Wednesday 30 September 2015

It's a wrap for the wraps

Frequent readers will know that earlier this year, I was struck down with an addiction to making wrap bracelets. This actually culminated with being featured on the front cover of October's issue of Beads and Beyond:

Pretty much my own personal wrap de resistance.  I was given the words 'Ode to Autumn' to work with (a Keats poem, I was ashamed to not know, although I did recognise it when the penny finally dropped) and certainly, that idea of an Ode or Song was my inspiration here - the idea of a wrap bracelet (which can be worn as a necklace too) seemed the perfect response to this idea. I hunter-gathered as many Autumn art beads as I could, co-ordinating accompanying beads (ceramics, copper and my favourite Czech pressed glass) and spun this wrap together. I'm not sure I have anywhere to go from here, so my wrap-making compulsion seems to have ground to a halt. 

I did however have one left in me for the West End Fair, and here it is. One of my current favourite colour-combinations at the moment, royal blue, sky blue and sunny yellow. A dash of orange in this one too, thanks to the awesomely ridiculous hands of Mindy Moogin MacGregor

Beautiful lapis coins echoing Mindy's amazing lentil, wooden teeth, Peruvian opal discs (more lentil-echoing there) and some sunny, pressed glass rounds. It's a fairly happy piece, I'd say!

You can find Aztec for sale here

Monday 28 September 2015

Forest Walk

I'm not quite sure how I find myself year - here, at the end of September. Surely it was only just the beginning of June a couple of days ago? Or at least, that's how it feels. You've heard it all before - I've certainly written it before - but there's truth and importance to be taken from this sensation. Sometimes time seems to pass so quickly, I feel like I'm not quite present in the moment - what happened to June, to July? I know August was a craft fair....but it's good to take a moment to be here, in this crystalline droplet of time. To breathe. To BE. (You can take this also as a warning to myself, because once we get into October, we're galloping towards November and craft fair season, leading up to Christmas...Oy.)

I've been feeling a real urge to submerge myself in the creative process right now. To dive in, headfirst; to shut off from the click-click, beep-bleep and blink of electronica and social media and general everyday distraction. But somehow, I haven't been able too. It's terribly frustrating when your  heart and soul knows what it needs, but your head cannot give you the space. And of course, there are so many jobs and tasks that need to be done before you can even allow yourself to *think* about turning to making. Messages to be answered, orders to be packed, bunnies to be hung out with. Maybe it's the time of year - having been in full-time education until 24, and then spent the following 8 years teaching in schools, it's hard to throw off that 'new school year' feeling. It's a feeling that I like, actually - turning over a new leaf, a real sense of something new. Being open to possibility and change. . Or even just the possibility of the possibility of change. The chance to try new things; new techniques and media. It's exciting! And therefore doubly frustrating that I haven't quite synced my body with this feeling. Not least because I burned my hand badly enough to have to go to hospital last week, and have been hampered with the use of only one hand this week. Thankfully, my right hand was the sole functioning one (I am VERY right-handed, despite always having a secret desire to be a leftie. Is that just me?), and so things haven't been quite as difficult as they could have been. But I'm glad that, as of last night, my left hand really is feeling very useable. 

One thing I did manage a few days ago was this bracelet. Simple stringing, and plier-use aided by a glove protecting my sore hand, was manageable at least. I received some beautiful bonus beads (the best kind!) from the lovely Sally of Soul Silver with my most recent order from her (the red ones in the bracelet below). I was immediately struck my their rich, glowing quality - the depth and luminosity of their colours. They draw you in. Goodness, I do love colour! Their richness and depth also spoke to me of the season. I reached for other beads - a toning handwoven glass round from myself, a selection of Czech glass in equally rich tones, and a beautiful, speckled ceramic round from Bo Hulley - and combined these with contrasting brass and bronze. Originally, this bracelet was charm-free, but I felt it needed *something* and the Fallen Angel Brass feathers were just the ticket. 

Just look at how glowing Sally's lampwork beads are here. Even more so in real life. I've also used a magnetic clasp, from The Bead Shop Scotland. I've always been a little suspicious of magnetic clasps, not trusting them to stand up to what they should. But I bought a few of these due to the recommendations I read, and their uncommon prettiness (you can see there are several different designs and sizes on their site) and boy, am I pleased that I did. I was able to satisfy more than one customer during the West End Fair by switching clasp on a bracelet they liked but struggling to fasten themselves. And really, they are so lovely that I have decided to use one from the outset here. Super-strong too. 

I love designing bracelets - I love their linear qualities. I love to take the eye on a walk along them, to have interest all around - and so 'Forest Walk' seemed an apt title for this piece, given the association with the seasons which Sally's beads invoke for me. Also, a nod to a recent walk we took here in the Lothians. 

Saturday 12 September 2015

Songbead - Free Shipping this weekend!

Hey, so you know how I said that my shop is stuffed to the gunnels full of tasty jewellery? Well, guess what? You can get free shipping today and tomorrow! Whether you're along the road in Edinburgh, across in France or on the other side of the world in Australia, you can bag yourself some beautiful handmade jewellery, delivered straight to your door free of charge! Yay! Just use coupon code 15FREE at the checkout.

Wednesday 9 September 2015

Massive Songbead Update!

Yep, these are all the things which are heading, or have already landed, in my etsy shop, post-West End Fair. Phew! Are you in need of earrings? I've got ALL THE EARRINGS. Seriously - just look at that collage - I felt slightly gluttonous compiling it, somehow. Several bracelets also, and well, necklaces...ok, not so many there, but they were really very popular at the fair, I'm extremely grateful to say. And of course, earrings are quicker to make and refill spaces :-) 

Head over there now to find the perfect piece for you!

Friday 4 September 2015

Creating on the fly

I'm currently winding down from my epic craft fair (23 days and counting!) and my 3 week intense dive back into the world of professional classical music with Re:Sound - singing and playing and acting and performing...the whole shebang. We're up north (in Scotland), travelling around in a hired camper van. Roomy enough for a lap tray, and a bunch of new beads to organise - lay out, pick up, move ruminate over. You've got to do that when you get new supplies, right?

Some of the new beads are from the awesome Julie Wong Sontag - my precious Uglibeads. No, I know - they are not ugly in any way, are they?!

These are 'weenies' (I think the name says it all!) and very special ones too - extra teeny weenies. 

*This* weeny. Pretty awesome, huh? One of the reasons I adore beads so much is their size. Bigger may be better but tiny is the best, almost every time for me. I am enjoying these tiny little pops of colour's scale and teensy stature immensely. 

Watch this space to see what they become...


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