Friday, 31 July 2015

AJE Component of the Month - Niky Sayers

I was lucky enough to be a recipient once again over on Art Jewelry Elements with their component of the month. This time around it was Niky Sayers who was giving away lovely components - and I was super excited to get this gorgeous clasp (yes, that's not just an old penny - it's a clasp!) to work with. Look at the fat wee wren! 

Also (and I'm so impressed I remembered to snap this), just look at this gorgeous tin that it arrived in!  How cute is that? 

I decided to keep things sweet and simple and reached into my ever-expanding stash of glass flower beads, and came up with this piece. I took my colour cue from the lovely lampwork flowers from Linda Newnham, which seemed to go perfectly with the lovely patina that Niky has brought out in the clasp.

Now go see what everyone else made!

Guest bloggers

Wednesday, 15 July 2015

From trash to treasure: Big Sky {Tapestry}

Ok, so you've probably clicked on this post and are now thinking 'where's the trash?!' At least, I kind of hope that's what you were thinking. Not that kind of trash. 

A while back, I was lucky enough to score a MEGA destash bundle from one of my favourite jewellery designers, Eve Smith of Silver Meadows. Eve used to work with (and had an eye for) some really special lampwork glass beads, but since moving on to working with silver (and if you take a look, you'll see she's really found a beautiful and unique voice!) doesn't work with them to the same extent. 

However, this all worked very much to my advantage when I purchased her destash at the end of 2014. Seriously good stuff - fellow art bead-enthusiasts, you would be sick to the back teeth at the goodies I  scored! SERIOUSLY GOOD STUFF. 

Because of one thing and another (essentially, 2015 being a bit of a bugger of a year for us), it's taken me a while to dip my toe into the wonder that is my destash wonder-haul. But recently, I've managed just that. Perhaps even a couple of toes, or even a whole foot. 

One of my favourite things about this type of purchase is that (although Eve furnished me with a full round of pictures), you somehow don't really know what you're getting. Eve had beads from so many lampwork artists - some of which were familiar to me, and some of which were unknowns. Some of these artists don't even make beads anymore, which makes this finds extra special, somehow. 

That was the case with the bead artist here - on double-checking with Eve, Beverley Hicklin. These beads were ones that particularly leapt out at me when I took a good look through my stash again a few weeks ago. They have amazing depth and layers of colour, almost like a slice of rock or agate.

I knew I wanted to do something that just show-cased their astonishing beauty, but that they needed something special as their surroundings....and so I immediately thought '{song}beads'. It took me a while to find the right colours to complement the lampwork, but I remembered I had a tube of slightly odd-coloured beads - beads which had been described as 'Coated White Opaque Lila Gold Lustre'. Sounds gorgeous, right? All shimmery, with maybe a hint of purple, Lila being the German for purple? 

Nope. Kind of oatmeal with a light Picasso. Not what I was hoping for at the time, so they just got tossed into my bag of tubes and boxes of seed beads. But when my mind started whirring with what to do with Beverley's beads, I remembered and thought that perhaps that oatmeal would be just the ticket - and what do you know, it was. A touch of blueberry Picasso in the mix to bring out those blue layers in the lampwork, and this bracelet almost stitched itself. (It didn't though. These handwoven glass bad boys take around half an hour each - ouch!). 

I'm pleased with the finished result - and although I've entitled it Big Sky, which seems apt given the landscape quality which the lampwork beads have, in my head I've also called it 'Tapestry'. Something about the layers within the lampwork glass being paired with the woven nature of my own beads. 

You can find Big Sky {Tapestry} in my shop here

Tuesday, 14 July 2015

Songbead Sale!

Hey everyone! I'm having a wee sale from today through until Thursday. You can take a whopping 25% off all jewellery until then with coupon code JULY25. Just type the code in at the checkout (click on 'Apply Shop Coupon Code') and Etsy will recalculate the total. Loads of new pretties waiting to fly out to their new homes! Hop over now. 

Monday, 13 July 2015

Sweet Child of Mine

I wrote the other day about the challenge of necklaces. My own personal challenge it seems - many designers I know seem to think necklace first and bracelet very much later. My brain is funny like that. 

I also promised that I would share my other necklaces from that particular necklace-making session. Those sessions tend to only happen when I have stern words with myself, and epic events on the horizon....! It began with my wheeling myself off to a cafe (my travelling beads have reached such proportions that I use a mini wheelie suitcase right now - not my usual but it does tend to happen with a big event around the corner....I am *not* one for travelling light, it seems), ordering some tea, resisting cake with the mental promise of hot chocolate further down the line, and pawing through my bead boxes. 

And this is what happened:

In all honesty, I'm not totally sure how it did. These designs usually come about because I am drawn to a particular art bead in my stash - something that gets up and shouts 'pick me, pick me!'. I've had the gorgeous puffed ceramic heart from the hands of Nancy Schindler-Adams for a while now, over a year in fact, but somehow (although I love it), it never quite made itself heard. Something about that particular shade of yellow - I'm never too good with the greener yellows. And then the grey-black wash over it too....I just wasn't sure how to use it in a way that was both the heart, but also 'me', if you know what I mean. 

I think it actually began with the pressed glass - the grungy, rough-cut black/bronze faceted rounds, and the bonnie turquoise poppies. And then it sort of fell together and flowed from there....

Sometimes it's like that. You get to the end of something and are never quite sure how it happened, even though you are rather glad it did!

Some more grungy, rough-cut frosted grey/black faceted glass beads - these are 'English Cuts' although I'm never quite sure what makes them English - one of my favourite pewter Green Girl Studio keys (my stash is very, very low of these, I must remedy that as soon as I have the pennies!) and a couple of my 'end-of-day' handwoven glass {song}beads. Somehow, it balanced itself out, all by itself. 

Black and green-yellow - two colours (yes, I know that's technically incorrect, but never mind!) I rarely work with. Yet here, they both leapt to the forefront of my designer/maker brain. I'm glad they did. 

And, for those children of the eighties like me, here's a bit of nostalgia that (of course) inspired the title. I couldn't quite bring myself to drop the F from of, but Guns n' Roses had no issues there. A real classic - when size truly mattered in a man - hair size, that is. And also, I feel in the shoulder department - check out Axel's from 0.26"! Worthy of Dallas, I'm sure. 

Saturday, 11 July 2015

Summer Lovin', and the challenge of necklaces

Us jewellery designers, we all have our comfort spots. Things that flow easily from our hands and minds, pieces that we can make almost in our sleep. Pieces that almost feel like they design themselves. 

For me, it's bracelets that tend to fall into that category. Somehow, when I get new art beads, they often tend to become bracelets in my mind before anything else. I can see how they would sit, what could sit around them; bracelet composition seems to be what my mind first leaps to. (Of course, now I've said that, there will be no bracelets coming from here this week...!). 

But not everyone wants to wear just bracelets. They want earrings, and necklaces too. And sometimes even rings (more about those in a later post). Earrings, generally, are fine and enjoyable. Sometimes I struggle to create more elaborate earrings (ironic, as those are the ones I'm drawn to wear) but generally, I can whip up a bunch of earrings easily in one sitting. 

But necklaces.....oh necklaces, sometimes you feel like my nemesis! I really have to steel myself for them, 92% of the time. The other 8%, something random happens in my mind and I thank all the stars for that, but the rest of the time, they do feel more of a challenge. I guess perhaps because there's so much of them, and because they frame the face, and because I don't really like to wear them myself, and, and and....just *because*. They are my nemesis, and they always have been, since I began this jewellery designer/maker business.

However, sometimes a bead lands on your doormat that really demands to be a necklace. Nothing else will do. Size and heft have a lot to do with that, but sometimes it's not even that - they just have a necklace *quality* to them. All of these things were true with this glorious handmade lampwork glass heart that arrived at the beginning of this week:

From the outrageously talented hands of Sally Soul Silver, it flew across to me from the other side of Scotland, Renfrewshire to Edinburgh, and it was mega-love at first touch. Of course, I'd bought the thing, so you'd hope I'd love it(!) but it really is something special to behold. 

And of course, I knew it would have to be part of a necklace. Sometimes that can make me a little sad, because I know of my tendency to shy away from necklaces at times, and I think that the beautiful bead which I am holding won't be able to fulfil its true destiny for a good while. 

(Yes, I know - I'm a bit odd.)

But with this one, I just knew that it had to become something wonderful, or as wonderful as I could muster, sooner rather than later. Might have something to do with the rather epic craft fair just around the corner, and (as you'd imagine from someone who has tendencies to avoid necklaces when possible) the lack of necklaces in my current stock load. 

Anyway, I sat down the day after this glorious hunk of glass arrived (all 26mm of it) and thought: NECKLACE. In fact, I thought NECKLACES, and I'll share the other two pieces I created that day in another post. 

And here's what happened:

Handmade lampwork glass, Czech pressed glass, Indonesian lampwork glass, recycled glass, handwoven's a whole lot of glassy loveliness. 

I made my own antiqued copper rose bail for Sally's heart.

I've been working on a new pattern for 15mm handwoven glass {song}beads, and so the violet opal one here is one of those new chunky monkeys, alongside another gorgeous piece of handmade lampwork glass from Sally.

Oh, and those tiny purple spacers? They're dyed nut beads. Pretty cool! They have a lovely, organic look and feel to them. 

It's a lovely, long, easy-to-wear, perfectly summery, Scottish sea and heather glassy fest, and I'm pretty pleased with it.

Thursday, 2 July 2015

Colour Shot Bracelets

A new design from me, featuring my handwoven {song}beads. I have patterns which I'm happy with for these in a few sizes now, and these are my largest of these so far - just over 12mm diameter each, and probably around 20 minutes to make per bead, if the win is in the right direction! They are lovely and tactile, but still light - thanks to the wood centre, the 

I love how these designs just focus on COLOUR. My main passion I think, when it comes down to it, in design. You just can't beat it for inspiration and JOY. One of the blogs which I follow belongs to the amazing artist and entrepreneur Kelly Rae Roberts, and one of her themes and now courses that she offers is the #WearYourJoy Project. I've not taken the course, but I love the idea, and it resonates with me and how I feel about colour. 

You can find these bracelets for sale here

Wednesday, 1 July 2015

FLASH SALE at Curious!!

Pinch, punch - it's the first of the month! Time for a sale :-)

Take 15% off everything in The Curious Bead Shop with coupon code PINCH15, today only (Wednesday 1st July). 


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