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
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
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:
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…
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…
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!
so, now its in one piece, next stop try it on!
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!
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.
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:
and it was such a beautiful afternoon, I headed to the garden for some pictures of it being worn
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
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.
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!
so next I do some thinning out, and we get down to something a bit more managable
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.
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.
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.
This little combination I feel is working nicely
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!
so either the gold or the carnelian has to go, lets try these…
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
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.
I’ll leave it there for now, so as not to make this post even longer!
More coming up soon in Part two
I seem to be a lampworker of extremes.
It’s either huge big focal beads…or teeny tiny frogs and bunnies
and now, these
They measure a total of 11.5mm across and the front section is only 4.5mm thick, so they are not heavy like some glass earrings. in fact, they weigh just 1.3 grams! The metal is all sterling silver.
I also made some as dangly earrings
For those of you interested in jewellery, they are available to buy on my website, and on Etsy.
If you can’t see the colour you want, the listing on my website is for made to order in any colour, so just drop me a message with which colour you’d like!
If you’ve never bought anything on Etsy, and you’re in the UK, you can get £5 off your first purchase, click here to claim your offer!
For those of you interested in making your own tiny lampworked cabochons…read on!
These are made on the newest size of cab mandrel from MangoBeads.
You can buy them on their website, or Etsy shop and while you’re there, they have some other great tools and tutorials too, not to mention beads…such lovely beads!
These are so small, they don’t have the usual central peg which helps keep your cab in place whilst making it.
The trick is to keep the back of the cabochon warm. This means you need to heat the mandrel. thats it. it really is that simple. keep it warm throughout making, and it shouldn’t fall off…unless you’re really rough with it!
and before you ask, I’m using fusion bead release, air dried.
Speaking of which…I think its time for me to go and dip some more! I love using these teeny tiny cab mandrels!
I’m sure you’ve all been waiting patiently for this, I hope you like what I’ve made!
Remember what I got in my design pack? click here if you’d like to refresh your memory!
Firstly a simple design featuring Caroline’s ceramic leaf pendant, some of my own lampwork beads including this little wren who I rather like, I will be making more of those! and a little copper leaf button I made.
Then a two part design, a necklace/bracelet featuring two of Caroline’s ceramic beads from my Design pack and Lesley’s Bronze clay pendant (which I drilled a second hole in to make it a connector) I added some more of Caroline’s lovely little ceramic bird beads and a selection of my own lampwork beads. I’ve used two of these fancy shortener clasps so that the bracelet section can be taken out and worn on its own.
here is just the bracelet section:
That’s all for now, I may be back later if the bracelet I was working on decides to co-operate!
and here are the links to the other blog hop participants:
Apologies for lack of blogging, for once its not my fault!
Somehow I got blocked out of everything wordpress, on every computer and device on our internet connection.
(thats only a few million websites then!)
its been a while, and today it just sort of…worked. weird. anyway, I’m back! hello!
Right, down to business!
I’ve signed up for a blog hop! I’m excited, I’ve never done one before, but I like beads, and I like a challenge and supporting fellow artisans, so this is perfect!
its the autumn design challenge from Lesley Watt – TheaJewellery and Caroline at Blueberri beads, Thank you for letting me play!
For those who don’t know how this works, Lesley and Caroline have supplied me (and a group of others) with a little selection of their handmade beady goodies, and we will make them into jewellery, and post the results on our respective blogs on the reveal date. it will be fantastic to see what different things everybody makes, using similar components! be sure to come back and see!
so, without any further waffle, heres my goodies!
Bronze heart connector and pendant from Lesley, whose etsy shop is here incase you want to get your hands on some of these lovelies! (she also has another shop with jewellery featuring them if you’re not a maker yourself, or even if you are…I’m very tempted by some of these myself!) and fantastic ceramic beads and pendant from Caroline of Blueberri beads, whose shop is here, check out her little birds! I love them!
I’m so pleased I got purple! I love Purple!
and I’ve already set about finding some beads from my stash that complement them!
this photo was taken later, and shows the colours better. of course I may not use any of these with them, you’ll just have to wait and see!
The reveal date is the 2nd of October , you’ll be able see the finished pieces from me, and from the other participants, but don’t forget to check in to see what else I’m up to, and in the meantime, check out their blogs too!