Friday, February 24, 2017

It's a Chain Thing!

 Almost all of my earrings will have some chain (mostly wrapped around beads) on them.  It's a very fiddly job but the end result makes it worthwhile.  Here are some I made this week.

Polymer leaves by Helen Backhouse and lampwork beads by Maryse Fritzsch-Thillens, wrapped with brass chain.

Polymer leaves (by Helen Backhouse) and Czech glass wrapped with silver plated brass and raw brass ball chain.

Polymer leaves (by Helen Backhouse) and lampwork beads (by Maryse Fritzsch-Thillens) wrapped with cup chain.

These are destined for my next online show in the Artist Spotlight fb group on 27th of Feb.  See you again in a few weeks time.  <3

Suhana <3 xxx

My Etsy shop: Buttoned Up Beads

Thursday, February 23, 2017


My son Jesse is flying in from Denver tomorrow for a short visit, and I'm madly preparing the house of course, so I needed to make this week's post simpler and shorter than usual.

For this post I thought I'd try making some "Boho--Whoa!" (or Maximum Boho) earrings using some components I'd been hoarding.  I chose beautiful teal lampies by Beth Mellor of Beeboo and gorgeous textured ceramic pieces by Karen Totten of Starry Road Studio.  I added coordinating Czech glass flowers and discs and copper beads, perfect to make what I saw in my mind's eye...

Boho Whoa! earrings can be found here.  

For me, these pretties are definitely maximum, beautiful Boho, and I had a wonderful time making them. Thanks so much for looking, and I'll see you in a couple of weeks!  


Wednesday, February 22, 2017

The Kingfisher

In the northern English village where I live we have an area of land we call The Wetlands. Up to 10 or so years ago, it was home to three Victorian working reservoirs which provided water to an extensive surrounding area, including a huge textile factory about a mile away. That closed in the late 1980's and eventually the reservoirs were decommissioned. Last week they were given over to the village to be kept as a nature reserve in perpetuity.
Home to thousands of birds including black swans, canada geese, many species of waterfowl and passing curlews (we had over 500 last year), it's a real little oasis in our increasingly busy lives. The view of the sunset up there across the Fylde Coast is spectacular.
What's this got to do with earrings, I hear you ask?
Well, one of the birds I would dearly love to spot up there would be a kingfisher. I love the bright colours - turquoise and orange, darting through the trees and flashing beak first into the water after a fish. 
In lieu of seeing the real thing (maybe one day?) I used the colours of the kingfisher to inspire this week's earrings.  

The triangular ceramic components are easily identifiable; one of my favourite ladies Jana Bliznakova. Cheerful and bright, just as she is! The cute enamel flower beadcaps were from Susan Kennedy, and the greek metal textured patina rings are from Smitten Beads.

Sitting here, although the weather is grey today, I can feel Spring is definitely on it's way!

See you in two weeks
Lindsay x



Tuesday, February 21, 2017

The Ancient Tlingit People

Hello. I hope this day finds you healthy and well. 

I have always been and still am interested in all things ancient, indigenous American peoples, and other cultures around the world. And I love making jewelry that connects in any way to an expression of any of those things.

A shop I recently discovered, and love, makes, among other things, white and yellow bronze elements that depict images inspired by ancient Egypt, Africa, the Mimbres, and the Tlingit. The pieces are cast in the U.S. from their original masters and molds. The shop's name is that of its owner, RobertWGilmore. And once again, I am hooked!

My earrings today are made with Robert's "Tlingit Whales." The Tlingit are indigenous people living, past and present, in the Pacific Northwest, Canada and U.S., including Alaska. Their art is unique, as are Robert's elements. They are extremely detailed, beautifully made, thin and lightweight.
earrings available here

I had a specific color in mind I wanted to use with these and thinking through my beads, paddling through some of them, there wasn't a single pair that fit what my mind was stuck on. 
So I pulled out the old polymer clay and made a handful of beads. 

Squares, rectangles, rounds, some textured, some not, and in the end the plain old round beads worked best for me. I used several colors of acrylic paints to get the color I wanted, a vibrant, vivid, turquoise blue. That was to be the only high-contrast in the earrings. As an aside, if the beads appear to be too large for the design, they don't look that way in person; it must be the way they are angled in the photos???? I used Mykonos patina spacers and square brass-plated spacers on both sides of the polymer bead, something I don't often do, the same thing on either side of the bead, but it was the right look. 

earrings available here

The dangles below are 3mm Czech glass beads, and the intent with those was to elongate the design, and not to create a high-contrast to the whales. They are so perfect in and of themselves that I really did not want to take away from them at all. However, the beads behind the whale are a bit more colorful to create interest when viewed from the side when the full face of the whale is not visible.

The next two photos are of earrings I made previously with Robert's elements. Both of those have sold so they're not available, but I wanted to show them to you. Robert's bronze pieces were inspired by the Mimbres. Mimbres first referred to beautiful and distinctive pottery found in southwestern New Mexico, and eventually became the name used to describe the people who had created the pottery.

That concludes our history lesson for today. 
Class Dismissed!

As always, I sincerely appreciate the time you take to view our posts. I hope your day continues, unfolds, and ends with peace of mind, no matter what occurs.
Norbel Marolla
You can find me on Facebook and Instagram

Sunday, February 19, 2017

Rock And Chain

Art Beads:
Facetted polymer clay rocks by Barbara Bechtel of SecondSurf/Floridity.

Other components:
Brass chain and findings

I really like the three-dimensional shapes that are created when this type
of chain hangs vertically and freely like this. I lack the words in English
to properly explain what I mean, but I hope you understand from looking
at the picture above.

I am so lucky to still have quite a few of Barbara Bechtel's components
in my stash. She is/was one of my favourite art bead artisans. A wiz with
the polymer clay. Inventive and groundbreaking. Check out those faceted
rocks. She was the first one who started making them some years ago.
Now we see many using that style, and in different materials. Nowadays
she is focusing on her art carreer more than the jewelry side.

These earrings are not for sale at the moment. They will be worn on
stage by one of the singers in my son's band.


All my best,

Friday, February 17, 2017

We're All Ears :: February Reveal :: Patchwork

Hello earring peeps!
I hope you found some inspiration in the layers of color and texture that I shared two weeks ago. I think that my whole life is a patchwork of sorts, filled with a random mixture of colors, textures, patterns and shapes.The cool thing about patchwork, mishmash, jumble or potpourri approach is that anything goes!

Usually with these challenges I try to challenge myself. This month I set out to adapt a look that I have been working on for other jewelry pieces into some components for earrings.

Introducing: The HodgePodge Collection

These are made from a variety of canes and blends that I have made myself in my polymer clay work. To make these I have to make larger sheets that are filled with a crazy mish-mash of cane slieces and polymer clay veneers. Then I use these special micro cutters that I found (meant for leather work) to make the shapes. These are just the initial pairs that I have created, but I know that I will make other shapes and color palettes. Lots of possibilities here!

I decided that for the earrings I would select a few of my favorites, but I wanted to keep the focus on the components. Not long ago I spotted a video of Heather Powers for her Bead Table Wednesday where she talked about making your own ear wires. I know I should really get in the habit of making my own as it really ups your game and makes your jewelry really unique, but I admit that I am quite lazy! I would much rather work on the beads and components and by the time I get to making my own findings I am ready to move on. Still, it really is quite simple if you have the right gauge wire...oh and a good wire rounder tool to make sure the wire ends are smooth. I used 20 gauge sterling silver wire for all of these. I experimented with different shapes and added details like some faceted hematite beads and hammered spirals. I like that these ear wires I make can complement the materials and shape of the components.

 I really like the graduated sizes of most of the shapes in the set. I think it will be fun to experiment with drops that are different sizes and adding in other beads and metal for a more layered effect. I think I will have fun making more of these components this spring, and even offering a few for sale. If you are interested, let me know.

Now it is your turn! Let's see what sort of mish-mash, jumbled up, patchwork style you created this month.

Thursday, February 16, 2017

Escape to a Tropical Paradise

Heyyyyy..... it's been awhile! I'm so happy to finally feel well enough to make an appearance here.

I've missed you all very much. My battle isn't over, but at least I'm making enough progress to start hanging out with you here again, and that makes me VERY happy!

For the past 9 months, you could say that both my hubby and I have been 'surviving' life rather than 'living' life. As we were watching the finale of the Alone tv show last week, one of the contestants was talking about the difference between being in survival mode vs living life mode.

That's how I feel. I've been in survival mode for 9 months now, and attempting to insert a bit of 'living life' here and there - and to me, that means getting creative again!

So I'm thrilled to say that I've been able to make some Mokume Gane Polymer Clay earrings components such as these, recently:

I love the look of Mokume Gane, don't you? It kind of reminds me of Australian Opals with the layers and colors. I just get giddy inside when I see these :)

The metal leaf (gold in this case) and various layers of translucent clay and colored clay blend together to make a unique rustic chic look that I love. It's random and once I apply several coats of clear varnish, the layers and colors just pop.

My mother-in-law and I were talking that we'd love to go on a trip to Hawaii (she's been there, I haven't) one day when we're all feeling a lot better (gotta have a goal in life, right?), so I made these earrings thinking of escaping to Hawaii:

Rustic Chic "Escape to a Tropical Paradise" Earrings, featuring my handmade Mokume Gane polymer clay components, with a rustic messy 14kt gold-filed wire wrap, Swarovski Crystals, gorgeous Czech Glass beads from my friend Jac at Sugabeads (she has awesome supplies!), and set on hypoallergenic Titanium ear hooks.

You can see these earrings and more of my handmade jewelry components in My Garden Of Love Etsy Shop HERE.

Thanks so much for stopping by! Have a wonderful weekend!

Nathalie Lesage
My Garden Of Love on Etsy
The Crafty Tribe on Etsy