Sunday, January 31, 2010

A Burst of Color With Peyote Stitch

Oh, my goodness! I do love this bracelet! I have tried Peyote stitch and loved the look, the flow of the design, and that you didn't have to be perfect. Which brings me to this style, the Freeform. I didn't even know that it had a name! My first exposure to this medium was from a book one of my neighbors lent me, Exquisite Beaded Jewelry by Lynda S. Musante. That was my first look at incorporating lampwork beads within the design. But, what really captured my interest was how she had designs that flowed all over the place, stopping and starting new rows that weren't connected. Definitely my cup of tea!

This wonderful bracelet was made by MaryLou who has a shop on Etsy called time2cre8. The bold use of color drew me in for a closer look, and then I found myself meandering around loving the changes in the color and size of the beads. Gorgeous!

I had promised myself that this year I was going to break out of my lampwork fixation and get back to my roots of doing watercolor, prismacolor, or even back to oils. And, I have all of my Scratchboard's just waiting for new designs. I even moved them so I should really use them. And, then I saw this bracelet and it reinvigorated me to pick back up that bracelet I started a couple years ago. Boy, does time fly! So thank you MaryLou for figuratively giving me a kick in the hiney!

Friday, January 29, 2010

ETTA HAS ARRIVED! The Continuing Story of the Traveling Meerkats Journey Around the World

Etta, that world traveling Meerkat from the British Isles arrived late in the evening tired and world weary from all of her travels. She had just left Kansas where she had visited Jeannie a wonderful jewelry designer on Etsy. Etta was ready for a nice lazy evening when she smelled something unusual. I caught her leaning over the pot of Tortilla Soup ready to take a header into the pot. After rescuing her from her almost untimely dunk in the soup she settled down for a nice snooze.

That quickly became impossible when the girls rallied around her wanting to know about her world travels. But, first they had to get over the obligatory sniff to make sure they recognized each other.

Lady and Callie then sat down to hear about Etta's latest adventures traveling throughout the USA. She had left her Mum, Heather, in England who has a wonderful shop on Etsy called NiftyKnits, to become a world traveler visiting the many great locations around the world and visiting with her Mum's variety of friends during her trip. Etta's sister Treasure, also being a world traveler, and Etta had both left their Mum at the same time and were making their way around the world planning on meeting back up with their Mum at an unknown later date. One can't rush a Meerkat while she is seeing the world!

Etta continued her story, but Callie being a cat and way too independant, slinked out of the room when Etta wasn't looking. But Lady, being the lady that she is, stayed to hear about Etta's adventures.

The next day Etta and I went out to do a bit of sleuthing! I had a bit of mystery shopping and auditing to do and she came along to see what all the fun was about. When I came back to my car I found her positioned on the dashboard with a birds eye view of everything that was happening.

As we were making our way back to home we took a detour over to downtown Main Street in Pflugerville Texas. It was a beautiful day so we took a slow walk around the small square checking out the old buildings and stores.

We continued on making our way back to home and Etta insisted on sitting on the driver's side of the car! She told me that first I was driving on the wrong side of the road and second the driver's side was on the wrong side of the car!

Back at home she joined me in my studio getting things ready to torch. I took my eyes off her for one minute and turned around to find her completely covered in beads! It was obvious that she couldn't make up her mind what she liked. I personally thought they were a bit big for her. Oh well, one can't agree with everyone's taste in jewelry!

Then I showed her the new necklace that was made especially for her which is made out of the smaller version of the Chunky Disks that I love to make. She sashayed around a bit, trying out her new necklace and then spotted the beads I was getting ready to photograph for one of my buyers. Etta insisted that she wanted to see how I photographed beads so we went to out to my big fancy photography area; the outside patio! She sat down to watch how I set up my fancy setup; a clipboard.

After we finished up that small task, back to the studio we went for torching. Etta was super interested in why I had this big glass shield that I looked through when I torched. I explained that it was a Didymium shield that reduces sodium flare and enhances the viewable colors while protecting me from UV/IR emissions. In English that means I can see the glass being melted because the normal occuring flare that happens when you work with glass is basically erased while you are looking through the shield. Of course she had to have a look herself so she let me give her a lift so she would have a better view.

Etta then cruised around my studio checking out the area while I did some work. She finally settled down and found a perch sitting in with the glass rods. I had to admit that her choice of location for the best view was outstanding! She was high enough to view what I was doing, but far enough away to avoid any flying glass that could occur when one mixes glass with a flame 1700 degrees or higher.

The next day we loaded up all of her luggage and the various presents she has acquired during her trip. With a last look at the rolling landscape passing by the car Etta then settled down for the drive to the next stage of her journey, visiting Lindi of Lin Designs. For more fun and info on Etta's journey and her sister Treasure's journey around the world check out this Facebook account of their adventures!

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Jewels of the Nile

Sometimes I think that my approach to beadmaking might be a little different then other lampwork artists. I'm fascinated with how a glass can change so drastically when melted with another glass. There are times when I have taken just one color of glass and done test beads where I have melted on a variety of other colors of glasses either just adjacent to it, or one of my favorites is to swirl the two colors together. It is amazing how another color can influence the outcome of the color of the original glass.

These crystals are a perfect example. The outer layer is a glass call Aurae. Aurae is a pink flavored glass that changes to a golden silver when it is passed through a high propane flame. What I found interesting is how it influences the base glass that it is put on. These crystals were a base of a pale pink but when the Aurae is added it changes to a golden pale yellow.

I just love what Donna of donna8 has done with these crystals. The pairing with the Bali beads is just gorgeous. Donna has named this creation Jewels of the Nile a fitting name for her creation. Check out her Etsy shop for a variety of designs!