Wednesday 31 July 2013

Brit Pack Beaders - Challenge 3 Reveal

Oil on canvas, dated 1870, 109.2 x 90.5cm, Aberdeen Art Gallery & Museums Collections
Welcome to another Brit Pack Beader's design challenge reveal which, as you may recall required us to create jewellery inspired by this painting chosen by Bo Hulley. The painting depicts Jane Morris, the wife of William Morris posed as Mariana from Shakespeare's 'Measure For Measure' a women deserted by her betrothed (click link on picture for more information).

And this is what we had to work with in addition to items from our own bead stashes...

The thing that struck me about this painting is how dominant the  rich and sumptuous textiles are in the composition and I wanted to try an evoke something of this in my design. I decided on a necklace using the focal bead and started with one of Diane Turton's 'Raggy Ribbons' which matched perfectly with the deep brick reds. The ribbon is quite wide and when threaded through a heavy Vintaj chain it gave a lovely shaggy effect.

 I wired the focal and then created a chain with the bronze rings I contributed to the challenge (plus some extras since I was fortunate enough to have some!) and more of the Vintaj chain. I added a length of finer chain to the focal and hung the bronze charm from this. At this point it became a question of how much more I embellished the necklace. I wanted to keep the symmetry so I couldn't work the clasp in other than at the back which seemed a waste so I used a simple hook with another of the bronze rings. I did play around with more dangles to the front but I'm a 'less is more' kind of person so in the end I settled for just two blue drops to highlight the focal. It does have something of a chain of office about it but I think I like it none-the-less...see what you think.

So then - how to use the clasp...? I decided this would work well in a bracelet with some of my favourite rustic pearls which bring to mind the lovely soft skin tones of the painting. I used Rebecca's blue waxed linen to string the pearls and interspersed them with tiny faceted red beads and the lovely gold lampwork beads Jo included with her accent beads. To counterbalance the clasp I also added a gorgeous lampwork bead by Helen Chalmers in the same blue with dots of cream and brick red. I finished the piece with two little red glass beads and one of my blue bronze hearts - she has just been jilted after all. I do really like this - I don't think I would normally have thought to put these colours together and simple as it is I think it works well.

So now you've seen how 'Mariana' inspired me I hope you'll pop over to the other blogs and see what the rest of the team created...

See you for the next challenge at the end of the year.


Saturday 13 July 2013

Studio Conversion - Finished and Ready for Action!

Finally, my new studio is finished and ready - well almost - for action. It's taken a little while longer to get the finishing touches done and a bad back has stopped me from getting things sorted as quickly as I'd hoped but never-the-less, I'm in and ready to start work and I love it!

These are not the greatest pictures in the world as the size and shape of the room make it difficult to shoot. There are also a lot of reflective surfaces and very bright light pouring in today and frankly, that's well beyond my photographic skill.

But anyway, as promised here is a little tour of 'Studio Thea' or 'Tadpole Towers' as it has also been christened (the colour of the walls is called Tadpole)!

This photo is was taken by me standing outside the house and sticking my head through the studio window and as you can see there is a straight line from the studio through the kitchen to the South facing gardening. This provides a good light source but means the studio itself is quite cool as it doesn't get direct sun until later in the afternoon.

The door is fully glazed to maximise this light when it's shut but I can't see that happening too often - It's been scorching here this week and having all the doors and windows open has created a lovely through breeze.

This side has been designed to provide lots of storage and a wet/messy working area with a big deep sink and room for tumblers, pickle pots and such like. Although I've put things in the cupboards I've not really organised them yet as I expect things to find their natural places as I start work and get a feel for what works best where.

Facing this is a work bench area with some more storage which will be where I do my clay production, metal work, enameling and any other process work. The aim is actually to keep this area as clear of clutter as possible but I'm still migrating 'stuff' from the old work room and haven't put it away yet. My kiln equipment is still locked in the shed at the moment as it's been far too hot for lugging heavy stuff around but it will be retrieved next week, although I'm thinking it may be set up outside while this weather continues...

At the other end of the room we have my design area which is where all my beading, jewellery making and component design will take place...if I'm not distracted by staring out of the window all day that is.

To the left we have 'The Goddess' - my jewellery display form, a bookcase for my jewellery books and mags, the essential radio and iPod dock and a little spot on the floor for a certain feline who is also enjoying the coolness of this room at the moment.

The table under that lovely window and at this moment looking very tidy...that won't last long!

Then to the right are the bulk of my bead stash, pretty tins of leather, fibres and silks and my little trolley that houses all the bits and bobs I like to have close to hand but try to keep off the desk - usually unsuccessfully!

I still have an awful lot of paraphernalia to move in so this is probably to first and last time the studio will be as visible as this...I've no doubt boxes will start to encroach on the floor and cupboards will be crammed full but, It's  a huge improvement on the space I was working in before and I'm just so glad I went ahead and did it...Small it may be but it's perfectly formed - for now anyway.

So for the rest of the weekend I will continue to get myself organised - between  ice creams, cold drinks and maybe the odd siesta. I hope you are all having a wonderful weekend too.


Wednesday 10 July 2013

Brit Pack Beaders - We're Back...!

Well actually we've been here all the time but everyone on the team has been so busy this year that it's taken us until now to all be able to take on our next challenge - where did the last 6 months go that's what I want to know!

If you're new to the BPB's you can find out more by visiting the page tabbed at the top of this post but the basic premise is
that we are a group of 5 jewellery and component designers (Claire Braunbarth, Jo Tinley, Rebecca Anderson, Bo Hulley and myself) who take on Bi-monthly jewellery Challenges. For each challenge, one person will choose a theme based on anything they like - could be music, literature, film, visual images anything at all that inspires that person. Each person is then allocated one of five design items - clasps, focal beads, accent beads, decorative embellishments and stringing material, and must send each pack member one of those that has some relevance to the theme. Ultimately, everyone will all end up with a design kit put together by five people with which to create a piece of jewellery inspired by the theme.

For this challenge it was Bo's turn to decide on the theme and she chose this painting by
Dante Gabrielle Rosetti...

Oil on canvas, dated 1870, 109.2 x 90.5cm, Aberdeen Art Gallery & Museums Collections
The painting depicts Jane Morris, the wife of William Morris posed as Mariana from Shakespeare's 'Measure For Measure' a women deserted by her betrothed (click link on picture for more information). It's a rich and sumptuous painting and the team has once again put together some wonderful components for the challenge...

Along with choosing the theme Bo was responsible for providing the clasp and sent me this lovely floral button clasp...

Focals were down to Claire and she commission Pippa Chandler to make these lovely Polymer Clay flower beads which perfectly match the key colours of the painting...

Jo has supplied a lovely selection of lampwork and Czech glass accent beads which again pick up the rich tones but also add some balance with some lovely neutrals...

String materials were down to Rebecca and she sent me this gorgeous silk string in graduated shades of peachy pink and some dark blue waxed linen...

My job for this task was to provide embellishments so I made some little bronze links and charms influenced by some of the motifs in the painting - Mariana's hair decoration, the tapestry...and the tiny heart is perhaps a little nod to the heart break of her desertion.

I think you'll agree this really is a lovely collection of components to work with...

If you'd like to see how we all do with this challenge then join us back here on Wednesday 31st July when we'll be revealing our finished designs. You can also check out what the rest of the team think of the challenge by visiting their latest blog and Facebook posts...

See you back here n the 31st.