Sunday, July 13, 2014

A pound of feathers

 This entire collection was a test of my patience. 
The rivets were a bit difficult as they kept wanting to warp and slide and move around. 

I think I might have found a way to get them to stay in place and do what I command. 
It is currently one of my favorite designs. 
A lovely mix of metal and laminate and fulfills my need for gigantic chunky jewelry and my need to hammer on some copper while keeping the recycled laminate at the forefront of what I'm making.



 I've been thinking a lot about why I've been using feathers so much lately. It really has to do with some heaviness of heart that I struggled with this winter, but here's what I wrote in the listings: 

I've been using feathers and birds a lot lately in my work. I like the idea of something that floats above the forces of gravity. The wind filling the wings and taking the bird high above mountains, trees, the weight of this world. It's a weight we all feel and though we can't sprout wings to lift ourselves above it, we can be reminded to take our minds and hearts above those trees and above those mountains, to find the thing that lifts us up and defies the forces of gravity that pull us down.


 That's a feeling that's very real to me and I think all of us find a sense of awe and grandeur when we see an eagle or hawk so high above what we would consider the earthly domain. 

I think it says something about the power of flight that even DaVinci drafted flying machines and wanted to be above the tree line long before anyone had an idea that it could be done.


I haven't worn them all at once yet. (Though really, what's stopping me?) But I did make a couple in some colors that are just for me. ( I'll be sure and Instagram those later!) 

In the meantime, all of these can be found in the shop

Monday, July 7, 2014

Statehood

Little known fact:
I'm from Alabama.
Or maybe you did know that.
Either way, I've spent the majority of my life living right around that top rivet you see in the photo below.
 

We only moved to my current home a mere 9 nine years ago (wow, has it been that long?)
I remember spending part of a semester in the 9th grade studying Alabama history.
It was actually very interesting. We took a journal and filled it out with the state's important information, learned a bit about the state govt. and studied famous Alabamians. (There have been a few, Helen Keller is my personal favorite)
 
I was homeschooled at the time so we also had the chance to travel a bit and visit some of the famous landmarks. I think it really helped me to have an appreciation for the place I lived and the people who lived there.
 

I'm slowly becoming more familiar with my current home and the summers are a wonderful opportunity to do so. My hometown has been around since the late 1700's and we still have buildings standing in this city that date back to before the Declaration of Independence.
 
I've enjoyed reading about the history of this place but also of Raleigh and Charlotte, and the islands that make up the outer banks.
Heard of Roanoke Island?
I'm sure you've come across the name Blackbeard?
North Carolina has a fascinating history.
 

 
I say this to say that I know your state does too, heck maybe even your town.
It's warm and sunny outside and now is the perfect time to play tourist in your own neighborhood.
Where do you live?
What makes it unique?
Who lived there first and why did they arrive?
 
I've got more states to make, North Carolina is definitely on my bench, and I've even got one of my favorite countries to work up. I think too often we get a bit of tunnel vision and get so focused on what's trendy and glamorous that we forget to enjoy what's unique about where we are.
 
I hope you'll take some time this week to live in your own home, to research the history and beauty that make up the place where you lay your head, and learn a little bit about where you are, even if it's not where you were born. 

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Revamping

I've been in a funk the past couple of days.
Not a lot of fresh inspiration.
Which is weird considering I have a full sketchbook full of ideas and some Pinterest boards to help me out.
I've also been working through the Etsy Seller Seminar which helped me tremendously to sit down and revamp my shop and give it a fresh read.
 
I sat down and worked through my About page and profile, making them reflect the things I'm more interested in now and not so much then.
I've also decided to offer my pendants all put together.
 
I've put them on slim 24" copper chain that hangs long and is perfect for layering.
To reflect that change I've taken some new photos.



I'm still offering just the pendants of course if you'd like something to use in your own jewelry creations and taking advantage of Etsy's 'variations' feature which allows me to price differently if you buy the pendant alone or on chain.
 
 
I like the double-holed pendants with the jump rings, but for the single pendants, I'm not such a fan.
I'm thinking about hanging them on ball chain. That's how I've been wearing my feathers and butterflies as of late. They're so lightweight that they really can be worn on just about anything.
 
 
I did purchase some silver and copper yesterday and have some plans to make some rings and maybe some more pendants with copper backings that have a bit more weight to them.
 
I'd also like to make some more bracelet sliders. I really, really like wearing the ones that I've made so far.
Baby hasn't been napping in the afternoons lately...what? Never heard of a 15-month-old eschewing naps.
Anyway, what do you do when you're stuck? How do you find new inspiration? It's got to be new-mom friendly. (I can't exactly hop a plane to the far reaches...)
 
I hope you're enjoying your summer. It's been lovely around here. Hot, hot, hot, but so wonderful in the evenings and we've been walking and riding bikes just before dark to take advantage of the coolness. Have a lovely weekend, folks. Happy Fourth if you're American, and if you're not, I hope the fourth is a lovely day for you regardless! 

Monday, June 9, 2014

New New New Pendants!!

I promised y'all an update this weekend, and it proved to be more difficult to get that done, but it's up today! This is really just a hodge podge of inspiration and ideas and creativity. I just kinda went with the creative muse on these pieces and made what I wanted to.
Here are the new pieces:
 
First up, are some bracelet or necklace banners in copper with laminate backgrounds in some fun phrases:
HAPPY
(Yes, it's a nod to Pharrell and my one-year-old's current favorite song!)
This one has two holes, I see it more as a necklace bar with some fun dangles or maybe a pendant connected below it.
 

GROW
We've been working on a small garden this year and while the zucchinis and squash need a bit more love, the peppers have taken off! Very appropriate for the season, I think.
These next two have one hole, but I could easily modify them if you want, just convo me!
 

CREATE
 

This one, is listed at a discount. For some reason, the copper plaque just didn't follow the curve of the laminate.
I don't know if I stamped on the back, or what, but it's not up to par, so I've listed it at a discount..
 

Now, on to these.
I LOVE the way these turned out. Two cut triangles of laminate, riveted to one hammered and patinated triangle of copper with double holes for hanging. This first one is a bit smaller.
 

This second one is definitely larger and I've added a bit of copper detailing at the top. These were a bit more time consuming, but they look awesome. I've slightly rounded the edges so that they won't snag on clothes when worn.
Super chunky and very textural.

A bracelet bar with the word sawn from the laminate.
I've got a couple more of these in the works.
 

Another sparrow in some more earthy tones. These have been pretty popular and I must admit they are really lovely to wear just attached to thin chain.
 

I also listed this little guy Made To Order. He's been pretty popular on my last two updates and I've got the samples to make two or three more, so get him while he's still around!

 
All of these cuties are in my shop and I do have a couple more to list that I will probably try to add this afternoon if I'm able.
 
All of these are in the shop!
Also, if you have an idea for a custom piece you'd like me to work on, please feel free to contact me! I'd love to create something special for you!
 
Have a great week all!

Friday, June 6, 2014

Stringing Magazine Winter Submissions

If you've been reading my blog at all and for any length of time, you'll know I'm a huge get-out-there-and-get-yourself-published cheerleader.
I've done entire blog posts before on how stinkin' easy it is to get published! (Nine times out of ten, you send in a great photo of your piece and you'll get an enthusiastic "Yes!" from the publisher!)
 
I always look forward to getting Stringing Magazines Contributor Guidelines in my inbox. (They've published my piece before so I'm on the list, but it's super easy to find all that info right here.)
I don't always submit but I enjoy using the themes and color schemes to challenge my jewelry making or inspire my color choices when I sit down to my bead table.
 
I took some time today to find some bits and bobs on Etsy inspired by the colors and themes for this issue and also thought I'd share with you my initial creative musings about each theme. If you'd like more info about any of these supplies, click the photo to take you to the Etsy shop!
 
First up, Star Struck.
My initial thought on this palette was silver. Sometimes you can get away with pairing some of the warmer metals, copper and brass with delicate colors like lavender, but in this case, especially since you're trying to capture the shine of the stars, I think sticking with silver or pewter for your findings and finishings is probably your best bet.
 
 
These brass coins from SupplyDiva have such a bright shine that they almost go silver.
 
https://www.etsy.com/listing/122537511/brass-disc-18g-15mm-blank-sun-moon-stars?ref=sr_gallery_41&ga_search_query=star+beads+handmade&ga_page=2&ga_search_type=supplies&ga_view_type=gallery
 
These bad caps from AtlantisGlassandBead are tiny, but have such great texture and flash that I think they could really pack a punch when used in a design.
 
https://www.etsy.com/listing/70322349/agb-handmade-sterling-silver-jewelry?ref=sr_gallery_2&ga_search_query=star+beads+handmade&ga_search_type=supplies&ga_view_type=gallery

This next palette is a huge challenge for me, I generally don't do delicate and feminine. I mostly make gigantic pendants and chunky bracelets, but this color palette has a very feminine, almost English Garden flair. I recently bought a necklace for my mom that was a gorgeously wrought lampwork bead on thin silver wire. The artist had embellished the bead with tiny wire-wrapped crystal drops.
 
There was actually a lot of work in the necklace but it was the size and clarity of the piece that gave it such a delicate air.
Stick with chain and findings that are small in stature and embellish your pieces with delicate crystals or tiny charms.
 

Cap a gorgeous, clear lampwork bead with these lavender caps from BalancedDestash for just a hint of color and hang from delicate chain.
 
 
Or, alternatively, think about your materials as feminine, this chain from BeachCastleBeads may be a bit chunky, but what's more elegant than silk? And used in just one strand as a bracelet, the effect is very feminine even if the size is a bit more chunky.

 
 
 
When you're making jewelry that is quick and easy, you want the biggest bang for your buck, meaning you've got to find one or two components that are going to really punch up the color and interest such as a spectacular pendant or three or four chunky and colorful beads to make up the bulk of the necklace.


These tassels from WomanShopsWorld are amazing. They really don't need much to be the star of the show. 

 
Also, when your piece is quick and easy, each element has to carry it's weight. Think about your stringing materials, chain, cord, as a chance to really punch up the color. This cord from KarmaBeadSupply doesn't need much.
 
This last palette is a challenge for me. Generally, I don't wear black, I did go through this phase where I wore a ton of black, but quickly decided that life was too short and black was too boring.
Also, who wants to make black jewelry in June?!
Actually, this sounds like the perfect reason to challenge myself to submit something to the all black category!
 


These beads from TOMSsupply, large, chunky, and black are just awesome, I mean awesome. I'm dying to learn this polymer technique but really, do I have time to add that to my list of things to learn? Um, no. So, I'll content myself with allowing someone else to do it!
 
 
My note on black? I don't think it necessarily has to equal glamour. There are plenty of black supplies that don't necessarily include a lacquer finish and can definitely go more tribal and less Hollywood if you'd like them to.
I love these chunky wood pieces from LikeBeads8.

 
I hope you're inspired to submit to Stringing this time around. Be sure and check out the link above to their submission guidelines and visit their Pinterest boards for more inspiration.
I hope that me throwing some of my ideas against the wall will stick for you and maybe get your creative juices flowing!
If you decide to submit, let me know! I'd love hear about your experience and would definitely look forward to seeing your name in the contributor section! ;)
I hope you're enjoying the warmer weather so far and getting plenty of sunshine. I'm off for a walk with baby.
 
My favorite part of these days are the cool evenings when there's plenty of daylight but the sun has slipped behind the trees and the breezes are cool. The sneakers come on and the bikes come out and we take full advantage of the Southern summer nights!
Enjoy, y'all!





Tuesday, June 3, 2014

More Ideas than I know what to do with..

I wonder if I could outsource my prototyping? 
I have so many ideas and not even close to enough hours in the day in which to execute. 
This is a riff on my earlier run of bracelet sliders


This one is a smidge larger and incorporates some laminate because I'm smitten with this particular material. I've been researching different brands of laminate trying to find where the most interesting colors and textures are and unfortunately it looks like I'm pretty limited in finding local distributors, I'll have to keep hunting down sources where I can find them.
 
It's become my instant source of color for someone who is enameling-challenged. Yeah, I just can't get the enameling to work no matter what I do, so I've had to work around it.


Anywhoo, you'd think by now I'd have the riveting technique down pat, but there are still some instances where riveting just doesn't work right, and I'm thinking that I need to switch to larger wire (maybe 16g) for the cuff sliders.
 
I also need to work a bit on my stamping, a harder thwack with the hammer perhaps? I need a deeper groove to form the letters, but like I said...prototyping...