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Tuesday, December 6, 2016

Controlled Chaos

So much of what we do as artists boils down to this: controlling the chaos. 

Come on now, you know what I mean, I know you can relate. You have all these ideas and inspiration bubbling around in your hot little skull and they just won't give you a moment's peace:

  • You caught Blade Runner on TV the other weekend and its gritty cyberpunk cityscape has been haunting you. 
  • You were cleaning out the garden last spring and came across a fragile translucent snake skin snagged in some brush. 
  • While you were driving to your parents' house in the country you passed this dilapidated barn half-covered with peeling crackled paint, half-covered with moss.
  • After you finished reading Suttree, you couldn't stop visualizing that ragpicker passage over and over again. 
  • That head of romanesco cauliflower you roasted for dinner yesterday--remember the fractal peaks and whorls that seemed otherworldly?
  • That dream you had the other night...wow. 
For those with artistic inclinations, it can sometimes be challenging to organize all these ideas into a coherent vision that translates into our medium of choice. I have days where I flit from one project to another like a hummingbird. It's thrilling to have ideas popping into your head rapid-fire, but it can also be exhausting. Learning to take a deep breath, focus, and hone in on one vision...well, it ain't easy. Sometimes we have to be willing to let some go in order to fully realize others.


This week's pair of earrings is a metaphor for that attempt to control--or better yet, to be at peace with--that chaos. Any metalsmith will tell you that reticulating silver is an exercise in...blind luck. I created each charm by carefully taking a piece of silver through the process of reticulation with repeated heating and quenching to obtain the crumpled topographic texture that you see. I quite literally had (almost) no control over what the melting metal was doing under the torch. Half the time when I reticulate silver I'm just hoping and praying that I get a piece that's interesting and usable. These two charms ended up being completely asymmetrical yet beautifully matched--a little miracle! 

 
I filed off the rough edges, oxidized to bring out the contrast in texture, sealed to protect the finish, and hung them from some of my long sterling silver ear wires. A much needed personal reminder that we must strive to both control and flow with the chaos. Too much of one and not the other, and we get lost down the wormhole.

Happy Wednesday,
Nikki
LoveRoot on Etsy

In Space - Outer Space - Out of Space -

Full of Space

I feel as though I haven't been here in a long time. It's a good feeling to realize how much a part of my life this group has become. I've been with EE a year now. Time it does fly. I hope all of you had a peaceful Thanksgiving, and that you are now pulling out the Santa hats and getting in the groove. My husband does the decorating. Our home has become very festive this year. Now that he's retired, he has much more time to "play." He even has put up a pretty good-sized oval of track for the Lionel Trains he received as a young child. I love that. Movin' on. . .

So! I have another new shop for you! FullofSpace is the name of the shop where I purchased the focal beads for today's earrings. Once again, a good friend, Susan Delphine Delaney, is responsible for leading me to the shop. She has sent me so many inspirational Pins and leads that have led to real ideas and wonderful beads! Perhaps some of you have already found it as Carolina, the owner of the shop, has received a good number of sales since I purchased my beads on the 21st of November. I was surprised when I popped in last night to see all of the beads I had missed, but happy for her that she had been found by others. Her work is unusual, and I'm drawn to a lot of it. 

So here are the earrings I made. The beads came in a set of 8.


The hoop is not a heavier gauge and soldered hoop. It was made out of the same 20 gauge wire I continued on to the top, using the bottom strand for a few wraps at the top of the hoop, and then coming down one side. I did harden the hoop so that it's not wimpy. I did that by hand with flat-nosed pliers. I found that squaring off the bottom of the hoop made the beads feel more at home. 

The red bead is actually a natural, not-dyed, Red Sandalwood seed. I'm pretty sure I talked about this before, but if you missed it, these seeds are amazing in their color and gloss. I purchase them from TheFickleBead. And then of course the almost always present in my jewelry these days, hand-dyed bone beads, these in soft grey, are purchased from DyedBoneBead

These were a lot of fun to work on. I'm just finishing up a necklace with the rest of the cone beads. I love it. It's not listed yet; should be in the shop in the next couple of days. 

Thank you once again for taking the time to visit with us. We always appreciate it. Always grateful for feedback, too. Thanks so much! See you in a couple of weeks. :)

norbel
SheFliesAgain




Monday, December 5, 2016

Mono Wheelers



Art beads:
Pale grey polymer clay rondelles with  black dots - Barbara Bechtel of SecondSurf/Floridity

Other beads and components (from bottom to top):
Rust red greek ceramic cog rondelles
Copper spacers
Copper rings
Thin copper bands
Oxidized copper wire (G26)
Seed beads
Copper jump rings
Handmade oxidized copper earrings hooks


All my best,
Malin de Koning


Please contact me if you are interested in any pair of earrings that aren't yet listed in my Etsy Shop (sometimes my listings procedure is a little delayed).




Friday, December 2, 2016

We're All Ears :: December Inspiration

Welcome to the 2nd Annual Use Your Leftovers challenge! 

After stuffing ourselves for Thanksgiving in the United States, as well as getting prepped for holiday open houses, craft sales, gallery openings and the sort, it is likely that you might have a leftover problem. 

Beading leftovers are no stranger to me. My studio looks like you pulled open one of those giant crackers and out popped all manner of beads, findings, leather, cord, clay, wire, metal and the like. When a bead rolls off my table (which they frequently do), I rarely bother to find out where it went. I just keep right on going. There is always another right there waiting.

If you are like me, then you have multiple projects happening at all times (and in my case, in various rooms of my house, much to the chagrin of my darling husband). When complete, the resulting project gets buried by the next one...literally. I imagine my studio is like an archaeological dig...strata of projects past are discovered as you dig deeper into the ever-growing pile. Every so often I feel the need to sort through it and {attempt} to put it away. But more likely than not, I am overstuffed from my marathon creating and I just push back from the beading table, vowing to tidy it up tomorrow.

There is only one thing to do with a bead feast craftermath like that: USE YOUR LEFTOVERS.

So in the spirit of the holidays, I challenge you to play the  
Leftover Transformation Game 
with me. Are you ready to play?

Make your own Keep Calm poster at http://www.keepcalm-o-matic.co.uk

First, take a picture of the craftermath from your bead feast. I know it won't be pretty! I expect that it will be littered with beady crumbs of all sorts. But think of those bits as delicious morsels waiting for your inspiration to strike!

Here is the picture of my craftermath from 2015 (oh, it's real people! And it hasn't really changed much in the last 12 months!):
The working corner of my studio room...if you can get to the table from all the boxes and bins behind it barricading it in!
Next, find a divided box, bin, baggies or small bowls and go through the stash on your festive table picking out coordinated sets that you can use to create earrings. They don't need to be same... this is a good time to practice asymmetrical earrings! Put these pieces together with ear wires, chain, findings, etc in each division of the box. I have found that a mini-muffin tin is a great way to corral these bits! Work quickly! Don't take too much time, just focus on filling the sections.Think of this like your staging area for Leftover Transformation.

Here is my tray from 2015...

Now, kick your creating into high gear! Consider this a Quickfire challenge...Put on some fun music...Set a timer (challenge yourself to see how many pairs of earrings you can create in an hour...or 15 minutes... or make one pair a day for 7 days... whatever works for you!). DON'T THINK ABOUT IT TOO MUCH (leftovers are supposed to be easy!), just make it happen. Sometimes the best things happen when you are on a deadline and you can't afford the time to overthink! 

Finally, share your bounty of tasty Leftover Transformation creations on Friday, December 16th with the blog party right hereI would be surprised if you didn't make multiple pairs of earrings from this exercise. The bonus is that you will now have a ready-made collection of quick gifts for stocking stuffers, teachers, co-workers and friends just in time for celebrating all the winter holidays and festivities! (Or a different pair for you to wear each day until the new year!)

In the spirit of giving, I will offer a giveaway of a surprise earring design grab bag of beads and components, valued at over $40. But in order to be chosen, you must participate in the blog hop starting on December 16th! Winner will be chosen at random from all eligible entries on December 23rd (that will give you one full week to make your Leftover Transformation magic happen!).

Let's get this leftover party started...tell your friends to join in the fun, too!

 

Thursday, December 1, 2016

Glide And Soar

I recently purchased 2 pairs of wonderful polymer clay feathers from Helena Benkoczka of Areto.  They were my first purchase from Helena and they turned out to be even prettier in  person than they appeared online.  I was so happy when I received them that I set right out to design a pair of earrings with the feathers. I forgot to take a picture of the feathers before I made the earrings, but here is a picture of the second pair that I received.  Cool, huh?
At fall Bead Fest I got some very cool chain that I was dying to use. I love that each of the links have such detailed textures.  My new feathers were the perfect excuse to try out an idea that had been floating around in my mind, since I got the chain.

I disassembled part of the chain and used two of the stick shaped links.
I very carefully bent the sticks into U shapes - I learned to shape them slowly and gently after I snapped the first stick link in half!
I attached the U shaped links to the feathers using some of the jump rings from the chain and then I used some smaller jump rings, from my stash, to connect the U shaped sticks to the ear wires. 
These feather earrings are so lightweight, that I picture them soaring upward on a gust of wind and then gliding gently back down to earth.
The Glide And Soar earrings are available in my shop.

Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Cathedral


I've had these pretty Bails for awhile and decided to tweak them a bit and put a beautiful Glass Headpin through them top them with a coordinating bead and they turned in to beautiful earrings.

I think these were the first pair I made and they sold at the last show I did along with a few other pair I didn't get photographed.  But I dug around my stash and found a variety of bails I could use for this technique.








Kristi

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Brick and Mortar

Once again, I'd like to welcome our lovely friend and wonderful designer, Meridy Migchelbrink, of TwoTreesStudio, and thank her as well for giving us her time to design and create these earrings special for today. I love Meridy's style, her work; she is also one of the loveliest women you will ever meet. She works color expertly! If you have not yet, a walk through her shop is joyful.
norbel

I love well-crafted, beautiful, and whimsical earring components, so when I found these beautiful, playful enamels by Marlene Kazor Quigley of MarkazoI knew I wanted to make something with them! 

The enamels begged for RUSTIC, so I went looking in my stash to see what beads I might have that would work with them (I’m trying to cut back on my bead spending—yes, you may laugh now, I’ll wait).  After no immediate success, I remembered that I still had a pair of Leese Mahoney’s, GlassByLeese, gorgeous crusty-rustic cones in a perfect shade of green. 












So I started to play.  I needed a bit more red, so I pulled out some chunky 10mm red horn discs, which looked great with the cones and the enamels.  I also wanted motion, so I made small wire-wrapped dangles in red and olive green and hung them from matching green niobium jump rings (thank you, chainmailling habit—I always have plenty of rings to choose from!).  Since I wanted to use my signature fiber-wrapped earring technique, once I got the cones and horn discs onto the linen cording, I had to weave the cording through the holes in the enamels AND through the rings, making sure the linen was wrapped tight enough around the area between the enamels and the beads (so that all was secure) before I started the decorative wraps that drape over the tops of the rings.  

When I was happy with the look of the earrings, I trimmed the cord ends and made backings from red handmade paper and glued them to the backs of the enamels to hide the cord ends.  
 
And the finished product.  Pretty, whimsical, swingy, and definitely fun. 

And they’re even a tiny bit Christmas-y—which hadn’t even occurred to me until I had finished them!  ;)


Thank you for inviting me to sit in here at EE again—I always enjoy being here with you all.  J

Meridy Migchelbrink
Two Trees Studio on Etsy  -- 
Two Trees Studio on Facebook  --