Tuesday, October 31, 2017

Art Bead Scene - October Reveal(ish)

I have mentioned before that I follow the Art Bead Scene Studio blog. Every month, they have a wonderful challenge where they post a work of art, and designers make jewelry (or beads) inspired by it. As one would suspect from the title, the only requirement is that it include an art bead. I was able to participate back in July, and have been looking for the opportunity to do so again.

So! This month, I carved out a little time to do just that. This month's inspiration is a painting of the famous Madame De Pompadour, by 
Francois Boucher:

And I knew exactly what I wanted to make.

...Except it didn't work out. At all.


I attempted two other designs, and they also didn't work out. 

Eventually, I did successfully make something... only to realize that it probably doesn't fit the one requirement of this challenge. You see, while it includes paper beads that I made, they probably aren't considered art beads.

Ah well. 

Regardless, I decided I would go ahead and share what I made... If for no other reason than to point you in the direction of the creative and talented people who did successfully fulfill the requirement of the challenge.

And because what I did make took a lot of work:

So much wire-wrapping. So much paper-bead rolling. So much work finding the exact right order of beads to make it lay right.

...And you wouldn't believe how hard it was for me to find that ribbon in the right color! :)

All grousing aside, though, I am actually very happy with how this turned out. 

I like the way that the many layers of the necklace reflect the many poofy layers of Madame De Pompadour's dress, and the way that the ribbon softens the finished look to match the soft lines and contours seen in the painting. I like the way that the different shades of magnesite resemble the different hues caused by the shadows, and that the pearls have the same sheen as the orange ribbon around her neck. I like how fancy and frilly it is--like Rococo painting in general, really.

...And I'm also pleased that it's finished. Hah! It's been quite some time since a challenge gave me quite so many problems, and it's nice to feel at least a little bit victorious. :)

So, there you go! Thank you so much for stopping by today to see what I made for this challenge... Hopefully my plan for next month's Art Bead Scene Challenge goes a bit smoother! Heh. I suppose only time will tell. :)

Have a wonderful Halloween, everyone, and a wonderful last day of October!

Saturday, October 28, 2017

Wonder and Whimsy Monthly Challenge - (Late!) August Reveal

My goodness, this is a late reveal. Oi. My sincerest apologies to everyone... Apparently the last few months have been a bit of a time vortex. Oh well. Little by little, I'm trying to catch up!

Back in August, my Monthly Challenge was to make some geeky jewelry. After all, I have quite a few interests that can be considered geeky or nerdy... I love fantasy and science fiction and writing and archaeology and video games and creating my own languages for fun. The world is so full on wonderful and amazing things!

Now, I made one necklace for this challenge... and what a necklace it turned out to be!

Here's a hint: 

Yep, it's a tassel necklace. A nerdy tassel necklace.

You see, I turned this:

...into this:

Yep, that's BB-8 from Star Wars!*

As you can see, I started work on this while on vacation (yes, actually back in August)...

...Although by "work," I mostly just spent my time looking at the pretty scenery. (My mum would like you to know--the two pictures above were staged! *grin*) 

Eventually, after returning home, the entire necklace was assembled, using a combination of glass, magnesite, vintage acrylic, shell, and quartzite:

Honestly, I'm really excited with how this necklace turned out. It combines my love for sweeping tassels and Star Wars, and it was super fun trying to make a cascade of different oranges.

Now I just need to find an outfit to wear it with! (Although that probably won't be too hard... I have a surprising amount of rust orange in my wardrobe.)

So, there you go! A few months late, but now you finally can see what I made back in August for my Monthly Challenge! Hurray for getting caught up on blog entries!

...And now, to get ready for November! :)


* Disclaimer: I think it's important to state that absolutely no copyright infringement is intended in this challenge. I am making no money from it--this necklace is not for re-sale and is solely for my enjoyment. 
The BB-8 charm is from licensed merchandise which I paid full price for, and is not a knock-off. Like fan art, this is solely meant for non-monetary enjoyment, and sharing something geeky that I love. :)

Friday, October 27, 2017

Wonder and Whimsy Monthly Challenge - October Reveal

This year's October Monthly Challenge was all about rocks. 

...Gems and minerals, that is!

That's right, my challenge this month was to make pieces of jewelry using only gems and minerals (well, and metal). I was inspired to do this challenge after my trip to the National Museum of Natural History last month... After all, it's hard not to get inspired when faced with such pretty things! :)

Now, as I predicted, this was actually a hard challenge for me. Apparently I really like mixing materials. I kept going, "oh, I have the perfect pearls to match this!" or "I think this needs some wood to help mellow it out." Hah!

Eventually, I decided to just go the purist route, and make necklaces entirely out of a single type of gemstone. (Well, except for the last necklace--but that one was cheating anyway.) Interestingly, as I worked, I realized that I was sticking to one main design. There were slight variations, of course, but the base design was the same. I think, given more time, I may have expanded my horizons a bit... But I guess, if something works, don't break it!

All told, I made four necklaces... As I show them, I think you'll start to see the similarities.

Necklace #1: Quartz

Quartz actually comes in many different hues--and many gemstones with their own names are actually varieties of quartz. For this necklace, I just focused on clear quartz, paired with silvertone metal:

All of the wire-work was done with fiddly 26 gauge wire... and, honestly, because the links are so small, this necklace took forever. It felt like forever, anyway! That being said, though, I really like how it turned out! It looks a little like cascading ice.

Necklace #2: Red Agate

Hah, I didn't actually get a picture of red agate while at the museum... this gorgeous orange opal will have to suffice as an intro picture. :)

For this necklace, I paired red agate with goldtone metal, and instead of three teardrops, I used one big one:

...You can probably see that base design emerging. :)

The wire-work in this one is done with slightly more substantial 24 gauge wire. The beads that make up the chain are slightly larger, too... 4mm rounds instead of 3mm rondelles. This gives it a lovely weight, and I'm really pleased by how it looks when worn.

Necklace #3: Amethyst

Now, technically amethyst is a type of quartz. However, that makes it no less gorgeous... And since my favorite color is purple, I happen to be pretty fond of it! :)

Again, with this necklace, you can see the same base construction: a beaded chain with a toggle clasp in the front, with a main pendant hanging down at the center. There are some slight differences, though... Instead of teardrops, there is an amethyst shard that I bought while on vacation and personally wire-wrapped. 

Also, there are two different varieties of amethyst used in the chain... I tried to echo the variegation of the pendant, so there are darker, larger rounds closer to the front which give way to smaller, lighter rounds in the back. (It doesn't photograph well, but trust me--it's there!)

Oh, and like the quartz necklace, the wire is 26 gauge and the beads average 3mm. This is another one that took quite some time to finish--and was definitely worth the effort!

Now, before I go on to the last necklace, I just quickly want to show you a side-by-side picture of the first three...

There is no denying that apparently I have a favorite necklace style when I'm using small, delicate gemstones!

Necklace #4: Imitation Malachite and Lapis Lazuli (I know, I cheated!)

Yes, this necklace is cheating. I really wanted to make something that was blue and/or green... However, all of my lapis is currently being used in other projects, and I cannot seem to find actual malachite anywhere (at least, in my price range).

So! I went with imitation stones. I realize that this might make a gemstone purist cringe, and I apologize. Still, I couldn't help myself... I absolutely love the way these colors look  together, and wanted to give them a fair showing here.

And so, here is my cheating imitation stone necklace:

The wire is all 24 gauge, and all of the stones are at least 6mm long. This makes the entire piece feel quite substantial... And it was a lovely change of pace from the delicate work I did on the prior necklaces! 

You'll notice that the design is fairly different, as well--the clasp is in the back, and there is a fair size stone as a focal instead. Never doubt that the weight and size of the materials govern my design choices. :)

My golly, I had so many ideas for this challenge. Those are the four necklaces that I actually had time for... Still, just for fun, I want to show you the other ideas that I have brewing on my bead table:

And so, there you go! Those are the pieces that I made for this month's challenge... and you even have a sneak peak into some other things I may make soon. (I really want to do something with that gorgeous Tiger Eye elephant... my first attempt didn't work, so I'm still figuring out my plan!)

Thank you so, so much for stopping by today to see what I made... I really appreciate having such wonderful readers. :)

Have a wonderful weekend, everyone! Happy end of October!