Saturday 29 September 2012

New Kid on the Blog...

I am delighted and more than a little excited to share a new venture with you... I am one of several 'new kids' who have recently joined the team over at 'Art Jewellery Elements' (AJE) as a regular contributor.

Of course, I am also a little nervous to be in the company of such esteemed incumbent artists and writers as Jennifer Cameron, Karen Totten, Kristi Bowman, Diana Ptaszynski and Kristin Stevens...but I will do my best to find some interesting topics to write about and share some of my thoughts on all things art jewelry.

If you don't follow AJE yet it's well worth a visit - the team represent the many and varied bead and jewellery design mediums and write in a way that's interesting, informative and fun...not to mention putting up the odd giveaway from time to time! While you're there you can find out who the other new kids in the band are too.

So I hope you'll wish me luck in my latest endeavour and come and read my (and everyone else's) posts - because that's what this blogging malarkey's all about isn't it?!


Wednesday 26 September 2012

Updates and Earrings...

I'm in full swing preparing for another shop update at the moment and am surrounded by bronze components in various stages of readiness. There's bronze in the kiln, in pickle, in patina baths, waiting to be sanded, painted or polished and of course, once that's done, it all needs to be photographed and listed! Oh how I dream of a purpose built studio with endless benches to lay everything out instead of having it balanced precariously on window sills or piled up on the day maybe.

This is some of what's coming up...

I did get a bit distracted from the job in hand yesterday when I was patinating a pair of charms. I knew I has a pair of beads by LeAnn Weih in an identical shade of verdigis that would match beautifully for earrings and since I couldn't shake the thought I had to stop and make some there and then. I have a bit of a thing about using linen and leather cord in earrings at the moment (thanks to Erin and Lorelei!) and plummy purples are some my favourite colours right now. Add a few splashes of antiqued brass and this is what you get...

I'm aiming for this coming Saturday for the shop update but will post previews and updates on Facebook as usual.

Hope everyone is having a productive week.


Wednesday 19 September 2012

Goddess in the Gossip Columns...

Well, not exactly... but I did wake up to a rather pleasant surprise at the weekend...The Gossiping Goddess is featured as 'Blog of the Month' in the October edition of 'Beads and Beyond'.

It feels rather strange to read something written about yourself in the third person especially since I'm still surprised and flattered that people want to read what I have to say. I really enjoy writing my blog and love the way I've met new people and many friends through it so it's a lovely bonus to have some recognition for it too - many thanks to the writer Joanne Tinley.

I'm busy making jewellery this week but I can't show you because it's all for Swaps and 'Pay it Forward' - sorry. I'll soon be starting on a fresh batch of bronze too so keep you eyes open for new components coming this way... Oh and two of the pieces I made for the Beads of Clay challenge were bought the same day so I'm happy to be passing on some cash to 'Breast Cancer Awareness'.

I hope you're all having a great week.


Saturday 15 September 2012

Beads of Clay Design Challenge

Welcome to the 'Beads of Clay' design challenge. As a Design Partner with the Beads of Clay Professional Artists Team I was delighted when I received the challenge to create some jewellery with this gorgeous collection of beads and exciting new fiber wire. Four of my team mates have the same beads and  I can't wait to see what everyone has done.

Initially  we were asked to make a pair of earrings and a necklace from the beads and wire but as I got into the process I decided I wasn't going to do them justice by trying to use them all together so, I bent the rules a little and made a bracelet too. The other thing that was going to be a challenge for me was of course the fiber wire. Regular readers will know I struggle with most types of fiber and for me the problem with working with something as new as this is that I tend to waste a heap of it trying to work out what to do! I didn't want to overwork it so once I settled on a design I had to commit to it.

While toying with the beads to try and get some inspiration two of the disc beads and one of the birds came together in a pleasing combination which became my starting point. I kept going back to the little ceramic charm with the number 3 on it to try and come up with some sort of relevance. A story from way back in my childhood came to mind. 'The Phoenix and the Carpet' by E Nesbit (one of the '5 children and it' series) tells of the adventures of a group of children after they find an egg in a carpet which hatches into a talking  Phoenix. The Phoenix explains that the carpet is a magical one and that it will grant them three wishes each day. So I had some relevance for 3, I didn't have a Phoenix but I did have a bird which is a flighted creature and I had fiber wire which is like (very lovely) carpet - well sort of. OK it's a tenuous link at best but it gave me some inspiration and that's why my first piece is called 'Magic Carpet'

With the pendant element in place I began to look for ways to incorporate the fiber wire and actually, once I got going it came fairly easily. I wrapped a large ring with the wire and then added some coordinating leather cord to provide a structure for wire to climb up. I've kept it fairy simple by twining the wire and interspersing it with the gorgeous round beads and finished it with a simple bead and loop closure. I'm quite please with this design, it's bright, colourful and fun but totally wearable, what do you think?

On to the earrings then...these were actually the first things I made the day I got my beads. I loved the turquoise tube beads and knew I wanted to have them centre stage so I teamed them with some purple rounds and a pair of my own bronze headpins. To pick up the colours of the beads I highlighted the pattern on the headpins with some Vintaj Ranger patina in the same colour as the tubes, finished them off with little leather ties that match the rounds and then hung them from hand forged bronze wires. This is the result...

So with two pieces down I still had a good handful of beads including a large focal that was crying our for some bracelet attention. Some simple stringing with colourful cotton cord and a wire toggle to convert the ceramic ring into a clasp and we're almost there. The addition of lots of ceramic, bronze and copper charms adds a final flourish which I think makes the bracelet, as well as helping to balance the heavier focal bead.

So there you have my offerings and I hope you think I've done the components justice. I had great fun making these pieces and would thoroughly recommend having a play with the fiber wire.

You can check out what the other design partners did with their components by visiting their blogs at the links below.

Shannon -

In my earlier post I mentioned that the items designed would be auctioned off for charity. This will not now happen but I will be listing these pieces in my Etsy shop on Monday and the proceeds from any sales of these items will go to Cancer Awareness. Please feel free to contact me if you are interested in anything.

Finally, many thanks to Marla James for organising the challenge and to the artists who very kindly donated such gorgeous beads:

Marla James
Karen Totten
Janel Goolsby
Julie McKee Rowe
Eleanor Thomas
Kristi Bowman-Gruel

Have a lovely wekend everyone.


Sunday 9 September 2012

To Autumn...

I know that spring is traditionally the time for being refreshed and motivated but for me it's autumn that really makes me feel energised. Maybe it's because I'm not very good in hot weather (not that we had much this year) and find myself running down to a snails pace in summer; but the onset of cooler, more mellow days always see the activity levels rise. I'm so much happier wrapping myself up against the elements and stomping through the woods or across the beach at this time of year, then coming home to a bowl of homemade soup - such bliss.

It fires my imagination too. Summer is barely gone and I'm shuffling the bead boxes around to bring the lovely earthy, spiced and mulled hues to the fore and of course, when you do that you just have to stop and make something...

 The perfect start to a Sunday morning! I hope the changing seasons bring energy and inspiration to you too.

 To Autumn
By John Keats

Season of mists and mellow fruitfulness,
   Close bosom-friend of the maturing sun;
Conspiring with him how to load and bless
   With fruit the vines that round the thatch-eves run;
To bend with apples the moss'd cottage-trees,
   And fill all fruit with ripeness to the core;
      To swell the gourd, and plump the hazel shells
   With a sweet kernel; to set budding more,
And still more, later flowers for the bees,
Until they think warm days will never cease,
      For summer has o'er-brimm'd their clammy cells.

Who hath not seen thee oft amid thy store?
   Sometimes whoever seeks abroad may find
Thee sitting careless on a granary floor,
   Thy hair soft-lifted by the winnowing wind;
Or on a half-reap'd furrow sound asleep,
   Drows'd with the fume of poppies, while thy hook
      Spares the next swath and all its twined flowers:
And sometimes like a gleaner thou dost keep
   Steady thy laden head across a brook;
   Or by a cyder-press, with patient look,
      Thou watchest the last oozings hours by hours.

Where are the songs of spring? Ay, Where are they?
   Think not of them, thou hast thy music too,—
While barred clouds bloom the soft-dying day,
   And touch the stubble-plains with rosy hue;
Then in a wailful choir the small gnats mourn
   Among the river sallows, borne aloft
      Or sinking as the light wind lives or dies;
And full-grown lambs loud bleat from hilly bourn;
   Hedge-crickets sing; and now with treble soft
   The red-breast whistles from a garden-croft;
      And gathering swallows twitter in the skies.


Saturday 8 September 2012

Beads of Clay Challenge - with a twist!

Next Saturday (15th Spetember) sees the reveal of the second 'Beads of Clay Design Challenge' when a group of designers including myself, will be unveiling the creations we've made with this glorious bead and fibre wire concoction from the BOC Professional Artists Team.

Our instructions are to make two items one of which must be a pair of earrings. Now this is no mean feat as there are a lot of beads here and I've already made my earrings so there are a few missing! The fibre wire is also an unknown entity to me so that will be interesting to work with. I have a week left to come up with a design and I may well need it but you know how I love a challenge!

And this time there is an added twist to the challenge... all the finished items will be put up for auction with the proceeds going to a charity of each designers choice. Now I have a few favourite charities but because this is all about beads, because the beading community is largely female and because October is awareness month; I will be kicking things off a little early by holding my auction for Breast Cancer Awareness.

I'll publish further details nearer the time and I do hope you'll come back next weekend to see how I've done with my design and maybe think about bidding for a one of a kind creation for a very worthwhile cause.

See you then.


Sunday 2 September 2012

Pay It Forward - Handmade

There's a new game in blog land and I wanna play!

I spotted this on the blogs of my good friends Therese at Therese's Treasures and Cilla at Tell Your Girlfriends and it's a very simple concept:

Here's how it goes...

I’ll send a surprise gift to the first three people who comment on this blog post and then pay it forward. The gift will be handmade by me and will be sent to you some time in the next 365 days (yep, mystery gift at a mystery time).

All you need to do is leave me a comment and make sure you include your email address (if your profile doesn’t include it). I’ll then contact you for your snail mail address and ask a few questions (likes/dislikes, favourite colours, sizes general stuff like that).

To complete signing up you MUST play along too. To do this you must blog a similar post and pledge to make a surprise gift for the first three people who comment on your post.

So, do you want to play? Then comment below and let's get the ball rolling...

And if you're not one of the first three you can still copy this post to spread the word and really get the game going!