Category Archives: Jewellery & Beading

drawing & a little bling

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more glimpses of Spring the last few days, however today it has poured rain.  Buckets of it.  Good for all of those bulbs just emerging from their winter blanket.  I have created the little ornaments above for a Paper Traders bobbin swap being hosted by Connie.  I began them when we were away & kinda got a bit off track with them.  They are embellished with hand dyed vintage lace & trim & modern beaded fringing.  My ‘kitty’ drawing is the next installment in my Japanese Moleskine exchange with Jennifer.  If you’d like to see more of the book – it’s here on my Flickr site.  The butterfly & chrystalis was created by Jenn, signifying the life changes she is going through at the moment.  It’s beautiful in real life.

Making Treasures with the Princess

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The Princess has had her 4 yo immunizations recently and has had a severe reaction to it which has left her arm twice the size & hot & red from the elbow to the shoulder.  This required some extra special ‘studio’ time with Nonna.  Like most Princess’ of note – she loves her jewels – so we had a quiet day & set about creating some new beaded treasures for Spring.  I am TOTALLY in love with soft sea blue/green at the moment and think that will be my colour of note this season – it’s a few weeks away, but the buds are unfurling, my daphne is intoxicatingly sweet & the bulbs are popping their heads out for a look.  It feels warmer (despite coming out to ice all over my car yesterday morning) and the day light hours are beginning to stretch out.

Life is busy – and complicated

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US-heros-RHS-web US-heros-LHS-web Life is busy and as I have said in the title – complicated – at the moment.  I am doing a whole lot of experimenting with metals in the hopes to produce something per-itttty spesh – BUT it's been much trial – MANY errors and NOT much result lately.    HUGE mess – my kitchen has looked like one of those ferral back alley factories where 'widgets' are made.  You know, the ones that lean, gawky looking, grime covered men come out of at 4 o'clock, carrying an aging esky (themal lunch carrier) & a time battered thermos with only remenants of the colour it used to be… ……urkkkk………it's a mess….I need to work in the kitchen as I don't have water in my studio (which is really a big bedroom that was seconded the day my youngest moved out)…………I am hoping in time to have a bigger studio with plumbing – I have been saving an old enamel sink 4eva – especially for this purpose……..THIS IS THE DAY THOUGH – I have some new process and products to try today and I have spent DAYS talking to 'knowers' so I have a whole lot of different ideas to try today.  Hopefully one of them works!

The collage pages above are for a fellow Paper Trader's RR journal on American Idols, depicting one of my 'non art' passions – THE WEST WING – my life would be complete if it just went 4EVA – I mean – how many shows do you get where there is no constant soap opera drama's, needless swearing, overly embarrasing steamy sex scenes, and there IS fascinating dialogue that still intrigues me despite having watched it 27 times!  These pages are quite 'clean' work compared to what I ordinarily do for collage, but I didn't want to obscure the elements of the page – and wanted to keep it RED, WHITE & BLUE (ie the colours of the flag) without 'muddying' it up as I normally would with Walnut Ink or Moonglow or something.

And of course all of this set within the context of our state being on fire – I don't know if it is possible – but I think that I have run out of adrenaline – we have been on fire alert for so long now (2 weeks) – everytime the fire siren rings out (we are at the base of a mountainside, & the  township below us) – I furtively look around the house – check the fire service website (when I have a connection) – and feel a little disoriented - I keep looking around me – wondering whether this could be it.Adorn-segment-web

With each alert – I have continued to par down with regard to ‘packing to go’ – the first time I threw a whole lot of my rubber stamps loose, into a 'green' shopping bag (I realized the folly of this later – faced with the  mammoth job of resorting them and putting them back afterward), I had some of my art journals and handmade books

I am resigned now with getting just my portable harddrive, (about the size of a small hardcovered book) the dogs and I have two boxes of photos that are living on our kitchen bench at the moment – if the rest goes – it goes – that’s just how it is. 

THANK YOU – THANK YOU to all of you kind, dear heARTed people who have emailed to see Mothers heART segment webhow we are going – and that we are safe.  You don't have to worry – we are fine – the main fires are no where near us – we just live in a quite vunerable area that has a major fire every 4 -6 years and despite my DH INSISTING – it'd never happen in our particular street because of some geography – fire doesn't go 'down a mountainside' yada, yada, yada – I just don't know where he gets such trollop – in these fires he'd have be the one burnt in the car trying to escape after realising that infact fires can and often do – WHAT they like!) – and it's just all a bit worrying being amongst it right now.  One of the LOVEly sides of the art community has been how many people have been emailing and keeping us in their thoughts and prayers.  AGAIN – thank you.  Lately I have been battling my old enemy, then tension between anonymity and recognition – sometimes I want to tell the world everything and have you all laugh, cry and love with me – and other times I don't want to talk at all.  Add to that a few change of life hormones and ongoing financial challenges, and BINGO! – a perfect combo for dissolving into a sad and sorry lump.
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My jewellery pliers have been busy - working hard on some new 'story telling jewellery'.  Darling Nina calls it 'Narrative Jewellery' how I DO love that name – she is SO clever!  Alpha stamps is releasing a whole lot of new jewellery product & it is just starting to trickle into the online shop – it's from Bekky Nunn and it is JUST divine.  I can only show you snippets at the moment, cost it's not all released – but it's really nice….go check it out.

Have I lost the PLOT???

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Windows-RHS-web  I know that I Windows-LHS-webhaven't been posting much art – and I am sorry about that -there's been lots on and preps for various things – and yada, yada, yada, you get it….busy – these pages are something I did in Teri's RR journal about Doors & Windows – the quote reads 'A house without books is like a room without windows.  No man has a right to bring up his children without surrounding them with books.  If he has the means to buy them' (Horace Mann)  I LOVE this quote – and having confessed to you once before about my love of books, you will understand that I wholeheARTedly agree with Horace Dear!    At Paper Traders we have had an altered Domino swap – & I created these treasures – I made some extras and they will be for sale in my Etsy shop…….once I photograph them & post them.  The back is decorated vintage Paris scenes, the front has lock plate attached with vintage brass screws.  The text reads, 'A door is adorned with the colours of the lives that have passed through it' The pieces are quite textural, like an old painted door that has coat after coat as various occupants have moved in & out of the residence.IMG_2333_resize
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at last something a little 3D

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  IMG_2114_resizethis is a tiny little fold out book, supplied by the gorgeous Beks was to be made up for random exchange to celebrate Paper Trader's 3rd Anniversary.  IMG_2102_resizeIMG_2115_resizeIMG_2110_resizeIMG_2117_resizeIt's a lovely little thing (not much bigger than about 2" square) but it stumped me for some time.   I ended up using on of my own journal pages, reduced WAY down, for the main image.  The birds on the outside come from a vintage ship menu from 1950's.  What looks like murky distressing, is actually moonglow, and looks much nicer in real life.  The verse I used is well known - 

Use what talent that you have
The woods would be very silent
If no birds sang there
Except those that sung best

Mine is off to lucky Melanie in USA – I hope she likes it.

Pure Heart

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Img_0368_resizeThe sky is still murky – but no longer ‘pea soup’ – I have been struggling a little to find my creative voice – I haven’t missed it – which is more worrying than it not being around.  Usually if my muse is resting, I keep working through until she returns, sorting supplies, creating backgrounds, working on digital imagery & photos…..however, I have been deep in ‘self’ preservation mode & haven’t even noticed her gone.  This piece has slowly emerged from a quiet reflective place of slow progress….. the pure heart is NOT mine – in fact, I think it is when we are at low points that we can see ourselves for who we really are – without veils….& I have been saddened to see malice & hatefulness in my heart born from my grief – I was saddened to discover it – such debilitating character flaws……..things I need to attend to…………Img_0394_resizeImg_0395_resize

anyways – the PURE heart is a friend’s – a precious person who challenges me to do better – & to press forward. Img_0387_resize I have found Img_2499_resizeImg_0384_resizegreat cathartic pleasure in beating, drilling & cutting up bits with my Dremel lately.  I have enjoyed the tactile sensation of working with heavy & solid things – metal & stone.  Paper seems so flimsy at the moment……..I have been drilling little stones, working my way slowly through some marble pieces (hard work on the dremel) & creating some bits for later use from old cutlery.

A Heart Entwined

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Img_0127_resizeImg_0110_resize Img_9865_resize        I created this piece over the weekend for my gorgeous DIL’s birthday today, but I didn’t want to post it until I had given it to her, JUST incase she happened to peek at my blog!  The detailing of this necklace is rather long (approx 6 inches) & has been designed with a short neck chain so that the centre piece hangs quite narrow at the top and then spreads into a fuller expression as it gets longer.  The composition is quite intricate & includes green agate, green glass beads, hand blown glass hearts & a hand cast pewter heart in the middle.  Of course one of the key ingredients is another one of the gorgeous ‘frames’ from Alpha Stamps.  I used a large & small square.  The small square has loops top & bottom which I really like because there is more flexibility of it’s placement.  I used the reversible metal tiles & hammered it into the square. I really like these tiles, because they aren’t ‘flimsy’ and they have 2 different styles on them.  It was a little tight, but not difficult to do.  I have found with the last necklace I made that the ‘frame’ section turns as you move around & it is facing the wrong way as much as the right way.  So with this one, I created it double sided, equally co-ordinating, using the Butterflies Collage Sheet from Alpha Stamps.  I have really enjoyed creating this piece, & although I ended up doing it differently, I was inspired by Deryn Mentock’s bead wrapping on this special piece.  Thanks Deryn for your encouragement & support.

Natural Beauty

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Img_8871_resize   Img_8854_resizeNatural_beauty_webUURRRGH…I AM SO OVER PLAYING WITH THIS FORMAT……..I am sorry these pics are all over the show!  This is my latest creation, called ‘Natural Beauty’.  It has natural stones, dragon flies, bees, glass beads & a little leaf pool. I have intentionally mixed the colours of the metal because I wanted to make it more ecclectic looking than perfectly matched.  It is very long….it hangs 25" long & the main section is about 5" long.  It is made from bits from old jewellery & from Alpha Stamps…the stones are real, I thought that they were a form of jade, but I have looked it up in my book & it doesn’t look like that.  It has definite black, peach & green & is quite veined.  The other thought I had was that it might be a quartz – I don’t know really, I just liked the colour & the shape!

A change in direction

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I have been somewhat incapacitated this week, Abundant_life_webnot that you would have known, but I have torn something in my knee that has really done me in.  The main challenge is that I have not been able to sit upright for half of the week, & this has been driving me silly.  The art for my Skinny book postings from this week were all done over easter, so I actually haven’t been in my studio all week.  Yesterday I ventured out for the first time, but was not too well & had to abort that adventure, but I was well enough to sit up for a while & do some beading.  I have these fabulous new ‘frames’ which Alpha Stamps will be stocking that are from Nunn Designs.  I adore them, they just have so many great applications.   Blue’s not a colour that usually works out too well for me, but I like it with silver, & this little pic from Alpha Stamps was really inspiring.  I haven’t done any jewellery since I made all of those charms for the Gothic Arch Swap about August last year.  It was fun to swap glue brush for pliers for a bit of a change…… I think I haven’t satisfied this urge though, I think there will be a couple more pieces with these frames still to come.

A Charming Afternoon

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Charming_afternoonI have had great fun this afternoon playing with my op-shop & garage sale ‘finds’ bringing all sorts of ecclectic bits together to make charms for the Artistic Journey’s Gyspy Journal Swap (18 of them) AND for Paper Trader’s Gothic Arch (6 of them). I have also integrated some of my jewellery making findings & beads to bring them together.  I have used lots of turquoise, russett & metal bits for the gypsie pieces, they are quite random & each one is unique. The Gothic ones are still in formation, as I signed up for the swap about 3 months ago, there has been plenty of time for my ritual of ‘hunting & gathering’…….so anything that looked remotely Gothic I have Charming_afternoon_2snaffled it up & put it in my ‘project box’……………..Speaking of project boxes…..how do others ‘collect’ for a project????  I know that some artists only sign up for a swap AFTER they have completed pieces to send…….WHOA…….I could never do that…….FIRST I commit…….then I hunt & gather…..then I mull over what I have collected & look at what else I might need….I find it incredibly hard to get started on a project if I don’t have materials that I feel I can produce something with & that inspire me……I have tried just painting backgrounds in journals when I am having a museless day…….BUT I have found I can never finish them, they remain background pages

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& don’t ever get filled, because I just dont’ get inspired by that.  I have recognised the ‘Hunting & Gathering’ phase as a key part of my creating a piece or a project………….oh, but then I hate myself & think that I really can’t do this, & why did I even sign up for it…..I go through all of the hate & self loathing & self deprecation……then I start creating, working with what I have gathered………then the adrenaline kicks in & I become obsessive…….& I don’t want to sleep or work……..just art……..usually through the process, I grow to hate, like & love various pieces…..usually it is the addition of a single element, or a change of colour, or some minor change that helps me to like it more & it all comes together in the end……& I am usually happy enough with the outcome.   I have found great liberty in recognizing my process……….because as I am going through it (and it is usually a variation of what I have described above) I will some times get stuck & not even want to LOOK at what I am working on…..it is then that I move on to something else, I look at my lovely books or go shopping for some inspiration (good visual merchandising ALWAYS inspires me).  Being able to recognise where I am in my creative process enables me to know there is light at the end of the tunnel – I just have to ‘sit with’ being stuck & not get too agitated sitting there!  I know the things that can move me on from there……..I just have to facilitate them.