Friday, December 26, 2014

Beaded Wooden Ornaments!

This year I realized that I had given away a number of beaded glass ornaments over the years to family and friends, but I hadn't given any ornaments to my side of the family!  Say what?!  So I set about to correct that oversight....

Handmade wooden spindles, beaded by me, and turned into ornaments!

I changed up the design, however.  My brother had turned some wooden spindles for me a couple years ago.  The original idea was to use them as pendants, but they were a little large for that plan.  So they sat around, waiting....but they are the perfect size for Christmas tree ornaments!

Beaded wooden spindles - reds.
Beaded wooden spindles - greens.
Beaded wooden spindles - blues.

So here  they are - 9 ornaments that I passed along to my family and friends this year!  Each one took a two or more hours to complete, but it was worth it.  They are lovely, if I do say so, and unique.  I think I'll need to commission some additional spindles from my brother once he gets his shop up and running again!

Happy Holidays,

Friday, December 19, 2014

Fordite Pendant in Sterling Silver

After posting about Fordite way back in August 2013, Sue from Fordite Fanatics UK sent a fordite cabochon my way.  I was surprised and delighted - I really wanted to showcase the cab well and it took a while to come up with a design that I liked.

Fordite set in sterling silver with garnet accents.

I knew I wanted to bring in garnet because I love garnet, and because the fordite has so many colors in it that I wanted to bring out one to the forefront.  I might add some more garnet to the chain, I haven't decided.

I do think that I will keep this one for myself, though.  Fordite is becoming difficult to acquire and this is a rather pretty piece!

Happy Creating and thank again, Sue!


Friday, December 12, 2014

Modern Leaf Earrings

I loved how the sterling silver leaf pendant came out, so I went on to make a mostly matching set of earrings - I added a little garnet bead to the centers!

Sterling silver leaf earrings with garnet accents.

Off to finish making Christmas presents again!

Happy Creating,

Friday, December 5, 2014

Modern Leaf Pendant - Sterling Silver Wire

My newest design!  I love it - an elegant mix of art deco and nature.  Created with sterling silver square and 1/2 round wire.  Measures approximately 2 inches long.  Available in my Etsy Shop.

New Design - Modern Leaf Pendant in Sterling Silver

Now back to making Christmas presents before I'm out of time!

Happy creating,

Friday, November 28, 2014

Viking Knit Pendant in Copper

I'm really enjoying working with the viking knit weave - I set an odd-shaped stone with copper wire the other day.  It looks round, but the surface is actually wavy which made setting it interesting to weave around!  I'm not sure what type of rock it is, but it's very smooth and mostly a mauve color, undyed (natural).  I asked when I bought it, but the lady wasn't sure.

The wire frame (heavy gauge wire) looks out-of-round because of the wavy surface of the stone.  It was actually a large focal bead, but I'm liking it better treated as a cabochon....  I haven't yet decided if I'll make a chain for it or not.  Currently it is being used as a sample for my students' perusal.

Happy Creating,

Friday, November 21, 2014

Pietersite Pendant and Viking Knit Rope

For my birthday, several months ago, I was given a beautiful pietersite cabochon from one of my best friends.  It lay around for weeks, just waiting to be set.  I drew and redrew sketches, and finally settled on a layout and design.  This is the result - it's all mine and I love it!

Pietersite Pendant in Sterling Silver

The rope chain is viking knit and used over 30 feet of wire!  I love the flexibility and intricate look of viking knit - it's my new favorite way to make custom chains.

The pendant has also been set using the viking knit technique.  It's a little more difficult than making the rope chain, and it's definitely more time consuming than other wire wraps for cabochons, but the end result is worth it.

Pietersite Pendant in Sterling Silver

If you are interested in having a stone set for you, or a viking knit rope, please don't hesitate to contact me through my Etsy Shop!

Happy Creating,

Friday, November 14, 2014

Holiday Hiatus: Ornament Group 2

I love handmade for the holidays - but it is a time consuming process and I can't share what I'm making until after Christmas!  I apologize, but my posts will most likely be sporadic until January, when I will have more to show than can fit in several posts!

I did notice that I've never shown my beaded Christmas Ornaments, so I will leave you with a couple posts fill with them to get you in the holiday cheer!  I know Halloween just ended, but snow is in the air and I can't wait!

Handmade Ornament - painted and beaded.
Handmade Ornament - painted and beaded.
Handmade Ornament - painted and beaded.
Handmade Ornament - painted and beaded.

Each ornament started as a plain clear or frosted glass ball - I painted them inside and then beaded them on the outside.  Since then, I've learned better painting techniques if you want a smooth finish inside - rinse with alcohol first!  Still, I personally like the imperfect, handmade painted look with sporadic, drippy paint!

Happy Creating,

Friday, November 7, 2014

Holiday Hiatus: Ornament Group 1

I love handmade for the holidays - but it is a time consuming process and I can't share what I'm making until after Christmas!  I apologize, but my posts will most likely be sporadic until January, when I will have more to show than can fit in several posts! 

I did notice that I've never shown my beaded Christmas Ornaments, so I will leave you with a couple posts fill with them to get you in the holiday cheer!  I know Halloween just ended, but snow is in the air and I can't wait!

Handmade Ornament - painted and beaded.

Handmade Ornament - painted and beaded.

Handmade Ornament - painted and bead.

Handmade Ornament - painted and bead.  This one has a fun "hidden" bottom with a star!

Each ornament started as a plain clear or frosted glass ball - I painted them inside and then beaded them on the outside.  Since then, I've learned better painting techniques if you want a smooth finish inside - rinse with alcohol first!  Still, I personally like the imperfect, handmade painted look with sporadic, drippy paint!

Happy Creating,

Monday, October 27, 2014

WeWork: "Show Us Your Workspace!"

I received an email from WeWork asking if I'd be willing to show my workspace on my blog - and I thought, why not?  It's not very pretty, it's not my ideal space, but it's what I have and it's improving all the time!  This is where my jewelry and artwork pieces are thought up, designed, sketched, made, remade, and sometimes perfected!

Going from a university with huge, well-equipped facilities to an apartment, then a rental home, and finally my first home, means that my workspace has continued to change over the years - usually for the better!  Currently, I have two separate spaces - one in my garage for my metalwork, and one in the basement for my beadwork.  Neither is finished, but both are better than what I started out with post-college!

My beading space changed dramatically after I won the bead board with all the organizational gadgets a few years ago from Tidy Crafts (here's my post about it).  Once our basement is finished (and we are making slow progress!), this area will be as close to ideal as I'm going to see it.  I'll have paint on the walls and my favorite artwork displayed - along with some jewelry-as-art displays showcasing some of my favorite pieces!

My metalworking space was non-existent until last fall when my husband gifted me a custom workbench!  I LOVE my workbench!  And then we added a beadboard here, too, and I've begun collecting tools again.  This bench makes it so much easier to work with metals, and keeps the mess outside.  I do need my space heater come winter though....

Ideally, my metalworking space would be in a building of its own, with heat and A/C, running water, and adequate ventilation (as long as I'm dreaming, I'd also have a wall of windows that had an amazing view of the mountains!).  I'd have a bench or counter for each step of the process - a place to saw, file, and sand; a place to anneal and solder; and a place for all the other "things" I do, such as stamping, roller printing, and tumbling metal.  My next big purchase will be a kiln for PMC and enameling, so of course I'd like a permanent setup for that as well! 

I make what I have work and I'm happy I have these two spaces at all! Being "not ideal" simply means that part of my creativity process is ordering my steps in a way that allows me to clean up one mess before I move on to make another.  And that I have all my tools in the correct space (basement vs. garage) so I'm not trooping through the house to get them....

Happy Creating or Space Updating!

Friday, October 24, 2014

Two-Sided Pendant - Aqua Terra Jasper

I recently finished a gift, a two-sided pendant.  This is the third time I've wire wrapped this stone - the first two times just didn't look right.  First I tried copper in a herringbone weave variation, and I liked the copper, but not the weave.  Then I tried a flame weave in silver, but I couldn't get the frame to sit around the rectangular pendant nicely.

I wanted to incorporate the cross pendant as well, and came up with a woven setting for the stone  that allowed me to bring in the pendant as a part of the piece, instead of just a last minute add-on.  I like that one side shows off the stone, an aqua terra jasper, and the other the pendant. 

The chain is also handmade - it's a viking knit with bead accents.  I thought the viking knit tied into the pendant weave nicely, and the green beads brought it all together in a cohesive, final piece.

As always, there is room for improvement, but I'm pretty happy with the piece - and I'm told the birthday girl is too!

Happy Creating,

Friday, October 10, 2014

Something's Fishy....

Fishy Ornament

My newest ornament!  This one is pretty big - each fish is about 1" long.  My goal was to make a somewhat abstracted fish bowl, if you will, complete with water above, plants in the middle, and rocks below.

Goldfish and beaded "water".

The story behind this design:  my sister wanted me to do something with a couple articulated fish she still wanted, but not as pendants.  I was literally going to make a fish bowl to fill with beads and fish as the design when she mentioned she didn't like fish bowls, and something less defined would be nice. 

Angel fish and beaded "seaweed".

This was my solution - and I like it better than my original idea, too!  I used wire crochet to lock in the colored beads and monofilament (fishing line) to hang the fish.  I'm hoping the little white beads look like bubbles - I couldn't resist!

Blue fish and beaded "pebbles".

Happy Creating,

Friday, October 3, 2014

Artist Spotlight: Tessa Shadis

A while back I showed off a custom matched set of beaded hoop earrings - they were a trade with my sister Tessa for some of her awesome artwork!  She draws, paints, models clay, and just picked up cake decorating.  My husband had been eying her dragons for some time now, and we struck a deal.  I'd make her some earrings, she'd make my husband some dice dragons!  (Hey wait a minute - what'd I get out of this?!)

They arrived early this week and look fantastic!  My husband was overjoyed with the end result as well and got to show them off last weekend at a game.  Here's a shot with some (a very small portion) of my husband's WH Necron Army - they match so well!

And some single shots of the three dragons - one with a shield, one with a staff, and one with a necron skull!

If you want to see some more of Tessa's artwork, visit her DeviantArt gallery under Raven's Aerie.  She has a couple more dragons and some fairies in clay!

Happy Creating!

Friday, September 26, 2014

Artist Spotlight - Larissa Shadis of Freedom Art

Today I would like to put a spotlight on Larissa Shadis - the art gene runs deep in this family!  My sister has a wonderful talent at drawing animal caricatures, especially of couples or families.  The photographs of the drawings don't do them justice!

Golden Lion Tamarins - My Family "Portrait"!

Here is my commission, my family of 4 as golden lion tamarins.  I wasn't sure what animal or animals to choose, and Larissa suggested these tamarins.  I thought it was perfect!  I love all the little details she adds - here our name is done up in rainforest animals and the border is fabulous!

Wedding gift for friends.

This one was for some family friends on their wedding day - this couple loves the outdoors and canoeing.  Look at all the details in the border again?!

Caricature of a couple - animals as requests (a tiger and swamp deer).

And here is one of her first, a commission for my brother and his wife.  I love the setting of the drawing, and the little ladybug detail outside the frame....

She has more caricatures on her DeviantArt account, under the name Candid-Creations, and on FB under Freedom Art, as well as some of her other drawings and paintings (which are phenomenal!) 

Aries - the first in the Zodiac Series.

She has also started a Zodiac series that she hopes to turn into a coloring book - I can't wait to see all 12!  Here is Aries!

Happy Creating!

Friday, September 12, 2014

Suncatcher Pendant - UFO Ship

I had a custom order come in last week - a lady wanted to know if I could make my UFO suncatcher into a pendant.  I thought this was a grand idea (I might have to turn some of my other suncatchers into miniature versions, too)! 

UFO Suncatcher - 5-6" across.

The suncatcher is about 6 inches across.  Miniaturizing it changes the way I put it together, so I set about making a sample out of copper.  Below is my second try - I didn't wire the beads on the sample, but gave her options because she mentioned wanting it multicolored.

UFO Pendant - copper practice piece with bead choices.

In the end, she chose sterling silver and Swarovski bicone crystals in a couple colors.  The final pendant size is just over 1 inch across, and includes shoulders and a neck (versus the floating head above.....).

UFO Pendant - sterling silver wire, Swarovski crystals.

I had a lot of fun making this piece - custom work is my favorite because I get to create something unique from another person's vision.  It can be quite a challenge - but I love it!

UFO Pendant - sterling silver wire, sterling silver chain, Swarovski crystals.

What I need now is a better way to take photos of metals - it can be difficult to get good color and clarity when photographing copper and silver - especially when they are shiny!

Happy Creating,

Friday, August 22, 2014

Silhouettes in Metal

A good friend's birthday is today, and I really wanted to make her something special!  She is one of the kindest and most generous people I know - and she loves Disney's Lilo and Stitch, and Ohana, so I came up with these:

Sterling silver pendant and copper keychain featuring Disney's Stitch and duckling.

My original plan was a pendant in a different configuration, but this one looked the best as a silhouette, and it's when Stitch realizes that Lilo is his family.  He runs away and reads "The Ugly Duckling".....

....which is why there is as duckling with him in the heart!  I practiced first in copper, and loved the way it turned out.  Instead of tossing it into the scrap box, I turned it into a key chain!  I really like the hammered detail on the edge.  It helps work harden the metal, but also just looks fancy, don't you think?

Practice copper piece turned into a keychain!

Next I cut out the sterling silver pendant.  I wanted it to look a little more tropical (the movie is set in Hawaii), so I added a couple glass flower dangles and kept the hammered edge.  I really hope she loves it - she'll get it later tonight.....

Sterling silver pendant with glass heart accents.

I have to say, after cutting huge sheets of copper by hand, making these cutouts was a breeze!  I had to take my time to get the "perfect" silhouette, but I now wonder why I ever thought sawing was difficult!  These were a lot of fun to design and make - but I won't be making more.  One, this was a special gift and two, it's copyright infringement to sell items with characters that belong to someone else....I would, however, happily make pendants of non-copyright character silhouettes or portraits!

Happy Creating,

Friday, August 8, 2014

Remaking a Design

Today I'm showing some designs I restrung for my sister.  What I should have done was take before and after photos, but I didn't....

The first one features a dragon pendant, and another little dragon charm at the end of the chain!  It was on waxed cotton cord with a few red and green wooden beads.  My sister wanted something more sophisticated to wear, but still fun!  I chose to string it with gemstone nuggets, crystals, and seed bead spacers.

Dragon Pendant - redesigned and restrung with gemstones and crystals.

The next piece is a multi-strand necklace.  Originally it was all teal and green, about 10-12 strands of seed beads and chunky glass beads strung randomly and all twisted together.  There wasn't really anything wrong with the design, but some of the beads were loosing color (cheaply painted beads) and it was too bulky for my sister's taste. 

Multi-strand Necklace - redesigned and restrung with a removable pendant.

So I remade it with only 5 strands, and a couple of those are very light.  I reused the salvageable seed beads and some of the smaller glass beads, and added bugle beads and gold beads.  My sister also had a pin she wanted me to do something with, and I thought it would work perfectly with the necklace as a removable pendant! 

She loves both designs, so my work here is done!  Until she give me more jewelry to remake - or until I redo some of my old designs!  Don't be afraid to remake a piece - practice brings you closer to perfection!

Happy Creating,

Friday, August 1, 2014

Wire Wrapped Bezel Setting - Tiffany Stone

I'm on a roll!

Tiffany Stone Pendant - set in sterling silver wire.

Here is another pendant featuring Tiffany Stone from Utah!  Tiffany Stone is also called Bertrandite or beryllium opal fluorite and it is very rare.  It's only mined in Utah, and most of it is crushed for the beryllium it contains.

Tiffany Stone Pendant - I love the range of purples in this rare stone!

I picked up a couple pieces from a local rock hound.  He had a slab of Tiffany Stone and made several cabochons for me - I'm amazed at the great variety of colors and patterns in this stone!  His slab had shades of purple from pale lavender all the way to deep mauve; some stones have deep blueish purples too!

Available in my Etsy Shop - or you can request a custom piece!

Happy Creating,

Friday, July 25, 2014

Chrysocolla Pendant

At the local Rock and Mineral Show, I met a local rock hound.  He goes all over Idaho and the western states finding his own rocks, which he then slabs, cuts into cabs, and polishes.  He does beautiful work, and best of all, he'll except custom orders!

Sterling Silver Wire Wrapped Cabochon with Czech Glass Beads

I have ordered several cabs from him, but every time I go I pick out from his stash of already made cabs, too.  I just can't help myself!  This cabochon, a chrysocolla, is related to turquoise but is naturally more stable.  I don't recall if he mined it in Idaho or not, but he does have a lot of it!

Chrysocolla Cabochon - wire wrapped in sterling silver with beads

This is my first setting of this sort, woven wire and beads.  All the wire is sterling silver.  I'm still debating on whether or not I should make my chain, or buy a sterling silver chain for it.  It's a lot of work to make a chain, but it also brings out the handmade uniqueness of the piece.

I'm not sure what next week will bring - hopefully another post!

Happy Creating,