Monday, March 31, 2014

March AJE Component of the Month ~ Moth Wings

Caroline Dewison of Blueberribeads sent us some gorgeous porcelain pieces!  We had a choice of moths or bees!

Here is what I created...I wanted to offset the beautiful gold metallic glaze with some pops of bright color, but decided to stay fairly monochromatic, so chose teal.  I rounded up some Czech glass beads, then went through my stash of art beads and found a pretty borosilicate lampwork bead by Julie Delaney, and a lovely ceramic swirl bead by our own Karen Totten.  I remembered some pyrite nuggets and briolettes that I had and wire-wrapped them into the necklace with brass wire.

I decided to create a hook clasp and just use one of the component's links for the loop!

There you have it!  Simple, but bright and beautiful!  I had been holding on to these pyrite briolettes for a while...I think they work perfectly with this!

Sorry for the drab was rainy and gross yesterday and I waited until this morning to take photos, but didn't have enough light!

Now, go forth and check out all the other gorgeous goodies created by this month's design team!!

Guest Artists
Helen Simon – Helen's had to drop out due to a hand injury - get well soon Helen!

The AJE Team
Caroline Dewison – 
Melissa Meman – (you are here!)
Rebekah Payne -

Monday, March 3, 2014

AJE February Component of the Month - Fluttering Hearts

I am so honored to be part of the group of talented, kind and generous jewelry artists at Art Jewelry Elements!  One of my favorite things about being part of that team is participating in these Component of the Month is so much fun to receive such gorgeous, unique pieces from these wonderful artists.  I have to say it is sort of humbling when it comes your turn to be on the 'component provider' end!

For February, I decided to offer hearts that I hand-cut from copper, shaped, then torch-fire enameled. The finishing touch was the addition of colorful glass frit.

I was trying hard to think outside the box this month and had something on my mind that I wanted to do...

I wanted to create a sort of  "milagro" type of sacred heart and did a search on Pinterest.  Wow, lots of inspiration there!  So I set to work.  I did some sketches, decided on one, then sawed it from copper.

I was going to leave it bare, with perhaps some texture, but changed my mind, and covered it with molten solder and embedded little brass flowers in.  I riveted the heart onto piece using balled copper headpins which also create a pin clasp in the back.  Not showing the back this time as I am not especially happy with it right now and am going to work on it some more with some other ideas I have for future pieces.

I chipped the heart as well when I was attaching it, but I just filed it down and patina'ed it with some liver of sulfur and left it...I think it adds to the "vintage" feel of the piece!

Below is our team of designers for this month.  I can't wait to see what everyone created!  How about you!

Lori Bowring Michaud 
Kathy Lindemer
Kim Bender 

AJE Team...
Melissa Meman
Jenny Davies-Reazor
Rebekah Payne
Caroline Dewison
Kristen Stevens
Keirsten Giles
Sue Kennedy

Friday, February 28, 2014

What I've been playing with lately!

Hi all - Raise your hand if you are so tired of winter ice and snow that you could just cry!  Both mine are up!  It looks like those of us in the Mid Atlantic area are due for some more this weekend, so maybe I will get some new jewelry made.

I know I haven't been blogging here regularly, so I thought I would stop by and show you some photos of things I am working on!  Have been bitten by the polymer clay bug after taking a class with Christine Damm at ArtBliss last year.  Hubby got me some materials for Christmas and I have been slowly but surely making my way through a few designs.  There is definitely a learning curve, but have been making molds like crazy!

Here are a few completed ones...the skull is for my boy!

This next batch are some that need to be finished...yes, a few got a bit dark, but they will be painted!

Here are the hearts I finally finished, but not in time for Valentine's Day.  They will be going in my shop soon, though along with most of this stuff, and hopefully a bit more!  Those tiny flowers are being placed on some cute little birdies.

Speaking of hearts, the AJE Design team, along with a few special guests will be showing their creations made from my enameled fluttery hearts for the February Component of the Month challenge...Be sure to stop back by on Monday, March 3 to take a gander at what we created.  I am so excited to see how everyone used them!  I hope to get a few more of  these made soon as well!

Thanks for stopping by!  I promise not to stay so long between posts!

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Echo Creative Club Challenge for February

Hi all - I was honored to be a guest in Jeannie Dukic's legendary Echo Creative Club challenge for this month!

I received a colorful set of beads from Jeannie in shades of bright pink and purple.  I love how the focal has a translucent layer where the design is stamped...I believe this is her Acanthus design.  The coordinating round beads are some of her Polarity beads and have swirls of gold mixed in.

I went with a mixed metal look by using bright brass to wrap the beads, and some black chain that I had on hand.  I had some faceted Czech crystal beads that were a pale bluish-gray with a gold irridescent coating that I thought were a nice complement to the polymer clay beads, so interspersed them and created a 2-strand necklace.

Thanks for inviting me, Jeannie! I had fun creating!

Friday, January 31, 2014

AJE January 2014 Component of the Month....Dream!

I am honored to be a member of the Art Jewelry Elements blog team.  One of the major perks is to be able to participate in the Component of the Month challenges!  This first one challenge for 2014 was definitely that... a challenge.  My lovely and uber talented team mate, mixed-media artist Jenny Davies-Reazor, created these amazing polymer clay and resin components filled with vintage dictionary the link to read more about them.

I fell in love with them the minute she even hinted at what they were going to be.  When she showed her samples, we could choose a color and our word, or we could be surprised.  I asked for one of her   pretty blue ones, but let her choose my word.  I wasn't disappointed!

Now, I said it was a challenge...let me explain a bit.  I was thrown by the holes in each corner!  At first I thought maybe a bracelet with beaded chain connecting to the holes, but was worried about wear and tear, because I envision wearing this piece a lot!  Of course, it had to be a necklace!  But still, what about those bottom holes?  Drape-y chain?  Dangles from each  hole?  My next thought was to create a backing of textured copper to form a frame around the frame, and rivet the pieces together.  Hmmm, that would have hidden the secret backing she included...oh, I haven't shown you that?

I don't know if that was a coincidence, or planned on Jenny's part, but see the entry?  It would have been a shame to cover that up, plus the resin and paper let light through which is wonderful!

So late the other night, I was thinking of other jewelry designs in my head, as I am prone to do, and I was thinking about those rivets I was going to use with the copper backing, and thought, 'could I use headpins and wire-wrap it to something?  Finally, the neurons were sparking!  I created a frame from 14g copper wire.  I solved my bottom embellishment roadblock with adding a loop in the center, then formed an open rectangle to fit the back of the component (more or less),  rounded the ends in the flame a bit, and formed spirals for connectors to a necklace.  I then created long copper balled headpins out of 22g copper and used the corner holes to wire-wrap the component to the frame.

Of course, my dangle embellishments would be little flowers!  I think these pretty blue Czech glass blossoms really belong with Jenny's sweet design.  My original plan was to have a beaded chain for it, which might still happen, but I just didn't have the perfect ones in my stash and I waited to long to shop! They may be a later addition, but for now, I like the simplicity of the copper chain and hook, which is sort of my M.O. lately, especially for necklaces I am keeping for myself!

Thank you, Jenny, for creating the perfect focal piece for me!  You can get one for yourself...check out Jenny's shop, because I think she is making more!!   So there you go...want to see what kind of designs other team members came up with?  Here is the list of participants!  Go, drool!

Hope of Craftyhope -
Sarajo of SJ Designs Jewelry

AJE team
Jennifer Cameron
Diana Ptaszynski
Lesley Watt
Susan Kennedy
Caroline Dewison
Linda Landig
Melissa Meman (that's me!)
Keirsten Giles
Rebekah Payne
Kristen Stevens
Jenny Davies-Reazor

Friday, January 3, 2014

AJE December Component of the Month...

featuring gorgeous polymer clay disks from Rebekah Payne of Tree Wing Studios.

Happy 2014, friends!  It has been a while since I have been on my blog...not since the last AJE Component of the Month challenge!  I wish I could say I will be better, blog more often, etc, in 2014, but there are only so many hours in the day!  I will try, however!

I love Rebekah's polymer clay disks...they are thick, with lots of texture, and the polka dots!  I love the polka dots! I had several ideas that rolled around in my head when thinking of what to do with these. The first to pop in was a bracelet, with similar sized, textured copper disks.  I waited a bit late for that however, since the Holidays with family were a priority.

I decided to keep it simple, and created a copper wire frame.  I annealed 14g wire so that it was pliable and wove it around itself in a ring, just a bit larger than the bead.  I was going to twist the ends in a decorative fashion, but underestimated the length I needed, so rather than scrap it and start again, I balled the ends, and pretended I meant to do that !

Finished with a copper swirl hook and a knotted leather cord, and a vintage smoky quartz drop I had in my stash.  I think sometimes a simple design, with a unique twist shows off a gorgeous focal in the very best way.

I have had so much fun in 2013 with the AJE Component of the Month challenges!  I participated in 10 of the 12.  Here's a little retrospective!

Now, go see what the other team members and guest designers created!

Guest Designers:
Ann - Bead Love
Melissa - Bead Recipes

AJE Team:
Kristen - My Bead Journey
Susan - Sue Beads
Rebekah - Tree Wings Studio
Caroline - BlueberriBeads

Monday, December 2, 2013

AJE November Component of the Month ~ Beaded Beads by Kristen Stevens...La Bella Luna

I feel like such a slug...I haven't been blogging very much at all, except for special challenge posts.  Oh, well...there are only so many hours in the day!!

This past Friday morning, after Thanksgiving, I woke up early, but all couch potato-ey and found my boy up already, on the couch watching tv and playing his video game.  After snuggling with him a while, I plied the remote from his hand and did some channel surfing of my own.  I eventually ran across one of my all-time favorite movies, Moonstruck.  Everything an opera-trained girl could love...Pucinni's La Boheme as part of the story (my most favorite opera of all time!), Italian food, a love story with the under-dog getting the girl, Cher, Nic Cage before he went all weird, Olympia Dukakis, and some of the best movie lines ever!

"La bella luna!"
"Let me ask you a question...why do men chase women?"
"Snap out of it"
"Aw, Ma, I love him awful!"
"It's Johnny Cammereri!"

Oh, and Dean Martin sings "That's Amore" for both the opening and closing credits"

This movie colored my whole holiday weekend after...I went through the days singing "when the moon hits your eye, like a big pizza pie, that's amore" alternating with lines from La Boheme's doomed Mimi singing "Donde lieta usci al tuo grido d'amore".  So, when I finally sat down to work on my Component of the Month piece, featuring Kristen Stevens' gorgeous beaded beads, I kept seeing that gorgeous moon in my head!

The color of the beads I chose were a challenge for me, as I don't usually work with that pretty, creamy winter white. Another challenge is the fact that most of my work is metal and beads that I can patina with liver of sulfer, etc, then toss into the tumbler for a while.  Using components that patina and water might damage takes a lot of forethought!

I made sure to patina everything before assembling them together...Kristen's gorgeous beads, lampwork beads from my stash (sorry, I'm not sure who made them...have had them quite a while!), indigo blue Czech glass flowers that bring out some of the lovely frit color in the lampwork and some hand-wrought copper caps...bigger on the 'moons' and smaller, fluted ones to embellish the flowers.  The lampwork reminded my of a black, starry night, with lights in the city reflecting colors into the sky, and of course, the creamy beaded beads are my 'bella luna' or beautiful moon.

If you have never seen this '80's classic movie, watch it!  If you are a romantic at heart, you won't be disappointed.

Now, go see what the other AJE team members and guests created with their beaded beads!

Special Guest
Alice Alice Dreaming

Caroline  Blueberri Beads
Melissa Melissa Meman (you are here!)
Rebekah Tree Wing Studio
Sue SueBeads 


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