Saturday, 30 April 2016

AJE COM Reveal - April is for Amulets

Today is reveal day for the AJE Component of the Month challenge for April and the pieces we had to work with this month were these wonderful polymer clay Amulets created by Jenny Davies-Reazor. I was lucky enough to get the gorgeous green swirly one at the bottom left of this image.


When my amulet arrived the first thing that struck me was that the swirly textural design and the colour palette were reminiscent of the ocean so that was going to influence my theme. I also decided I wanted to add some sort of stopper to create a little vessel - maybe for hiding secrets or special treasures in. My initial thought was that I could do this with a little round bead but I couldn't find anything that would stay put but then, while rummaging around looking for inspiration I came across my Tracey Seder-Donoughe bead stash and this one leapt out at me. Not only was it a perfect colour match but its 'waisted' style made it a very secure fit - perfect.

I was also keen to add some sort of accent to the bottom of the amulet so I drilled an extra hole in the bottom and set about wiring it up along with the bead which I attached with a length of brass chain...so far so good.

 

Working with the ocean theme I added one of my own bronze shell charms to the bottom of the amulet and gave this a little accent bead that picks out the darker teal tone of the piece.


For me amulets tend to call for long necklaces and I decided to go with bronze chain but to give it some more depth and interest and to support the theme, I went for one of my favourite techniques and wove waxed linen threaded with tiny pearls through the chain.


At this point I felt I needed to add some embellishment for a bit more impact. I was thinking of this necklace as something a mermaid would wear to keep her treasures close so I added a cluster of dangles made up from bronze charms, pearls, Citrine, Ocean Jasper and Czech glass, all of which pick up the subtle tones of the amulet. I'm still thinking about what to put inside the amulet...



And that was it - job done and 'Mermaid's Treasure' was complete! It's not the easiest piece to photograph well and personally I think it looks much prettier in real life.




Many thanks to Jenny for supplying such a fun piece to work with - I got fully immersed in this challenge and thoroughly enjoyed the whole process. Please do now join our blog hop to see what the rest of the AJE team and our guests created.

Enjoy

Lesley

Guests: 
Marsha of Marsha Neal Studio
Alison of Alison Adorns
Jess of The Copper Cat

AJE Team: 

Thursday, 31 March 2016

AJE Eye Themed Design Challenge Reveal.

Today is reveal day for our monthly AJE design challenge and this month it's a theme based challenge hosted by Lindsay Starr. Lindsay chose eyes as her theme and you can find out more about the subject on her original post.

The past month has run away with me somewhat so I didn't manage to get around to making components for this challenge. Instead I picked out this lovely Milagro pendant of Jenny's and decided to work with that.


Milagro is the Spanish word for miracle and 'Eyes' are a popular subject for these folk charms symbolising the concept of watching. They are often attached to an image of a deceased person as a representation of the spirit of that person is watching over and defending others from spirits from the land of the dead, or pleading their case before the saints and the angels.

In my stash I also had one of these prettty angel charms by Green Girl Studios and I thought that combined with Jenny's pendant this would depict the 'watching' concept well. Both pieces carry legends and the words 'strength' and 'safe' seem very appropriate.



Green girl Studios

I bought the striped ethnic beads from Bead Fest last year and liked the way they picked up the colours from the Milagro and the patina of the charm when strung simply with tiny seed beads.


The necklace is finished with a simple hook clasp and an single accent bead above the charm.


I'm quite pleased with the way the necklace supports the traditional meaning of the Milagro and is very wearable.

Many thanks to Lindsay for hosting this challenge. You can see what the rest of the AJE team and our guests came up with this theme using the links below.

Guests 
AJE Members 

Sunday, 28 February 2016

AJE COM challenge - February Reveal

So here we are again...another month has flown by and it's time for another AJE component of the month reveal. This months we were challenge to work with these lovely 'Phaedra' chain maille and crystal components made by Diana Ptaszynski - very bling!


Now I have to say these were quite a challenge for me since bling is not really my thing. I tend much more to the earthy and subdued and my inclination for anything sparkly is to treat it very simply and just hang it from a chain where it speaks for itself...but that didn't fell quite right for a challenge.

So I was trying to thing of something that would better fit my aesthetic and still showcase Diana's component and decided to try something with leather. I remembered a tutorial I had saved that involved loosely weaving leather cord into a necklace and decided to have a go at that. As the weave is quite loose I wasn't sure if it would work but being made from aluminium jump rings the Phaedra is very light and it did work a treat. So in the end I did simply hang it from a necklace but I think it has a bit more impact than a chain!



I was fortunate to have a number of Phaedra's in different colours and I chose to go with red because it worked best with the very dark blue of the leather. The combination wasn't the easiest to photograph to get both elements captured accurately either so my apologies for the less than brilliant photographs.

 

I'm really keen to see what the other participants have made this month so I hope you'll join me on our little blog hop via the links below:

Guests

AJE Team

Sunday, 31 January 2016

AJE 'Use Your Stash" Challenge Reveal.

For this months AJE challenge, instead of working with a specific component we were charges with getting into our bead stashes and designing with something we already have. This  is a good way to to get yourself going after the new year especially if like me, you creative motivation has gone into hibernation!


I bought these beads from Tracey Seder Donoughe at Bead Fest and I absolutely adore them. So much so that when I go to my stash I invariably spend time just looking at them still amazed at the incredible detail with each one like a tiny little vessel. They are also extremely tactile have the most wonderful feel to them that just makes you want to touch them.

It suddenly occurred to me that if I turned some of these into a bracelet then they would be there to see and touch whenever I was wearing it...almost like worry beads I guess. I pulled out half a dozen of the blue cream beads because they pair well with my daily uniform of jeans and would therefore get lots of wear. It's a fairly simple design with the beads wire wrapped and linked to each other and I've interspersed them with labradorite dangles to give some fluidity and movement to the piece.

I'm pretty happy with it and am keen now to do something with the rest of Tracie's beads.

I also managed to whip up a quick pair of earrings using some of my AJE team stash. I have a whole flock of Caroline's bird beads and I recently acquired some egg shaped lampwork headpins from Jen Cameron in a beautiful mottle glass - a perfect match for these cute little earrings.


I wash also hoping to have a third piece finished for this challenge but life intervened so this beaded piece with a wonderful focal by Birgitta Legonkou is a work in progress. The theme for this is serenity and I'll come back and share it when I do get finished.


In the meantime I hope you will take a little time to follow out blog hop and see what our guest designers and the rest of the AJE team have created for this months challenge - just use the links below. Happy hopping!

AJE team:
Lesley Watt - you are here

Guests: 

Lesley



Sunday, 10 January 2016

Re-birth of the Sun - design Challenge Reveal


It seems like an awfully long time since I launched this winter AJE design challenge and I have to say I would like nothing more than to see some sustained sun right now...  so far winter in the UK has be unrelentingly grey and wet! But never mind - a blog hop of designs with a sun theme is a pretty good substitute and if you missed the original post you can find it here.

I have to admit that although this theme was my choice it did give me something of a challenge in that I struggle to work with yellows...a bit of a hinderance when it come to the sun. The first thing I did was make some ceramic pendants to put in my shop and made myself break out some yellows and golds for the glazes. Although though I didn't use any of these in my own design there may be one or too appearing in the blog hop.


For my next design I turned to bead embroidery - my favourite past-time of the moment  to create this brooch. I used one of my own cabochons featuring the spiral symbol often associated with the sun, accented with beads in shades of gold and bronze and with a picot edging to give the effect of sun rays.


Next up is a pair of earrings featuring a tribal sun design which I've etched into hand cut and domed copper discs. The beaded drops feature faceted Citrine and Labradorite beads - simple but pretty.



For my final piece I wanted something a bit more substantial so I decided to make a necklace using a technique I learnt from Jenny Davies-Reazor which combines a cold set bezel and polymer clay. The focal of this piece features one of my own porcelain face charms set in a bezel formed from two Vintaj flower blanks. The bezel is attached to a textured polymer clay pendant which has been painted with acrylic and sanded back to create the effect of sky, clouds and the sun's aura.


Because the focal is quite detailed I wanted to stay fairly simple with the necklace so I chose to go with inky blue/purple pearls interspersed with gold seed beads to pick up the hues in the pendant. Little brass sun discs add accents at each end of the necklace.


A crescent moon cut from sheet bronze and a Hematite star charm hanging beneath the sun signify it returning to the dominant position and another star charm hanging from the end of an extension chain completes the piece. It took me a while to get this one the way I wanted it but I'm really pleased with how it turned out in the end.


Please excuse the less than brilliant photo's - I like to take them in natural light and it's been in very short supply of late! I'd just like to thank everyone who has taken part in this challenge and I hope you now join me in visiting the rest of the participants to see what they've created - just click on the links below.

Guest Designers

AJE Team
Lindsay Starr

Lesley

Wednesday, 30 December 2015

Clearing the Decks for a Creative New Year...

2015 has been a pretty good year for me...

The first half of the year saw me really finding my voice with my ceramic bead designs and having jewellery designs published in the wonderful Belle Armoire magazine. Then after a fabulous and creative summer break with good friends in the USA I've been trying my hand at some new things and have found several new passions - not least bead embroidery, felting and mixed media decorative art.


So what's in store for the coming year...? Well hopefully much more of the same. I really want to immerse myself in these new activities  and see what comes of it but that doesn't mean I'll be giving up on bead or jewellery making. In  fact I'm hoping for some cross-pollination that will allow me to come up with some original ideas for my own jewellery and bead designs.

For practicalities sake though this is going to involve some reorganisation and re-branding to make everything a bit more cohesive. To this end I am planning to spend the next few weeks creating a new standalone shop as a single outlet for my beads, jewellery and decorative art. It's early days yet but I'm very excited to get started on this new venture.

In the interim both my Etsy Shops (see links at the top of the blog) will remain open but there will be minimal listing of new pieces. Since I don't want to be transferring stock from one shop to another I've decided to end 2015 and start 2016 with a clearance sale in my bead shop and everything is now available with a whopping 40% discount - just used coupon code CLEAR40 and the discount will be applied at check out.


I'm also planning to have some jewellery destash events in January so keep an eye out here and on my Facebook page (or sign up for my newsletter using the link at the right of this page) for news of that...and there may be some beady goody bags up for grabs at some point - who knows.

So those are my plans for the early part of 2016...what about you - what exciting things do you have planned? Whatever they may be, big or small I hope your New Year celebrations are full of joy and that the coming year finds you healthy, happy and wise - and creative too of course!


Happy New Year my friends

Lesley

Sunday, 29 November 2015

AJE Component of the Month - November Reveal.

Welcome to this months AJE design challenge which gave us the opportunity to work with these gorgeous lichen inspired organic ceramic components from Caroline.


To feed my current addiction to beaded bezels I chose the purple cabochon on the bottom row. There is thin line of seafoam on the cabochon where the glazes have reacted and I wanted to use this as my accent colour in the beading. Fortunately I had the perfect beads and partnered with a mix if matt and gloss purple beads I was really pleased with how the bezel came out.


As the cabochon is so organic I had to manipulate the rows to secure it so that the beading is heavier at the bottom of the piece which balances it out and stops the bead work looking to orderly.

I jumped straight into the beading and didn't give any thought to what I was going to do with it until it was finished. I felt it needed something to contrast the soft natural lines so I had a rummage around in my silver stash to see if I had anything that might work. I found this Hill Tribe Tube and decided to use it as a yoke to suspend the focal from by sewing closed jump rings to the back of it and making a decorative link section.


I managed to find some colour matched organic lampwork beads and mixed these with silver dipped Greek ceramic cornflake beads and haematite seed beads to pull everything together.



I added black leather cord and decided that's all I was going to do because when I tried it on I loved the way it looked and knew I was going to keep it - a simple silver clasp and job done!


Many thanks to Caroline for giving us these lovely pieces to work with and I'm very happy to have a second one to play with too. To see what the rest of the team and our guest designers did with their component join us on our blog hop using the links below.