Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Andrew Thornton's September Readers' Challenge

This month's challenge hosted by Andrew was FUN! Purple/lavender are not colors I typically work with. I had a blast with this. Andrew is a master at combining interesting, colorful ingredients. I wish I lived nearby to him, I'd love to sit and have a conversation about creating over a mug of coffee or cup of tea (maybe he'll visit Maine some time).

Andrew created a luscious, luxury bead blend in shades of purple that also included some red-purple. In addition to the bead blend he included Swarovski crystals, vintage Miriam Haskell beads, purple Soft Flex beading wire, a dichroic bead, a Humblebeads small pussy willow charm from Heather Powers, two enameled flowers from Sarah of C-Koop Beads, a a "grow" connector from Heather Wynn-Millican of Swoondimples.

And, if this all wasn't enough, he included a mystery component and a length of silver plated chain. The mystery component, a handcrafted floral copper coin accented with gilders paste, created by Andrew himself.
Unfortunately, it took me a while to get to it. September is a complete BEAR at work (notice how gently I worded that Sarah ;) ) and I had committed to Andrew's challenge, Diana Ptaszynski of Suburan Girl Studio's Art Bead Earring Swap (loved it!), and Lori Anderson's Bead Soup Blog Party (fab! - Lori is amazing in my book). Can you say overextended? Thankfully for me, Andrew has had twso reaveal dates for the September challenge due to an unfortunate postal issue. He graciously let me extend my reveal to the second date. So, without further ado, my necklace (I'm not inventive enough to come up with names for my pieces):
The stacked focal of this piece incorporates two vintage copper flowers from my favorite bead store The Beadin' Path. The center of the focal is the larger of the two enameled flowers. I painted one of the copper flowers with enamel paint and wired them together. Ideally, I think I'd like to create a ball end copper headpin for the center. We'll see if I get to that or not. There's also a flaw that needs fixing. When I was punching the holes for stringing, one of the petals slipped and the hole was mis-punched, to salvage the flower I placed it at the bottom. Now that I've used ICE Resin, I'm going to use it to fill that little hole and use some copper leaf to repair it.
I added some oval brass links, vintage tortoise colored Czech glass two-hole connectors and red-purple dyed jasper coins from The Beadin' Path, a few other beads from various sources, and an enameled copper toggle. I am not sure the source of the toggle, I think I bought it at a bead show some time ago, but I can't be certain. It might be a C-koop, I'm just not sure.
I'm also in process with both a bracelet and earrings. This weekend is my weekend to finish unfinished projects (REALLY!). I'm going to finish this bracelet and earrings and my necklace from the BSBP. Come back next week to see! I need a clasp for this bracelet, I need to paint on the sea glass pieces and the vintage Czech glass pendant, drill the sea glass and change out the copper jump rings for brass. From Andrew's kit I've used the "grow" connector from Heather Winn-Millican, dichroic bead, his beautiful handcrafted mystery component coin and the small pussy willow pendant from Heather Powers. I really, really like it (I'll like it even better when I finish it!).
Please excuse the pictures. I should have taken them over the weekend while it was sunny, but I forgot. So you get early A.M. pictures on a cloudy day. One of these days I'll set up my light box. That's anothe story.

Thanks again for creating this challenge Andrew! Now, grab a cuppa' and visit the blogs of the other participants and check this link on Andrew's blog for his piece and a few others he posted on the first reveal day: 
Sally Russick
Tara Linda
Paula Kramer
Melinda Orr
Beth Emery
Tracy Stillman
Heather Goldsmith
Lori Bowring Michaud
Rebecca Anderson
Debbie Price
Patty Gasparino
Have a great day!

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Art Bead Earring Swap Reveal!

Good day to you! Today is reveal day for the Art Bead Earring Swap hosted by the lovely and talented Diana Ptaszynski of Suburban Girl Studio! Diana paired me with the very talented ceramic bead artist, Diane Hawkey. Diane was extremely generous and gifted me with two pairs of earrings, thank you so much Diane!

First up is a pair of LOVE hearts with sterling silver earwires. Adorable, and I can't wait to wear them! Diane is very well known in the beading world for her word beads. These beads have a shiny red glaze and the white banner and black words have a matte finish.
Next up is a pair of amber, crackle finish heart beads on brass earwires from Vintaj.

I wore these earrings to work the other day. They coordinate nicely with a necklace I finished over the weekend for Andrew Thornton's September Readers Challenge, which I'll be revealing on Wednesday, October 12 (check back!). This pair has a shiny amber glaze with a slight crackle finish on the beads and I think you can make out a floral and leaf embossing on the beads. Lovely!

Again, I am a very lucky girl! Thank you Diane!
Below is a picture Diane took of the earrings I sent to her (the peril of a daughter taking a photography class this semester is that I don't have my camera available whenever I want it!).
For these earrings, I used sterling silver bezel connectors from Rio Grande. I placed sealed scrapbook paper that looks like sand in the back, then teeny tiny pieces of sea glass in shades of brown, green and cobalt and filled them with ICE Resin. I then wired brown seaglass chips, cobalt dyed MOP chips, apatite, peridot and a stone I'm not sure about chips to the bottom connector with sterling ball end headpins and finished them with sterling earwires. I had intended to have all of the dangles be seaglass, however, my Dremel decided to give me fits and only the brown got drilled. This was my first time using resin and I was a wreck (I also made a few other pieces I'll show another day). The ICE Resin is worth every penny, it's FABULOUS! I had NO air bubbles. I can't wait to use it again.

I collected the seaglass at my favorite little hometown beach, Willard Beach. My Uncle Chick (his nickname) was the lifeguard there for 38 years. It's the beach my parents met at and they fell in love there (my dad worked summers for my uncle). I spent many a summer afternoon there with my children when they were growing up. It's a little gem of a beach. Most of the glass I collect there is smallish and usually brown, green or clear, but I love it!

Thanks again Diana for hosting this swap, and thanks for partnering me with Diane! Below are links to the rest of the participants:

Jenny Davies-Reazor
Marie-Noel Voyer-Cramp
Lori Bowring Michaud (you are here)