Friday 30 November 2012

Challenge of Colour 2012

I am taking part in two blog hops today - if you are  looking for the 'AJE Component of the month' hop you will find it here.

Welcome to the 3rd Annual Challenge of Colour blog hop and huge thanks to Erin Prais-Hintz and Brandi Hussey for once again organising an event of monumental proportions and providing us all with such stunning inspiration pieces from the Nasa 'Earth as Art' collection of unique topographical images

Life has been a little manic here of late to say the least so although we were offered two palettes, on this occasion I decided to be sensible and just commit to one - although I did manage to make two pieces even though it went to the wire as usual. This is the palette I chose from those selected for me:

Desert to Forest
March 28, 2009

In the American Southwest, transitions from one ecosystem to another can be dramatic and abrupt. This certainly is true in northern Arizona, USA, where the parched Painted Desert, shown here in a palette of purples, adjoins Sitgreaves National Forest (shades of green), a realm of pine woodlands with abundant wildlife. Within the Painted Desert lie the Hopi Buttes, a field of ancient volcanic cones, seen here as a scattering of dark, circular shapes near the top of the image.

Green is my my favourite colour and I'm rather fond of purple too so thank you again Erin!

In the past I've had  a habit of sweating it too much over these challenges and trying to find exact matches for every tone and include every shade but this time I decided I was going to be much freer with it by choosing beads that have an overall feel of the palette and going with my first instincts. For my first piece I selected a group of beads and then put the rest of the stash out of sight so they wouldn't distract me and it seemed to work as I decided pretty quickly on a bracelet. I chose lampwork beads for this and Fine silver to represent the paler tones of the palette...this was the result.

The mottled ribbed round beads were the obvious starting point since they already combine purple and green but they also reminded me of tiny little worlds viewed from space. The silvered green beads picked up the same green from these. The barrel beads that look pink in these photo's are in fact a perfect match for the purple, I just couldn't get them to look their natural colour without changing the tone of everything else - glass can be a challenge in itself! I used some Hill Tribe hammered lentils to lift the colours and strung the beads on waxed linen to get the rustic feel I'm so fond off but then I took an unusual turn for me. I wanted something to suggest the feeling of lushness and abundance I get from the image so I started making lots of little dangles - not something I do often. With pale green and amethyst crystal and some blue black Czech glass to represent the volcanic area which can be seen as the mottle black patch at the top of the image these also add a lovely sense of movement.

I clustered these along three Hill Tribe hammered rings so that that they would cascade from the bottom of the bracelet and counterbalance the weight of the larger beds. Finally I finished it off with a hand made silver clasp. I've called this piece 'Abundant Earth'.

Ribbed and silvered lampwork beads by Lush Lampwork
Purple barrels by Alchemy lampwork

My second piece came about from two focals that jumped out at me when I was first going through my beads. When I first saw the images for this hop the old Carpenters song 'Top of the World' came into my mind (and stuck there!) and these two focal seemed to lend themselves to that so, with a simple little treatment my second piece is called...what else but "Top of the World".

The cute little ceramic bird by Blueberri Beads is nestled in one of my own bronze bead caps and sat atop a stunning Moogin focal which reminds me rather of a patchwork quilt of fields. A purple class drop and bronze heart and flower charms complete the pendant.

I've hung this simply form a Vintaj chain but have added a little embellishment with some beautiful ceramic beads by Summers Studio and some Czech glass beads. The necklace is quite long and adjustable and has a great fun feel to it.

So there you have my colour inspired pieces for 2012. I could play this game for ever and I do have a little plan to spend some quiet time over Christmas investigating some of the these 'Earth as Art' pictures more closely and maybe even designing a few more pieces. I hope you join me on this blog hop and see what everyone else has created...I am sure there are going to be some some stunning pieces so please follow me and enjoy!

Erin Prais-Hintz
Rebecca Anderson
Kris Auderer
Chrizette Bayman
Lori Bowring Michaud
Courtney Breul
Lynsey Brooks
Stephanie Buss
Iveth Caruso
Shannon Chomanczuk
Lisa Cone
Cece Cormier
Lori Dorrington
Dawn Doucette
Jeannie Dukic
Kim Dworak
Beth Emery
Janice Everett
Pam Farren
Donetta Farrington
Gloria Ferrer
Cherrie Fick
Therese Frank
Patty Gasparino
Tanya Goodwin
Ambra Gostoli
Jess Green
Denielle Hagerman
Mary Harding
Karla Hartzog
Kim Hora
Brandi Hussey
Emanda Johnson
Jennifer Justman
Sue Kennedy
Ema Kilroy
Lee Koopman
Linda Landig
Kirsi Luostarinen
Cynthia Machata
Alicia Marinache
Beth McCord
Mary K McGraw
Karen Mitchell
Cheri Mitchell-Reed
Aimee Moisa
Karla Morgan
Penny Neville
Becky Pancake
Kashmira Patel
Alice Peterson
Kayla Potega
Debbie Price
Bobbie Rafferty
Caron Reid
Nicole Rennell
Cynthia Riggs
Andrea Ross
Sally Russick
Annie Scherz
Pam Sears
Renetha Stanziano
Sandra Stein
Kristen Stevens
Tracy Stillman
Sherri Stokey
Lola Survillo
Kay Thomerson
Jo Tinley
Emma Todd
Cory Tompkins
Pam Traub
Melissa Trudinger
Michelle Tucker
Shelley Graham Turner
Monique Urquhart
Rachel Van-Walsk
Patti Vanderbloemen
Lesley Watt
Lynn White
Joan Williams


AJE November Component of the Month - Designs Reveal

I am taking part in two blog hops today - if you are looking for the 'Challenge of Colour' hop you will find it here.

You might recall that this month it was my turn to provide the components for the Art Jewelry Elements (AJE) component of the month challenge. Well today's the day that the 14 team members and AJE readers reveal what they've done with the bronze snowflake they were sent, including me. There were two designs for this component and this is the one I had...

Component available at THEA too

When I started thinking about what to do the first thing I decided was that I didn't want to go down the traditional route of using a pale palette as you might expect for a snowflake - odd I know since I designed it but there you go. Instead I wanted to do something darker, more exotic and dare I say it - a little bit sexy. I had an idea forming in my head that involved black chain and some dark iridescent beads so the first thing I did was to paint the recessed area with black patina to give more contrast.

I also made a bail by looping s section of bronze wire, bending the ends at right angles and feeding them through the hole from the back and splaying and flattening them at the front.

Then came three sections of black chain which I added to the back by attaching jump rings and to these I attached the three fat, oil slick iridescent Czech glass drops I'd had in mind from the get go - so far so good.

But then I got  a bit stuck. I had been thinking of this as a long necklace with the component suspended from black chain and something else to give it some oomph but at this point I didn't know what the 'oomph' was. I had a vague notion that I had some black silk somewhere so I started rummaging but couldn't see it anywhere, however, what I did find was a length of the most beautiful deep red and back sari silk that had in fact been gifted to me last Christmas. So out it came and I started to play and what do you know... it worked itself perfectly into my vision of a vampish Christmas party accessory. So this is my finished piece which I've called 'Snow White's Alter Ego'.

I've said a million times I'm not good with sari silk but I do actually like this and feel I might finally be making some progress. Ultimately fairly simple but quite striking, I have an image in my head of this being worn by someone like Helena Bonham-Carter to accesorize a mussed up ball gown, mad hair  and DM boots!  What do you think...?

My apologies that these photo's are less than brilliant - I've just realised that the digital magnification had been reset on my camera so some of them are a bit grainy. Now I'm off to see what everyone else has done with their snowflakes - just use the links below to join me:


Friday 23 November 2012

AJE Holiday Open House - Still Going Strong...

Don't forget to pop into the AJE holiday open house - the team are also hosting Black Friday sales with discounts on great components and jewellery...check it out here


Thursday 22 November 2012

A Sale, A Holiday Open House and Some Good News...

It's that time again...the mad shopping frenzy that is apparently Black Friday and Cyber Monday. I say apparently become it hasn't really caught on here in the UK, but I'm not one to stop a little thing like that get in the way of a bead shopping opportunity so I will also be having a sale in both my Etsy shops THEA jewellery and THEA too with 20% of all listed items from Friday through Monday.

The coupon code to use at checkout is AJEholiday and it will be live from midnight GMT tonight through to 8am next Tuesday so all time zones should be covered.

And if like me you prefer to do your sale shopping in comfort then why not join me tomorrow for a holiday open house over at Art Jewelry Elements...

The AJE  team will be posting every half hour or so throughout the day and we've got some great fun and informative stuff lined up for you - even some flash auctions. You'll also be able to link up with the other team members who are having holiday sales and maybe grab yourself some bargains without having to even brave those crowds - just head on over to AJE for more information.

Last but not least I have some more good news...If you follow me on Facebook you my have seen that I passed the 900 sales mark in my component shop THEAtoo this week which I'm delighted about. I'd like to say a really big thank you to all my customers and everyone who has supported me.

This puts me ahead of my first years target so I've set myself a little challenge. If I can reach 1000 sales by new years eve 2012 there will be an extra special celebration to see in 2013! I don't know quite what yet but it will definitely include something special for the customer who makes my 1000th sale!

So there you go - a fabulous weekend ahead and the prospect of more to come. A very happy Thanksgiving all my bead buddies across the pond - have a wonderful time with your families and friends and I hope to see you at the open house tomorrow.



Sunday 18 November 2012

Brit Pack Beaders Reveal

It's taken a while this time around but finally here it is - the reveal of the second Brit Pack Beader's challenge. If you're not familiar with us you can find out more at our dedicated page.

Rebecca was in the driving seat and it was her turn to provide the inspiration and she chose this piece called 'The Red Rose and the White Rose' by the artist Margaret MacDonald MacIntosh - Charles Rennie MacIntosh's wife.

(c) The Hunterian, University of Glasgow 2012.

And this you may recall was the set of components put together by the various members of the team...

This challenge really was quite difficult for me because even though I find the painting aesthetically pleasing, it has a subtle, ethereal quality which is poles apart from my style. The key elements that stand out for me where the long curves and the pops of colours of what appear to be strings of jewels and there was an obvious temptation to just simply replicate this but I was trying to avoid that. I did a little bit of research on jewellery of the period and found that a lot of necklaces featured a focal piece suspended from some sort of yoke or frame and often with lots of dangles, so I started to work along those lines.

And here it is...I'm viewing this as a work in progress because it's kind of where I was going but I'm still not sure if it's finished and the execution is not perfect so yes, it will be revisited.

The curves of the yoke provide a nod to the curves in the picture and I've interpreted the strings of jewels by weaving a thread of crystals between the double silk cord that the yoke hangs from. I've been back and forth hanging drops from the coils in keeping with the style of the period but I felt that they detracted from the focal so I finally took them off - for me less is more. I think this one will be sitting on my workbench for a while until I decide what it need.

I also made a couple of pairs of earrings - the first using the copper and silver embellishments that Jo sent. Now these I love, they are totally my style and even though they are very contemporary I think they also embody the style of the period of the painting.

The second pair of earrings are quite simple but with clean lines and soft colours like the painting and a lovely sense of movement.

I ran out of time before I could do anything with the second focal Bo sent and I still have some accent beads left so they will go back to the 'to do' shelf for another day.

You can see what the rest of the BPB team did with there components by visiting their blogs and Facebook pages at the links below.


Monday 12 November 2012

UK Inspiration Chalenge Reveal

Today's the day that everyone who took up the challenge to create something inspired by the home towns and regions of the Artisan Whimsy UK blog team members reveal their designs and the team members have all joined in the challenge too.

There are so many things in my little county of Dorset that I could have used as inspiration but I pretty quickly decided on the stunning Jurassic coast that runs for ninety plus miles into the equally beautiful county of Devon. As well as it's stunning scenery this coastline is also famous for the proliferation of fossils.

I had in my head the idea of a fossil hunter - not the crusty, geeky stereotype you might imagine but more of a feisty, brainy beauty with a bit of the Lara Croft about her who has amazing adventures in her search for the ultimate fossil. I've no idea if such people exist in the world of fossils but I thought it would be fun to design a piece that brought together elements that my heroine could have collected during her adventures and put together bit by bit over time as a kind of memento. So this is my finished piece which I've called 'Fossil Hunter Talisman'

The necklace is made up of a pendant section with a cluster of 'finds' including: a ceramic fish by Karen Totten, a ceramic Ammonite charm by Diana Ptaszynki bronze shell charms by me, natural sea glass and pearls.

These are wired to a bronze ring (by me) which is suspended from brass chain. I've used mismatched sections of chain, jump rings and wire  to give an impression of something that develops over time with whatever is at hand. Another ceramic Ammonite by Diana Ptaszynki creates a focal point within the chain and on the opposite side are some of the tiniest shells I've ever come across...

I'm pretty pleased with this necklace because I like the way it looks now but you really could add elements to it over time - what do you think...

To see what the other participants created just click on the links below and don't forget - there is a prize for one participant in each region and I'll be revealing the winner of these gorgeous bronze components later on today...

Winner Update
It's been great looking at all the designs today and everyone has been so creative in their interpretations. I think all the Dorset inspired designs have captured the essence of the region or its links perfectly so thank you all very much. As promised, I have randomly picked one of the Dorset entries to win these bronze components and am now delighted to anounce that the winner is:

Cece Cormier The Beading Yogini

Congratulations Cece - I'll be in touch shortly.

Enjoy the hop...

The Hosts
 Lesley Watt Gossiping Goddess
Rebecca Anderson Songbeads
Pippa Chandler Pip's Jewellery
Teresa Hulley Bo Hulley Beads
Natalie McKenna Grubbi

Ginger Bishop Lilmummylikes
Cece Cormier The Beading Yogini
Therese Frank Therese’s Treasures
Cilla Watkins Tell Your Girlfriends

Therese Frank Therese’s Treasures
Kashmira Patel Sadafulee
Caroline Dewison Blueberribeads
Leigh Thow Jewellrleigh


Isle of Wight
Duane Clark Bizzy Bead
Sharyl McMillian-Nelson Sharyl's Jewelry
Leigh Thow Jewellrleigh
Jean Wright Just Beadey
D Lynne Bowland Islandgirl’s Insights

Shalini Austin   Jewellery by Shalini
Doris Stumpf Glaszwerg
Lennis C Windbent

Sherri Stokey Knot Just Macramé
Sherry Baun
Leigh Thow Jewellrleigh
Kathy Lindemer Bay Moon Design


Thursday 8 November 2012

AJE Tool Tallk...

Check out Art Jewelery Elements (AJE) today for a little metal clay tool talk...where else would you find dental picks and light bulbs sharing a stage...?



Sunday 4 November 2012

Free Bead Challenge Participants

Just a quickie to announce who had been drawn to receive free beads and take part in the design challenge on December 12th. I will be sending out e mails as soon as I have a chance but in the meantime, if your name is on this list - mark your diary!

Free bead and shipping participants
Marie Cramp
Smitten Beads
Heidi Post
Tiffany Smith
Ailsa Cordner
Linda Landig
Caroline Dewison

Free bead with paid shipping participants
Hippie Chick
Niky Sayers
Purple Cobwebs
Therese's Treasures
Claire's Crystal Classics
A Polymer Penchant
Kathy Lindemer
Sandy Sewin
Lori Bowring Michaud
Copper Diem
Katherine - Terra Beadworks

Thanks to everyone who put there names forward and don't forget there will be a draw for a beady goodie bag on the day of the reveal from everyone who entered.

Enjoy the rest of your weekend.


Friday 2 November 2012

UK Inspiration Challenge - are you ready

A few weeks ago the Artisan Whimsy UK blog team threw out a little challenge and invited you to take a little tour of out green an pleasant land in the hope that it would inspire you to create something Beautiful... and if not here's my original post.

Well we now have a challenge page set up on Artisan Whimsy where you can register for the blog hop and post links to your creations for the reveal on 12 November 2012. There's still plenty of time to get involved and lots of lovely things to spark your creativity, like these gorgeous landscapes from Dorset's 'Hardy Country' - the birth place of author Thomas Hardy.

Landscape photographs courtesy of Joe D /

Landscape photographs courtesy of Joe D /
You'll find all the details on the challenge page along with links to the teams Artisan Whimsy pages and blogs and don't forget, there are prizes up for grabs for the winners for each region - the Dorset winner will win one of my beautiful patinated Seahorse pendants and a pair of turtle charms.

I hope you'll join in as I'd love to see you there.