Yep, I used the brown shard shaped beads on the left. To tell the story of the design, I invite you back in time with me to 2013 and the January Art Jewelry Elements Component of the Month. I loved the pie beads by Karen Totten of Starry Road Studio that were the component that month. I eventually got one, and it’s been sitting in my stash for a few years.
Day #13 – Let’s see something you made with ceramic beads
I’m a huge Gaea fan and have a lot of her work to choose from. I happened to use something I got more recently.
This is her heart pendant and several ceramic beads. I strung these on waxed linen with matte amazonite rounds and faceted garnets. I finished it off with a copper clasp, also by Gaea.
Day #14 – Break out the polymer clay and make something
I’m going to have to catch up with this one later. I always have to work myself up to breaking out the clay. But I’ve got ideas percolating.
Day #15 – Organize at least one part of your craft area
I didn’t have a lot of time to work on things this past week, so I decided to clean a critical yet quick part of the studio. Here is a before picture.
I get out boxes of beads and supplies and as I work, they pile up around my chair. It’s a tripping hazard and just bad all the way around. Even though I tend to want to clean up my work surface first (and it needs it!) this was really the best use of my limited time.
Now I won’t trip and get injured. I’ll live to make another day. I am going to devote some time to my work surface this weekend. But it’s so difficult to focus on that when there are so many ideas to bring to life!
Day #16 – Use the 2020 Pantone Color of the Year: Classic Blue
I’m surprised how excited I’ve been about this color since I’ve long considered blue my least favorite color. Also, when considering ideas for this project, it was nice to see how many things near the color of Classic Blue I have. I had two other ideas, but ended up with this sweet, fun necklace. The peachy ceramic bead is by Gaea, but I got the bird pendant in a destash and don’t know the artist. The larger blue beads are vintage lucite, so it’s all nice and light.
Day #17 – Focus on metal as the main element in a new creation
I used a chain from Miss Fickle Media I have had for over five years. It is hammered brass with verdigris patina. So beautiful. I considered pairing it with leather in the back, but I decided to go a different way with this batik ribbon I got on a package from Starry Road Studio a while ago. Simple, and let’s the chain be the star.
Day #18 – Utilize natural materials to make something
I had decided when I saw this prompt to make something with cowrie shells. Divya of Jewels of Sayuri often uses cowrie shells in her jewelry to beautiful effect. She wrote a post about cowrie jewelry that talked about some of the positive symbolism and myths regarding cowrie shells such as feminine power and warding off the evil eye. I also saw something about shells being in fashion in the coming season, and I had the opportunity to get a nice bag of cowrie shells last year. This was the perfect opportunity to use a few of them!
Mary Redman gifted me with her beautiful polymer clay shell pendant. I nestled it between some shell heishi beads, fun gold shell sequins and the cowrie shells. I just love how it turned out. It makes me want to walk on the beach (unlikely with all the snow we’ve gotten this week!)
Day #19 – Construct a non-jewelry piece using beads
My cat, MooKitty, isn’t much for toys. But I did notice that when I happen to lean over her and my necklace or bracelet dangles, she bats at it. So I thought I should make her a toy that I could pretend was a necklace. I used cotton cord and crocheted beads.
At first I put it around my neck and leaned over her, and she wasn’t interested. But it was a really fake way of hovering over her which she probably didn’t like. So later I just held it up. Her hunting instincts ignited and she had fun batting at it for a little while. After she “caught” it, she didn’t want me to take it back. That’s a success! And a good use for some of these crocheted beads I have never found a good project for.
To see what others are making or join in, visit the Allegory Gallery Design Challenges Facebook page.
Allegory Gallery, Andrew Thornton, Gaea, Heather Powers, Helen Backhouse, Helen's Bat Cave, Humblebeads, Karen Totten, Majoyoal, Mari Carmen Rodriguez Martinez, Starry Road Studio, Supply Your Soul, Vintaj
Heather Powers of Humblebeads makes great polymer clay beads. She also makes beautiful jewelry, and recently shared some tips and design ideas on a Work Table Wednesday video on her Humblebeads VIP Party Facebook page. She has made a colorful innovation to her classic bird beads. In the video, she shows that she has also used the technique to make owls and offers some cute ideas to use each in pretty necklaces. I was inspired to use the bird I have.
I had so many ideas; this shows just a few of the beads I considered using. Heather showed a variety of leaves and birds together. I thought about using this beautiful black round by Karen Totten of Starry Road Studio because I love the black with the grey bird. But I couldn’t resist using a leaf. I don’t actually have a lot of leaves in my stash, but this one by Helen Backhouse of Helen’s Bat Cave went so well with the gold in the bird. I loved the idea of using a Vintaj acorn bead cap. I also loved this mottled brown ceramic bead by Mari Carmen Rodriguez Martinez of Majoyoal. But I decided I wanted a pop of the pink/purple in the bird. Some choices included dark and light purple ceramic beads by Gaea and a plastic bead. In the end, I used a polymer clay nugget by Andrew Thornton of Allegory Gallery. I used some beautiful patina ball chain in the Steampunk color from Supply Your Soul.
I couldn’t resist also using Heather’s idea to put a flower bead in a bead cap to make a little “crown” on top of the bird. This project was a lot of fun. It’s simple and easily customized to the beads you have available.
Fanciful Devices, Foldio, Halcraft USA, Heather Millican, Heather Powers, Humblebeads, Janel Goolsby, Jera Luna Designs, Karen Totten, Marina Rios, Nancy Adams, Round Rabbit, Starry Road Studio, Swoondimples
Many of my photos are dreadful. Sometimes I don’t even want to share my work because I can’t get a decent photo of it. I live in Wisconsin, and we are not known for our good light. I’m using my iPhone for a camera and don’t anticipate changing that. I’ve been thinking of getting or making a light box for a while, but which one?
Recently I saw a Facebook post by Heather Powers of Humblebeads praising the Foldio. I figure she has taken plenty of good jewelry photos! Plus, in checking it out, it was affordable, ultra easy to set up and use (I’m extremely impatient) and very portable.
All of the photos in this post were taken shortly after I opened the foldio and set it up without even really reading the few sentences of instructions. It was extremely easy to use, and already these pictures, such as the one of the bean beads above by Heather Millican of swoondimples, are better than most of the photos I’ve ever taken. And these were taken at night. I just had to post right away because I’m so excited to have this tool!
I’ll still need to practice to get good at avoiding shadows and keeping my hand steady. Above is a gorgeous pendant by Marina Rios of Fanciful Devices. The photo could use some improvement, but I think I wouldn’t have gotten one this good without the Foldio because the image is covered with mica and difficult to photograph.
I’ll also need to experiment with the different background colors. These beads by Janel Goolsby of Jera Luna Designs look great on this white background (although it looks a little grey). All but the heart were totally washed out when I tried them on black.
This is a bead kit I won from Halcraft USA. When I got it yesterday, I posted a photo of it on Facebook. I took it at night in my kitchen (the best light in the house until the Foldio came along) and it didn’t show true to color at all. It came out very green. Here I took a picture at around the same time at night in the Foldio, and it is a much better representation of what the beads really look like.
Here are a few tests on the black background.
Black and white pendant by Nancy Adams of Round Rabbit.
Connector by Karen Totten of Starry Road Studio.
I think the black background will be the hardest to use. I also seem to end up taking pictures that are closer and I’m not used to adjusting them yet. But I’m excited about how I will be able to improve my pictures and take photos when I have time rather than always trying to find light and take pictures only when I happen to be home during the day.