Art Bead Scene Challenge April 2018

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The Art Bead Scene Studio inspiration art for April is Disks of Newton (Study for “Fugue in Two Colors”), oil on canvas by František Kupka. 

This is just the kind of bright, energetic painting that I love. So of course I was inspired right away, and why not? I recently got some brightly colored stacked disc beads in a Staci Louise Smith destash. I suspect she was experimenting because they are very different than her usual look, but they are just the sort of thing I would fall in love with. They look like glittery, tie-dye, watercolor moons in the sky. One of the main colors in the set is the same purple as the inspiration piece. Kismet!

What I was originally going to do (and realllllly wanted to do) was use some black and white cord I love from My Elements. It would have looked totally cool. But the smallest size of cord was a little too big. (I don’t know how to drill polymer yet. I looked at my rotary tool and didn’t think I had a bit long enough. That’s a lesson for another day.) I tried to use some other, thinner cord. The beads are hollow, and it just wasn’t going to happen. It was enough of a challenge to string them on beading wire. The picture below shows the stacked nature of them from the side as well as the other side of a couple – beautiful on both sides!

Not using cord offered me another design element. I still wanted that spaced look I would have gotten knotting them on cord, so I used tiny seed beads that were a mix of several shades of the purple from the inspiration painting. These polymer beads are super fun and on the larger side, so I brought out some larger Czech glass (pink beads) and vintage plastic (yellow and one purple). I finished the back with graduated size purple beads I got as a freebie! I hadn’t considered red in my design, but I love the color. Since it plays such a prominent part in the inspiration, I added red seed beads beside each larger bead.

This necklace is full of joy for me. I’ll be throwing this on over cute dresses…someday. Right now it’s all snowy. Visit the Art Bead Scene Studio website and see what the painting has inspired other people to make.

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Becky Nunn Bracelet Design

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I’m a fan of Nunn Design products and really enjoy Becky Nunn’s tutorials and design inspiration. Becky Nunn also has an etsy shop where she sells finished jewelry. I love to see her designs, and on a recent visit, I saw the most fabulous bracelet. In reading the description, I learned it had been featured in Step by Step Wire Jewelry Magazine. Checking further, I found it was a tutorial featured in 2014. I thought maybe I could see if any beading folks had the magazine they wanted to sell, but then an idea struck that maybe I could get an old issue of the magazine from publisher Interweave. Not only was it available, but I could get an electronic edition! I was so thrilled. Nunn said she likes to give jewelry makers projects that look complicated but are really simple. That was true in this case. I bought all the materials – just three things! You might have some (or all) of them in your stash. 

The bracelet in Nunn’s shop is a wider bangle. I got a thinner version of a Nunn Design antique gold-plated channel bangle. Some gold wire and pearls, and I was ready to go. 

The bracelet worked up quickly and easily. I wasn’t super careful or neat. That’s my way, and it works fine with this bracelet. However, if you are more exacting, that would work too. I show the bracelet here and below with a mixed media bracelet I made a while ago and a Nunn Design square bangle.

These are all good stacking bracelets. I look forward to wearing them when the weather finally lends itself to shorter sleeves and fewer heavy coats!

If you are interested in the tutorial, you can get it in this magazine.

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New Beads Post and Save the Date(s)

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I took a fall a few days ago and injured my hand, so I haven’t worked on the projects I had hoped to show. However, I’m glad to say my hand is healing better than I thought!  I don’t like to go too long without posting, so new beads are always a good choice.

First, though, I wanted to let people know that there is another Artists for Animals Auction coming up. I participated with this last October and will be participating again May 14 – 20, 2018. There are two ways you can support the auction: 1) participate as an artist and auction your handmade items; 2) participate as a purchaser and bid on the items that week. Each artist donates proceeds to their charity of choice. I will donate to Madison Cat Project. Check out the auction page for more information. Join to make sure you get updates.

Now, on to the beads! Here are some fabulous gemstones I got from Andrew Thornton’s Destash

There are some juicy peridot nuggets, morganite barrels, faceted lapis rondelles and small faceted carnelian. This photo doesn’t show their real beauty (which is true of most of the photos in this post) because I was unwilling to disturb MooKitty in order to get better light.

The cute blue dishes that I am showing the beads in are by Jennifer “Jangles” Heynen. Here are some of the laser cut wood pendants I’ve gotten from Allegory Gallery

Next up are some really lovely vintage plastic beads from Allegory Gallery.

I’ve been enjoying shopping some great vintage (and other) items on Sondra Jackson’s page. I’ve gotten some great chain. I love this unusual vintage diamond chain. She has a great variety of cup chain. This one is much more sparkly in person, and there are better photos on her page. 

Some excellent metal beads. I can’t decide if I want to patina these or leave them as is. Maybe some of each.

She has an extensive collection of Czech glass buttons. Of course I chose a cat. 

I also got some destash from Staci Louise Smith. There was one particular old bag of old stuff that is just the kind of thing I go for. I knew there were some real gems in there, but I wasn’t sure exactly what until I got it. Here are two things I especially love from the bag.

There was more, including a large number of white glass pearls in a variety of sizes and some champagne glass pearls. I’ll have fun using all of this.

I look forward to presenting some finished pieces. I have two necklace designs in mind, plus two bracelet projects. Bracelet weather is coming!

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Unicorns Redux

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I recently wrote about bringing unicorns and rainbows into my life via jewlery. Well, I’ve done it again. At this point, I think multiple unicorns are appropriate.

This one is from Staci Louise Originals. I got it just for its unicorn-ness, without knowing what I would do with it.

Then I got a couple lots of polymer beads in the perfect colors with just enough magical sparkle, also by Staci Louise. 

I feel like the free and fanciful nature of the beads go perfectly with the unicorn. I separated each polymer bead with a tiny citrine bead for a little extra sparkle. From the bottom loop, I hung a rough garnet topped by a couple of the tiny citrine. At the back, I finished the necklace with an appropriately frothy color of sari silk.

I’ll wear this necklace when I need a little extra magic. 🦄

 

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Kind of a New Collaboration

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I’ve written in the past about how when I buy curated mixed lots of beads and materials, I often see a design primarily using the lot. It feels a bit like a collaboration with the artist who put those materials together. This time, I got a lot of beads from Staci Louise Smith. She has a Facebook page where she sells a variety of things – her beads, her finished jewelry and sometimes mixed lots of materials. She has fabulous taste and I love her work, so the mixed lots are really fun things I love. Here is what I got.

Photo and dish by Staci Louise Smith

The dish the beads are in was not included, but Staci makes great bowls as well. Check out her shop. At the time of this writing, she had some lovely finished bowls in her shop.

I didn’t use the cool spiral glass beads made from wine bottles or the large and lovely prehnite, but I used all the rest. 

I used the Suburban Girl Studio ceramic bead by Diana Ptaszynski as the focal. Diana recently retired Suburban Girl and is now doing business under her name. Check out her fun new stuff. I attached the focal bead to a handmade copper and solder jewelry stringing bail by Mary Harding. I used the green kyanite, peridot and olive jade beads from the lot. I rounded it out with a few mixed beads that Crafty Hope tied onto the package when I bought one of her bracelets (I love using packaging beads!) I had this great mixed metal chain on my table that was perfect to finish off the design.

It’s fun to be able to use materials another artist put together. It helps expand my design sense.

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Ring-a-Ding-Ding!

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Nunn Design recently had a giveaway on their Facebook page, and I was one of the lucky winners! This was the photo on the giveaway. The question was if we saw anything we’d like to create with. The answer is yes! Everything, of course, but what really caught my eye was all the rings. The large hammered rings in addition to all the great different size, shape and textures of jump rings. Here is what I was sent:

Wonderful, right? I had about 9 million ideas. (That is just an estimate.) But that really told me how versatile these findings are. I will be ordering more of all the rings so I can bring lots of my design ideas to life. For now, here is the one I’ve made. 

There is weird lighting in my house lately; I think the light is struggling through the change of seasons! But the Nunn Design products still look great! I took a design tip from the giveaway photo and used a jumble of different jump rings above the pendant, a gorgeous polymer clay focal spike by Jon Burgess Design that has the look of turned wood!

One of my original design ideas was hanging a vintage mourning bead from the larger ring and using darker leather like in the giveaway photo. But the fun colors in this pendant encouraged me to use a brighter leather. It was between this spring green and a bright orange. I didn’t want the orange leather to become too much of a focal point, so green it was.

I’m really looking forward to making more of my design ideas as well as other ones I had when I happily fell down the Nunn rabbit hole. Thanks, Nunn Design!

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Collaboration with My Mom

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A while ago I got a face bead from Gaea. I don’t do bead weaving, but my mom does. I gave her the face and asked her to weave around it in any way she wanted. As you can see if you click on the previous link, she gave the face wonderful, colorful Medusa type hair! I love it! She also made some other components to go with it. 

I was looking for something else in my Gaea box, and I saw the face and components and an idea sprang into my head. I used a Gaea rectangular bead above the face and mixed some other Gaea ceramic tubes and beads along with some of my mom’s beaded components to make a necklace.

I knew it wouldn’t be long enough on its own, so I thought I’d add some chain. I had this metal tube chain that really echoed the look of my mom’s beaded components. I wish I could tell you where I got it. I cannot remember! I’ve just spent about 10 minutes trying to figure it out, but I’m sorry to say I don’t know. I haven’t even had it that long! I will just list some places I have gotten fab unique vintage (and non-vintage) chain. I thought it was one of these places, but I could not confirm it. 

Sondra’s Estate Beads Destash Depot

Vintage Bead Vault (where I got some similar chain in a beautiful green)

One Piece At A Time

You Are Not The Boss of Me

Who Knows What

So, probably one of those. Note to self: put purchases away more efficiently. I do label things when I put them away, but this one got separated from the herd. 

I think this necklace turned out great. It was really fun using my mom’s work in my necklace as well.

 

Old + New

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I love combining vintage and new materials, and the things in this necklace came together so perfectly. I got this heart pendant and matching beads in chartreuse and black from Nikki Thornburg of Thornburg Bead Studio. She even pre-wrapped the pendant. I love something that saves me doing wire work. 

When I bought the set, I had in mind some vintage chartreuse beads I had gotten from the Vintage Bead Vault, which I love. 

I rarely see this specific shape of bead, and I love it. These vintage West German beads are also a favorite color, and the givré element, with the color encased in clear glass, makes them more interesting.

I’m really pleased with how this turned out and how the old and new beads worked together. I have two of the smaller lampwork beads left for another project!

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Vintaj Patinas

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I love Vintaj patinas, and the company recently came out with three pearl patinas that are more sheer than the regular patinas.  They are called abalone pearls with a pink, blue and green.  I have really been interested in trying the marble patina (white) because with the proper reliefing or other distressing the item could get that old look I love.  Here are some of my recent patina trials. Here are some of the pre-patina items (also from Vintaj.) I got the patinas and some of the metal items from Rustic River Finds and some of the metal items from Vintaj Salvage on etsy.  Love these shops!

I also got some vintage brass bracelets from B’Sue Boutiques on etsy. I love their vintage selection. 

First I used verdigris, ochre and moss patinas on the bracelets and brought out some of the raised brass design using the Vintaj reliefing block. 

I tried a couple of different things with the marble patina on some Vintaj arte metal blooming flower pendants.Both of these were done with the marble patina. The one on the left was done with a wet brush. The one on the right was initially done with a dry brush with relatively full coverage. I intended to use the reliefing block, but then I used a wet brush before it was completely dry. I think I was trying to thin out the paint and, happy accident, it took off chunks of paint in a way that made it look very much like old metal losing its paint. I put touches of seashell pearl patina on it after it was dry. 

I gave my sister her pick of the patina items, and she chose this flower (which was the one I had made with her in mind at my mother’s suggestion!) Also at my mother’s suggestion, I put it on this long piece of leather. My sister likes very long necklaces, and this flower actually looks great on the leather.

Here is a patina progress shot. 

This is an example of all the pearl patinas together. 

First I covered the heart with seashell pearl, then layered on ocean peal and last painted a few parts with seafoam pearl. I think it looks a little like stained glass.

I don’t have a picture of this butterfly before the patina, but I covered it with pyrite, used the reliefing block, then mixed seashell and ocean pearl to make a purple color, layered that on and then blotted it on papertowl when it was wet and used the reliefing block when it was dry. 

Here is a Rhapsody Romance Boho pendant with garnet patina. The design is very detailed, but it’s small and a bit shallow, so I didn’t get as much metal look as I thought I would after reliefing. It’s still very nice. 

This is a piece I did quickly when I first got the pearl patinas. The Vintaj Queen Anne’s Lace pendant is a favorite. I used marble and the seafoam pearl on this one. I love the way it turned out. You can see how the patina colors look very different on different metals and depending on the techniques used. I look forward to many more patina experiments.  I Love the very sheer, soft looks I’ve seen people get with the pearl patinas like in this photo from the Vintaj Facebook page.

 

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Cairn

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I recently got this great little set of ceramic beads by Marsha Neal Studio. I loved it on first sight stacked just the way it was, and I knew I’d keep it simple like that when I made it into a necklace. So this is one of those necklaces that I feel like I can barely say I made.

I strung them on some pretty leather, knotted above and below them, sealed the knots with glue. Done! It’s long enough to fit over my head and falls just perfectly.  I love it.

Love how this looks and how easy it is to wear. I also love long weekends because I get extra jewelry made. I’ll have to take more Fridays off.

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