Thursday, April 30, 2009

Lava and Ivory Bling Link Earrings

Hand formed French earwires coupled with my torchwork Ivory Bling Links and Rings & Things Lava round beads make an organic set of earrings. The ivory, brown and silver will go with any outfit - and in fact, that's what I've been wearing these with - any outfit!

So now, you've seen two sets of lovely earrings done with the ivory bling links, Lava and Ivory Bling Links and Loopy Tuesday...hmmm maybe I have something with the alliteration of "L" in earring design? Or maybe I should keep going and see just how many different designs for them I can come up with. What do you think?

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Calaveraz and Cool Jewelry Designer Barbe Saint John

Last fall, I introduced Calaveraz,and
Skele'Bowz an addition to the Heartz n Skullz series.

I love the Skele'Bowz and Calaveraz. Not everyone loves Glam Punk and Punkesque style like I do. BUT I thought if seen in a the right design, my customers would love them like I do. They just needed to see them used in jewelry. Jewelry you could wear all year round and not just during Halloween.

Since they're not your everyday bead, I knew these beads needed a jewelry designer whose work is edgey and eclectic. I love edgey and I knew just the girl for them.

Barbe Saint John.

So, I sent her an email and told her I love her work and thought she was just the gal who could work magic with the Calaveraz. I was thrilled when she said she'd love to!

Barbe finished the pieces and sent me a picture before they arrived. I squealed with delight - literally! The Calaveraz are highlighted so perfectly in her designs, I can't help but gush over them! And the Skele'Bowz just sing!

So today, I unveil the amazing work of Barbe Saint John - a multi-talented, mixed media artist who has created these wonderful works of wearable art using my Calaveraz and Heartz n Skullz beads!

(Above photo courtesy of Barbe Saint John.)

I urge you to go check out Barbe's work. Her rings are Steampunk cool - another edge she interprets in her unique Barbe way! Her blog is full of awesome info! Barbe's Blog

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Goody Rings-n-Things Bag - It's Volcanic!

This month's Rings-n-Things goody bag had various shapes and sizes of Lava Stone Beads.

From the Rings & Things Website:

"Stock#: 21-887-193
25% off prices shown!
Approx. 12mm round gemstone beads, 0.8-1.2mm hole. 30-36 beads per 16" strand. Brown Lava Stone
Color: Brown Lava Stone
Country: China
Page Number: Spring 2009 Supplement A19
California lead classification for this item: Class 1
Lava Stone: Earthy yet elegant, lava stone beads are made from basalt, a type of igneous rock formed during volcanic eruptions. Due to their many holes and bubbles, lava stone beads add great texture, but not a lot of weight, to jewelry designs. Lava stone is naturally rough in texture."

Hmmm what sort of designs would you use these light weight beads for? Do they inspire you to create something "hot?"

Monday, April 27, 2009

Inspiration Wins! Yellow Inspires

Thank you to everyone who voted in the poll. I had asked readers what kind of topics they'd like to see more of on the blog. If you didn't take a look at the results, the Inspiration/Background/Research topic got the highest number of votes followed by jewelry projects. Personal stories and Glass beadmaking tutorials tied for third place and in last place was Beadmaker tip alerts.

Here's a quick bit of inspiration - the macro picture of the forsythia bush. It seems like over night the Bradford Pears and forsythia has burst forth into bloom. I took this picture 10 days ago - just before the weather warmed up enough for the blooms to open.

I love yellow this time of year - well, I love yellow all the time but almost everyone else loves yellow this time of year too. After the white of winter, people are happy to see a bit of green and lots of yellow.

Transparent yellow glass is difficult not to over heat and make cloudy. Once I mastered how to do it, I shared it on here and started incorporating it into the spirals like the Three Colored Spiral below:

You may not love yellow except in the spring - leave me a comment and let me know if you love yellow, hate yellow or only love it in the spring after a very lonnnnnggg winter.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Making a Technique your Own

On Art Bead Scene today, I've posted about copyrights in jewelry and beadmaking. Sometimes, I've scrapped designs and never offered them for sale because I felt they looked too much like someone else's designs. I don't want to rip off another beadmaker even if I'm not meaning to - check out my girl Margot Potter's Manifesto to see how a designer feels about it. I don't want to do anything like what that so I scrapped "Parts" because I felt it was too much like another beadmakers.

But I did like the technique of the floppy raised dots, so I incorporated that technique and feature into the Goth Kid bead but instead of just dots at the end, I make the end a red heart (hard to see in this picture):

I think the use of the technique and feature of the floppy raised dots is a "fair use" application of a technique - i.e., this is what people mean when they say make it your own, find your own voice.

You may or may not like the Goth Kid bead and the floppy "ears" but my point was to share how you can learn or be inspired by a technique and use it in different ways.

How have you used a technique and made it your own?

Monday, April 20, 2009

Inquiring mind wants to KNOW!

I love beads and glass. Even books about beads and glass. I love to talk about beads, making beads, being inspired to create new beads and even reading books about how to make beads.

BUT - Inquiring minds want to to know - what do YOU want to see MORE of on the blog? Take the poll on the left and let me know.

Even better is a comment to let me know how you REALLY feel!

How about it?

Inquiring minds - er- mind....this particular mind wants to know!

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Sunday photo

On this morning's walk, a kite stuck in a tree.

Monday, April 13, 2009

Happy Dyngus Day!

Were you woken up this morning by having water poured on your head? Do you have a pussy willow switch at the ready (like the handmade pomlázka decorated one above)?


Then you're not from Buffalo, New York where we have the largest Monday after Easter celebration, Dyngus Day!

Come watch a parade and see where the festivities are all listed on the Dyngus Day in Buffalo website where this photo of Auxiliary Bishop Edward M. Grosz, pastor of St. Stanislaus Church, blessing the second annual Dyngus Day Buffalo Parade came from.

It's spring in Buffalo! YAY!

Time to polka, y'all!!

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Sunday's Photo

Did you get something yummy in your basket today? Here's a flamework artist's favorite treat - the Phantoyummmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm.......(insert torch coma here and thanks to Glass Torch Technologies for the photo.)

Friday, April 10, 2009

Fertility Dolls: Ndebele Tribe

I came across the Fertility Dolls website when I researching yesterday's post on the wooden fertility dolls and realized there's a beaded version. Cool! They're made by the Ndebele tribe of Southern Africa who hand bead stunningly colorful dolls.

A suitor will give one to a young woman he'd like to marry. A young woman is given one to take care of, she names the doll and takes care of it then her first born child is named after the doll.

You can purchase a sweet beaded fertility doll from their website.

(Photo credit: All photos courtesy of Fertility Dolls dot net).

The colors are stunning, don't you think?

Thursday, April 09, 2009

Fertility Dolls: Ghana

Fertility dolls have a rich tradition in Africa. What I thought of as fertility dolls are the wooden dolls of Ghana. I was surprised to learn of another kind that I'll blog about tomorrow. The wooden dolls are meant to be worn by the woman wishing to become pregnant or should be placed in the bedroom. Below is one lovely example.

Asantewaa, a pair of fertility dolls made by Daniel Nyadedzor represents the brave queen mother of the Ashanti people of Ghana.

Another representation of a strong woman! I'm drawn to the shape of the doll, the oversized head and small body with pointed arms. Her face has a serene expression with the wood providing an overall texture.

What are your thoughts on this?

Wednesday, April 08, 2009

Kokeshi Dolls

Yesterday, I talked about the dolls I had growing up. Dolls are a part of all cultures. Folk artists create dolls in countries all over the world. In Japan, folk artists make Kokeshi dolls.

Traditional Kokeshi dolls shown above, according to Wikipedia are

"handmade from wood, have a simple trunk and an enlarged head with a few thin, painted lines to define the face. The body has a floral design painted in red, black, and sometimes yellow, and covered with a layer of wax. One characteristic of Kokeshi dolls is their lack of arms or legs. The bottom is marked with the signature of the artist."

Modern style Kokeshi dolls don't adhere to the structure of the traditional dolls.

Above is a cute modern Kokeshi doll, isn't she adorable?

Tuesday, April 07, 2009

Dolls, dolls, dolls

I had dolls, you probably had dolls and in the 1980's Cabbage Patch Kids made it ok for boys to have dolls (wasn't GI Joe a doll?). I've been thinking about dolls as a potential bead series so I've been researching my childhood and probably yours too.

Here's the first doll I remember getting for Christmas one year - Chatty Cathy. The commercial is for an older version of the one I had. Watch the commercial, I had that winter coat with the fur, minus the hat. No not for the doll, my sister and I had a version and I have a picture of the two of us in front of a Charlie Brown Christmas tree when I was probably 3 and a half. Anyways, here's Chatty....

One year, I wanted a Barbie, but was given a Skipper instead. I think because she cost less than the Barbie.

Then there's "Swingy" - where the toy companies co-opted the swinging '60's and made a doll out of Nancy Sinatra!

I finally got the Barbie, The Living Barbie! There was nothing better than Marsha Brady and Barbie (I had a version of Marsha's jumper too!)

What dolls did you have growing up? Dancerina? Baby Secret? Comment and tell me who you had!

Monday, April 06, 2009

Another Collection - Nielloware

Every so often I share my collections. A few months ago, I shared my Italian mosaic jewelry and today it's a collection begun when I was gifted a red enamel pin with an Asian style design on it from my grandmother-in-law. I didn't know it when it was given to me, but it's an enamel version of Nielloware.

The red enamel is pretty, but it's not true nielloware - the real nielloware in the picture is the dark black/blue pieces. Both the enamel pieces and the nielloware pieces depict the Ramakien, the Thai version of the Ramayana, one of the most important literary works of ancient India.

I've focused on collecting pieces depicting the goddess Mekkala holding her magical diamond that shoots lightening. Why? Because that's who was on the original red enamel brooch. I picked up a pair of green enamel earrings that show Mekkala and demon Ramasoon preparing to throw his thunder producing axe at Mekkala in an attempt to steal her diamond.

Mekkala, the goddess of lightening is the most commonly depicted on Niello jewelry.

I love the idea of wearing a brooch of a powerful goddess figure with a magical diamond! I think all women should have one, don't you?

Sunday, April 05, 2009

Sunday Photo

April is fickle...yesterday's commute to work...SNOW

Saturday, April 04, 2009

Thanks and Free Bead Winner

Thanks for the comments this week! I appreciate the time it takes to comment and I appreciate all of them, short and long. Comments are the conversation starter to our always interesting discussion about beads, art, life. Your comments sometimes make me think in a new way or they make me realize I'm not the only one who feels the way I do. Thanks for joining in our conversation and keep talking! :-)

The winner of this week's Surreal Rhythm Blue (shown above) is Lisa! Congratulations, Lisa! Send me your email by clicking on my profile to get my email address.

Thanks again to all who commented! Let's keep talking!

Friday, April 03, 2009

New Bead Series: Surreal Rhythm

After accompanying me on the "Bead in Search of an Art Movement" journey, you'll be the first to see my new bead series which I've entitled "Surreal Rhythm." These beads have the flavor of surrealism in their rhythmic pattern. I chose a limited color palette for the first bead because I was developing the pattern and technique.

I really liked the pattern on this, preferring to melt in the dots rather than leave them raised. I didn't want added texture to the bead. I like the two colors but decided to see if I could add more color without losing the pattern.

The high contrast of yellow and blue in "Flame" is visually exciting. So I wanted to take this another step further and try another high contrast color combination.

The blue and orange-coral are cooler and more calming than the yellow and blue yet the rhymthm of the pattern keep things exciting. I'm going to experiment with more colors to see how many I can add and keep the pattern.

And I haven't forgotten about the free bead for comments! I'll be posting a winner for the very first Surreal Rhythm bead above tomorrow. I'll take all commentors from this week and pull a name out of a hat!

Have you enjoyed this week's journey? Do you have suggestions for additional color combinations? Tell me what you think!

Thursday, April 02, 2009

Miro: Sign-like Forms and an Overall Rhythm

Working at the torch on a technique, I find variations in the inspiration source. It can be a slight variation or it feels completely different than the inspiration. The beads I'm holding in my hand are completely different from what I intended but I liked the variation and went with it. They had a particular feel to them and I've spent this week taking you on my trip to discover to which art movement they belong. I've landed on surrealism.

Surrealism always felt strange rather than metaphorical. And I thought of Dali not someone like Miro. But Miro's style is what I'm reminded of when I look at the new beads. Nancy Doyle describes Miro's painting style: "In 1923, there was a big change in Miro's art, moving toward more sign-like forms (i.e., like hieroglyphs), geometric shapes and an overall rhythm".

The Carnival of Harlequin which is hanging at my local Albright Knox Art Museum, is a good example of the metaphorical use of shapes and rhythm.

That describes what I see exactly in my beads - sign like forms, geometric shapes and an overall rhythm.

Tomorrow we'll end our journey with the debut of the new bead series.

Wednesday, April 01, 2009

Surrealism, Dali and film

Surrealism grew out of Dadaism.When most of us see the word "Surrealism" we think of Salvador Dali seen here in a 1939 photograph taken by Carl Van Vechten. Dali is famous for his surrealist pieces and he was a "jack of all trades" when it came to creating art - he created sculpture, paintings, photographs and film.

In fact, he created what is considered his most famous and mainstream piece of surrealism in film in Alfred Hitchcock's Spellbound with Ingrid Bergman and Gregory Peck. Luckily, I found it on Youtube and you can watch it. I love the film noir-ness of it - black and white film is soooo cool! Leave a comment and tell me what you think!