Wedding jewelry - First Draft In Progress

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Remember the photo of all those beautiful earthy toned pearls the other day? Well, I started working on some designs and here is the first draft in progress for Lauren's wedding baubles.

I started with this photo of a design by Jamie Hogsett that Lauren liked from the August/September 2007 Beadwork magazine. The design is featured from the Create Jewelry Series, Pearls edition by Marlene Blessing & Jamie Hogsett from Interweave Press, prublished 2007.

But Lauren did not like the star shaped flower detail - she found it a bit too gaudy. She did like the pearls and the asymmetry. She also liked several styles with chain or wire linked pearls. No sparklies, though. She was clear about that.

So I linked several large rice shaped pearls together with brass wire to create one side of the necklace. Currently, this side is too long. I need to remove a few links to make it shorter so the necklace will lay asymmetrically across her neck.

Then I made two strands of smaller rice and button shaped pearls with gold seed beads and copper spacers on Silkon thread.

I love Silkon thread. It is very strong and supple when strung with beads but is stiff enough to thread through pearls without having to use a needle! This is a huge benefit! It allows me to use a nice, sturdy thread since I only have to fit the thickness of the thread through the pearls once - not a doubled thickness plus a needle. Some jewelry artists coat the end of their thread with superglue to make it stiff but I find this to be a sticky, dangerous, frustrating practice.

These strands are lovey but the paler strand needs to be made longer so that it will drape lower than the darker copper strand when being worn.

The stranded pearls and wired pearls look lovely together.

When stranding pearls on Silkon, or any beading thread, it is very useful to use a small seed bead as a stop bead. Pass the thread through the stop bead twice, tie a knot and add a small dab of glue on your knot. I used MagnaTack, a glue used in the millinery trade. It is supposed to create a substantial bond between fabric, plastic, metal, wood - you name it! The glue helps keep your know from coming undone and alowing your beads to slip off your thread.

Then you cover the knot and stop bead with a bead tip. These are a double cupped tip with a central hole and two loops so that the bead tip folds around the knot and has a two loops for extra security when attaching a clasp or accent piece.

Since Lauren liked the asymmetrical look of the Beadwork design but didn't like the accent flower, I decided to use a simpler brass finding as the accent with a single central pearl instead of several bunches of pearls.

I used a lage button pearl and created a ball end headpin by melting one end of a brass wire with my torch. This discolors the brass but since Lauren wants a vintage look and only the tiny ball was going to show, I did not worry about that. I burnised the flamewrked ball with my brass brush and now it has a nice, shiny antique patina.

On the opposite side, i carefully coiled the wire up to the finding and bent it over at a 45 degree angle. This holds the pearl securely against the finding. No flopping around and the ciol lies fairly fat against the back of the finding so it will not scratch or itch. I could have added a bit of MagnaTack here, too but it does not seem to be necessary.

I'll be using a nice filigree box clasp on the finished design.

I need to get some smaller jump rings as these are too big for the finding. They look just a bit akward. Some 3x4 mm oval jumps should do the trick nicely.

Most of these supplies will soon be available in Goblins' Market. The pretty central filigree is one that I got in a recent sample pack. I like it so well that I will be ordering more today or tomorow. I had ordered a sample because I wantedto see if I could fold the filigree around a bead as a bead cap. It does not work for that, but I like the way it can be used to hold a central accent bead and then link to a larger design or as part of a strand of floral medallions. I'm eager to patina a bunch of them and make a vintage bracelet with central sparkleys !


11:32 AM Posted In , , , , , , Edit This 0 Comments »
Every now and then I like to pop over to the World Beach Project of the Victoria and Albert Museum. The map header says this of the project; "Devised by artist Sue Lawty in association with the V&A, the World Beach Project is a global art project open to anybody, anywhere, of any age, building on the experience many of us have had on holiday of making patterns on beaches and shorelines."

This is the photo I most enjoyed today.

'Eatons Neck, Long Island, NY'
Al Jarnow
7 January 2008

First, this is just an incredible sculpture. Second, I've been thinking a lot about balance and alignment lately and my reactions to this project were a bit visceral.

Without going into gruesome detail, suffice it to say that my life is hideously out of balance and I need some serious realignment, both spiritual and physical.

Will I someday stand back to look over my life and see that this particular period is like the project in these photos - a series of precariously balanced boulders and pebbles, spanning an otherwise uncrossable chasm?

When I look into my chasm right now, I see economic insecurity, my husband's career uncertainty coupled with my uncertainty about what I can and should do to contribute financially, Maxx's special needs, intellectual stagnation, our crumbling house, religious burn-out, constant low grade illness, too many demands and not enough resources and a general lack of direction our family.

If these things represent a chasm, where & what are the stones we can gather to create the bridge we need? What do we expect to find when we get to the other side of the chasm?

Why I opened an Etsy Supply Shop

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I do so love getting new beads!

I've enjoyed selling my creations at local galleries and in my LunasBaublebilities shop for several years now. However, every year I spent almost as much on supplies as I brought in from sold items. I don't like to do production work - or making multiples of the same design, so my bead and supply inventory was always feeling stale and boring to me. I was always scrimping, trying to place the smallest possible order to avoid spending too much or having lots of leftovers. This made designing stressful and uninspiring as I would get "precious" about certain beads and supplies, trying not to use them all up in one piece. But no longer!

These lovelies just arrived today.

The ones I am most excited about are the pearls in sand and copper colors. My niece is getting married next month and I get to make her wedding jewelry! ( I love making wedding jewelry.) She wanted pearls in earthy colors in a vintage looking style so I ordered lots of warm sand and copper colors in button and rice shapes. I have some wine colored pearls to round out the colors in my existing stash. I am thinking that they will be linked together with wire and a little bit of chain with maybe a vintagey doo-dad slightly off center in front.

I'll be sure to post my progress as I work on it.

I also ordered some blues ad soft sage-y greens just for good measure. I'll probably put up some more pearl mixes in GoblinsMarket in the next few days as I unstring and sort these babies into jars.

I also got more of these incredible sparkling glass spacers and a strand of copper spacers. There are at least 500 beads on the strand of copper spacers. I do not want to take them off the string - they look so amazing all stacked together like that!

The really great thing about selling supplies is that I can order tons and tons of stuff at once and have plenty to work with in my own designs without worrying about having a huge deadweight inventory left over. Buying in such enormous quantities gets me great prices and I can then re-sell things in my Etsy shop for approximately the same price per bead that a customer would get if she bought from my suppliers in smaller quantities - but she can get more variety for a lower cost. For instance - the large faceted glass beads sell at GoblinsMarket for about the same price per bead as they would from my supplier in their highest price point, but a customer can buy just two beads from me instead of having to buy the whole strand.

That is a deal that seems to work for everyone. I get lots of beads and unload my leftovers. My customers get great beads at reasonable prices without having to meet a ridiculously high wholesale minimum orders or buy hundreds of dollars worth of beads to get the lowest possible price. Plus Maxx & Molly love to play pirate. The hardest pat of unpacking is keeping track of where all the strands of pearls and beads end up!

I have found that running a supply shop takes up more of my time than I would sometimes like. Our house is only marginally clean this week because Bryan is off work for mid-winter break and molly conjured up some magic - or some helpers - and scrubbed the living room and kitchen while I was at work last Thursday. But I am learning how to manage my time and my tasks. For instane, I've trained myself to only go to the Post Offuice once per week s I was originally spending at least an hour each day trying to package a few small orders - packaging 18 or 20 orders assembly line style with Molly's help once a week actually takes only a couple of hours and therefore I save lots of time.

The fun I get from unpacking new beads almost evey week, the increased inspiration I find in having lots of beads and supplies to design with and the financial freedom to take a wild chance on some expensive new beads (like these incredible aqua terra jasper beads) are totally worth the extra time I'm putting into rnning a supply shop. Sometimes I even toy with the idea of opening a real life bead store - maybe in a cute little yurt out back . . .

Featured EtsyBlogger for February

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This month's Featured Etsy Blogger is Donna Pool. Donna has a very nifty shop filled with all sorts of interesting trinkets, mostly buttons, pocket mirrors and photographs.

She is obviously bolder than I am because she is wiling and able to cut up vintage magazines and turn them into buttons or magnets or push pins or key chains . . . . .

This is something that I would really love to do but I can't bring myself to cut up literature of any kind. Believe me,I've tried. I've purchased old books at garage sales, intending to chop them up for their illustrations or use them as altered books. I get my scissors out or a bottle of gesso and . . . freeze. The book goes on my shelf. It is insane.

Possibly I need a support group to overcome this phobia as the results look like so much fun!

Donna also has lots of cat related buttons and photos. I have heard that one can sell anything with a cat on it, and often feel that putting cats on everything is a bit of a sell out. But Donna's black and white cat photos are really wonderful and I'm still a sucker for sleeping kitten posters. Dona also has a few photos of rural Texas countryside and material culture that will feel homey for anyone who has grown up anywhere in Backwoods America.

If you need a bit of vintage silliness or some warm and fuzzy kitens in your life right now, pop over to Donna's shop. Her items are perfectly priced for gift giving or office decorating. Donna obviously does a good job of making her customers happy, too, because the feedback left for her shop is fabulous! Have a great February, Donna!

Weird stuff online

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So - I don't usually do this sort of thing, but today I was over at Magdeline Jewels because she is the lucky proprietress of the Etsy Mini-Monday shop for this week and her blog has this nifty link to a Tarot widget.

I know next to nothing about the Tarot besides finding the cards beautiful and fascinating. On this website there's a quick set of questions and answers for you to select before it hands you your card. It's quick and nifty. Here's mine:

You are The Star

Hope, expectation, Bright promises.

The Star is one of the great cards of faith, dreams realised

The Star is a card that looks to the future. It does not predict any immediate or powerful change, but it does predict hope and healing. This card suggests clarity of vision, spiritual insight. And, most importantly, that unexpected help will be coming, with water to quench your thirst, with a guiding light to the future. They might say you're a dreamer, but you're not the only one.

What Tarot Card are You?
Take the Test to Find Out.

If you want to see other amazingly cool stuff online today - check out some of Bioephemera's recent posts. She finds the most amazing stuff and I love seeing the many ways that art and science collide.

Now, I really have to go wash some dishes. Enough procrastination.

Lost in Hopkinton

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It must be that my home is becoming known as a safe house for dog. Whenever the neighbor's dogs get out, they come to see me. They know that I will let them inside to get warm by the fire & have a little snack while they wait for their family to come and get them. I do this because

1 - I love dogs
2 - The other neighbor shoots dogs &
3 - We get some irresponsible traffic on our road.

This morning, I noticed an unfamiliar pooch wandering around behind the neighbor's houses. When Maxx and I went out to meet the bus, this fellow dashed across the road and greeted us joyfully, bestowing kisses and happy noises. Maxx got on the bus and Lost here trotted right up into the house.

He smelled around, didn't pee on anything, ddn't jump on the furniture, sniffed Ziggy's bed and left it alone and then settled in in front of the fire. He is exhausted and needs a home.

So - check with all your Hopkinton area friends to see if they are missing a dog. The animal control fellow will be picking him up here early this afternoon to take him to the pound. Happily, our shelter does not regularly euthanise animals. They will care for him until he gets a good home.

Lost behaves as if he has lived in a house with people who cared for him but he has no collar nor any sign of a collar. He is scrawny but won't eat out of Ziggy's dish. He did happily accept a couple of hot dogs from me as bribery to get him into the bathroom so we could bring Ziggy back inside and upstairs. His legs were very pink when he came in but are returning to a normal color and he has a few spots where he looks bruised from running in the snow. He has some matted fur on his hindquarters.

He looks fairly young, apparently likes kids (seemed excited about the school bus & gave Maxx a very enthusiastic greeting) and is relatively calm. He is exhausted - keeps laying down and trying to sleep but hopping up whenever we walk across the room or when a car goes by.

He's so sweet - Molly wants to keep him. If he is abandoned, I'd like to punch his former owner in the nose.

If you know who he is, give me a shout or call the Potsdam Animal Shelter where he will be going later today. If you don't know who he is but are looking for a largeish, friendly dog, stop by the Posdam Humane Society to meet this guy. He comes highly recommended.

UPDATE - Lost is on his way to the Shelter. Mr. Phillips just picked him up. Lost greeted him very happily and hopped right up into the truck. Good luck, Lost!

Recent work

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Finally some photos! Here are pics of three scarves I painted this weekend.

I had a deadline getting them out and my house was full of static this weekend so I didn't get a chance to get big shots of them - but here are some details.

first 3 photos are of two blossom scarves in blue - a very pale blue with subtle ripple lines for one and a slightly bolder palette for the second. these were pleasant and peaceful to paint. Very simple, no complicated blends or fussy resists. The blossoms have been accented with a pearlescent white textile paint on one side to add some texture and extra shimmer to the silk

The next 5 photos are of a Color Theory scarf - probably the best one of my career so far. I love to blend colors on silk and the Color Theory scarves allow me to really play with that process.

I start with a blank white scarf, doodle on some swirley lines, including lots of spirals, and a few circles and other closed shapes. I fill my palette with bright primary and secondary colors and start painting. Using lots of sumi brushes (one for oranges, one for purples, one for greens, one for just yellow - you get the pictue) to avoid mud, I begin at one end and apply pure washes of color along the resist lines that shift from one hue to the next, following the full spectrum of my dyes.

I have to pay attention to the curves, spirals and open spaces around the area I am painting so that I can plan to have a complimetary color on the other side of the resist line.

Spirals are really excellent as the color blend happens so beautifully and naturally within the curve. A sumi brush already loaded with magenta, dipped into yellow and brushed along the curve of a spiral will lay out a gorgeous blend beginning with pure yellow, becoming yellow orange - orange and then finaly a bright, warm magenta. It's like magic.

Finally, Molly has been bitten by the Chicken Scratch bug. She worked up a few samples that really impressed me. She's so cool - she was able to take fairly rigid stitch structure and morph it into something that is still recognizeable as Chicken Scratch but is also new and inventive.
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