Saturday 30 July 2011

Off colour?...Not a chance

Well actually I am a wee bit...

This little fella is wearing an expression very much like mine right now...I've not been well for a couple of days - nothing major but my chin is definitely too close to the floor. He serves a second purpose as well though...

Whilst I don't feel at all creative and it's probably wise that I don't attempt to use tools just now, I can indulge in some blog hopping and because of my love of colour, 'Design Seeds' has to be one of my current favourites.

Blogger and designer Jessica Colaluca has been collecting images and palettes for many years, something I've been doing since I began making jewellery. If you don't know her blog and are into colour, it's a lovely place to spend some time for inspiration or just chill for a while.

So whether you're feeling bloomin' marvelous...

Or in need of some restorative time like me...

You're bound to find something to match your mood at Design Seeds.

And with a bit of luck I'll be as fit as flea very soon! Have a great weekend.


Saturday 23 July 2011

Art Bead Scene monthly challenge July 2011

Morning in the Garden at Vaucresson, by Edouard Vuillard 1923 reworked 1938
distemper on canvas, 59 ½ by 43 5/8 inches
Catharine Lorillard Wolfe Collection, Wolfe Fund, 1952

This month's painting is an idealistic garden scene with a colour palette that mixes strong colours like purple and acid green with pinks and silvery greys which, combined with its impressionistic style give the picture a soft, romantic feel.

Instead of trying to use the whole palette as I usually do, I decided to limit myself to 2 or  3 colours this month and, as pink and green seemed to me the most dominant I went with those. This gave me a little challenge of my own too - if you follow my Blog you'll know that I'm not really a great fan of pink. I've nothing against it as a colour, it's just not me and I don't work with it that often. Green on the other hand is one of my favourite colours so that tempered my concerns a little.

For me the painting has a very obvious vintage feel but I wanted to do something a little more contemporary while still trying to capture its essence. I hope I've done that with this glass and silver bracelet.

The beautiful handmade Calla Lily lampwork beads were made by Sally Carver and the smaller lampwork beads by Alison Chatwin. I've accented these with a selection of premium Czech glass, silvered Greek ceramic and sterling silver beads. 

The main structure of the bracelet is intended to set the backdrop of the garden scene and then, to represent the abundance and variety of the flora within it, I've  used a cluster of Karen Hill Tribe silver charms - a rose, a leaf and a beaded bell flower.

I think the combination the pink and green set off with silver give a really good sense of that lovely clear early morning light that you get before the sun begins to burn through with a harsher light.

To see the rest of the creations for this month s challenge check out the Art Bead Scene photostream on Flickr.


Great Book Giveaway....

If your soldering work needs a little bit of improvement as mine does this book could be really useful and if you hop over to Lori Anderson's Blog Pretty Things you may not even have to pay for it! Lori is giving a copy away and all you have to do is leave a comment and shout about it on your social networking sites (the more shouts, the more chances to win) and you'll be entered in the draw.

Sounds like a good deal to me!


Wednesday 20 July 2011

I'm Lesley and I'm a bead addict...

Every so often I impose a bead shopping ban on myself. This usually happens after going through my bead stash and realising I've got beads I'd completely forgotten about. The aim is to use some of these beads and sell the jewellery before embarking on my next bout of retail bead therapy. Alas it doesn't always (often) work! there is usually someone out there making beads that I just can't resist...actually there are lots of you and I'm beginning to believe in conspiracy theories!!!

So, to ease my conscience I thought I'd share some of my latest purchases with you - sharing is a good thing you see and you can't feel guilty about good things can you?

This purchase is so recent I don't even have them yet so I'm still drooling over the picture! I just love the rustic, organic nature of Outwest beads and I've developed a real thing for the south western colour palette. There is such a mix of beads in this set It will be great fun working out what to do with them and I suspect I may struggle to let them go!

Caroline Rhodes of Beadbug only opened her Etsy shop in June and she's already got me well and truly hooked. She uses lots of Frit and enamel on her beads and produces designs that combine organic (you might have noticed I like organic!) patterns with beautifully vibrant colours. Caroline has also achieved a major breakthrough in getting me to buy pink beads, or pink anything for that matter...I'm just not a pink girl, but who could resist?

These fabulous  beads are by Marieke Van Esveld and you may have seen similar in my work before - I'm very fond of this type of tribal design and Marieke translates them so well into great colour schemes. You may notice a bit of a theme developing here...I am sooooo into tube beads at the moment. They work really well with the copper bangle/bracelet designs I've been developing and have a nice contemporary feel.

This is another stunning set from Julie Nordine and I've really gotten into this type of big hole bead as they combine beautifully with multi-stranded leather cords to make great bracelets - another favourite design of mine at the moment. These also illustrate another, somewhat shocking theme that has been developing of late...a love of orange! I say shocking because I have absolutely loathed the colour since the age of about 14 when I outgrew an early adolescent passion for orange bedroom walls but had to continue living with them..! In my defense it was the early 70's and 'tasteful' wasn't the watchword of the decade!

And finally, some of my favourites of the moment... a selection of stunning etched heart focals by Kaz Baildon. I adore these - Kaz uses glass shards to achieve the wonderfully ethereal swirling pattens which I think give them a mythical, mystical feel. I've already used a couple of these in my designs and they look great with chunky copper and silver wire - just gorgeous.

So there you have it...I'm Lesley and I'm a bead addict. If you share my plight I hope this little therapy session has helped you too and maybe you'd like to share some of the causes of your addiction...?

Bye for now.


Friday 15 July 2011

Gourd, rubber, paper, magnet and clay...what am I?

I am materials (pardon the grammar - blogger licence!) that can be turned into beautiful jewellery without a precious metal or a gemstone in sight.

I put some time aside last weekend to sit down with a glass of something nice and look through the entries in the Ganoskin online exhibition 'Beauty is in the eye of the beholder' - jewellery design featuring non-precious metals and alternative materials. I have some pieces featured in this so obviously (as a first time exhibitor) I wanted to see how they looked.

But within minutes I was so absorbed with the other designs I'd completely forgotten my own - not only are there some stunningly beautiful items, but they have been made with a fascinating array of materials. I was so impressed with so much of the work that I wanted to share some of it with you so, with the permission of the designers these are some of my favourites:

Nudibranch Biobangle by Melanie West
Bamboo Biobangle by Melanie West
These 'Biobangles' by Melanie West are made from polymer clay which she has formed, carved and laminated. I love the sense of movement I get from these pieces - I can just imagine them propelling themselves through...well I'm not sure what...but it would be organic and beautiful. The saturated but slightly muted colours are wonderful and the textures make me just want to reach out and touch.

Gourd Fish Brooch by Nancy Overmyer
Blue Gourd Brooch by Nancy Overmyer
I don't think it would ever have occurred to me that gourd shards would be a viable material for jewellery making, but these brooches from Nancy Overymyer show just how effective it can be. They have a lovely earthy, rustic quality to them and work beautifully with the simple embellishments of wire, beads, buttons and silver leaf. the colouring comes from leather dye which does a great job emphasising the gourds texture.
Revolution necklace by Sarah Kelly
Bow brooch by Sarah Kelly
Sarah Kelly's exhibits are engineered using hand folded, laser cut embossed papers, hand pressed rivets, silver pin and protectors and satin ribbon and the results are stunning. With geometric lines and strong colours, they remind me of intricate, mechanical puzzles and these too are incredibly tactile pieces with a great sense of energy.
Blue by You brooch/accessory by Susanah Windrum
Sooz brooch by Susanah Windrum
These pieces by Susanah Windrum have all had a previous life being made as they have from found objects. Metal Bottle Caps, found metal objects, copper and colored rivets and rare earth magnets have all been recycled to create jewellery that I think is quirky, beautifully expressive and full of character - not to mention easy on natural resources.
Untitled necklace by Ian Henderson
Tchaikovsky ring by Ian Henderson
And last but by no means least of my picks are these dramatic exhibits from Ian Henderson. Ian's designs use  synthetic electrical insulation tubing, aluminum grounding wire and patinated brass chain - more at home in a tool box than a jewellery box. But how beautiful they are...delicate but strong, tactile, feminine but edgy and dare I say very sexy! If I still has a decolletage like that...

Anyway... these are just some of my personal favourites from the exhibition and I'm sure you'll have you're own. If you haven't managed to visit yet I would highly recommend it - both for the exhibits and inspiration - you might even spot my pieces... You'll find links to 'Beauty is in the eye of the Beholder' and the websites of the individual artists below.

Happy viewing.

Saturday 9 July 2011

Expanding my horizons...

Well, that's another week that's been and gone with barely a pause for breath and it's been almost a week since I posted here - note to self...must do better! I've been working on completing commissions this week and generally running here and there trying to keep life in order.

One of the things I've been doing is trying to make some sense of my working space. When I started making jewellery I never thought of it as something that would need extra or dedicated space...Hmmm, seems I got that one wrong.Those of you who keep up with the 'Bead table Wednesday' group on Flick will have seen pictures of my little workroom come study...

Not a bad space although these were obviously taken after a major clear up - it rarely looks this tidy! I used to have my kiln and tumbler in here as well but clouds of oxidisation soot and the noise soon put pay to that and they were banished to the garage.

The problem now is that I'm itching to get into some new techniques that need a bit more space and there really isn't room. Enameling is top of my list - I have a course booked for next month to learn about kiln enameling but in the meantime, I'm about to try my hand at torch enameling with the aid of a tutorial from Beaducation. As you probably know there are some safety requirements for enameling which don't lend themselves to a messy cluttered working environment...yes I know it doesn't look messy here but believe me - it is!!!

So now, instead of just dumping the kiln in the garage, I've had a sort out and made myself a dedicated little area for hot working...

Neat huh? but probably not for very long! I still need to sort the cabling out and find some storage for the enameling tools which I'll be moving in later today but hey, I think it's quite a cosy little set up. I'm not sure how it's going work in the winter...I  may have to sit on the kiln to keep warm!

Unfortunately, the rest  of the garage still looks like this (my car has never seen the inside of it!)

But, I'm hoping a visit from the local reclamation charity might sort this lot out and then I will also be able to set up the rowing machine that's buried in here somewhere and get some much needed exercise between jewellery making sessions.

I wonder if I could generate my own Electricity...?!

Have a great weekend all.


Sunday 3 July 2011

And the Giveaways go to...

Well first of all, very many thanks to everyone who took part in my little giveaway - It was great response and I hope you all had a bit of fun taking part. But I won't prolong the agony any further because what you really want to know is who's won...(dramatic pause for effect)...

Well the 2 lucky winners are:

Number 26          Cilla
Number 8            Louise Turner

Congratulations Cilla and Louise, I hope you find plenty of inspiration in those bead bags. Please send me your address and I will get them of to you as soon as I can.

If you weren't lucky this time, there will definitely be more more giveaways in the future so make sure you keep up with the Goddess and her gossip.

Have a good week all.