Sunday, July 30, 2017

Art Elements component of the Month blog hop

What do YOU think of when you see/hear the word beetle? Do you think eyeeuuuwwwww, "nasty bug" or "stinky bug" or (God forbid )" a cockroach"? Or do you think of "The Mummy" series of movies where the beetles are swarming all over the bad guys.  yuck!

Now what comes to mind when you see/hear the word "Scarab" ? All things Egyptian?, King Tut?, Nefertiti? Amun -the sun god? Golden icons? Royalty, mystery, other-worldly? Talismans?

Well friends that's what I prefer to think about when I contemplate the difference 
between beetles and scarabs.
As Shakespeare said -"whats in a name ?" A lot , apparently.

Enter the scene - one beautiful , raku colour, glazed ceramic Scarab bead, created by the very talented Sue Kennedy of SueBeads. I was fortunate enough to be gifted with one of these lovelies as part of the monthly challenge with the proviso that I make piece of jewellery and blog about it.

**WARNING** this a really long, wordy post, so feel free to just scroll through the photos, if you're pressed for time.

Unfortunately I forgot to take a photo of the bead I received till after I had added a wire bail. So here is the photo from the blog post where Sue offered up one of her beads to the lucky guest blogger(s)  There are three of us. (see the list below) Mine is one of the dark blue ones 

Here it is ready to be linked into my necklace, connector loop on one end, e-bead on the other. 
Now when faced with a challenge such as this, one hopes to do the gift justice. 
To make it the FOCUS of the final piece. 

What if I mess up? 
What if no one likes it? 
What if my muse deserts me midstream?
The AGONY of it all. (can you tell I was a theatre brat in high school?)
Fortunately I had time to mull things over and do a bit of sketching before I started....

I happen to be a lover of all things Egyptian. Have been since I saw the King Tutankhamen exhibit at the Ontario Museum of Art in Toronto Ontario many many years ago. ( so many I truly don't remember what year that was.) I love the Art Deco period for it's rich symbolism, clean-lined designs and it's connection to the discovery of the tomb of King Tut.

I made a piece with polymer clay a few years back when I worked at a bead store,  just messing around with a new- to me -product and made this incredibly boring tan/beige pendant thing. 
(Trying to make some sort of Art Deco palm leaf or lotus leaf. )

Yet again I forgot to take a picture of it before I added colour to it. 
It really was too ugly to take a photo of , that's my excuse. 
It's amazing how paint can transform ugly to pretty. imo.

this is upside down I think I was hoping to make a lotus leaf. two holes for attaching to something.
In case you wonder what goes through a designers mind or the process we use, here is a shot of my work table / bead tray with a selection of potential partners for my scarab bead. Lots of shiny bits to choose from. 

I wasn't certain how I would attach the two main elements of my design together,
 but wire wrapping usually works for me 
gunmetal coloured wire , one of my favourites

When working on a design, in the back of my mind I am thinking about the rest of the necklace (or bracelet) and I was playing around with various options for chain or beaded components.
I will often set up several variations of bead combos to see which one best suits the design. 
Using thin wire keeps them together while I mull things over. 

I was hoping to incorporate another hand-made bead by painting it with the same colours as the polymer clay piece. I love the finished bead but in the end, when editing, I had to remove it. 
It overpowered the scarab bead. 

you can see the large bead I made to go with the other two elements
Here is the final piece. I decided not to create a fully beaded rope/chain necklace but to make several small beaded links connecxted with lengths of antique copper chain. I am quite pleased with it & by using chain for most of the necklace, I can choose at a later date to add the horizontal bead back in. 

 I'm still undecided at this point.

I had fun making this one and I think it will become my personal talisman necklace. 

Thank you for sticking with me till the end of this novel.

To see what the other designers made just click on one of the links below. 


AE Team

Saturday, April 8, 2017

Bead Peeps swap n hop

well today is THE day. It's reveal time for the 2017 bead peeps swap n hop event.
 Organized by our hostess Linda Anderson of Cherry on Top Design Co. its a fun way to meet new beady peeps and to challenge ourselves by relying on someone else's bead picks for us. 
This is the first time I have participated in this swap . 

*warning Long read ahead * just scroll through the pix if you don't want to read it all.

My partner is a polymer clay artist, Nicole Rennell from Massachusetts, USA.
She sent me an amazing example of her latest works -Faux Labradorite, plus an assortment of beady goodies to accent and enhance my design. 
just check them out. 
Hand made Faux Labradorite with faux pewter frame look at the size of it. I have large hands btw.
It's a FOCAL piece for sure.
Look at the detail of the faux pewter frame. Isn't it gorgeous?

and all these other yummy beads. 
sea glass in my favourite blue-green and crystals and african glass discs and silver spacers and e-beads galore. *swoon*

all this yumminess just for me.

Of course when presented with such choices one has to let the ideas percolate for a while. 
How long is a while? 
Well lets just say I got these March 10 this year. and now it's April 6 same year, 
and I just finished my pieces to show you all. 
Yeah my muse has been in absentia, 
in fact she has been missing in action for quite some time. 
But I do work best under tight deadlines
what to do with such a large focal? 
Do I make something huge and busy and multi-stranded in an attempt to balance the visual weight?
Or just add it to a chain and call it a day?

Oh No , beady peeps!! 
That won't do.  Enter Pinterest.  
& ta-da, a lightbulb moment

I've been on a tribal search lately and suddenly realized that this focal needed to be the star
 but with some earthy edginess.

While trying to find ms. muse I was tidying up my studio (again) and found a cardboard display with several coils of hardware store wire (from my dad's workshop- but that's a story for another day) priced at $1.90 for three spools from K-mart (which hasn't been in Canada for quite a few years, may I add.)  They are non-rusting steel wire, 16 gauge half round, 19 gauge round, and 22 gauge also round. with pretty pictures on the display to tell one what they are to  be used for.  Home repair??? HA!

Brenda Schweder, move over .lol

I love to play with wire and wrapping it is a favourite technique, but OMG steel wire is really hard on the hands and fingers.and wrists  and dirty, dirty, dirty. 
But I got the edginess I wanted and I think the focal looks amazing, if I do say so myself. 
One of the hardest things for me is deciding when something is finished, is just right, doesn't need another darn thing added. You get the picture. 
I just happened to have some recycled Sari silk in my stash that is the right colour . 
I add some bead links, attach some silk; rats it needs to be shorter -cut the silk? no ! remove the beaded links and now it's the right length.  I didn't want it so long that the focal could end up getting squished, smashed, banged up , dented or broken so a really long necklace seemed inappropriate. Now it falls just mid-cleavage; safe and secure in that location. lol

and one needs earrings to go with  it.....

and a bracelet, just cause I love wearing them.

so now I have a parure of lusciousness. 
(that's french btw - and an intriguing word)

so now that you've waded through this recounting of my process (& God bless you for staying with me thus far) you deserve a treat , so head on over to the other blogs & see what goodies all the other participants have to show you. 

Linda Anderson
Christina Hickman
Catherine LaVite
Barbara Price
Kathy Lindemer
Linda Raggo
Marianne Baxter
Rachelle Walker
Gloria Allen
Ally Asato
Robin Lynne Showstack
Naomi Knafla
Maria Rosa Sharrow
Dana Phillips
Michelle McCarthy
Beth Blanc
Hope Smitherman
Kari Asbury
Shai Williams
Betony Maiden
Inge van Roos
Kelly Hosford Patterson
Kristina Peck
Lori Schneider
Rosantia Petkova
Erika Price 
Claire Fabian
Rachel Mallis
Deb Fortin
Nicole Rennell
Joanne Bell
Johana Nunez
Sam Waghorn
Natalie Davidson
Robin Reed
Faye Wolfenden
Karin King
Seed Beaders
Rebecca White
Palak Udeshi
Penny Houghton
Krafty Max
Heather Canepa
Ginger Bishop
Katy Heider
Renetha Stanziano
Becky Pancake
Tina Pawass
Mowse Doyle
Tami Norris
Minnette Miller
Veralynne Malone

Tuesday, January 24, 2017


I'm taking part in BEAD PEEPS 3rd Annual HOP N SWAP hosted by Linda Anderson. 

This is the first time for me to do this event. 

As part of the requirements we have been asked to tell a little bit about ourselves, what we do as jewellery artists, our style, our likes and dislikes, our preferred materials to use and what we don't like to use at all. 

I am sort of retired, (as in not working but not old enough to officially retire.)

I have been making jewellery for at least 10 years.

I work primarily with semi precious gemstones, glass beads, copper, silver plate or silver-filled wire, leather, chain, linen, silk and other fibres. I don't do bead embroidery but I do use seed beads as spacers or for filling up stringing wire to make it pretty. 

I also work with metal clays, in past using a friends kiln I made pendants in copper clay, bronze clay and steel clay. Now I limit myself to silver clay as that can be torch fired.

The past two years I have started to use recycled or reclaimed copper wire and sheet metal to create nature-inspired jewellery. Fold-forming is a favourite technique I use to texture and shape my pieces.
 I also love to work with wire to create my own chain links, clasps, ear-wires and other findings. I have a whole slew of wire in different gauges so that when inspiration strikes I am ready to go. 

My style is "scattered"; symmetrical , asymmetrical, chunky , delicate, sedate, classic, funky, steampunk-y, Iv'e done them all.  I have yet to focus on one particular style. 

Lately I have fallen for the tribal (amulet, talisman) look, so that may be my new go-to style. 

I also am a lover of symmetry, so a classical look often finds it's way into my completed projects. 

I am NOT afraid of colour and use some unusual combos to create fun and unexpected results.
edited to add* i love colour and other than beige I am open to any colour combos even black and white or grey *

My most popular items for customers are my earrings. I like em long and large but am also comfortable making smaller ones to suit my customers tastes. 

I don't think there is a material I wouldn't use except for cheap plastic. (That doesn't include lucite or bakelite or resin as these are not cheap.)

I like to remake older jewellery into new designs. As a child of depression era parents I was taught not to throw anything away if it has any useful life left in it, so I am a big recycler, re-user.  This includes leather scraps , old belts, rhinestone brooches, copper roofing, electrical wire etc. I think you get the picture. 

This year I am hoping to incorporate needle felting into my jewellery lineup; I'm thinking amulets, talismans, and other tribal  inclusions. Perhaps I will put my rusty embroidery skills to use, to embellish felted or fabric pieces, that I can incorporate into some new designs I have floating in my head. 

My muse had better not take a year off like she did last year. 

Looking forward to meeting my partner and sharing some bead love. 

Ceramic buttons (by a fellow artist ),
that I wired into a single unit and hung from multiple leather cords;

my first STATEMENT piece. 

recycled aluminum tag, fold-formed & hammered,
 coloured with alcohol inks, with glass o-rings as spacers and dangles

leather scraps made into fringe with brass beads gold wire and cotton cord 

Sunday, January 15, 2017

new artwork

Yesterday I spent the day at a workshop hosted by a fellow artist and friend, Wendy Southin of Dragonfly Dreamers studio. 

We were playing with Gelli Plates and making mono-print artwork.We began by creating standard mono-prints on various paper types. 
After a lunch break we got down and dirty with making layers on our base prints. I came away with an incredible assortment of art prints that I can add to in future, (they don't LOOK FINISHED yet). But I did get three that I am very pleased to say are done, that is I don't think they need anything else other than to be framed or mounted.

I don't have titles for these. They haven't divulged what they want to be called yet.

The first one is a yellow-toned study with touches of dark green and metallic copper. 

I decided to be a bit brave and work in black white and grey, an odd choice I'm sure the others thought when I started. In the end we were all impressed with how they turned out, esp. once I added  a touch of red. 

Im not sure if I have them right side up as shown , that will depend on how I frame them. 
For now I'm happy to have three finished. 

Thursday, January 5, 2017


New year, same old intentions.To update my blog more often. Will I be consistent? who knows. but I will try.
For now, here is a photo from one of the shows I did last year.

not only jewellery but paper crafts as well. 

and a close up of some of the items I sold , the four necklaces on the left hand side are all sold and gone on to new homes. Only one of the bracelets below them is left in stock. the two necklaces on the right are going to be taken apart and remade . they seem a bit bland to me and haven't sold, so it's time to tweak them a bit and see what happens.

Tuesday, August 30, 2016

"We interrupt our challenge schedule to try something new for the month of August....a headpin challenge. But not just any kind of run of the mill headpin. 
We're talking fancy schmancy art headpins.

What is an art headpin?'s a headpin that is handcrafted by an artisan, has been manipulated in a manner that is more than just a ball end, and has the potential to be the centerpiece of a creation rather than just playing a supporting roll."   (the above statements are courtesy of 

Well I checked my stash and rats, I don't own any art headpins. 
How did that happen? I love art headpins. 
So I'll just have to make my own. 
Take some wire -20 gauge; cut two pieces 6 inches long

Now I could just make swirly coiled headpins but that's so meh. 

Lets try soldering.
So I make some bends on one end of each wire to create triangles. 
Make a bend in the middle of one side to make the long pin part of the headpin.
Next-add some solder to fill in the gaps .
Sounds simple -right? 
 Who knew that solder doesn't go where one wants it to just by wishing. 
You actually have to control the solder. 
My soldering skills are rusty - well truthfully they are non-existent, 
so this was truly a challenge for me.
but I persevered and FINALLY got the solder to stay where I wanted it to stay.

they don't look all that great here
But were they what I wanted to create? Perhaps, perhaps not,  but it took so many attempts to get to this point that I decided they are just fine. So MOVE ON Deb. 

Part of the challenge for me was to also make a finished piece of wearable jewellery. 
so the process continued......... 
I felt the headpins were a bit raw and unfinished so I added some (Lisa Pavelka) Magic-Glos which requires UV light to cure them, so  then I hung them outside to dry and cure for 1/2 hour. Once cured they have a lovely shine plus some thicker dimension to them so they look coated in glass. I was pretty darn pleased with how they turned out. 

Next step - choose some lovely glass beads to make earrings. 
Why does that process strike such fear in our hearts? 
We want perfection folks but perfection takes time and the deadline was looming, so I made my choice, added some tiny lampwork rondel spacers and wired them all together. Add some hand made ear wires and I'm done. 

See how pretty they turned out . They are 2-1/2 inches long. I make my ear wires with long tails at the back for better balance and security, they don't fall out of my ears as easily
This process was challenging but exciting and I am much more prepared to do it again with other materials 

Thanks so much for stopping by. 
To see what the other artists made, click on any of the links below.

Saturday, July 23, 2016

Luna Moth Challenge

Over on the Allegory Gallery Facebook page there is a challenge (or several) going on.
One of them is the Luna Moth Challenge . We were required to purchase the kit from the Allegory Gallery website and then had quite a few weeks to create something with those beads.
We had the option of adding from our own stash or not. I chose to NOT add in other bits this time.

I decided I wanted the one -holed focal LUNA MOTH pendant to be a non- pendant so I added another hole opposite the first one, thank goodness for my Dremel Micro. It's become a real workhorse in my studio.

I have not used waxed linen before in my jewellery making, (only for handmade book bindings.)
It was an interesting material to work with. It is self needling cause it's sticky and does fit through quite a few bead holes, even the small e-beads we were given as part of the kit. It does create a less flexible finished piece than is usual with other fibres, but it holds KNOTS really well. Bonus!!!

This being my first time using waxed linen cord I didn't calculate the correct length to start with, (factor in the knots next time Deb) so my first attempt ended up being choker length. And I do mean CHOKE-er. I don't have a skinny neck and the end product, while gorgeous, was not wearable by me. But I was on a deadline and the challenge photos were due so I posted it anyhow to the Facebook page.

soft and pretty LUNA MOTH choker
It fits my mannequin but she has a skinny neck, a really skinny neck
But it's done. 

but......... If you are like me you often are not satisfied with what you create and things need tweaking. So I tweaked.  I had added a small cord crimp to each end to allow me to attach the lobster clasp. so adding more waxed linen was going to be problematic. so off came the jump rings and I knotted the additional linen cord to the loop on the crimp end and continued to add more beads. It is now a more wearable 26" long with a button and loop closure. so it is metal Free. Not an issue for me but if I decide to sell it that may be a selling point. I also added two beads (and another hole) to the Luna Moth pendant to guarantee it wont flip over or upside down when wearing it. I guess after all this it ended up being a pendant anyways. Oh dear.

This is my finished piece and I won't be remaking it again lol.

A much longer necklace now

I added Wooly Wire twists to cover the metal cord ends so no exposed metal .
I used one of the larger gemstone beads to make a button and
 two loops of linen cord twisted together to make the loop.

If you want to see what the other artists made with this kit and the Tribal kits as well pop over to the Facebook page. there are tons of things to see so prepare to browse for a while.