Friday, August 14, 2015

Ahhh ... Fall Colors

I'll admit, I'm not a summer girl. Give me cozy sweaters and jeans. The return of burgundies and plums to our wardrobes is one of the reasons Fall is my favorite season.  Needing to boost my earring inventory for upcoming Fall Art Shows and wanting to combine my newfound love of metalworking with my first love - beadwork - led to my latest designs.  I love spending my mornings hammering away in the studio and then stitching up some delicas with the TV in the background in the evenings. I think it makes for a nice soft-hard balance.

After trying several dozen combinations of silver, copper and brass with colors from Pantone’s Fall 2015 Color Report, I narrowed my Show offerings down to six.

The combination of Marsala, Cashmere Rose, and Stormy Weather in the earrings on the left is one of my favorites.  A delica mix of soft purples and rose golds inspired the pair on the right.

Our brains may be wired to think that Fall equals dark colors. But I hope these Cadmium Orange/Berry Red and Lipstick Red/Chocolate Truffle combinations prove that bright reds, whether casual or dressed up with a shine of gold, are a great transitional color choice.

Neutrals always do well in my booth, so two combinations made the final cut; classic black and white, and I’m also in love with Reflecting Pond (a midnight blue that goes great with everything), and Amethyst Orchid.

I shared my collection with my sister, my sister-in law, and three friends, and asked which they liked best. One couldn’t choose, but four selected the same pair– the black and white. 

Do you have a favorite?

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Does this book spark joy?

Spring and summer travels have kept me away from my studio and this blog space for way too long! On one of my many trips, I picked up Marie Kondo’s book, The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up, to read on a five-hour flight. I was itching to try her approach to organizing, but had to wait a full month until I was home more than 48 hours to put her ideas to work.

Kondo’s theory, in a nutshell, is that if we keep only those things that "spark joy," we’ll declutter our lives and maybe even find our true passions. Her book is a quick and engaging read, and, after kondo-ing (this book is so popular that might actually be a word now!) all our closets, the pantry, the kitchen and laundry, I took a day to marvel at the difference I’d made on the first floor. Now it was time to head upstairs to my studio.

If you’re a beader, you know we can take simple disorganization to a whole new level of chaos!  Keeping a tidy beadroom is way lower on our priority scale than learning a new stitch or incorporating a new bead shape into an old pattern. And who wants to move things about the studio when there are new color combinations to try and a bead challenge looms on the calendar?

I turned the calendar to the wall and started with my books. Kondo advises grabbing them all off their shelves and putting them on the floor.

Five years worth of accumulated beading and metalworking books

Plus all my magazines, notebooks and binders of inspiration

Once the books are piled, you take each one in your hand and decide whether it will be kept or discarded. The criterion for keeping is whether it gives you a thrill of pleasure when you touch it. Flipping through the book, in Kondo's judgment, leads to unnecessary questions and second guessing. Kondo keeps her own library to about 30 volumes, so the challenge I gave myself was to pare my collection down to 30 (or fewer) beading books that not only sparked joy, but also fit my current design aesthetic. And here is my now-tidy bookshelf:

For the study of Design:
The Beader’s Guide to Jewelry Design, Margie Deeb

Jewelry Designs from Nature, Heather Powers
The Jewelry Maker’s Design Book: an Alchemy of Objects, Deryn Mentock
Bohemian-Inspired Jewelry, Lorelei Eurto and Erin Siegel                                                             

For technique:

Creative Designs Using Shaped Beads, Anna Elizabeth Draeger

Shaped Beadwork, by Diane Fitzgerald
Contemporary Geometric Beadwork by Kate McKinnon
Mastering Beadwork by Carol Huber Cypher (if I could only have one beading book, this would be it.)
Micro-Macrame Jewelry by Joan Babcock
Woven Bead and Wire Jewelry by Dallas Lovett
Dimensional Bead Embroidery by Jamie Cloud Eakin
The Beaded Sphere by Judy Walker

For inspiration and because I never tire of reading and rereading them:

Maggie Meister’s Classical Elegance; Sherry Serafini’s Sensational Bead Embroidery; 
Marcia DeCoster’s Beaded Opulence; Rachel Nelson-Smith’s Bead Riffs and Seed Bead Fusion; 
Maggie Roschyk’s Artistic Seed Bead Jewelry; The Art of Bead Embroidery by Heidi Kummli 
and Sherry Serafini;  Diane Fitzgerald’s Shaped Beadwork & Beyond; 
and Embroidered Jewellery by Shirley Anne Sherris (this book never fails to inspire).

Now, to work this same magic on my bead stash!

Monday, April 13, 2015

A Weekend for Earrings

One of my favorite memories of my week in Tucson was arriving early for a day of metalworking with Diane Cook and having a few quiet minutes to study the class samples. It was a class in texturing and layering metal to create earring designs. I’d long admired Diane’s ability to take simple forms and turn them into designs that have both an elegant and industrial vibe, and to view first hand the meticulous execution of her pieces was a real treat!

This was my first time using a jeweler’s saw and my first attempt at fold forming, so despite choosing the easiest earring sample, I had only a few pieces of salvageable metal (and a lot of notes!) to pack up at the end of class. But the creative juices were flowing, and the small pile of false starts had been sitting on the edge of my worktable until this weekend when I decided to try my hand at those earrings again.
Copper and nickel silver, etched, hand textured, patinaed and fold formed. Sterling ear wires.
Class samples from Diane Cook's Fold, Form, Layer & Lace class

As I was cleaning up my workspace, a collection of peyote triangles from another project caught my eye. I decided to heat-patina some of my left over copper, shined up some pieces of etched nickel scraps, and sawed them into triangles.

And then tried some more layering.

I can see these in lots of summer colors. I have some square-stitched circles in my scrap drawer – later this week I’m going to explore layering with circles. Creative juices flowing…