Hay (she's also taking part in this blog hop). The glass pebbles really do look like little stones with patches of moss.

Finished with hemp and brass earwires (I don't think they had those back then, but you've got to wear them somehow!).

Next up is a pair of earrings inspired by the weather. Dull? I think not! I honed in on ice and snow, glaciers and touches of blue sky. These earrings have artisan ceramics by Scorched Earth and At Home In Taos. I wire wrapped icy rutilated herkimer quartz in blackened copper and finished with a pair of my handmade sterling silver hooks for an extra touch of icy cool colors.

Last but not least is actually the first piece I started designing. I fiddled around with a number of ideas for this necklace before giving up and making the earrings. It finally came together yesterday. You can probably tell this one is inspired by the cave paintings themselves. I chose a ceramic face bead by At Home in Taos and a terracotta arrow (it's actually a heart) by Scorched Earth. I used hemp to bind the pieces together and created a totem of stones above the face.

The totem is a mix of natural stones with an organic feel. I used turquoise, herkimer quartz and juicy amethyst. I created a little cradle for the stones with a hand worked copper base and wrapped it tightly with waxed hemp. I even worked in a tiny herkimer above the terracotta arrow to draw the eye to those mica sparkles. And they do sparkle!

The necklace is finished with strands of hemp cord and recycled sari silk in earthy terracotta, umber and pale mustard.

I hope you've enjoyed this blog hop! Please check out the full list of participants below.

Full list of participants:

Leah Curtis (hostess) - Beady Eyed Bunny
Shaiha's Ramblings
Julia Hay - Pandanimal
Rachel Mallis - Mint Monarch
Robin Reed - Artistry HCBD
Joanne Tinks
YeeLen Spirit Designs (will be revealing on Dec. 12th, please check back then!)
Karin G. - Gingko et Coquelicot
Dini Bruinsma
Deborah Apodaca
Tapping Flamingo

Facebook Participants:
Laura Bailey Taskey
Album for Facebook participants found in Bead Soup Cafe 

PS. Check back later for another blog post with a giveaway! I've made a special set of beads similar to the polymer clay hand axes I've used here.

Wednesday 2 December 2015

History Hop Participants

The sign ups for the History Hop: Paleolithic Style are now closed. Thank you all for joining in! I'm excited to see what everyone comes up with on December 9th.

And, if you need a refresher, here's the original History Hop sign up with info on the Paleolithic era. I've linked to all of your blogs below and double checked they work, but if you find one doesn't, just let me know!

Full list of participants:

Leah Curtis (hostess) - Beady Eyed Bunny
Shaiha's Ramblings
Julia Hay - Pandanimal
Rachel Mallis - Mint Monarch
Robin Reed - Artistry HCBD
Joanne Tinks
YeeLen Spirit Designs
Karin G. - Gingko et Coquelicot
Dini Bruinsma
Deborah Apodaca
Tapping Flamingo

Facebook Participants:
Laura Bailey Taskey
Album for Facebook participants found in Bead Soup Cafe

The Facebook reveal is for participants who do not blog. I've created an album specifically for this challenge in the group Bead Soup Cafe. Click here to go directly to the album. You'll need to be a member of the group to upload your reveal photos. It's a great, supportive group, so there are plenty of reasons to join!

Thursday 26 November 2015

History Hop button!

Who doesn't love buttons? I wanted to make a button (that neat little photo that you can add to your blog to show all the fun things you're involved in) for this round of the History Hop, but I hadn't made one in so long, I wasn't sure I could! Apparently, things have gotten easier since I last made one, not harder.

You can add the button below by copying the text in the box (below the image) and adding it to your blog. The image will show up wherever you put it on your blog and links back to the main History Hop: Paleolithic blog post - where a full list of participants will be added by the reveal day. The button image is 200 pixels wide.

1: Go to your blog

2: Add the relevant widget and place it where you'd like it to appear (see mine on the sidebar?).

  • Blogger: a new HTML/JavaScript gadget.
  • Wordpress: a new Text widget.
  • Typepad: a new "Embed Your Own HTML" module.

3: Copy and paste the code below (make sure you copy the whole code) into the widget/magic box you just added.

4: Make sure to save!

grab button for Beady Eyed Bunny
<div class="beady-eyed-bunny-button" style="width: 200px; margin: 0 auto;"> <a href="" rel="nofollow"> <img src="" alt="Beady Eyed Bunny" width="200" height="134" /> </a> </div>

Thanks, Dini, for the nudge! :) And thanks to Code It Pretty for the super easy button builder!

Wednesday 18 November 2015

History Hop: Paleolithic Style - Sign up here!

Primitive stone tool. Source: Didier Descouens via Wikipedia.
Welcome to another History Hop! The purpose of this blog hop is to create a piece of jewelry (or wearable art) inspired by a period in history. The idea for this edition of the History Hop came about while I was watching one of Werner Herzog's documentaries, Cave of Forgotten Dreams. I found myself enchanted by the primitive art and thought it would make a great theme for a jewelry hop! First, I'll explain a little bit about the era and share some inspiration I found during my research (more on the rules and how the hop works later).
The Paleolithic era is a time in early, primitive history notable for the development and use of simple, hand formed tools (like the stone hand axe above) and some remarkable examples of early art - cave paintings. The simplicity, limited materials, tools, and art of the time are what inspired me to choose this period for our blog hop. I'm sure the organic and simplistic style of the era will translate beautifully into your own jewelry.

Source: Wikipedia

The Paleolithic era is divided into three categories (Lower, Middle and Upper) and it was during these periods that mankind began to develop some
of the recognizable foundations of humanity. Some of the first works of art were created during this era (photos at right) as well as primitive stone tools. (1)

For the purpose of this blog hop, we'll be looking at the Paleolithic period as a whole, so there's no need to focus on just the Lower, Middle or Upper periods, unless you want an extra challenge!

Source: Wikipedia {{PD-Art}}
To the right are two examples of cave paintings from the era. The one at the top right depicts a number of wild animals - horses, rhinos and buffalo. The images are layered on top of each other with beautiful shading and just the essential details. 

The second image is another layered depiction of lions, again with the charcoal-like line drawing of the first image. They both possess a quality of movement and liveliness, despite their simplicity.

There's no right or wrong way to draw your inspiration from these images. Study them and create something with your own interpretations. Draw inspiration from the animals, the colors - cream, ombre, charcoal, earthy neutral tones - or the movement. Create a simple piece or something layered and complex; something with flow and movement. Whatever sparks your creative fires!

Cave paintings were not the only form of art that developed in the Paleolithic period. Etchings, carvings and sculptures became abundant. These were often made of clay, stone or bone (more materials to consider using in your designs). The subjects of the sculptures, much like the cave art, were often animals, but also female forms referred to as Venus figures. (2) Even now, the female Venus or "goddess" figure is very popular in art. You've probably seen one or two lampwork glass goddess pendants in your time! The sculpture below, known as Venus de Brassempouy, is a beautiful example of a Paleolithic sculpture. This particular piece is thought to have been carved from mammoth ivory. (3)

Source: Frederique Panassac

Aside from the art, another feature of the Paleolithic era I found intriguing was the stone tools. A number of techniques were developed during this time in history for cutting, sharpening, and creating stone tools. The photo at the beginning of this post is a wonderful example of a faceted (or flaked - Acheulean) stone hand axe. These were most often made with stones you might already be familiar with - jasper, chalcedony, obsidian, and quartzite. Now, being bead lovers, I'm sure we've all seen beautiful, faceted stones in our time. These would make a great addition to a piece inspired by the stonework of the period. (4)

Besides stones, other natural materials - wood, antler, natural fibers and leather - were used in day to day activities as tools and adornments. (5) As you can imagine, jewelry designs would have been limited (this era gave birth to jewelry), but there are records of shells being worked and used as personal adornments and perhaps for rituals. (6) Other materials used to fashion beads and adornments were bone, ivory and stone. (7)

Shell beads. Source: Blombos Cave - Wikipedia

Things to consider for your designs: there are no set dos and don'ts! Feel free to interpret the Paleolithic period in your own way. Draw from the earthy, natural hues, the organic materials (stone, bone, shells, cloth - consider handmade beads with a primitive design), or create a piece inspired by the animals depicted - perhaps even a particular cave painting.

So, let's get to the blog hop!

History Hop: Paleolithic Style rules & deadlines:

  • Sign ups until November 30th. Comment on this blog post to sign up.
  • Create a single (or more!) piece of jewelry or wearable art based on the Paleolithic era.
  • Blog hop reveal on December 9th. That gives us 3 weeks to create!

How a blog hop works:
Sign up by commenting on this post. Please leave a comment with a link to YOUR blog. I will collect all the links and names and make a list of the hoppers so we can all hop back and forth checking out all the gorgeousness. Does that make you hoppy? It makes me hoppy!

After you create your piece, take some nifty photos and create your blog post. You can ramble on, like me, or keep it short and let your photos speak for themselves. Schedule the post or publish it manually on December 9th - the reveal date.

As you sign up, I'll collect your blog links and make a list of participants. I'll update this post with the list, so you can copy and paste it into your reveal post.

Most importantly of all, please make sure to leave a link to your blog so I can add you to the list and everyone can see what you make! Ok, most, most importantly, have fun! 

Not a blogger? If you don't have a blog, why the heck not? No problem, please contact me, and I will direct you to where the non-blogger reveal will be. I'm planning on creating an album in a Facebook group (only if we need it!), so you fabulous non-bloggers can have fun, too. I get soo many emails, you might have better luck contacting me via my Facebook page, Beady Eyed Bunny.

To finish this off, I've put together a little color palette from one of my favourite cave paintings, a bison from the Cave of Altamira. But feel free to use any colors that speak to you. Enjoy!

References & further reading:
Cave of Forgotten dreams by Werner Herzog
1 & 5. Paleolithic - Wikipedia
2. Paleolithic Period -
3. Venus of Brassempouy - Wikipedia
4. Acheulean Industry -
6. Additional evidence...Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences
7. Treasures from the Ancient World - Museum of Ancient and Modern Art

Full list of participants:

Leah Curtis (hostess) - Beady Eyed Bunny
Shaiha's Ramblings
Julia Hay - Pandanimal
Rachel Mallis - Mint Monarch
Robin Reed - Artistry HCBD
Joanne Tinks
YeeLen Spirit Designs
Karin G. - Gingko et Coquelicot
Dini Bruinsma
Deborah Apodaca
Tapping Flamingo

Facebook Participants:

Laura Bailey Taskey
Album for Facebook participants found in Bead Soup Cafe 

Friday 1 May 2015

Stacked Earring Challenge Round Three

Hello, hello! I'm a bit late to the party today, but you know what they say...

This is the third round of a challenge started by the lovely Malin de Koning for a small group of designers. We take turns in sending each other a pack of beads. The challenge is to create at least one pair of earrings and use 3 types of beads from the pack.

This time around it was my turn to send out the beads. I think that was the hardest part! Here's a photo (by Malin) of what I chose.

I sent a mix of beads in some of my favourite colours: berry tones, sea blues, and earthy neutrals. The beads include Czech glass, vintage African clay beads, vintage connectors, garnet, agate, jade, aventurine, and amazonite gemstones. I also included some vintage African trade beads, citrine, and quartz with inclusions.

I chose some of these beads because they're a bit tricky for me usually. I don't often use small beads, so I included quite a few little beads and some odd shaped pieces for an extra challenge.

Here's what I created!

First up, an obvious colour combo for me. I used some gorgeous lampwork discs (Earthshine Beads) mixed with the African trade beads, Czech glass and tiny metallic spacers (top), coconut and some brass leaves from my stash.

Next up is, I think, my favourite pair. I had bees on the brain ever since I discovered a honey bee hive on a walk. These have more discs by Earthshine Beads, some added rhinestones and bee charms and my own findings. Everything else came from the pack (Czech pip beads, quartz, and metallic seed beads).

These rather stumpy stacked earrings have the larger of the African trade beads, agate and garnet gems, Czech glass flowers with some added bead caps and discs by Beadesired.

This next pair is pretty simple, but I just love the colour combination. Turquoise and red! Who doesn't love that? I used the little red flowers, amazonite and Czech glass from the pack.

Last but not least is another pair of bee earrings. These have the little citrine drops, Czech glass duos, flower charms and tiny striped seed beads. I used lampwork by Java Beads (they look like honeycomb!) and wrapped the little seed beads around like pollen. I cheated a bit on these as I only included 4 of the super duos (the spiky ones). I made one earring and realised I'd used all 4, so I had to dig in my stash for more. A bit cheeky, but they had to be made. :-)

Group shot - I hope you enjoyed! Check out the links below to see what everyone else made with the beads I sent.

Rebecca Anderson
Heidi Post
Claire Lockwood
Malin de Koning

Wednesday 18 March 2015

Stacked earrings challenge round 2

Earlier this year, Malin de Koning started an earring challenge for a small group of us. We enjoyed it so much, we decided to continue the challenge and take turns sending out beads to each other. The rules remained the same: use 3 types of the beads sent to make at least one pair of earrings. This time, Claire Lockwood stepped up with this lovely selection of beads.


Claire sent a great selection of beads in mostly greens, cream, soft pinks and purples. Some of the first to catch my eye were the minty drops and pink daisies (top right) and those white and green plastic beads (center).

So, without further ado, here are the earrings! I made 6 pairs in total, but there were still enough beads to make a few more. First up is a pair of stumpy, stacked earrings with my handmade copper findings. I used the flowers, pink daisies, and green beads Claire sent with some lampwork beads by Fyrebirds.

I adore the minty drops Claire sent and used them with the wooden beads, clear glass rings, and faceted Czech glass. I added my own copper findings and wire spacers.

This pair is very different for me, and I think they meet the stacked criteria! I used the small and large metallic beads, and the gemstone hearts Claire sent. Added to the mix are some filigree bead caps, Czech glass beads, and rectangular headpins and earwires I made.

Another different style for me - buttons. I don't usually use buttons in my jewellery, but these lovely mother of pearl ones were hard to resist. I knotted them on linen cord with Czech glass and my bronze earwires. I cheated a little here as there are only 2 buttons on each earring, but I think they'll pass...


Pair #5 has a stack of green leaves and a couple of the milky spacers from the bead mix. The leaves immediately made me think of strawberries, so I added some red blossoms (I know, they should be white!) and a tassel of linen and tiny Czech glass beads.

Last but not least, I used the wooden discs, little glass rounds, and the larger rustic glass beads. I added some tiny coconut beads and pyrite quartz chunks and copper findings.

Here's a group shot of all the earrings again. I hope you enjoyed them! Be sure to check out what the rest of the group made. 

Malin de Koning - Beading by Malin de Koning
Heidi Post - Ex Post Facto Jewelry
Rebecca Anderson - Songbead
Leah Curtis - Beady Eyed Bunny

Saturday 31 January 2015

AJE Component of the Month stash challenge

Last month, Art Jewelry Elements challenged their readers to rummage through their stashes and create new jewelry with handmade beads from the AJE team. Since most of the team is across the pond, I don't often get a chance to purchase their wonderful beads. I do, however, have a little stash amongst my art beads.

I was inspired to use some beads by BlueberriBeads and Jenny Davies-Reazor. Since it was a challenge, I decided to try something a bit different. I've been wanting to make some copper bangles and this was the perfect opportunity to give it a try.

First up is a bangle I made from heavy gauge copper wire. I fused the ends with my blow torch and hammered it into a droplet of copper. The AJE team bead I used was the rustic little urchin by BlueberriBeads. I mixed it up with a number of charms with aquamarine, turquoise, pyrite, and a black ceramic charm by Scorched Earth.

Carrying on with the bangle theme, I made another bangle with a slight chevron shape. This has a vibrant red, poppy seed stamped ceramic charm by Jenny Davies-Reazor. I adore her charms! I wire wrapped turquoise, snowflake obsidian, tiny garnets and coconut beads into charms. There's also a little lampwork ring above the turquoise by a UK bead maker.

And here they are together! Textured, patinated and polished to make that copper glow.

Next up are a couple of earrings. This first pair has a peachy-pink pair of matte birdies by BlueberriBeads, Czech glass flowers, and Vintaj findings.

This final pair is actually the first piece I made for this challenge. I used some more of Jenny's gorgeous, glazed ceramic charms with amazonite gems and simple copper findings.


I hope you've enjoyed what I made! I'm glad to say everything I used came from my stash. There's nothing like a stash-busting challenge to get your creativity going.

Here is the list of the participants - the team, winners and special guests! Kristen Stephens Susan Kennedy Jenny Davies-Reazor Lesley Watt Melissa Meman Lindsay Starr Jennifer Cameron Caroline Dewison Linda Landig Guest Participants ( aka winners) Lee - Strega Jewellry Shai - Shai’s Ramblings Samantha- Wescott Jewelry Kathy - Bay Moon Designs Nikki - Silver Nik nats Melissa Trudinger Becky Pancake Yvette - Blue Kiln Beads Karin - Ginko et Coquelicot Bonus participants! Sarajo Wentling Leah Curtis Susan Delaney

Friday 30 January 2015

Earring Challenge by Malin de Koning

It's about time I revive my blog! And what better way to do it than with a challenge? The lovely Malin de Koning invited me along with Claire Lockwood, Rebecca Anderson, and Heidi Post to join in an earring challenge with her.

Malin put together an inspiring pack of mixed beads for us to use: wooden beads, glass, tiny trade beads, gems, and was quite a selection! Malin is the master of earrings in my book and has a wonderful eye for detail. I can really see 'her' in these beads.

The challenge was to create at least one pair of earrings, ideally, with at least 3 of the beads from the pack. There was such a great selection of beads, the real challenge was deciding on how to use them.

As soon as I received the beads from Malin, I got started on a few pairs of earrings. I actually made the final pair last night. There are 6 in total.

Here's the first pair...I used the tiny, green howlite washers along with the green discs and stone-like cogs (one of my favourite beads in the mix). I paired them with my own enamelled leaves and copper earwires.

Next up is a pair of seaside inspired earrings. I loved the golden wooden nuggets Malin chose for us and immediately thought of something light, and beachy. I mixed up some of the wooden beads with a pair of mismatched starfish art beads by Majoyoal. Finished with bronze findings I made.

Now on to something a bit different...You can see one of my favourite beads (they're all lovely!) from the pack was the green howlite barrels. These are slightly mismatched with the faceted glass beads, howlite, tiny metal beads, and glass pearls. I wire wrapped some of the beads onto a tassel of recycled leather with lampwork art beads by Earthshine Beads.

Continuing on the tassel theme is a fresh, Springy pair of earrings using the plastic flowers (love these!), juicy striped seed beads, more of the lovely howlite along with recycled leather and green garnet from my stash.

What I loved about this challenge was that, although I loved the beads Malin sent, there were some that I might have overlooked myself. The silver coloured beads were one of those. They are lovely on their own, but I don't normally use silver. However, they fit nicely with the mismatched flower caps and striped seed beads for a bohemian pair of earrings. The lampwork discs are by Earthshine Beads.

And because I just adore those little flower caps, here's a better photo!


Last but not least is the pair I made last night. They're a bit funkier than the others, but I like something about the flow. I used the lampwork discs Malin sent, some of the coral, striped seed beads, and some glass beads and petal bead caps from my stash.

A huge thank you to Malin for this wonderful challenge! Check out what everyone else made for the challenge on their blogs. I can't wait to see!