Thursday, June 28, 2012

Cup of Bead Soup - Lea Avroch Reveal

When I received the focal bead for this challenge, from Lea, I was immediately taken with the flower "insert" on it. I have come to find out from her that it is called a murrini, and "there are many ways to make them." She kindly explained her process which I really did not understand, since I know nothing about lampwork.
  Lampwork Murrini                   Polymer Clay Cane
From what I could glean, she starts with "glass in a barrel shape onto the tip of a mandrel,  and then adds stripes of glass stringers from the point of the mandrel to the other side, all meeting in the middle," as many or as few colors as she likes. After heating it up, "glowing hot", she "attaches another mandrel into the opposite side, lets it cool for a few seconds and then pulls." She lets it "cool and then cuts it into slices with a glass nipper."

Now, not wanting to burn my house down, I stick with working in polymer clay. So I got out matching colors, made a Skinner blend, a bulls eye center, and put together a cane imitating (the sincerest form of flattery) her design. I then made blue ovals with Mica accents and attached slices of the flower cane to some of them.

To find just the right accent beads, I went to a Rings and Things Bead Show, and picked up Amazonite roundels, Natural Agate puffed ovals, and deep blue Mirage rounds, which fascinated me in the way they changed color to shades of light blue and purple when touched. They gave the same effect as the many hues of the focal when different light reflected off of it.

The agates were strung together in a floral shape with a turquoise center bead, and used as an offset to the focal.

One more trip to my local Bead Store (that's the name of it) for the pewter seeded spacers, and there waiting were the perfect Czech glass clam shaped beads to mimic the spine-like strip of the focal.

All together and here you have my humble design submission
 for Lori Anderson's fantastic Cup of Bead Soup.

Here are the other participants in this Challenge:
Marlene - You are here!
If you want to get more info on future Cup of Bead Soup Challenges by Lori Anderson, 
click here.

And please take a moment to visit these links to the creator of this fantastic lampwork focal,
Lea Avroch!

Friday, June 22, 2012

Shells on the Beach

Captiva Island Finds by Jennifer Cameron
It is a time honored tradition! Take the family for a day at the beach, but don't forget the pail. Not for digging up the sand (although that is a close second), but to hold all the glorious finds made. I can not remember once going with my children, and then with my grandchildren, that we didn't come home with at least several. The most recent time was when I took them to a lakeside beach in my community, and after collecting several of the usual, my granddaughter ran up to me, all excited, with what she called an "oyster." It was an unopened clam shell. Bless her imagination.

Ten years ago, my oldest son married the love of his life on the beach at Sandals in Antigua. My husband, myself and our two younger sons flew down to be a part of their celebration. We had some extra time, so off we went to the beachfront at our time share, and soon found out, it was too rocky for swimming. There was nothing else to do after admiring the clear blue of the water, except to go on a hunt.

My youngest, age 21 at the time, found the most amazing collection. Perfectly formed and polished shells so tiny, my eyes would have missed them. Here is a picture of some I have kept to this day. They are reminders of a glorious time in our lives, but even without that, are so sweet and delicate, who could not admire them.

For me, as a jewelry designer, when summer comes around, there are always thoughts of jewelry that reflect shells on the beach. The first I did was this pendant of polymer clay which incorporates several of those shells, along with that obligatory pail, and real sand inclusions.

Now when you have a piece of nature's perfection, and Mold Maker, your polymer clay becomes an exact copy of it. Add acrylic paints, silver leafing, and a bail, and it is the start of an "Ocean Finds Necklace".

 Of course, shells are not the only thing to find, so this necklace has representations of them. I had originally done it in pink, pearl, and mauve colors, but it seemed to lack a little something. Oh yes, that beautiful ocean color that still remains in my head ten years later.

Thank you for coming along with me down my memory lane. Now enjoy the rest of the blog posts on this Hop from Art Jewelry Elements.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Cup of Bead Soup - Sample

I was one of three people, fortunate to be chosen for the current Cup of Bead Soup Challenge by Lori Anderson. The bead to be used in this challenge is an amazing lampwork focal by Lea Avroch, which I have said before, can not imagine how she was able to duplicate it.

 This is the one I received. After ogling it, running my fingers on it, and studying the details under a magnifier for several days, my muse kicked in and I had an idea (no actually a ton of ideas) for what I wanted to do with it.

After hunting through my stash, I decided what was there would not suit the beauty of this bead, so off I went to a Rings and Things Bead Show, which just happened to be scheduled near me. Boy, did that get me in trouble. Found the gemstones I wanted to use, but not the chain. My thought was to use an omega or snake but neither were available.

Off to the local bead store, where I found the chain, but after purchasing it (along with one more strand of Czech glass), I decided not to use it. So the design in my head changed again, and instead, I just started piecing my finds together into something that would please me.

After my computer fried in a bad storm, and waiting for it to be repaired (by my previously mentioned computer genius son), I spent some time catching up on others blogs, only to find this beautiful bracelet Sonya of Dreamin of Beads had received from Jennifer Justman.
 The design was so much like mine, it even included the same silver spacer beads I had used. As Sonya says "a great design, is a great design."

Lea is such a sweetheart, and has been itching to see what is being created to highlight her focal. I did this post to tease her.
Unfinished necklace
Sorry Lea, but June 30 will be here soon enough. That's when we get to show off the results on Lori's blog. Come back here or there to see! 

Saturday, June 16, 2012

Toolbox Challenge Blog Hop

It's time for another Blog Hop. This time for the Toolbox Challenge, that was the brain child of Sandra McGriff  on her Blog Creative Chaos. Think about something the man in your life uses, preferably from his toolbox or tool bench, and use it to create a piece of jewelry. What a hoot! This was going to be fun filled, and funny!!!

This is my hubby, also known to friends as "The Bear". He is big, in both directions, has an imposing demeanor, and can always be counted on to say and do exactly what his appearance dictates.
Except for one thing. Household repairs. Yes, he will tackle ANYTHING. When something breaks or stops working properly, he is Johnny-on-the-spot to check it, then check it again. Once he decides it needs repair, nothing can stop him. He takes it apart with all the confidence of an expert, studies each part, contemplates, goes to his handy Home Depot Manual, starts his computer and looks up references on the Internet, and may even go to Lowes for parts he thinks he needs. Then after hours of tinkering, attempting, and more than a few choice words, he does what all self proclaimed experts do, sits on his recliner and tells me to call the REAL expert (plumber, electrician, mechanic, lawn service, etc).

I love him for trying and appreciate his efforts, but you would think after 43 years of marriage and home ownership, he would have figured it out. BTW that computer I referenced before is his number one toy. He is retired, so he uses it, not for business, but whatever is his heart's desire, once he's in that recliner and has pushed the ON Button.  

Of course, this is also not one of his strong points. We have two sons in the computer field, and NONE of their expertise is transferred to their dad. It is usually a panicked call to one of them to "Come see what's wrong with this thing!" (he doesn't even have to say laptop, they already know).

Since that garage tool bench is his "sacred area" and I am usually followed out there, to see what I am looking for, need, disturb, or "trying to mess up" (???), I have decided to use  broken computer parts, from past interactions between dad and sons to create my piece for this challenge.

(Please forgive the poor photo quality, my computer is fried and using a temporary replacement)
The "extension cord" that is woven into the gunmetal chain is actually a piece of buna cord, with silver metal findings to represent the USB connector and prongs on the polymer clay plug. It is a fun piece, and a BIG departure from my usual, but, of course, it also includes polymer clay. Now please go visit the Blogs of the others in this FUN Challenge from Sandra!

Skye - Our Hostess
Marlene Cupo - You are here!
Julie Anne
Shelley Graham Turner
Leslie Weyment
Sherri Stokey
Inge Traud
Dyanne Everett-Cantrell
Keri Lee Serelka

Saturday, June 9, 2012

Graduation Time

My adorable granddaughter, Jadyn, (not that they all aren't) had her first graduation last night. It was from Pre-K and the ceremony included their "spring show". She is such a performer, she was practicing her routines for weeks ahead of time. Her mother says her ambition is to "sing and dance on television", and she has a pretty good start.

Her class opened the show with a rousing rendition of "Proud to Be an American" and then followed up with two dance routines, including Jail House Rock, that brought the house down.

Of course, the grandma's were so tickled, we were besides ourselves, and her mom, dad and brother were very proud of her.

She is one talented 5 year old, and witness that in what she did at Grandma's house one day. I was working at my clay table, and she asked to help. Not only did she pick out the colors, roll the beads and attach the covering, but also poked the hole in them, and then strung them along with the bead caps, and other accent beads she decided would "look good with my beads".

Jadyn's Necklace

Monday, June 4, 2012

Work in Progress - No Longer

I was recently in a supply swap with Heather Kelly Marston of Hehebeads. She sent me a wonderful selection of copper findings, enamelled beads, and a fantastic hammered copper swirl with a turquoise flower attached.

The moment I took it out of the package I knew what I would be using it for. We all have our stash of "someday" beads, and when you work in polymer clay, it seems that someday is longer than most "When is he going to be potty trained" periods.

I had several different styles of faux turquoise beads made quite a while ago, and not sure if I was hoarding them, just because I liked how they turned out, or if they were just waiting for the perfect compliment (well, maybe a little of both.).  Another time I was playing with my extruder and made some copper and green strings, ropes, tubes (or what ever you want to call them), which turned into swirl beads. Again waiting for the right moment.

They all came together for this necklace. Was thinking of adding some Sari Silk, (also in the hoard section of one of my shelves.), but decided to finish it off with additional swirl beads and copper connectors.

Please consider checking out Heather's site. She has some amazing things available, and at very reasonable prices.