Finishing Some WIPs and Class Projects

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Hello! Weekends are too short. I know I’m not telling you anything you don’t know. But there is so much to do and not enough time, including creative time! I am going to try to fit more of that into my weekdays. I did it in January when following Bead in the New Year with Allegory Gallery. I have more jewelry related things going on now, so I am not keeping up with the current prompts as well, but they will be there for me when I am ready.

For this weekend, I wanted to get some works in progress done. I wrote earlier about a wonderful online class I took from Heather Powers in early August. My beads did not cure fully in their first bake. An oven thermometer showed how much my oven 1) lies and 2) varies over the course of a bake. So it took me three bakes to get them fully cured. With that done, I was able to finish the earrings and necklace that used them.

The jewelry and bead designs are Heather’s. I etched and finished the metal and made the beads, ear wires and finished jewelry with her instructions. I am so excited to be able to add my own handmade components to my jewelry! It will be fun when I can design my own beads. I need more instruction first, but I am starting to have ideas. 

This set is also from Heather’s class. I had the etched metals and earrings finished, but was stalling on making the sari silk, wire and seed bead connectors. It was much easier than I thought. I might turn the one around because I must have all the seed beads on the back now that I look at the photo, but I’m pleased in general. I loved the etching lesson. I have bought copper to do more, as well as sterling silver wire to continue making my own ear wires.

I finished one other work-in-progress: a bracelet. I got some vintage filigrees from Suzanne Branca’s Famous Vintage Bead Hoard Liquidation Destash and had bent one for a bracelet focal. I finally made the bracelet by adding a couple types of beaded chain and a lovely Swarovski crystal dangle.

It always feels good to get things done. Only 9,999 more to go!

Back in the Studio

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I wasn’t really out of the studio, but haven’t been on my regular creating schedule the past few weeks, and I miss it. This situation often results in too many ideas getting bottlenecked in my brain so that it’s difficult for them to get out in the form of a finished piece. What usually saves me is a completely new idea coming along, which then breaks the bottleneck. That happened today.

This morning I wanted to create, but I wasn’t sure where to start from the many ideas and partially finished projects I have. I was watching a show, and one of the characters was wearing several necklaces together. At first glimpse, it looked like one was a short, kind of chunky turquoise necklace with a small charm. It turned out the charm was a separate necklace, but the idea was already in my head. 

Often when I need a small pendant or charm, I think Green Girl Studios. I started with a little square pendant that had a dove on one side and a peace sign on the back. I loved how it looked, but the bail loop was small and close to the square. The beads butted up against the corners of the square making it difficult to lay flat. I tried a variety of placement and other beads on the side of the pendant because I liked it so much, but eventually gave up before the whole necklace seemed like a bad idea. I replaced it with this fairy pendant. The back says “joy”. 

This necklace is very comfortable. I love turquoise; it’s great in any season. Making this broke the bottleneck in my brain, and I also made an asymmetrical piece for one of the Allegory Design Challenge prompts.

Slight asymmetry achieved by turning the Bohemian crystal a different way on one earring. These will be available November 11 – 17, 2019 for the Artists for Animals Auction.

 

Bead Swap Pieces

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I participated in one of Lori Anderson’s bead swaps last year. She offered a few color palettes and matched partners. We picked a color palette, packed up beads and sent them to our partners. I was matched with Helena Hatten, and she sent me a beautiful motherlode of beads!

Here is a picture of a color palette with allll the beads she sent. Beautiful, right? I kept them all together, and gazed at them and enjoyed them, but I hadn’t made anything. Then, recently, I was working on some earrings and a couple of the green beads seemed the perfect thing. And then it started. 

(These will be available later in a year in the Artists for Animals Auction.)

Then someone on the Bead Soup Cafe page where the swaps (and other fun things) happen noticed one of the close up photos I posted of my swap and commented on it. I saw it with new eyes, honed in on one section of the swap. Helena and I agreed it was a beautiful mix, and I saw a necklace in it. 

Here is what I came up with. It was inspired by Leetie Lovendale rosary style Carmen necklaces along with the bead mix. 

I really had fun making this and love how it turned out. There is a lot more in that mix, so there will be more designs to come!

 

Resin and Paper Linked Bracelet

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I enjoy using fancy paper (the kind used for making cards and scrapbooks) in bezels and filling them with resin for a glass-like finish. I got a bezel link bracelet in an Andrew Thornton destash, and this was perfect for a resin project.

I had a beautiful piece of paper that looked sort of like an old textured wall that had been painted many times and was scratched up to reveal different colors in different places. I cut rectangles out of different parts of the page to represent as many colors as possible. 

I always seal papers very well. I’ve seen and experienced paper soaking in resin if not sealed well enough. I tend to like a smooth, flat finish. I did try to dome these a bit, but the edges weren’t perfectly even, so I was afraid of spillage. I’ve had a lot of luck not getting a ton of bubbles and getting rid of any bubbles that develop. I think this bracelet is beautiful. My mom and I had been using the Ice Resin plunger because we were nervous about measuring our own. We became more confident about measuring and bought the more economical separate bottles. This was a project for which we mixed our own resin, and it cured just fine. Later this year we will be moving on to some slightly more complex projects. I’m also thinking I should have some molds or little things always available to use up leftover resin whenever we do a pour.

Distracted Jewelry

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When I was making this necklace today, I thought about how a lot of my jewelry comes about because I’m looking for something and before I find it, I’m distracted by something else. I guess it is a method that works because I like my distracted jewelry!

About a week ago as I was falling asleep, I suddenly had an idea for a necklace using a Lisa Peters Russ pendant. By the time I got into my studio, I remembered an idea I had for the current Honey Do List from SJDesigns Jewelry. The things I was trying were not working out, so I went to look for the Lisa Peters pendant. While I was looking, I saw my box that includes beaded beads. Over the last few months, I had several ideas for some vintage Czech beaded beads, so I took a look at those. That is the necklace that came together. The other ideas are still around, but I made the one that came together first. 

I had gotten this great red tassel from Lori Anderson of Bead Soup fame. I thought it would look great with this vintage red beaded bead. I added a cloisonné bead on top. The strand is made from hessonite garnet nuggets, seed beads and Czech glass. I brought the red in again at the back with a vintage lucite box clasp. 

This was as much fun to make as it will be to wear. I need to clean up a little in my studio so I can work on the other projects still to be made.

My Mom’s Beautiful Jewelry and a Tip

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I didn’t get anything finished this weekend, but I thought I would feature a couple of beautiful things my mom recently made. I think this first necklace is a gorgeous masterwork. She bought the sterling focal years ago when you could get something like this. She got it at a great bead store in Milwaukee called Planet Bead. When you wait patiently, you will eventually be rewarded with the right materials to go with a fabulous focal. These pearls were a more recent acquisition. She finished it off with a beautiful clasp from Saki Silver

I just love it so much. It is one of those perfect necklaces I drool over.

She also made the cutest bracelet. I got some super cute vintage fish stampings from Sondra’s Estate Beads Destash Depot, and she asked me to bend hers so she could make it into a bracelet. She added two strands of round beads. There was an indented area for the eye and some little areas on the back. She added some crystals for a little bling. She finished it off with a vintage lucite box clasp. So cute!

My project this weekend was to finish a link bracelet for which I needed to add resin. I had chosen a paper that had a variety of colors in different areas and sealed that into the links. I had planned to add resin when we were doing other resin projects, but I found that because the rectangular links were not completely flat on the back, it would have been dicey to add resin without some plan.

I decided my best bet was to get some styrofoam and use T pins to pin it down flat and hold it steady. 

It worked out, and the resin pour went well. It is curing now. I like how jewelry making also involves problem solving.

 

Heather Powers’ Fluttering Wings Summer Camp

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I have wanted to learn to work with polymer clay for some time, but like many things, I put it off. Then I saw what looked like a wonderful opportunity: the Fluttering Wings Summer Camp with Heather Powers of Humblebeads. I already knew Heather was a good teacher; I had seen many of her free Bead Table Wednesday video tutorials. Here is a bracelet I love that I made based on one of them.

I was excited that not only did the summer camp include some polymer clay projects but also a metal etching lesson and some finished jewelry projects using what we made. The course is set up in three distinct parts, so I took three days off of work. I thought it would be too easy to put it off and say I would do it “later” if I didn’t. I was so glad I did. I found that the online format is great for me. There are written and video instructions that I could read/watch the day before and then get right into a project the next morning. I’m a morning person; it’s easy to lose my get up and go by the afternoon if I’m not already into it. I can go back and watch/read things as many times as necessary. I have lifetime access to the materials to try them again and again or use them as the springboard for other projects. There was also a Facebook group where we could share with others and ask questions. Although this is no longer available, there were a limited number of kits containing many of the course materials. I would highly recommend getting that if you ever take a course where that is an option. It was so helpful and beautifully organized.

My things turned out pretty well. (Although I have to bake my beads again because I didn’t use an oven thermometer.) When something didn’t go as planned, I was able to figure out why and knew how to fix it or re-do it based on the excellent course information and/or answers from Heather. Here are some of the beads in process.

Here are some practice ear wires and bezel pendants – one finished (blue) and one that needs a repair, rebake and finishing. The kit included sterling wire for finished earrings, but Heather even included some copper wire for practice. I made a couple of charms from scrap because I wanted to see how easy (or not) it was to embed wire in polymer. (It was easy.) 

Here are a couple of finished pieces using the etching. The earrings are a class project. I love the ear wires! 

The necklace is something extra I made.

I haven’t finished the rest of the jewelry projects yet because I got sick as things were winding down and decided to take it easy. I’m still recovering and will get to those projects when I am able. At the end of the course, Heather did a video showing even more great jewelry projects using the components (or versions thereof) that we made. A great bonus!

I have kind of a bad attitude toward learning new things. I’m always worried they won’t work out, I’ll feel like it’s all been a waste, and I won’t want to keep trying. I think I can change that outlook now. My mom and I have been doing resin experiments and on the whole, they have been turning out. When they don’t, I can figure out why and even want to try again. The same can be said of my work for these lessons. Everything was so much more doable and worked out so much better than I could have imagined. I loved it, and it was an incredibly positive experience. I am planning to take more of Heather’s online classes and have even looked at other polymer tutorials I bought and never used. It’s an exciting new way to explore my creativity.

Allegory Gallery July 2019 Design Prompts

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Allegory Gallery started my 2019 off right by having daily prompts in the month of January. I felt so creative and made some wonderful pieces. I was happy to see that they started weekly prompts in July. Here is what I made.

Week One – Make Earrings

These tensha beads from Jesse James Beads wanted to be earrings, so I wrapped them onto the ends of sections of vintage chain from A Grain of Sand – and done! These are shoulder dusters for sure. They will be available later in an Artists for Animals auction.

Week Two – Make Something Using Czech Glass

I had this wonderful kitty pendant from Classic Elements that I mixed with some beautiful Czech glass gifted to me by Patti Vanderbloemen and horn beads from Allegory Gallery. The coloration makes me happy.

Week Three – Use Gemstones

I had filled this Cynthia Thornton bezel with resin and glitter opals. I used it with peridot and green kyanite nuggets from Allegory Gallery. This feels very luxe to me.

Week Four – Make a Boho Design

This necklace was prompted by the Allegory Gallery Challenge and inspired by a wonderful necklace by Vintaj. I still want to get their component and make another one!

Week Five – Make Something Inspired by Nature

I just took the Fluttering Wings Summer Camp online workshop from Heather Powers of Humblebeads. It was the best experience! I found that things that had seemed way beyond my skill level weren’t! The online format was perfect for me. I often don’t have the energy or attention span to learn about something and then do it in the same day. I was able to read the instructions and watch videos one day and actually do the making the next day. The polymer bead in this necklace is something I made in class (from a butterfly wing cane). I framed it with a couple of vintage crystals and knotted it with beads from a vintage necklace and Czech glass flowers.

William and Andrew of Allegory Gallery intend to continue these challenges. I am in! If you would like to check out what people make, you can visit the Allegory Gallery Design Challenges Facebook page.

Finished Up Resin

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I made a finished piece with one of my resin pendants from a few weeks ago. I had a large-ish wooden bezel, put in some pretty floral background paper, sealed it a million times and poured a clear coating of resin. 

I used a glue on vintage brass bail, added some wood, stone and a couple of special carved beads. I wanted it to be long enough to go over my head, like I do everything these days, so I added some gorgeous vintage brass chain at the back. I love the rustic, muted tones. It looks like a hefty piece, but because of the wood, it is not an especially heavy necklace.

Sources:

Allegory Gallery

Famous Vintage Bead Hoard Liquidation Destash

Sondra’s Estate Beads Destash Depot

 

 

Vintage Beads

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I was rooting around in my Round Rabbit stash for something I didn’t even end up using. It was so fun, though, to see so many old friends that I ended up using two of them.

First an orange and green pendant struck my eye. I had just gotten some vintage bright orange beads in the same color. This is something I love about Round Rabbit beads; Nancy Adams’ vibrant colors and fresh combinations. Nancy no longer makes beads but still offers handmade goods, so check out her shop

I mistakenly thought the outer line was army green on first look, but it is really a dark purple. I decided that army green would work well anyway, and mixed some vintage green lucite with the  orange glass. After I had knotted a bit, I decided the orange was becoming too overwhelming, so I decided to make the rest of the necklace with just the green beads. I didn’t make sure I had knotted the same number of orange on each side, but when I noticed I was one off, it reminded me of a decorating and art technique I’ve seen that I like where paint isn’t even and just stops at different places. It doesn’t sound good the way I’m describing it, but it always looks good when I see it. So I decided to leave it. 

I was looking for something purple to dangle off the bottom of the pendant. After checking gemstones, glass and vintage plastic, I decided on these ceramic beads by Gaea in purple and green. I finished it off with a green vintage lucite box clasp. I just love the color combination!

I had some vintage glass beads from a broken necklace I got in a destash sitting on my table. When I saw a little blueish-purple Round Rabbit connector I thought would go well with them, I tried it out and liked the effect. 

I thought these delicate beads called for a shorter necklace and made it adjustable to sit at or just below my throat. Vintage glass has such a wonderful look to it.