Thursday, December 1, 2011

Cold Connections: copper cuff

A cuff I made a few weeks ago in the Florida Society of Goldsmiths' beginning metals class - cold connections.  We learned to rivet and tube rivet.  The first class was an introduction to metals and we sawed, textured, and soldered.  The third class in the series is coming up in a few weeks and we will learn to basic bezel making.  The 1 1/2 drive to Tallahassee is always worth the trip.

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Monday, November 28, 2011

Flower Power

my finished piece -below is the story (& more pictures) of how I got here
The problem with designing for Lorelei's Jade Scott Enameled Flower Challenge is that my flower is so gorgeous I didn't want to do anything with it except look at it.  I put it in a tiny glass vial on the window sill above my kitchen sink and admired it every chance I got.  Now this doesn't mean that I didn't have a thousand ideas floating around in my head.  This precious little bloom really inspired me.  Thanks, Lorelei, for making my love affair with a tiny piece of enameled copper possible!
look at that cute number six
I decided I wanted to do something with a bunch of beads, some chain, and some bead woven components, but still keep the focus on #6.

At first I wove some tiny Russian leaves.  These were dainty and didn't detract from #6.  For a few days I played with Russian leaves and made these earrings with matte golden copper Delicas, some dicro lined 15/0s, bronze wire (from Cool Tools), some dyed stones, and sterling silver wire.  I think I wore these everyday this week.

After I got over how much I liked making Russian leaves, I started to think that perhaps trying to go too stark and simple in my planning.  I had ideas about drilling a single pebble to make a necklace version of an ikebana vase.
I thought about tussy mussies and how I could make the bouquet holder from art clay or copper sheet.
Finally it hit me that I was thinking too small.  I whipped up a giant Russian leaf from green Picasso 11/0 seed beads and got rolling...some ceramic beads, some wooden discs (I didn't like the original finish so I sanded them and restained), some copper chain, some waxed linen cord.  I made a beaded toggle closure, but then I started channeling Fairysteps and decided to make a copper toggle with a leather leaf "ring."
tiny Russian leaves - about the size of my index finger nail
some large red white hearts set off the red enamel
the leather and copper toggle closure - I punched each side of the slit so the leather will not split.  I got this idea from  my Muse belt.  Check them out; they are great.

Click the links below to see all the other flowers:

7. Gigi - check out Gigi on Lorelei's Blog

8. Lois Moon** you are here

Thursday, November 10, 2011

I am number six

The fabulous Lorelei Eurto is sponsering a Jade Scott Enameled Flower Challenge and Guess Who was selected in the random drawing.  I am pretty excited.  Today my flower came (#6 above), and it is a beauty.  The light color surrounded by red is actually a very pale celadon green.  I thought Sakura, then Wasabi, as soon as I saw it.  Right now there aren't more flowers at Jade Scott on Etsy, but she announces shop updates in her blog.  Stay tuned for what I create.

Sunday, November 6, 2011

We got us a panther

Last Sunday I wrote, at the end of a I Heart Macro post, about my neighbor seeing a panther.  This neighbor did put up an infrared camera, but so far she has only seen some fox, birds, and house cats.  But today I spoke to two other neighbors who have definitely seen the panther.  The kids who live on the other side were playing in the woods behind their house and saw it and their uncle saw it also while sitting on the deck behind the house.  Perhaps their will be something on film soon.
The neighbor across the street recently saw a fairly large bobcat on some property he owns on the other side of town, but he estimates it was only 45 lbs.  A Florida panther like the one on the photo below might weigh 130 lbs. and be seven feet long.   The picture shows a Georgia Wildlife Resources Division biologist with the panther shot by a deer hunter three years ago.   Here is a story in which DNA testing positively linked this panther killed and the Georgia-Alabama border to the South Florida population.
This is a great story about Florida Panthers in South Georgia.  And here is a fact sheet with video and pictures about the Florida panther (aka, mountain lion, cougar, puma).  According to the fact sheet, we have all the panther's favorite foods in our yard, and the neighbors have two piglets - Peaches and Milkshake - for dessert.  Let's hope he doesn't like corgis.

Monday, October 31, 2011

Penny candy - Happy Halloween

up close

on the move
I made this over the summer with a couple of strands of Michael's glass beads, vitrail lentils, some orphans, and some very inexpensive chain and findings.  It makes a great sound when I wear it.


Happy Halloween

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Why did the whachamacallit cross the road?

finally a good use for dog hair - a corgi hair provides scale to the right of the whachamacallit
I saw this creature in the middle of the road while walking the dogs on Saturday morning.  It was about two inches long and sporting some pretty cool racing stripes.  You can click on any of the photo to view them larger.
coming or going?
whachamacallit was on the northbound (right) side of the road
I live on this beautiful divided boulevard which is planted with live oaks, camellias, azaleas, and a vast dying array of dogwoods.  These live oaks are enormous.  That is a fairly tall street light in front of it and the bushes behind the tree are about 12 ft. tall.  The photo above shows the low spot in the road.  An animal path runs from the woods behind the houses on the left (unseen) into the swampy woods on the right.  Crossing the road in this spot during the early morning and night, we see fox, coyote, and armadillo (who don't really cross, but just bumble about near the edges of the grass eating bugs).  My neighbor swears she has seen a Florida panther cross.  We do have bobcat, but she believes it was a panther.  Yesterday she told me she bought an infrared camera.  I'm looking forward to getting a glimpse of what is lurking at night!

studio waterstone

Take a look at what everyone else is viewing up-close.

Saturday, October 29, 2011

A very late Camelot Cross

my Camelot Cross
The fabulous Karyn of Releases by Rufydoof  put together the Beading Babes group and the first project was Carol Ohl's Camelot Cross bracelet from the Feb/March 2011 Beadwork.  Although I has this piece done within a week of the pattern selection, too much work and more work got in the middle and I didn't manage to get out my camera until last weekend.  ¡Así es la vida!  Finally I am sharing.
For more Babe beadweaving, check out the picures on Karyn's Facebook page.

Monday, October 24, 2011

Couvige de Marie Noel

Here is a RAW cuff that I just can't get right.  I made all but the final rounds within the individual openings.  I wasn't happy with the form I was getting - not curvy enough along the edges.  So I will try again with a different set of 11/0's and 15/0s.  I found the pattern here - it is from Marie Noel/MarieCyber, but it is no longer available.  You would need to search for Couvige in the Histoire de perles.
gorgeous curves in imitation of lace
I think it is better in one color and I need to nudge some of those beads into place...
and I'm going to try inserting some of the final embellishments to see if that puts more curve into my piece.  I remember another version I saw at Perlicoti:

And above here is another Couvige by Pascale G-M.  She has filled every opening with the embellishment. I love the color of these beads.  Does anyone know what they might be?

Sunday, October 23, 2011

A little productivity

Last weekend I drove down to Tallahassee to take a beginning metals class at the Florida Society of Goldsmiths  Northwest chapter.  They are currently offering a series of three metals workshops and will repeat these again in the spring.  Of course I didn't even bring my camera - what was I thinking?  But even if I had, I was a little too busy from 10 AM until 7 PM when I left to actually stop and take a photo.  Suzi Kamin was the instructor and I'm looking forward to the next two classes in the series when I will bring my camera.
squashed dimes, copper, argentium silver, and Czech glass
I made a textured copper bracelet, a pair of brass earrings, a pair of squashed dime earrings, and a silver band.  The focus of the class was learning about the studio equipment, basic sawing, soldering, texturing, dapping, and forming.  I left the fire scale on the copper above because I torched balls at both ends of the wire and wrapped them in about two minutes before the end of the class.  Next month is riveting and I have been collecting items that I might use.
there I am in my gold wedding band, above which is the textured silver band  I made
I had to do some superduper obscuring via Picnik because I didn't want to scare any reader with how frightening my hands appear on super macro.  I can see that my gold band is showing its years of wear.  I actually made the band to wear on another finger, but really liked how it looked with my wedding band and a tiny titanium band.  I'm hopping that I will keep learning and look back at this photo and be amazed at how rough and crude the ring appears!

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Kate McKinnon's Groovy Cuff

Kate McKinnon's Groovy cuff
I picked up the beads for this cuff over the summer at The Isle of Beads. Normally I'm not drawn to grey, but when I saw these I instantly grabbed a hank of the gold and knew what I wanted to make - The Groovy Cuff. None of the photos really show off the how pretty the grey-blue seeds beads are.  The color combination really reminded me of something my great-grandmother Mildred would have appreciated. The top layer is made with pale blue-gray lined clear 11/0's and black diamond 15/0's.  The wider bottom layer is matte metallic antique gold 11/0's and the same black diamond 15/0's.  I really learned right angle weave working on this.  Once I got into the rhythm it was pretty easy to keep stitching and stitching.

This is the piece that was in the December 2009 Beadwork as The Modern Art Cuff (also on the cover of  the Favorite Stitches edition).  I think I like the brighter, more whimsical colors of the magazine pieces a little better, but these colors are sort of the opposite and are definitely understated and easy to wear. As soon as I finished stitching I wanted to put it on and I found this sari silk ribbon shimmering all pink and gold so I never got around to making a proper clasp.  I love the big bow which does not actually sit on top, but flops over the middle just as a regular clap would.  

I have also been searching for some glass sequins with which to embellish this piece, but haven't found any I liked.  All that I've run across are just too plasticy.  Of course that doesn't mean much because I have very few places to look.  At some point this weekend I'm headed to Havana, Florida (just north west of Tallahassee) to a little bead show.  Maybe luck will be with me.  Do you have any good sources for glass or other good quality sequins or metal discs?
click on collage to enlarge

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Ode to Puca

stack o'bangles
If you follow just about any European bead stitching blog, then you have seen these bangles derived from a pattern by Puca at Les Perles de Puca.  Actually, I found details about how they are assembled at the French bead forum Histoire de Perles.  They are also very similar to Sabine Lippert's A Square and His Friends pattern.  [Her English language book will be realeased in May 2012 by Lark!].  These bangles and Cynthia Rutledge's Honeycomb Bangles seem to be in every French or Italian blog.  I'm not usually into so many crystals, but I was drawn to these bangles particulary since I could stitch each with just Delicas, 11/0 seed beads, and some 4mm bicones.
three different colors of Delicas

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Lynn Davy's Cuff & My Earrings

It isn't that I haven't been creating, it is that I wasn't taking pictures and blogging about it.  A few days ago I put a load of finished pieces in front of the camera in order to get ready for some serious posting.  

This summer when I was in Cleveland I picked up the February/March 2010 Beadwork.  I had somehow missed this edition between buying from the newstand and subscribing and of course every time I saw a piece I really wanted to make it was from that issue!  Between getting a pedicure with my BFF of 29 years (that final F really is forever!) and my goddaughter, who is now the same age that her mom and I were when we met, and having lunch at a Turkish restaurant with my mom and auntie, I stopped by The Isle of Beads.  This was the bead store where I first bought beads and stared at the containers of seed beads and wondered who was crazy enough to spend time trying to use those tiny things.  I spent quite a long time chatting with Denise Newman, the owner, about the difficulty of owning a bricks and mortar store today.  What I didn't realize was that she had just opened her store about the time I stepped into the world of stringing.  Twenty years later there I was drooling over drawers of gorgeous hanks of Czech  11/0's.  She also had one copy of that elusive issue of Beadwork.  

the cuff - my first brick stitch work - a few tension issues
I took awhile for me to find all the different beads I needed and still I had to make two color substitutions, but I finally amassed the sizes I wanted.  I love Lynn Davy's Pendragon Cuff.  This was my first brick stitch project and it includes six different sizes and shapes of beads.  The triangles were fun to work with, but I wish they had turned out to be as light as they were pictured on the website when I bought them (big problem for me - no bricks and mortar stores within a two hour drive!).  Next I wanted some earrings to go with the cuff.  I mixed peyote and herringbone, Delicas, 15/0's, and silver wire and came up with the pair pictured.  I've worn them a few times and gotten raves, as well as, "you are going to have to teach me how to do that."
little tribal shields to compliment the Pendragon cuff
They are a double layer of beading which is connected at the tip by a drop bead.  I need to explore this shape a bit more so that I can devise a way of attaching the earwire without stitching it to the beading directly.  Do you have any suggestions for this?

a hint of things to come

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Around the World with 362 Jewelry Artists - Bead Soup September 2011

This is the third time I have participated in Lori Anderson's Bead Soup Party.  The first time BSP was held, I saw the list of participants who had already signed up and was too intimidated.  The next time I just held my breath when I clicked the send button and hoped for the best.  Here I am a couple of years later and I couldn't be happier that I decided to take up Lori's challenge and work outside my comfort zone.  The BSP has morphed into a worldwide event - 362 jewelry artists from 21 countries on 5 continents!  Check out the map.  You can click HERE to go see what Melissa made with the soup I sent her which included a flower pendant from Tracee Dock of Classic Bead.
a little teaser from my partner Melissa Muir
soup arrives and is full of bright silver and copper beads

The gorgeous pendant with a sparkling cz set in silver
I loved my soup when I got it because playing with metal offers so many opportunities.  Even though I thought it might make Melissa gasp and maybe even sputter - I couldn't wait to patina the copper and silver beads.  Then I set off to design a piece of bead embroidery to hang behind the pendant and set it off.
lots of ideas I didn't end up using
I was inspired by some votive cups with Moorish designs against bright orange, green, and fushia glass.  I found some sari silk and attached it to a backing and began embroidering berry hued beads.  But something wasn't clicking with me.  I tried a couple bead woven designs, but these were also not a fit.  Then I went to wrapping beads.  Some silver, some bright stones, and a couple lampwork beauties by Julianna Cannon of Juls Beads. These lovelies are going to become a bracelet with the addition of some suede and a couple of juicy copper love knots.

Finally I decided I needed to go with wirework.  This was more in keeping with the swirls on the votives which were my original inspiration.  The pendent started reading as the negative space in a keyhole.  I drew up a few patterns.  The first one above is a little too holly leaf.  It actually only took two tries with a spool of steel wire and I was satisfied.
I formed my keyhole and added some tiny beads to the sides for a little weight.  I didn't want to distract from Melissa's pendant - just frame it with something.  I made some dangles - from a stick of dyed howlite, a tiny sterling silver key, a Swarovski 4mm, and one of the star shaped pearls from the bead soup.  Then I got to wrapping and making loops.  I dug out an large vintage clear crystal with a beautiful color filled sparkle, an aquamarine piece of cut glass, and a strand of something dyed to look like impression jasper.  
To see what the other 362 participants (¡WOW!) made, click on the link below to go to the Official Bead Soup Party page at Lori Anderson's Pretty Things blog.

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Golden Dragonfly

I made this dragonfly with 24K gold wings from a Good Quill Hunting pattern.  Christina has amazing patterns and kits for a variety of stitches.  If you don't weave but bead embroider, go to her site to get inspired.  The mix of beads, stones, colors, and stitches takes my breath away.  She has some free patterns and tutorials as well as an amazing list of links and resources.  Click here for Christina's blog, also full of gorgeousness and info.  My dragonfly cuff is coveted by my friends, co-workers, and students.  And you can see why:
look at all those shades of gold in the wings!
add a little sunshine and it glows
a little closer
the beads on the wings shift colors in the light - she really appears to fly on your wrist
I love the bright blue eyes
Finished with vintage glass buttons and peyote loops
I messed around with each end of the pattern a little bit so that the bands of color would meet up at the closure.  The idea didn't dawn on me until I was finishing so I didn't get it quite even, but I like the result.  I also tapered the corners to avoid them getting dog-earred with wearing.  The sweet little clover buttons are vintage pressed black glass with facets and heavy brass shanks.  I found them at an antique shop here in Q'town which specializes in vintage clothing.  They measure about 8mm across.  This cuff is about 2 1/8" wide. 

On Christina's web site she recommends Joan Painter of Painter's Art Beads as a source for small quantities of Delica beads.  I followed this advice and managed to get the quantities I needed down to 1 gram of this and 1 gram of that.  Joan carries just about every Delica number under the sun.  I saved a bunch of money on beads for this bracelet, but went a little crazy ordering beads that I had not been able to find elsewhere!  Joan takes her orders via email.  Send her a message with your order and she charges you for the actual shipping cost.  She is great!