Thursday, April 20, 2017

JEM's Art Party - April Entry

I love a good art challenge.

That was probably why, when one of my friends introduced me to JEM's Art Party over on Tumblr, I immediately wanted to participate.

Now, the idea behind the Art Party is simple: every month, the mastermind behind it posts a series of prompts, and people make art inspired by one (or more) of those prompts. What kind of art, you ask? Well, whatever kind the participants want to make. Writing, sculpting, knitting--even making macaroni art! 

So! With that in mind, here is this month's series of prompts:

Very cool, I think!

It's probably no great surprise that I decided to make jewelry--even though making jewelry was not a requirement. I admit that it was fun working from a series of prompts that didn't necessarily have beading in mind... It enabled me to be a bit more creative, a bit more abstract, in my interpretation.

All in all, I used three of the prompts to make my necklace-and-earrings set. 

...And what does it look like? Well, it looks like this:

Ta-da! And yes, there is a tassel. You're so surprised. ;)

And now for a little bit of explanation to go along with the design...

Prompt: The phrase "cracked and empty"

This prompt is actually what made me choose the pendant that I did. I picked out an agate slice with a gash in the middle, lined with tiny little crystals. I think the gash is very much like a crack--a crack which broke and left the middle empty. (I realize that's not how geodes are formed, but I went with it!)

I also picked the jasper barrel beads due to the lines that riddle their surface--reminiscent of cracks that have been filled with gold.

Prompt: The Color Swatch

It was the color swatch that inspired me to make teal the main color of the necklace. The various hues (from dark to light) were meant to mirror the variation seen in the swatch itself (and had the added bonus of matching the banding of the agate pendant).

Now, as a side note: I realize that the teal I ended up using is not quite the same shade as the teal in the prompt. Oops! When I was picking out the beads to use, they matched the picture on my phone exactly... it was only after I was committed that I realized there was a difference.  Still, I think it counts... After all, without that prompt, I doubt I would have made this necklace teal!

Prompt: The Object

It was the picture of the shoes that gave me the inspiration to add the contrasting red-purple shell beads. They break up the monochromatic feel of the necklace (and earrings!), and I really like the sense of whimsy that they add.

As for the rest of the construction of the necklace, everything is wire-wrapped using 24 gauge gold-tone wire. Materials include agate (pendant), glass, shell, crystal, and jasper. The necklace is quite long--as most of my tassel necklaces tend to be--which gives it a fantastic amount of sway when worn.

So, there you go! That's what I made for JEM's Art Party! I'm pretty excited to see what next month's prompts are... And who knows, maybe I'll make something other than jewelry. Heh. We'll just have to see!

Thanks so much for stopping by... Have a wonderful day, everyone! 

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Wednesday's Worktable

I have several older boxes of beads that I don't really use. They're a bit harder to get to (I'm reorganizing, so I'm working on that), and the beads they contain don't usually match my current projects (my style shifts and changes, and so do my bead requirements).

Recently, though, I've been challenging myself to go through them... It's sad for beads to go languishing, after all. Most of the time, my rummaging is mostly reminiscing ("oh, I remember when I bought that!")... but every once and awhile I'll suddenly have an idea. 

And this week, I had an idea.

...A brightly colored glass, unapologetic, in-your-face idea.

Some background: I've had that glass focal in my collection for years... I bought two of them back in either 2009 or 2010, and I only used one. The second one has been sitting patiently in my bead box, apparently waiting for this:

You guessed it: a tassel! *cue the manic laughter*

I have so many other projects on my bead table for challenges and reveals and custom orders, I'm not sure when I'll finish this... but it's always fun to run across older components and incorporate them into newer designs. The past meeting the present--remembering and reminiscing and moving forward, all at the same time.

And what can I say... it looks like I have a lot of wire-wrapping in my future. Hah!

Thanks for stopping by today... Have a wonderful Wednesday, everyone!

Monday, April 17, 2017

Wonder and Whimsy Monthly Challenge - April Edition

All of my cleaning at the beginning of this month has had some rather interesting consequences. Not only have my husband and I been playing more board games (hurray for free flat surfaces!), I've actually been keeping the momentum going as I tackle other areas of my life that need to be organized/tidied/cleaned.

So, what am I sorting through and organizing now? That's right: my jewelry. Ha! 

...Which is what actually inspired April's Month Challenge. You see, organizing my jewelry is not for the faint-hearted... I have a lot of it. And a lot of it I never wear--my style has changed, the pieces were actually just experiments in the first place... The list of reasons goes on.

What does that have to do with my challenge?

Well, my designing skills have improved a lot over the years... And so I'm going to give some of these pieces an upgrade. 

What will that entail? Mostly, I'm just going to tackle some of these neglected necklaces (a few of which can be seen here!) and remake them. Perhaps I'll only alter the design slightly... or perhaps I'll take it apart completely and split the beads up into different projects. The sky's the limit!

Regardless of what I do, though, you can come by on Friday, April 28th to see the results. Time to get creating--and organizing--and breathing new life into some older pieces! (And feel free to play along, too--I realize there isn't a lot of time left in the month, but maybe you'll get inspired!)

Thanks so much for stopping by today... Have a wonderful day, everyone!

Thursday, April 13, 2017

Allegory Gallery - Forest Journey Reveal

It's time for another Allegory Gallery kit challenge! Hurray!

I love the theme of this particular challenge--the forest journey, which is part of the hero's journey. Andrew Thornton, one of the creators of this kit, described it as such:

When we created the concept of this challenge, we thought about the hero's journey.  Often times the protagonist of the story in faced with entering the woods.  They must leave behind the status quo and go on a journey.  Usually it's a scary prospect.  The forest is a place of mystery and many times it can be perceived as a foreboding place.  But the forest is also a place where remarkable things can happen.  Into the woods, the hero of the quest can find amazing gifts and insight.  Despite the initial challenge, hidden in the sheltering embrace of branches and trunks the hero stumbles upon unexpected friendships, ardent bravery, otherworldly magics, and a deeper knowledge.  It is a place where magic swords are found, wells of wisdom burble forth, and champions are born.

...How cool is that! I liked that so much, I just wanted to quote him directly. Go here to read the rest of his write-up!

Now, I didn't actually take a picture of the entire kit before I dove in... I guess I was super eager to start my own journey. Still, I did think to take a quick photo while I was sorting out the beads:

While that certainly doesn't show everything that was in the kit, you can still see the beautiful focal that Andrew made to go along with the theme. 

Although I had several ideas, I ended up making only two necklaces from this kit. Hopefully, though, you'll agree that they're lovely--and definitely worthy of such a wonderful theme! :)

Necklace #1

This first features that lovely focal, as well as the big juicy lucite beads (seen at the top of the in-process-of-sorting picture) and four bright copper beads. I added the dark copper beads and the findings... otherwise, everything is from the kit.

I chose to use two shades of copper to echo the play of light in the forest--the bright sunshine that shines through the trees, as well as the shadows it casts. 

I chose a rose toggle clasp as a reminder that no matter how forbidding a forest can look, there is always beauty to be found there.

Necklace #2

This second necklace that I made is a bit different than the first one--it's asymmetrical and random and has a tassel. (Yeah, still going strong with the tassels.)

...It's also much longer than the first, and much more wild-looking. While the first necklace almost looks like a keepsake from a journey through the forest, this one looks like it could be worn by one of the forest's own denizens. (I showed it to one of my friends, and she said it looks like something a wood sprite would wear.)

It is also made almost entirely with beads from the kit. The only additions were the findings, and the brown paper beads I made to match (there's one in the tassel, and three in the necklace strands).


This necklace stretched my designing muscles a bit... I've already mentioned in previous entries that I don't normally think in asymmetry--but there was really no other way for this necklace to be. It just felt right.

...And so, just like the forest, this necklace is a bit wild and unkempt--but is all the more beautiful for it.

And there you go! That's what I made with this beautiful kit. I loved the materials, I loved the colors, and I loved the wonderful meaning that Andrew and William of Allegory Gallery gave to it.

Thank you so much for stopping by today to see what I made, and listening to me wax poetic about the forest! (I really do love forests.)

Have a wonderful Thursday, everyone!

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

Wednesday's Worktable

Happy Wednesday, everyone!

Life is still continuing to speed along... but, thankfully, it's settled down enough for me to start posting again. Hurray! For those who are curious, the party on Saturday was a huge success--and now I get to play catch-up on everything I didn't get to do while preparing for it. Heh.

On a fun note, though, that includes (finally) sorting through the treasures I bought while on vacation last month. A few of those treasures have made it onto my beadtable, so for this week, I have some pretty semi-precious stones to share:

Top to bottom: apatite, flourite, and amethyst.

...As well as the beginnings of a project:

Step 1: Gather materials and brainstorm.

I'm also still finishing up another piece or two inspired by last month's challenge (the theme was Alice's Adventures in Wonderland), and these chunky seed beads are exactly what I needed:

Hopefully I'll be able to show the finished projects here soon.

So, yeah... Lots of catch-up. I also have two Allegory Gallery reveals that I need to prepare (one for tomorrow, and one that was due last week--oops), a handful of customs to make, and I need to post about April's Monthly Challenge. What can I say--I like to stay busy. Heh.

Thanks so much for stopping by today... I hope this April has been treating you well so far.

Have a wonderful Wednesday, everyone!

Wednesday, April 5, 2017

Hello, April!

...this is actually going to be a quick little entry, because April has started off at full speed.

You see, we're hosting a party this weekend (for my soon-to-be-married brother-in-law, if you're keeping track), and I'm in the middle of the Spring Cleaning of Doom. Heh.

I hope to resume posting normally next week... Until then, have a great week, everyone! 

Full speed ahead!

Friday, March 31, 2017

Wonder and Whimsy Monthly Challenge - March Reveal

Looking for my Bead Soup post? Go here... or keep scrolling! You'll find it eventually. :)

I've been doing so many other challenges this month, you might have thought I accidentally neglected my own.

...And you would be right, honestly. While working on pieces for my other projects, I almost ran out of time to create pieces for this one. Rather fitting, honestly, considering the inspiration for this month's challenge--Alice's Adventures in Wonderland, by Lewis Carroll. The White Rabbit's admonishing of "Oh dear! Oh dear! I shall be late!" actually echoed through my head this week as I tried to finish up something to post.

But! I'm happy to report that I do have something to share for this Month's Challenge. It's not much (and I have three other pieces planned--including one involving the above compass), but it is something. Yay!

Anyway, I'm getting a bit ahead of myself. Time to back up a bit. Again, my inspiration for this challenge was Alice's Adventures in Wonderland--more specifically, Lewis Carroll's whimsical and logical and nonsensical novel, not the Disney adaptation. (Not that there's anything wrong with that version! just wasn't my focus. *grin*)

I actually started work on this challenge while visiting my parents:

Rolling paper beads! Can you guess which ones were used for this project?
...You can also see the lime green I used in one of my Bead Soup creations.

The Queen of Hearts! My mum had a pack of cards she let me cut up.
Also, you can see the paper beads in their final form.

Once I got home, it was time to start putting those different elements together...

Designing time!

Ultimately, my puttering solidified into four different necklace ideas--only one of which I was able to finish in time for this reveal. That's all right, though... I'm really happy with how it turned out!

Without any further ado, I present: 

Painting the Roses Red

This necklace is made with: the three shades of paper beads, glass, crystal, the recycled chain tassel from a pre-made earring, a key-and-lock toggle clasp, and a pendant featuring the rose from the Queen of Hearts card.

It was made to represent the part of the novel where Alice first meets the Queen of Hearts. For those unfamiliar with this scene: Alice uses a key to unlock a door that leads to a lovely garden, where she finds three hapless gardeners (who are also playing cards) attempting to paint white roses red. The Queen then bustles in, and starts uttering her famous proclamation: "off with their heads!" Alice manages to save the heads of the gardeners--and her own--and is then requested (i.e. ordered) to join the Queen in a game of croquet.

To reflect this scene, the paper beads going from white to red (or perhaps red to white). I also added a heart charm for the Queen of Hearts and the key used to enter the garden in the first place. Oh, and as aforementioned, the pendant was made from an actual playing card, where the Queen is holding a red rose. Can't get much more Queen of Hearts than that!

I also tried to echo some of the Wonderland kookiness through the design. At first glace, it looks like the sides are simply asymmetrical, but in fact there is more to it than that. The sides are actually inverses of each other: one has the design going up, the other has it going down. One side uses silvertone wire and brass findings, the other uses bronze wire and silver findings. 

...What can I say, it seemed fitting for the subject matter. :)

I made one other thing to show off for this reveal: earrings!

And not just any earrings... Mushroom earrings! I present:

What Size Do You Want to Be?

In the story, Alice comes across a caterpillar who tells her that one side of the mushroom it's sitting on will make her taller, and the other side will make her shorter. This is quite a relief to Alice, who has been spending most of the novel going from one size to another!

Unlike their inspiration, these earrings don't actually change the wearer's height. They are also not edible. They are made with lampwork mushrooms and silvertone findings, and add a bit of Wonderland whimsy to any outfit.

So, there you go! Those are the pieces that I made for this reveal. Here they are together:

Thanks so much for stopping by today to see what I made for this challenge. I do hope to post again with the other pieces I have planned... we'll just have to see when I have a chance to make them!

Have a wonderful Friday--and last day of March--everyone!