February Art Bead Scene Challenge

This month’s Art Bead Scene challenge, Tōshi Yoshida’s, Heijinja, 1941, offered so many design possibilities! Leafy trees, delicate blossoms, an intimate moment between a mother and child. I was especially drawn to the strong colors and the use of line in this woodblock print.

My design began with a sea glass triangle pendant in the print’s deepest red, which I received in a giveaway from Suzette Bentley of Ellie’s Bijoux. The sea glass is layered with a bronze spiral charm by THEAtoo. I cut three lengths of 16-gauge gold-filled wire, hammered and then wrapped them in columns of blackest-black, right-angle-weave to serve as a bridge to a second sea glass bead, a crystal donut bezelled in soft black and the print’s dominant, brighter red.

Once I had my focal, I wove a neckstrap, pairing the deep and cheery reds with matte and glossy grays. (The simple adaptation of herringbone stitch is a free pattern, the Strappy Strip, from Gwen Fisher and Florence Turnour.) A base metal chain gives some additional weight and shine. And is there a better way to wrap up a design than with an elegant bronze toggle clasp by THEAtoo?
You’ll definitely want to click over to the Art Bead Scene Flickr page to see all the terrific designs submitted for this month’s challenge.


AJE Earring Challenge – 3rd Reveal

My  Week 5 earrings reflect our recent visit to the California Wine Country. They start with SueBead’s fittingly named Wine Terrazzo lampwork beads. With their red wine hues and striking silver foil, they combine nicely with a tapered column of black gold-plated wavy discs in 8 and 6mm. Vintage glass and metal beads dangle from black silk cord. These earrings have a lively swing and a nice sparkle.

Week 6 is my version of a class project from Kerry Bogert’s Aspire to Wire eCourse. THEAtoo’s handmade bronze charms in the colors of autumn are the stars of these earrings. All other components are handmade by me.

Click over to the Art Jewelry Elements blog and enjoy the Week 5 and 6 designs of all the challenge participants.


Pretty Things in my Mailbox

How excited was I to learn that my partner for this year’s Bead Soup Blog Party was none other than our hostess, Lori Anderson?

Over the top! It was on my first visit to Pretty Things, where I was introduced to Lori’s deliciously photographed, lively designs, that I aspired to venture beyond my first love, beadweaving, into wire working and more.
Lori's Strawberry-Limeade bracelet
Lori gave new definition to the term jewelry artist. I still remember the first post I read on Lori’s blog. It was about getting away…and coming home; weaving together books, bridges, friendly baristas, and a how-is-it-humanly-possible-to-have-such-a-clean bedroom. That post made me want to be a better blogger!
And speaking of pretty things… here’s what arrived in my mailbox yesterday.

Lori has recently been under the weather, and while she was confined to the aforementioned, picture-perfect bedroom, she made this bag to hold my bead soup. How awesome is that? And she included the stone cab, not as part of the soup, but just for some extra fun!
I am so excited about that Thai silver focal, assembled by Lori! And those colors, captured in glass, gemstone and ceramic! I can’t wait to lay them all out on my mat and play around with them, just to visualize the possibilities. But first…I have to go tidy up my bedroom!


Inspired by Winter Blog Hop

Winter has a serenity that no other season can claim. A stillness and a solitude that appeal mightily to my contemplative side. So when Sally Russick of Studio Sublime announced her Inspired by Winter Blog Challenge, I knew it was for me.
Can’t you just breathe in the crisp air and hear the crunch of snow under your feet when you take in this breathtaking photo, shot in Rocky Mountain National Park by John deBord, and featured on Smashing Magazine’s Winter Wonderland photo layout?

DeBord’s photo inspired my Winter Serenity necklace. The photo came with me on my recent trip to San Diego, where I found my focal (a reversible druzy), and a strand of natural matte lapis stones that look like they could have been chipped out of the landscape. They’re softened by freshwater pearls and braided strands of sari silk, tucked into sterling silver jump rings. This is my first attempt to use fiber in a design, and it’s a technique that caught my eye in Lorelei Eurto and Erin Siegel’s book, Bohemian-Inspired Jewelry.
Special thanks go out to Sally for challenging us to explore the beauty of this season. Ready for more wintry inspiration? Follow these links to see the designs of all the challenge participants:
List of Participants:


AJE Earring Challenge - A Day at the Beach

My designs for the second reveal of AJE’s Earring Challenge owe their inspiration to last week’s trip to San Diego. Although it was unseasonably cool, the sun was shining and the afternoons were warm enough for waterfront walks and a trolley tour of the city.

This pair was inspired by a late-morning visit to Ocean Beach, where surfers tested the waves, dog owners romped in the sand with their pets, and vintage-60’s fashions abounded. Ivory lampwork beads by Sue Beads top two-tone MOP disks and light-as-a-feather wood flower charms. Earwires by Saki Silver.

The sand on Coronado Beach literally sparkled and the water was postcard perfect. I searched my stash for shimmering pearls and 2.5mm crystals to complement a pair of Nikki Thornburg lampwork beads in the colors of the Pacific. The sterling silver earwires were rescued from the bargain table at a San Diego bead store. A little polishing and reshaping, and they’re back to perfect form!

Click over to the Art Jewelry Elements blog and follow the links to enjoy the designs of the 50+ participants in the second reveal. And there’s a pinterest board, too!