Thursday, April 26, 2018

In Praise of Color! 💗

I enjoy designing and making jewelry for a lot of reasons.  I love following the spark of a creative idea and enjoy learning and using techniques that allow me to make new kinds of things.  I enjoy the feel of wire-wrapping and, even more, the back-and-forth rhythm of a knotting project.  I also love scrolling through my favorite haunts on the net for new art beads and components (well, who doesn't?).

But, even though it's sometimes hard to point to exactly what inspires me to design something, it's almost always color or a colorway that grabs me first.  Color is powerful:  It energizes us, soothes us, nourishes the part of our being that knows and responds to beauty.  

I've had a wonderful relationship over the years with the talented jewelry artisan Helena Benkoczka of Areto Beads and Jewellery, who makes gorgeous jewelry and components in multiple media.  But I've particularly loved working with her vibrantly colorful polymer clay earring charms, and I thought for today's blog post I'd introduce my newest pair of earrings made with Helena's components as well as share a few of my earlier earrings made with her colorful earring beads.  It's a Feast of Color for the Eyes!

Blue-Sky Days

With components as colorful
as Helena's (including these, left), my urge is to really go with it by using beads (lampwork, glass seed beads, and copper), fiber, and even ear wires that play up the colors, in this case, the orange and teal. 

Pink Champagne
These earrings (above) were made with Helena's teardrop components, a shape I grew
to love because they're perfect for adding colored rings and bead dangles 
for movement and even more color.  These are some of my favorites. 💗 

Fruit and Vine

These teardrops (left) are such a blast of color, and the earrings were SO much fun to make.  With seed beads on top and dangling from the purple aluminum rings, Czech Saturn beads, and little lampwork glass slices in a grassy green to match the waxed cord, and green niobium ear wires.

Colored Feathers, Colored Stone

This pair (right), more recent, starts with a vibrant pair of Helena's teardrops that have so many colors that I chose just two colors to use in my earrings:  purple and magenta (magenta and purple lampwork beads, purple Czech rondelles, magenta cord, purple rings, and tiny magenta seed beads).

Summertime Mandalas
The vibrant floral earrings above are brand-new--I couldn't resist the lush colors of Helena's gorgeous mandala components!  I hung lots of little beads from sterling silver rings, including pink agate rounds, tiny faceted pacific blue apatite rounds, silver rondelles, faceted dyed purple jade rounds, and turquoise blue magnesite rounds, finishing each beaded dangle with tiny sterling silver drops.  They have a Summer of Love sort of vibe, I think.  ;) 

Thanks for reading, everyone!  I'll be back again in a couple of weeks.  💗


Tuesday, April 24, 2018

In Praise of the Humble Seed Bead

The humble seed bead. A staple of every jewellery maker, but are they always given the credit they deserve? I'm not a beadweaver, and thoroughly admire the patience of those who are, but I do like to use them judiciously in my designs. They're marvellous for adding texture, picking up colours and creating an echo. This week I'm looking at a few ways I've been using them lately.

The first pair feature dramatic lampwork shells by Joanne Joyce. I've been buying beads from Joanne for almost 10 years now; she lives not too far from me in Lancashire. I love the colours in the frit she used, and the seed beads on black irish waxed linen cord were perfect to highlight them. The textured ceramics are by HappyFallout .

Next - simple matte black seed beads emphasise the black in these fabulous leopardskin  jasper beads. This is a pair I made to complement a bracelet - so not too complex.

     And the last - like peas in a pod - wired down some rustic, organic leaves by Helen Backhouse.

                                           How do you use yours? Experiment a little!

                  See you again in two weeks, and I hope the weather is treating you gently.  
                                                                    Lindsay x

                                                                My Etsy shop
                                                            My Facebook page

Finally Spring

Hello. I do hope this finds all of you well. 

With sunny days and temps reaching aaaaaallllll the way to 55F -- yeah, I know, but it's all we have!! -- Spring has finally come to Southeastern Lower Michigan. Spring is such a rejuvenating time of year. Truth be told, Fall is my favorite, but I'd never turn my back on a lovely Spring day. It seems to be all about renewal. That's a good feeling.

I have two pairs of earrings to show you today, both made when Spring was still an abstract thought, with snow on the ground in April. 🙂 All just a memory now. 

Flower Bobble Earrings
The first started with Petra Carpreau's Bobble Flower Drops in an "Oriential Princess" glaze. I paired them with columns cut from rusted tin tiles and given a bit of a "whitewash" with hints of pink. Green translucent glass beads and oxidized brass accents are strung on waxed Irish linen and hang from soldered brass metal rings. The backs of the tin are felted to give them a bit more substance and a nice finish. 

The second pair includes ceramics by Andrea Salkowe of JosephineBeads. Floral decals with a retro feel are paired with Natural Stones of Peach Moonstone, Rustic Blue Watermelon Tourmaline and rondelles of "Nephrite Jade." Small blue glass beads accompany the semi-precious stones, all wrapped with handmade oxidized copper ball-tip headpins. Simple but not. . . . they're really beautiful. 

As an aside, I think ball-tip headpins were one of the things I learned to make that really changed things when I first started making jewelry. Very easy, cost effective, and great design elements. 😉

Flowers & Stones

Thank you all so much for popping in today to give us a read. I hope you are all enjoying the best Spring ever, and that your Summer will be much of the same, filled with Creativity and Joy!

Thank you!
Norbel Marolla
She Flies Again

Friday, April 20, 2018

We're All Ears :: April Reveal :: Paradise Calling

I'm back!

The Bead Cruise was such an amazing trip. The weather was absolutely perfect, the vistas were absolutely breathtaking and the beading was absolutely fun! There were a few mishaps, delays and reroutings on the way home, and then I got stuck in Milwaukee overnight because the weather where I live included at least 24" of snow that fell (is it really April?! It looks more like January out there!), and now that I am back I have been hit with a bad head cold. But that doesn't diminish the great memories that I made.

We saw several ports of call, including Labadee, Haiti (above).... exotic flower and wildlife preserve....

...and sunsets at sea.

When we were on the ship out at sea was the time that we took classes. One of my half day classes was with Heather Powers in a polymer clay caned bead making class called Tropical Leaves. Here are the four beads that I made (which is saying something for me, since those who know will find it interesting that I would follow directions!).

So since I haven't felt well, I haven't had time to do much. But I did manage to make one pair of earrings. I was inspired by the petals of the tropical hibiscus flower and the large variety and shapes of the actual tropical leaves that were everywhere.

Are you intrigued by how I made these polymer clay leaf canes? You are in luck! This cane-making tutorial is something that anyone can do, and Miss Heather has conveniently put all the details into an online course that you can sign up for here. I would highly recommend this class.

These will be a great remembrance for me of a wonderful once-in-a-lifetime vacation. Now I will kick back with a margarita and enjoy the tropical earrings that you made.

Time to show off your tropical earrings! Let's see what you made!

Wednesday, April 18, 2018

Retro Temple

Hello, Beady Peeps!

I was in the mood for something different, so here we go...

Rustic, distressed patina pewter charms by Inviciti. I remember when I bought  these because I loved them so much I purchased multiples! When I like something, I tend to REALLLY like it a lot!!  lol

Vincent and Nooma always come up with interesting and exquisite new finishes.  I wanted to play on that touch of burnt orange they subtlety added so I paired them with these lovely rare carved vintage Celluloid beads from the 40's. Then, gave them an added pop of color with another pair of green carved vintage pieces also from the 1940's.

I love the multicultural vibe of these earrings and hope you do too!

Loralee xo

Tuesday, April 17, 2018

A sense of direction

At this particular time in my life I feel I could use a stronger sense of direction. And a stronger aim. A kind of "just go for it". I suspect my subconciousness has had an effect on my design. As if it wants to push me a little harder.

In these earrings I've used beads and components that have been waiting for many years to come to use. Things I love but haven't been able to combine well with other things. I hope I managed with these earrings.

I think they would be suitable for for instance an opening night for a furniture designer, or perhaps a fancier dinner party with close friends.

Ingredients (from bottom to top):
Bronze drop bead
Green magnesite triangles (possibly partially man made)
Lovely white magnesite squares
Matte golden colour covered lucite squares (super light weight)

Strung on doubled 26G oxidized copper wire
Handmade earring hooks in oxidized copper

All copper is free from traces of allergenic metals such as nickel for instance.

All my best,

Sunday, April 15, 2018

Hoops and hoops

This will be short and sweet from me. I'm still playing with wrapping lots of wire. More fabulous Petra Carpreau ceramic connectors. These have multiple hoops, and the glazes she uses are just beautiful. I think this first pair have a glaze called herb garden. How cool is that! I added some oval and textured brass hoops, and bound the multiple hoops with lots of copper wire and silver seed beads

This next pair have a gorgeous golden glaze, and I added multiple brass hoops to these -in varying states of oxidation -matt gold to dark black, and those hoops at the bottom are bound with copper wire and gold seed beads.
Really hope you like them. See you next time 
Sue x

Friday, April 13, 2018

Blinging it up!

I'd just finished a show and wasn't in any condition to start making new earrings for this blog.  I'm a bit burned out to be honest.  I've been meaning to use some of my husband's painted resin charms for a while.  But whenever I picked them up my mind would just go blank. These earrings below were intended for the my show but I'd only partially made them up - I could not figure out how to finish them. I literally picked them up this morning (in between attending to very needy kids) and had another go.  I realised I was trying to over-complicate the designs which was why they weren't looking right in my previous efforts.  I would love to have made a few more pairs but I didn't think I could delay publishing the blog any longer.

 So here they are in their group shot, all blinged up - just the way I love them.

Here I've painted the brass caps in rose gold to match the outlines of the petals in the charms.  I left the caps on top of the charms raw to break up the colours - it's less in your face this way (I think).  I added purple cup chain on the end holes of the connectors, followed by antiqued chain and silver plated in the middle to give it a nice mixed metal look.

I kept things a bit more simple in this pair (less chain).  I painted the caps in amethyst but left the caps that went underneath those, raw - thought it would look nice with the gold peeking out from under the painted caps.  I added turquoise cup chain and silver plated brass chain to the brass connectors and added brass stars and glass flowers on top to complete the look.

Hope you like them.  I'm going to list them on Etsy shortly.  Have a lovely weekend.  See you soon.

Suhana <3

My Etsy shop: Buttoned Up Beads

Thursday, April 12, 2018

Glass Mosaics

It's good to be back here at EE!  Things have been hectic around Casa Meridy for a while now, but I finished these color-drenched new earrings just a couple of hours ago (as I write this on Wednesday afternoon) and wanted to share them with you. 

I'd had these beautiful Cathleen Zaring (Blue Hare Art Wear) charms for a few months, but it wasn't until yesterday that a design idea came to mind.  I probably would never have remembered the gorgeous lampies used here if they hadn't just happened to be on my work table, in a bag paired with something else.  I'd had the beads for quite a few years and had never found the right design for them, but they sure make magic with Cathleen's charms--serendipity!  ❤️

I wire-wrapped the beads and charms together with some pretty copper bead caps, little iris Czech rondelles, and tiny orange-gold Swarovski bicones.  Given the rich colors and the lush detail of both main components, keeping everything else simple seemed right. 

And:  I don't know what happened to March, but clearly I missed a posting here one Thursday and didn't even realize it until much later.  To quote the great Thomas Dolby, "My brain is like a sieve."  My humblest apologies!  ❤️

Thanks so much for reading.  I'll see you in a couple of weeks--have a wonderful Thursday! 

Wednesday, April 11, 2018

Forever Amber

I clearly recall reading 'Forever Amber' by Kathleen Winsor in my teens; it became an international bestseller, spawning a whole new generation of girls called Amber!

Abandoned on the streets of London, pregnant and penniless, 16 year old Amber St Clare manages by her wits, beauty, and courage to climb to the highest position a woman can achieve in Restoration England - that of mistress to Charles II.

                    Thank goodness that isn't the height of ambition for women these days!

Seriously though, this week's earrings all feature amber. Amber is fossilized tree resin, appreciated for its colour and natural beauty since Neolithic times. It comes in a range of shades from sunny yellow to dark and treacly. I love them all. The first pair is rustic - in mid shade, with rhyolith discs and copper shell segments by Helen Backhouse.

Next we have the sunny yellow with shimmery lampwork wing headpins by Juliette Mullet and faceted citrine. The rose gold findings add to the warmth of this pair - downright pretty.

And last, my favourites, looking ancient with roman glass and polymer clay vessels by Jon Burgess.

The amber nuggets and the citrine I used here are from Sylvia Stungo's shop Fizzy Elements; a real treasure trove of colour and texture.

 Hope you like them. I've also used them as three of my Instagram posts for the #100DayProject - #100DaysofArt which has just begun - are you joining in?
The top pair are gone but the other two will find their way into my Etsy shop over the next couple of days; and I'll see you again in two weeks time.

                                                                       Lindsay x

                                                               My Facebook page

                                                                  My etsy shop

Tuesday, April 10, 2018

Happy Tuesday

Hello peeps,
Wishing you all a happy Tuesday!

Beaded beads, Rebecca Anderson, the curious beadshop
Lampwork glass beads,  Raida Disbrow, Havana Beads
Copper ear wires, Lucy Haslam, Faerystones
Wood, Czech glass, brass charms

Thanks for watching. See you next month.

Friday, April 6, 2018

We're All Ears :: April Challenge :: Paradise Calling

I am leaving today on a jet plane for a very important trip!

I am headed down to Fort Lauderdale, FL today as the first leg on a once-in-a-lifetime journey. I am excited to be joining my best friend Heather Powers of Humblebeads on her BEAD CRUISE! This is the 13th sailing of that cruise and I have always, ALWAYS, wanted to go, but it was never the right time nor circumstance. Well, at the end of last year there was a cancellation, and I knew that this would be my year!

I can't wait to put my {freshly pedicured} toes in the sand, sip a tropical drink or two and gaze out at the bluest blue as we bob around in the Caribbean Sea for a week. We will have ports of call in Labadee, Haiti and Falmouth, Jamaica and Cozumel, Mexico including shore excursions ranging from a tropical paradise cove, the Dunn's River Falls and cooking with tequila and chocolate on the beach. In between those ports, we will be beading up a storm on the high seas! I am taking two metals classes with Tracy Stanley (whom I adore and is the most awesome teacher ever) and one polymer clay class with Heather. I am sure that I will have a marvelous time, make a ton of new friends, learn something new and come home with all sorts of inspiration!

To that end, you will have to excuse me if I indulge my tropical fever in selecting this month's challenge. And it makes me even happier to see these pictures since we just got dumped by about a foot of snow the last two days! So throw on some island music, whip up a frothy drink and pull out all your seashells, sand dollars, ocean and hothouse flowers for a little beading escapism! Even if you can't join me on this trip of a lifetime, you can still dream in tropical colors, right?

[Photo Credit :: via Unsplash :: clockwise from top left :: Gaddafi Rusli :: Ren Ran :: Pedro Lastra :: David Straight]

Here's to sunny days and sandy toes!
See you back here on April 20th for the reveal!

Wednesday, April 4, 2018

Lush Branches

Handmade ceramic branch carvings, by Foxpaws Beautiful textures, facets and shading are shown in these stunning beads!

I wanted to create a bit of dramatic mood with these unique pieces, so I added lush vintage glass pearls and golden druzy beads.  

These are up there with some of my all time favorite earrings; hope you like them as well! 

Thank you for stopping by today

Loralee xo

Tuesday, April 3, 2018

Semi precious and semi asymetric

Carved Honey Quartz
Orange Sodalite (Matte) Rough Face Freeform Flat Oval
Super glittery hematite colored glass faceted ovals

Silver headpins
Heavily oxidized copper wire
Handmade heavily oxidized Sterling Silver Earring hooks

All my best,

Sunday, April 1, 2018

Oodles of wire

I'm writing this on Easter Sunday, so I hope you have all had a good Easter weekend. I am looking forward to a week off from my day job -catching up with jobs at home, spending time with family and a couple of days by the coast. Bliss.

I had a showcase over on The Jewellery Show on Facebook on Friday, so have had a busy time creating for that. I wanted to show you these designs -all fairly simple, but involving oodles of wire!
These first two pairs have beautiful long hoop ceramic droplets by the ever fabulous Petra Carpreau -gorgeous turquiose blue and rustic gold. The blue pair have antique silver plated textured brass spacers by Anna Chernyke and a row of pretty silver seeds, with sterling silver wires 

This second pair have silver seeds and antiqued brass spacers wrapped onto the hoops, and brass earwires. Love the rustic, cracked glaze on these. Delicious.

Thought I'd turn these ceramic connectors (also by Petra) upside down and use them as a frame for more wire wrapping. More silver seeds, and some tiny english cut beads with silver grey thorns by Smitten Beads
The last pair have gone, but the first two pairs are available  in my shop Petra has just had an update in her shop -do check it out. Such fabulous work.

See you in a couple of weeks!