Tuesday, 30 June 2015

AJE Themed Design Challenge - Fireflies

Today is the reveal of the second AJE themed design challenges and this months event is hosted by Jen Cameron and the theme she chose was fireflies.  This did turn out to be quite challenging for me since the last tie I saw a firefly was probably way back in my childhood. We do have them in the UK but more in rural areas that I don't tend to frequent after dark!

So I had to turn to Jen's photographic images for my inspiration and it took me a while to come up with a plan.


I was struggling to come up with a way to capture these masses fireflies in ceramic that was different from the other teams ideas so I decided to for silver clay instead. I used a stamp to create a grass design and then set lots of tiny 2mm cubic citrine zirconium into the clay - a bit of a race against time to do before the clay dried out. Once the piece was fired I gave it a heavy LOS patina to help the CZS stand out...it's a bit of a pig to photograph so apologies for the less than brilliant image.


I've not yet had time to make this up into a piece of jewellery but I have an idea in my head to rivet it to a copper back plate that will be etched with the legend 'fireflies dance'. I'm thinking a chain of hand coiled links interspersed with citrine or yellow quartz beads to pick up the stones on the pendant but knowing me that may well change.


Then last week I was finishing up a clay session and decided to have a go at doing an individual firefly like this little chap...

It got a bit tricky when it came to the legs and antennae so I decided to use nichrome wore for these instead of clay...not exactly the elegant creature I had in the back of my head but a bit of fun none-the-less!


So there you have my attempts at creating fire flies and if they've sparked a flame (sorry!) for me then you can see what out guest designers and the rest of the AJE team created using the links below:
Guest Designers:
AJE Team

Sunday, 31 May 2015

AJE Component of the Month Challenge - May Reveal

It's the end of another month already which means it's time for another AJE Challenge reveal and the components we had to work with this month were a pair of these pretty beaded beads from Susan Kennedy of Suebeads. 


I have a little stock of these beads and am very fond of using them for earrings because they are small and light but always pack a punch in terms of colour and textures - so that's the route I took with his challenge.

This first pair are very simple but Sue's beads were such a perfect match for a pair of ombre ceramic drops by Diana Ptaszynski of Suburban Girl Beads that I really didn't want to add anything more than a little wire wrapping and some simple wires.


The blues of the elements work so well together and are such a natural pairing with copper.


For my second pair I picked out a pair of Polymer Clay heads pins by Heather Powers of Humblebeads. I fed the wire of the headpins up through the beaded beads and bent them round bail making pliers to make a loop and then fed them back down through the bead wrapping the wire around itself a couple of times. I then wrapped the tails of the wire around the tip of my round nose pliers to create a little coil and then stretched these out to create tendrils

 These are super light, really comfortable to wear and perfect for colours for summer.


Many thanks to Sue for the chance to work with these lovely fun beads. You can see what everyone else designed using the links below.

Next month's AJE challenge is another themed event and this time it's all about Fireflies with the chance to win one of Jen Cameron's lovely beads so check out the this AJE post for all the details but do hurry - the winners will be chose tomorrow, Monday June 1st.

Guests

AJE Team

Saturday, 23 May 2015

Belle Armoire Jewellery Debut...

I'm not usually one for getting my work published in magazines - mainly because I'm too disorganised to get myself together for the submission deadlines but,when you get an invite from the beautifully put together Belle Armoire Jewelry, well you have to give it some careful consideration.

So that's what I was doing around Christmas and today it's safe to say that I'm just a little bit excited as I make my debut in Belle Armoire with seven pieces featured in a technique based article and a piece in the boutique section. You should have seen me run when the mail dropped this morning!

Metal clay and mixed media necklaces

Bronze clay and art bead earrings and bracelet


Wire macrame and bronze clay earrings

Wire macrame bangle

Fortunately I just about remembered to take some photo's of the jewellery (apart form one pair of earrings) before I sent it off for consideration...

For this necklace I adapted a wonderful mixed media technique I was taught by by my good friend and AJE colleague Jenny Davies-Reazor at Bead Fest last year...

Mixed media necklace adapted for a technique by Jenny Davies- Reazor

These next pieces show case bronze clay and art beads..

Bronze clay, turquoise and Ebony necklace with ceramic focal by Karen Totten

Bronze clay necklace

Bronze clay bracelet


Bronze clay wire macrame earrings with lampwork beads by Puffafish lampwork

Bronze clay earrings with ceramic flowers by Karen Totten


And finally a spiral wire macrame bangle - unfortunately I've had the lovely lampwork beads so long I don't remember who the maker is...

Lampwork and wire macrame bracelet

I hope you like the pieces...I guess now I might have to get myself a little more organised to make a few more submissions....watch this space!

Have a great weekend all.

Lesley

Tuesday, 31 March 2015

AJE March Hare Challenge Reveal.


Back at the end of February the AJE team announced that we were changing our usual monthly Component of the Month event up a bit by introducing 4 seasonal themed challenges. For the first of these Jenny chose Hares as her theme representing spring and if you missed her great post about these fascinating creatures you can find it here.

Today is reveal day and it's certainly been a hare raising month for me (sorry couldn't resist)! Hares are a popular icon for jewellery design and as soon as Jenny mentioned that she wanted them as her theme I started thinking about how I could develop something original. I don't often sketch ideas for beads but in this instance it seemed the best way to get the ideas out of my head and after much scribbling I came up with this idea. I'm not good at realistic representations so I wanted to keep the form fairly simple and use the different mediums I work in to add interest.


I made my first pieces up in a rustic stoneware clay using a layering technique. I cut the hare  and moon shapes out of a sheet of clay and then laid them onto another sheet of clay to create the background and then cut out the final shape. I wasn't sure about these at first as I thought they were a bit dark but they grew on me and in the end I fell in love with the rustic feel.


So I made some more up in a white porcelain stoneware clay and used some more colourful glazes.


While I was making the ceramic pieces I started thinking about how these hares would translate to metal clay...typical of me to be always thinking ahead o myself. The eight and cost of bronze clay meant that I need to do something a bit more economical so I decided to make pendants the shape of the hare and add loops that would allow for embellishment. I a spring flower texture mat for some of these and made them in both copper and bronze, the latter with Cubic zirconium set in for the eyes. I also make some moon connectors to go with the pendants.


Then I went on to make some up in silver which I love. The foot broke off the one in the middle so I have an idea to solder him onto some copper sheet with his own moon...when I get time.


I also played around with combining metal clay with sheet silver and adding a pretty gemstone and fine silver heart drop to the bottom.


While making this piece I also managed to tattoo a hare on my trousers when I sneezed and the hot hare leaped of the solder block! Fortunately I moved fast enough to avoid getting burnt but the studio floor didn't fare quite so well!


In the last couple of weeks I've been revisiting the ceramic hares and making some tweaks to the designs. The first batch where quite large so I wanted to make some more compact versions and these little fellows silhouetted against a full moon were the result. I love the way the bloom on the cream glaze looks like the moons surface.


You'd have thought I'd have had enough of hares by now but no...I had an idea to separate out the the elements and make some sets that would give give people more to play with in their designs. I made some clay hare figures and moon faces up similar to the forms I'd used for the metal pieces and also made some tiny stars. When I showed these as a work in progress on my Facebook page someone suggested a crescent moon might look nice too...and they were right. These were great fun because I could mix the sets up to combine different glazes and give different effects. I think these are definitely my favourite so far.


I was hoping to make some jewellery for this challenge with some of the hare beads I have in my stash but sadly I just haven't had the time but I will still try and get them done in the future as I think hares are here o stay. I did just manage to finish  this very simple necklace for myself though...


Speaking of which, if you are a member of the Facebook group Ceramic Art Bead Market you will know that we have a regular giveaway and from later today and for the next week this pendant will be up for grabs. You need to be a member of the group to enter but  the group is open to anyone with an interest in ceramic beads so if you haven't already do come and join us to meet some great artists with some beautiful beads.


So I hope you enjoyed meeting my little bunnies and will visit the rest of the AJE  team and our guests to see how this theme has inspired them.

Saturday, 28 February 2015

AJE Component of the Month - February Reveal

It's the end of another month (already?) and that means it's time for another AJE Component of the Month (COM) reveal. This months components were these beautiful copper clay pieces byMelissa Meman featuring one of her own  textural designs and the I got  the rectangular pair to play with.

 
My original intention was to split the pair and  make to separate items but time and energy have been against me this month so in the end I opted to stick with earrings. I always love the combination of turquoise and copper so I used a pair of lampwork headpins from Maryse Fritzsch Thillens to create some drops for the bottom of the earrings.


 I then added some tiny turquoise beads to some ear wires for a little extra lift and that's it - job done. Very simple but I think the embellishments set of Melissa's charms, which are and should be the star of the show very well. Apologies for the colour on this picture which seems to fade during the uploading process no matter what I do.


Many thanks to Melissa for providing these lovely pieces to work with. To see what the rest of the AJE team and our guest designers have made just use the links below:

AJE Team

Guest Participants:

Saturday, 31 January 2015

AJE 'Use Your Stash' Challenge Reveal.


Instead of our usual AJE component of the month we decided to change thing up this month and challenge ourselves to break into our art bead stashes and design something around a piece (or two, or three...) by one of our team mates. We also gave away some pieces for guest designers and we are joined by some of our readers who have also raided their collections for AJE beads.

My original plan was to make something for every member of the team but what with the madness that January has been that turned out to be wishful thinking but, I did manage to make five pieces. I'm going through a bit of a 'less is more' phase at the moment and I've kept all my design fairly simple to let the focal pieces shine.

First up is a necklace using a mixed media focal I got from Melissa Meman in a swap at Bead Fest last year. This handmade copper bezel is set with a vintage butterfly illustration set in resin with silver loops and I think it's utterly charming.



A good rummage turned up some lampwork and Czech glass beads the matched perfectly some metal dipped Greek ceramic beads to continue the mixed metal theme. These were all put together with my favourite double link chain from The artisan Bead Company, some silver jumps and a little silver clasp I made. A Thai silver flower charm and some Czech leaves suspended from the bottom of the focal add a final flourish. I'm really happy with this as it's just the sort of thing I would wear.
 

My second design is a pair of earrings using beads made by Jen Cameron, very simply wire wrapped in sterling silver with chain fringing and hand made ear wires. I patinated these with LOS (liver of sulphur) and left them quite dark to give a cool, steely and elegant appearance but they're a bit of a pain to photograph.


Next up I chose a ceramic feather focal set by Karen Totten. I love Karen's beads and usually all I want to do with them is hang them on a simple leather cord or chain because they convey so much on their own. In this case I wire wrapped the set in copper and suspended it from a necklace strung with toning seed beads interspersed with textured copper beads and finished with a hand forged clasp.


There is an added bonus with this piece as it can be worn standard length with a double strand or long with a single strand and the round bead has a different pattern on each side - four for the price of one!


This next pair of earrings came about from a fortuitous meeting of beads while I was pulling things out to decide what to make. Kristen Steven's beaded beads landed next to Sue Kennedy's lampwork headpins and perfectly accented the reactive glass striations. A bit of wire wrapping and some hand made ear wires and job done.


Last but not least is a longer length necklace using a ceramic vessel bead by Caroline Dewison. I've started designing with this a couple of times but never got it to work properly. I think my current mood for keeping things simple and streamlined helped with this one as this focal really does speak for itself. I wrapped copper wire around the neck of the vessel to create a bail, wrapped a couple of toning lampwork beads and attached these to some ball chain.


Just to add a bit of textural variation I added what I thought were solid copper crimp covers at points along the chain but after tumbling I discovered these were fact copper plated brass. Hey ho - these things happen.


So there you go - I got six of my team mates in and I'm aiming to pay tribute the rest of them in the near future - thanks to each and every one of you for your awesome talent. I hope you'll now join me on our little blog hop to see what everyone else has made using the links below.

Lesley

AJE team: 

Guests winners
Samantha- Wescott Jewelry
Nikki - Silver Nik nats
Yvette - Blue Kiln Beads

Extra guests













Monday, 26 January 2015

GIVEAWAY WINNER....


 
Thanks to everyone for yet another wonderful response to my giveaway and to everyone who signed up, followed and left such kind comments.

I'm delighted to announce that the winner of the component set is....

Kathleen Lange Klik

Congratulations Kathleen - I'll be in touch shortly and look forward to seeing what you create with your prize.

And thanks once again to everyone else.

Lesley