However, I’m great at starting things

oh yes, more projects than you can shake a stick at (why would you even do that?) I’m sure if you make anything at all, you know the feeling.

anyway…
I’ve been meaning to hold another online showcase over in facebookland, and I thought I’d try out a themed one.

Birds unsuprisingly is the theme, as some of my most popular designs are birds, and there is a whole range from the silly and fun to the more sophisticated.

birds
birds

so come and see what else is in the show, it starts this evening (12 Nov) at 7pm and runs through the weekend until Monday lunchtime

and help yourself to a little coupon while you’re here:

flyfree

See you there!

So I’m not always good at finishing things

but I’ve decided (eventually) to give myself a break.

or at least stop giving myself such a hard time over something that was meant to be fun.

I may come back and finish my creative sprint posts, some of them are done, just not posted/photographed/whatever

it really didn’t fit with what was going on at the time for me, not least being ill for over two weeks. thats all my winter colds rolled into one, thanks.

I have learned some things from it though.

‘if somethings worth doing, its worth doing well’
I hadn’t realised just how much I identify with this sentiment.

I tried to do something more than basic with most of my challenges, as well as tie it to my theme, and preferably something that would actually be worthwhile, the earrings were one of my better executions of this, and they sold, so clearly they were worth doing.

but essentially I ended up asking too much of myself and I found it draining, rather than invigorating and refreshing. I found it too much of a drain on my time, its not like I wasn’t being creative on the days I didn’t do a challenge, but I tried to fit everything in and it just wouldn’t.

and then the challenges started getting less creative…’make a moustache and get a photo of you wearing it in public’ ?  really?

so thankyou, CreativeSprint, what I did was fun, but I’m refusing to let myself feel bad (any longer) for not making it to the finish line.

Creative Sprint day 17 to 20

Day 17

Teach us how to do something

One for the lampworkers today. I was really rather pleased with my simple solution to videoing myself whilst lampworking, clearly my hands are busy, and I don’t always have an assistant handy, and it isn’t the easiest thing to film as I move around a lot and the camera struggles to keep continual focus. Theres also the further problem of soda flare, (thats the big yellow flare you get when you introduce soda-lime glass into the flame, it makes it very difficult to see, I’m wearing special safety specs with a filter for my eyes, but that doesn’t help the camera)

So this is not so much teach, as show…one didymium screen, one smart phone, three rubber bands. result: nice steady shot, plus no yellow soda flare, added bonus of my smartphone being protected from any flying bits of glass.

I’m well aware that not all of you have a didymium sreen as they are quite pricey, but I like to think this is a way to squeeze some extra value from mine!

set up
set up
wide shot
wide shot

 

Day 18
Make something and trade it for something you want.

I made some porcelain Hare beads, I’ve arranged a little swap with a friend  for some of her ceramic beads. These will not be finished for a little while as they need firing.

porcelain hares
porcelain hares
porcelain hares
porcelain hares

Day 19
Make something for another #CreativeSprint-er.

I’ve not really been interacting much with the facebook group, so theres no one person I would make something for, I decided, I would make something for everyone, this little video of the sea

Day 20
Find a creative way to give someone a compliment.
Today is a beautiful Autumn afternoon…so I went for a walk

A message for you
A message for you
A message for you
A message for you – from higher up

Creative Sprint Days 12 – 14

Day 12
choose an activity you normally do today, and do it backwards

Ok, so I can’t un-melt glass, and un-make a bead…but I can reverse my hands.

As a very specific handed lampworker, that is, I have my tools & glass in my right hand and my mandrel in my left . I know several other lampworkers who switch hands for tasks such as marvering (that is rolling a hot bead across a flat surface to flatten or otherwise shape it), I don’t. The mandrel always stays in my left hand.

so first, a simple bead made my normal way round, but I have increased the video speed:

(a very quick and badly edited video, the programme keeps crashing!)

and then switching hands:

this goes lots slower because of the extra thinking involved, and the unfamiliar angles.

the blue one is my left-handed bead, the turquoise my right -handed one.

left and right beads
left and right beads

Day 13
Use the front page of  a newspaper or magazine as your materials or inspiration today

I always wanted to try this image transfer thing, again, never got round to it, well, todays the day!

Cover Image
Cover Image

The actual cover of this one didn’t work, but helpfully they’d printed a mini version on one of the pages inside

smile
smile
Marilyn
Marilyn

I think I’d like to work back into these at some point, but I haven’t decided how yet.

Day 14
Walk for 5 minutes with no specific destination in mind, make something with or inspired whats available where you end up.

I ended up at a park, and these are some of the things I found there:

Autumn colours
Autumn colours
and a berry
and a berry

I had hoped to make a drawing or some other collage type piece featuring these, I particularly liked the feather and the red berry. I need more time for that. so for now, you just get some arranged items.

(yes, I missed 11,  which was ‘spill something and make something with, or inspired by the mess’ , well, tough. I’m not perfect, so much so I spill enough stuff not on purpose and generally just get cross with myself, it does not put me in a creative mood.)

Creative Sprint days 8 – 10

Day 8
recreate or interpret a work of art you admire

it often comes back to the great wave.
promarkers on watercolour paper. I left out Fuji and the boat, because to me its always only about the wave.

The Wave
The Wave

Day 9
break something, and make something new with the parts

This necklace…its just weird. but I kind of liked some of the parts, so I always meant to take it apart, just never got around to it, (oh and it has feathers on it, so it fits with my theme nicely, which the above doesn’t, but we don’t need to talk about that!)

Strange Necklace
Strange Necklace

The bright gold plated with the antique gold plated at the front just looked very odd to me, and that nasty plastic pearl and tacky peace charm have to go

Pile of Parts
Pile of Parts
WIP
WIP

and heres the finished necklace, I only added a few jumprings, callottes and clasp, all the beads, chain and feather components were from the original.

Necklace 2
Necklace 2

I might make something with the rest of the bits at some point, and I’m not especially keen on using plated metals at all, but sometimes it works. I do like those bronzey black shades together, and the blue gives the whole thing a lift.

Day 10
make something inspired by your favourite childhood game

When I was a kid, we had real games, it wasn’t all computers and things that go on inside a screen. screens were pretty rubbish then anyhow. (and batteries, and single games at a time because you actually had to load a games cartridge into it! Oh, and a complete and total lack of internet…)

I remember several games with marbles, bagatelle, mousetrap, hungry hungry hippos (though maybe that was plastic balls?)
Speaking of, have you seen the human version? (if not, go to youtube!) it involves skateboards and washing up bowls/laundry baskets and probably a fair few bruises, but it looks like fun!

So anyway, I decided to make a marble. The best ones were always the ones with swirls of coloured glass inside, but instead of recreating one of those, I’ve taken it a step further and tried to recreate a swirl of feathers.

Feather Marble
Feather Marble

 

Creative Sprint Day 6 & 7

I know I’m super behind now, though these were actually done on time, I have been having internet connection issues to say the least. I have tried several times to upload these pictures, and even just now its taken two or three attempts.

Day 6
Make something with your eyes closed

I don’t need to explain why it would be insanity to make something lampworked with my eyes closed, so I drew these instead….

eyes shut
eyes shut

the wings on the left hand side of the line were drawn with my eyes open, then I tried to recreate them with my eyes closed

Day 7
Something inspired by a guilty pleasure
There is a TV show I like to watch, I found myself rather fascinated by this actresses eyes when I watched it recently, so …

eye
eye

a little off my theme, but nevermind.

Creative Sprint Day 4 & 5

Day 4
contents of my pockets or bag…

well I don’t use pockets much, so that leaves my bag. technically I had a bag of threads and things in there to make tassles with, but that didn’t seem very imaginative since I already planned to do it, and I didn’t have the rest of the things I need to complete the earrings, it would just be a tassle.
so that leaves (unusually for me!) my make-up bag.

Make-up Birds
Make-up Birds

Since birds and feathers are my theme, I started by smudging shapes of foundation onto my page, I also added some lip balm but that doesn’t really show, the mascara just caused mess (when doesn’t it? ) and the eyeliner lost its point extremely quickly. The lipstick bird on the bottom left I scratched into with tweezers, but it doesn’t show up that well.

Day 5
Containers.

Recently I got my hands on some porcelain, and I’ve had various ideas for things flying around in my head, but no idea which to start with.

With the theme containers, the thought came to me that I could try one of the candle holder ideas I’d had. except none of them were very ‘birdy’ so I came up with a new one!

I wanted to make a raven feather,  Art Jewelry Elements blog’s theme is Raven, and I’ve made ravens and raven feathers in glass before.

This sentence from Raven Steals the Light, Legends of the First Peoples of the Pacific Northwest  appealed to me,
‘Raven stole the sun from the Sky Chief and gave it to all the people, though his snow-white feathers were burned black by the heat of the sun’

The candle, the smoke, and maybe some matte black glaze or oxides when its fired I think would work very well.
however, it dried out too quickly and cracked, so I guess I’ll be re-making it!

Feather Candle Holder
Feather Candle Holder

Creative Sprint day 1 – 3

Creative Sprint – a 30 day creativity challenge. I signed up ages ago, and forgot really, so I wasn’t exactly prepared when the first email landed in my inbox!

For those who can’t be bothered to go to the website (really, just click it!)  I get a daily email with a theme or task designed to exercise the creativity muscles

I’m going to condense my tasks into grouped blog posts, partly because I’m already a little behind, and partly because I’m sure some of these will be pretty brief!

Day 1 – fits in your Palm

paper feather
paper feather

My initial plan was to make an origami bird, though its never been something I’m good at, they turned out far too big and unbirdlike, and thats just the ones that got finished! Either I’m not good at following instructions, or they weren’t very clear. Likely a bit of both. and I wasn’t entirely happy about ‘creating’ from instructions, rather than from my own head. so I went back a step, something small, and simple. The paper I’m using is the sheet from underneath a mandala drawing I did recently, where the pens bled through.

Day Two – Letters of my Name

Madeline Gemstone Earrings
Madeline Gemstone Earrings

This was quite the challenge I set myself! spelling out my name in gemstones, fine, but gemstones I can get hold of (thankyou job at Monty’s Beads for making that one much easier!) and that look nice together, sizes, shapes and colours? Trickier.
I finally settled on the following:
Moonstone, Amethyst, Druzy, Emerald, Labradorite, Iolite, Nephrite Jade and Emerald again (yes ok, maybe there should be at least two, but they’re big ok? and yes, Maybe the M should be the big bead…well some other time maybe!) Some other options were white moonstone rather than the orange, lapis, dalmation jasper, malachite and apatite. There were very few options for I, E and N, in fact none that I could get my hands on in time.

I’ve been meaning to do this type of simple wire wrap for some time, the one on the emerald, but it didn’t work that well with the random rough shapes, I still struggle with rustic! The emeralds also make these far too heavy, I’ll likely re-make these without those big emeralds and I know that will just make them Madlin, but I’m ok with that, as I like the colour combination so much, even though, or perhaps especially because it’s so unusual, and I most definitely would not have come up with it any other way!

Day 3 – Faces

This one made me smile to myself, a few days ago a friend did this:

feet faces
feet faces

The strangest thing about this photo (and nobody noticed!) is that I’m wearing a PAIR of socks. Those who know me, know this is rare.

so as for faces I created…

tool faces
tool faces

I was at work on my lunch break when I got the email, I looked up and saw some tools on the opposite bench, I didn’t have googly eyes to hand, which would have been the easy and fun way to do this, or I could have taken pictures and digitally painted them in…but I didn’t.
so I drew them later.

In the initial email, it said that you could choose a theme to stick to with your challenges. You might see mine emerging…

back soon with more!

Autumn Shades Necklace – The Making of – Part two

In my last post I introduced you to my making process, and left you tantalisingly close to seeing how its starting to look together…

Its really starting to take shape now!

growing!
growing!

so, now its in one piece, next stop try it on!

nearly ready to try on!

rubbish selfie time!
rubbish selfie time!

now gravity is involved, I can start to make adjustments, the double strand section needs something to the right as its not sitting the way I want, the goddess does need something above her, just not the flower, and the big pyrite, not that you can quite see it in the picture, but it looked wrong! so out it will go.

also, those silver beads are now black silver beads!

oxidised silver
oxidised silver

at this point I got rather lost in it, the end was in sight and I completely forgot the pictures!

These beads are in fact two different colours, a red orange and a hot pink. I’ve sorted a few out as I think this needs to be one or the other, not both.

Pink or orange?
Pink or orange?

I switched out the tiny mauve crystals that didn’t quite work for the pink beads above, on looking it as a whole, the only pink anywhere was in the lampwork, and it needed to tie in, but as I said before, not a flat pink, and not too much of it

so now it looks like this:

Finished!
Finished!
Finished - additional view
Finished – additional view
Finished - detail
Finished – detail

and it was such a beautiful afternoon, I headed to the garden for some pictures of it being worn

Ta-Da!
Ta-Da!
Tempted to keep it?
Tempted to keep it?

 

late afternoon sun...
late afternoon sun…

Thanks for sticking with me on this journey of a necklace!
I suppose I should mention that if you wish to make this necklace yours, its available in my etsy shop

 

Autumn Shades Necklace – The Making of – Part one

Balance.

Its what I strive for in my designs. But its more than physical balance, which in itself is a tricky line to tread when working with drastically assymmetric pieces like these, coupled with using my handmade beads, which by their nature are heavy, I don’t really do small, and they are glass! I also dislike putting them in the middle, that would be like, too easy?!

In addition to the physical balance, there is colour balance, and visual balance. oh and a balance of ingredients, of handmade components, gemstones and glass, sterling silver, bronze! it will be different for each piece of course.

But theres still more, theres another balance I strive for

That between the jewellery and the beads. By which I mean, I want people to notice the necklace as a necklace, but I also want them to see the pretty amazing bead I made it around. For the necklace to be as good as the bead, and vice versa.

I really do not like to make things easy for myself do I?

Guess what though? I love it! this bit, the challenge!  Yeah you knew that already.

So, how does one of these necklaces begin?

as you might expect, it starts with a bead, the feature bead.

Flower Goddess
Flower Goddess – front
Flower Goddess lampwork bead by Madeline Bunyan
Flower Goddess – Back

I’ve chosen a Goddess.
She’s been photographed in the same light as I’ll be working in, rather than the usual daylight I photograph my beads in, this is so the colours look the same throughout.
I’ve been meaning to make a goddess into a necklace for a while, such a complex bead I feel must be designed around in one of two ways,
1) keep it simple, perhaps as a pendant on a nice silver chain. nothing too fancy, shes fancy already.
or 2) this is a really fancy bead, lets go to town on this and give it loads of lovely quality ingredients and shiny things, like she deserves!

so, into the stash I go…

this is so not the easiest of colours to work with! red…are you kidding me? and with pink? and gold? and deep amber?
the wrong red will clash, the right red risks blending in, the pink is kind of there in flashes, not a flat pink, so I can’t use too much, the gold is both peachy and yellowy, tricky!

first, I’ll pull out anything I think might go. some of these things once offered up, will go straight back, and some of them did, when I forgot I was meant to be photographing as I went along!

you can probably see some things glaringly wrong already, I can!

Ingredients - round one
Ingredients – round one
Ingredients - round one
Ingredients – round one, alternate view

so next I do some thinning out, and we get down to something a bit more managable

Ingredients - round two
Ingredients – round two

some things still might, go, and others might get added, but I think this is looking good.

next, some planning where some of the key ingredients might go, I’m going for a multi strand necklace here, to keep some visual and physical bulk at the centre front to counter all that weight  (shh! shes sensitive!) on the right hand side.

Initial planning
Initial planning

so heres the 2nd row being roughed in. you’ll notice that for this, I’m not working with paper, I sketch in beads, I often keep my phone handy to snap pictures of different layouts as I go along, in case I want to go back, or compare.

Planning stage two
Planning stage two

Next I need to start threading some things up, seeing how they actually sit when strung together, some things don’t behave, and may need spacers or something to keep them where I want, and some just don’t look right. At the back there, I’ve threaded up sections of the smaller glass beads, as quite often they’ll look very different strung than in a heap!

I tend to work at little sections at a time, and move around the whole necklace trying out and refining here and there, getting closer and closer to a point where I can hold it up and see how it hangs.

See how this flower on top of the goddess starts looking like a head? but somehow that’s just…wrong! so that will have to go.

Goddess and Flower combo fail
Goddess and Flower combo fail

This little combination I feel is working nicely

Pink, bronze and pyrite combination
Pink, bronze and pyrite combination

This one is not, the carnelian is too dark either side of the bigger bead, and I’m not entirley convinced about the gold altogether, it does overall lighten the piece, but I’m not sure thats neccessary. also the drape of my temporary thread there is poor, so I’ll switch to something more like what I’ll use for the final threading. I’m sure you’re starting to see that theres a lot of threading and rethreading that goes into one of these!

Gold beads
Gold beads
the gold threaded up
another view of the gold threaded up (and roughly where that little pink combination will be)

so either the gold or the carnelian has to go, lets try these…

Better!
Better!

Though the sterling silver beads are way too bright, they do sit nicely into the lampwork beads, so those will be getting oxidised.

Next I need to thread up a little more, so I can start to see how it hangs, and I’ve added in that little pink combo

getting somewhere!
getting somewhere!
close up
close up – with the smaller of the two leaf clasps.

still not quite sure about that carnelian, or is it the little gold bead? I think the gold needs to go.

moving on, to the part above the clasp, I decided on the larger one.

Clasp section
Clasp section

I’ll leave it there for now, so as not to make this post even longer!
More coming up soon in Part two