Wednesday 30 November 2011

Oak Leaf and Challenge of Color Challenges

You wait 2 weeks for a blog post, and then 2 (in 1!) come along at once! I signed up to two fab blog challenges, both with the same reveal date, so this post will tell you all about both. And for that reason, there will be a lot of photos and not so many words. Perhaps....I always say that and then I always end up writing way too much....

First up is Jo Tinley's Oak Leaf Challenge. I was so lucky to get into this challenge! Jo made 5 beautiful oak leaf clasps, each one hand crafted by her in rich, oxidised copper. I was the 5th and last person to sign up as Jo only accepted 5 people for this! I have bought quite a few clasps from Jo before and I adore them. Her work really is of the highest quality - do go and check out her website and her etsy shop. We've got quite a few things in common - we are both regular contributors to Beads and Beyond, we both have a love of lampwork beads (especially Moogin) and last but not least, we share the same birthday! How cool is that?

So, a little about the design process. As soon as I received the oak leaf clasp, I knew it would go just perfectly with a cute little hedgehog bead from TreeWingsStudio I had hoarded away. And he just has to go with wooden beads. But I was keen to not simply repeat my recent Art Bead Scene Challenge entry (although the two bracelets definitely have some elements in common) so I introduced a very non-woodland, but very complimentary, colour - cobalt blue. Copper and blue are such a satisfying combination! They really make each other 'ping'. 

Oak Leaf Clasp and oxidised copper wire - Jo Tinley
Hammered copper link - MissFickleMedia
Lampwork beads - OneSillyMoo
Polymer Hedgehog - TreeWingsStudio

What I really love about Jo's clasps is how seamless they look - you can't tell this leaf is a clasp unless you know.

Thanks so much Jo, for organising this fab challenge! I loved it. Here's the list of other people taking part:

Jo Tinley               Daisychain Designs
Melissa Meman                Art, Life, Love
Niky Sayers         SilverNikNats
Amber Boorman              Larksong Studio
Kimberley Roberts          Bahama Dawn
Rebecca Anderson          Songbeads

The next challenge was a very different one - another jewellery hop, but this time from the other side of the pond - Erin of Tesori Trovati's 2nd 'Challange of Color' Hop. I participated in her last one and really found it very inspiring - I love getting a 'brief', whether that be a colour palette, a theme, or a custom made clasp to work with :-)

Last year, I selected teal as my colour family to work with. As anyone who has ever visited my shop or my blog will testify, I can't get enough of the colour. I love every shade between blue and green and work with it on a weekly, if not daily basis. Half my wardrobe is turquoise. 

So, this year I decided to break out of my colour safety zone and try a colour which I like but don't use particularly often - pink. I almost picked yellow as my colour family, but couldn't quite do that to myself - one step too far (I rarely use yellow beads or ribbon, unless they are delicate citrine). 

Here is the wonderful palette that Erin selected to inspire me, from Jessica Colaluca's Design Seeds Blog.

Design Seeds really is an amazing blog and resource; I had a great time checking out other folks' palettes for some extra inspiration. Maybe one day when I have some extra time....

And here's what I made:

It's a medley of colour, and although I had beads in all the colours of the palette, I would never have thought to put them together. I'm glad I did :-)The beautiful polymer pendant is by Heather Powers of HumbleBeads.

Alongside this necklace, I made some simple but pretty (I think) earring, with which I am very pleased :-) I noticed how these gorgeous jade rounds slotted just perfectly into some of Jo Tinley's sterling teardrops, and thought with a little wire wrapping, they would work well. I have oxidised them but need to get hold of some wire wool to take the edge off them - oxidising is effective, but not when the silver is simply black!

Looking forward to seeing what everyone else has created. Here's Erin's list:

Norma Turvey ~ Teal ~ Color Crave
Stephani Gorman ~ Green ~ Dew Tones
Melissa Meman ~ Green ~ Fruit Star
12 Cece Cormier ~ Teal ~ Merino Teal
14 Alice Peterson ~ Blue ~ Island Play
15 Rose Noble ~ Gray ~ Autumn Stacked
18 Tari Kahrs ~ Orange ~ Citrus Tones
19 Mallory Hoffman ~ Purple ~ Petaled Dark
22 Emanda Johnson ~ Teal ~ Color Purl
23 Amy Severino ~ Orange ~ Winged Tones
24 Bobbie Rafferty ~ Teal ~ Lime Hues
25 Tanya Goodwin ~ Gray ~ Pecked Tones
26 Lisa Lodge ~ Blue ~ Nocturnal Tones
28 Linda Landig ~ Green ~ Cacti Dark
35 CJ Bauschka ~ Teal ~ Teal Air
36 Shaiha Williams ~ Teal ~ Sushi Hues
37 Kay Thomerson ~ Purple ~ Autumn Spectrum
39 Cilla Watkins ~ Purple ~ Autumn Infused
40 Shirley Moore ~ Purple ~ Frozen Heather
41 Jenni Connolly ~ Gray ~ Paw Tones
45 Maria Grimes ~ Red ~ Bright Bloom
47 Susan Kennedy ~ Pink ~ Zinnia Tones
52 Lizzie Zawinski ~ Green ~ Budding Hues
54 Dawn Doucette ~ Brown ~ Jarred Tones

Saturday 19 November 2011

Art Bead Scene - Thank You!

A quick post with some exciting news....I am now part of the Art Bead Scene team! I almost fell off my seat on the bus when I read Heather Powers' email, asking me if I would be interested....she didn't have to ask twice.

I'm looking forward to taking the team international and looking all around the world (of course with a special look at UK artists, my being Scottish and living in England) for art bead inspiration.

It's a huge honour to be part of such an amazingly talented team and I hope I'll live up to the amazing standard that Heather has set for the blog. Thank you so much for thinking of me!

And on another note, here's a quick (international to me!) bracelet I made this evening.

pewter bird - mamacita beadworks (New York)
Hand dyed silk cord - ute bensen (German artist now based in Arizona)
Glass beads from the Czech republic
Vintaj brass from Illinois.

Sunday 13 November 2011

New Cosy Christmas Gifts...and I heart macro

Well, hello! It's been a while....

This week and a half has been MANIC. I am quite glad it's over, truth be told, although it's been great. Both jewellery-wise and singing-wise, and it's not often that both of those boxes can be ticked :-) This past week has been spend in Leeds, working on three new mini-operas by Irish composer Ailis Ni Rain, at Opera North (eek!) with Sawn Off Opera. VERY intense schedule going from scratch to performance in 5 days, but we made it. I've yet to see the video recording....

And the weekend - in fact, the day! - directly before Sawn Off Opera (the name of Ailis' company) began, I had my much blogged about Handmade Show in Perth. Which was EXCELLENT! As I have mentioned previously, I have only just started dipping my toe into the world of craft shows, and all the  shows I have participated in have been small and local and somewhat hit or miss. The Handmade Show was by far the most expensive one I've participated in so far, and thankfully, also the busiest, most profitable and the most enjoyable! It was great and I met so many lovely people - both customers and other sellers! I have much to tell about this wonderful event (including thanking the lovely Dawn Cotton Fuge who organised it!) but that will have to wait for a later post when I have time to sit down and assemble my thoughts properly. 

Accompanying me to the fair was my Mum, who shared the stall with me. She doesn't make jewellery but is instead the most amazing knitter! Seriously envious of her needle skills....for some time now, I have sold her beautiful knitted accessories at my craft stalls and now I have decided to put a few of her knitted cuffs into my Etsy shop. 

Now, let me tell you - these cuffs are a serious BARGAIN. My Mum uses the most beautiful, high end yarns - silk, mohair, merino, alpaca, cashmere....and you can tell when wearing them. They are super cosy but brilliantly (as they are cuffs) leave your fingers free to be busy. These are perfect for me at a craft fair, or getting on a bus (searching for my fare!) or buying a cup of tea on the hoof...They are long enough to cover your pulse points and this, along with the high quality yarns, mean that they keep your hands lovely and warm. I've got a selection of colours available in le shop; each is a one off design and happily for me, they are all beaded designs! My Mum hand knits pretty seed beads into each cuff.  See if there is a pair you would like for yourself or for a loved one this Christmas - trust me, I have several pairs of these (my Mum comes up with new designs every year) and you won't be disappointed! Check these beauties out:

What are you waiting for? Go and check out my Mum's beautiful knits posthaste!

And as a postscript, here's my entry into Lori Waterstone's I heart macro series, which I has been scandalously lax about taking part in recently....

Check out Beads and Beyond next month for a full picture of this new design....I have fallen in love (again) with wrapping tiny gemstones onto wire, and can't get enough of it.....

studio waterstone

Saturday 5 November 2011

Late night beading

Seriously, is there something wrong with me?! I really don't need any more Jewellery for Sunday's show, and yet I can't stop making it....

Here are a few bracelets that I've either made from start to finish today, or else touched up from a previous start. I made another one which isn't pictured here, as well. I think my favourite is with the round rabbit owl, Which I've been hoarding for a while now. Loving my chunky/focal/dangle bracelets at the moment. What's on your list for this weekend?

Friday 4 November 2011

And the winner is.......

Jo Tinley of DaisyChainDesigns!

who guessed that there were 156 beads on the unfired bead rack. There were in fact 159 but Jo got the closest!

Congratulations Jo, contact Bo who will tell you what to do in regards to your voucher :-)

Thanks everyone for playing along, I hope you enjoyed reading and seeing about Bo's gorgeous beads :-)

Thursday 3 November 2011

Today's work

More show preparation tonight. Sunday's show is being made all the more tense (dare I say stressful?!) by the fact that I am due to work for a local opera company, Sawn-Off Opera, from Monday - Friday next week. Needless to say this is very exciting; however it's contemporary classical music, and I am meant to have it all off-copy (from memory...) by Monday. It's getting there but memorising is a slow and painful process for me, as I have mentioned before. I've recorded myself numerous times singing through my part for each one (there are three short operas) but it's hard to imagine how it will sound with thte other performers as well. As they are brand new pieces - just written this year - there are no recordings available to help me....anyway, I just keep chipping away at them! But balancing show preparation and opera preparation is difficult challenging!

So, here's what I've been up to today. For The Handmade Show, I must have a notice announcing who I am, on my stand. That task was ticked off my list today.

I also am not totally happy about my bracelet and earring display. So yesterday included a trip to Hobbycraft to pick up an easel, to prop up my newly laced pinboard! I'm not good with a needle and thread (unless there's a pile of seed beads next to it :-)) so (shame-faced) I have taped the lace onto the board. It also means that I can very easily remove the lace when I need it to be a pinboard again. If it looks good on the stand (which I think it will), I'll invest in another board, and affix the lace somewhat more permanently. What do you think? 

My plans are to cover this with earrings, with my bag charms along the bottom, on dressmaker's pins. My usual earring boards (lace in mint green picture frames), I plan on repurposing for bracelet display. Of course, it looks a little bare now, but I think it'll be great once it's covered. (But not too cluttered. Always a challenge for me!)

Whilst looking for a reasonably priced table-top easel (harder than you might think!), my sister spotted these for me. 

How cute! Each mini canvas is about the size of my palm. A little spray paint (thanks Helen :-)) and sticky tape later, and voila! Some individual earring pair displays. I've got four; don't know that I'll put them all out but it's good to have options, right?

On a side note, my friend Heidi and I were having a conversation today, on the perils of the Etsy circles and checking out folks' activities....I love seeing what everyone in my circle has favourited, but it can on occasion be rather expensive....

And these beads are one of those occasions. The colours look a little harsh here, due to the evening light, but trust me, these are stunning. I think it was Janna that favourited them....and then I bought them. Oops. They are from Carolyn Saxby, who lives down in Cornwall, one of my dream destinations, where I have never visited but have vague dreams that I might like to live there one day...I'm sure they will come to nothing and that I may well visit someday and be completely underwhelmed(!) but for now, it exists as a perfect haven in my mind. I think I might try and make something, perhaps just a simple pair of earrings, with some of these prior to Sunday. Tell me, what would you do if they were yours??

Vintaj giveaway!

I want to win the @vintajco & Crystal Copper Giveaway! #ilovevintaj

Oh yes, I so do! Check out their awesome giveaway....totally gorgeous, I am so excited about their new copper line.


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