Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Mosaic for the PCAGOE October Challenge

Here they are, all the entries in the PCAGOE October "Southwestern" Challenge! Aren't they stunning? I tell you what, that bar is getting mighty high! The members turned out a great one this time, and I am really proud of their efforts. This is going to be a fantastic challenge, so be sure you vote for your favorites!

You can see a larger photo at the challenge site at blogspot, and also at flickr.

Voting begins October 1 and runs through October 7, 2010.


Sunday, September 26, 2010

October PCAGOE Challenge - Southwestern

Our PCAGOE challenge theme for October is "Southwestern." I have to admit, it's one of my favorites of all the themes we've had so far. Turquoise is my favorite gemstone, and my favorite colors to design with are the tertiary colors which immediately come to mind when you think of a Southwestern color palette evident in Native American blankets, decor and architecture: Tomato red, butter yellow, mustard, pumpkin, aubergine, chocolate brown and suede tan, and of course, turquoise.

If I could live anywhere else other than South Carolina, I think I would choose Santa Fe. First, I'm fascinated by the history and culture of Santa Fe. Second, I'm fascinated by the artists employed by the U.S. government in the Works Progress Administration, the WPA, in the 1930s and 1940s; and third, I am fascinated by the explosion of color evident in the landscape and architecture of the American Southwest region.

I tried several designs this week in an effort to create something Southwestern which really reflects how I feel about it.

My first effort was this dark turquoise and chocolate brown piece. I created the chocolate brown bezels to resemble tooled leather and filled them with a faux turquoise mosaic cabochons. I haven't done wire wrapping in a long time. I'm too lazy and it takes too much time, but I created the copper jumprings and wire wrapped the alternating African turquoise fluted teardrop beads. I almost entered this piece. It's gotten quite a lot of positive feedback and I really like it, but I wanted a piece which incorporated more of the "Southwestern" colors I love, so I kept at it.

This was my second attempt, which I love, but it doesn't qualify because our entries must be at least 50% polymer clay. I didn't have enough of the clay batch left to make more than 4 of the smaller round blossom beads. The colors in this are the paler versions of my favorites from the Southwestern color palette. I think of this as the desert sunrise colors, instead of the bolder desert sunset colors.

One of the things I wanted to incorporate was a Zuni Corn Maiden focal bead. The first attempt wasn't very good, I was more pleased with the second, which is featured in this piece, along with faux bone capped beads intended to mimic those gorgeously colorful Navajo blankets. I needed to balance the focal bead, so I created the "corny" turquoise toggle clasp. Notice how the bar resembles an ear of corn?

Third time is the charm! This is it, my entry for the challenge. It includes all the colors I wanted to showcase, and my corn maiden 2nd attempt focal. Yay!

I also got several pendants out of the batch of "blanket" clay. LOVE the variagated stripes on these showcased with the copper. If I could get a realistic looking sterling silver clay blend, I would have used that, but everything I tried was too dark and too dull to pair well with the colors.

I think that will do it for me with the Southwestern color palette for awhile. Next month's challenge is "Seasonal." I am already planning a Winter White color palette. I may go into shock over the starkness.

Be sure to check out the other entries in this month's challenge in our flickr challenge photo pool; and don't forget to vote for your top three favorites beginning October 1, 2010 at You could be one of five lucky voters chosen at random to win a beautiful polymer clay prize created by one of our talented member artists!

Monday, September 20, 2010

Elisabeth Auld - ABS Designer of the Week

You may remember that back in July, I sponsored the Art Bead Scene challenge by furnishing one of the prizes, a set of denim and copper polymer beads. Well, Elisabeth Auld, who has a shop at Etsy called BeadsForBusyGals, was the winner of my beads, and she just created this fabulous lariat necklace with them and entered it in this month's ABS challenge (see below!)

I love seeing how other designers use my pendants and beads, and I am really tickled to be an entrant and also have a part in another person's entry. Isn't that cool?

Elisabeth blogged about the beads and her entry at her lovely blog, too. Check it out!

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Paris 1925 Art Nouveau Necklace - Art Bead Scene September Challenge Entry

The gals at ArtBeadScene present a gorgeous print for the September challenge theme, George Barbier's print "Persia," an illustration from "The Art of Perfume publishe din 1912. The print is a pochoir print. Pochoir is a direct method of hand coloring through a stencil. The stencil itself is usually knife cut from thin-coated paper, paperboard, plastic or metal and the ink or paint is applied with a brush through the stencil to the paper beneath. Multi-colored pochoirs are produced with multiple stencils, and the technique has often been used to add colors to black and white lithographs.

I am happy to add Barbier, a "new to me" artist, to my list of artists who inspire me.

I intended to enter the Art Bead Scene September challenge this month, although this wasn't the entry I intended to enter; but as soon as I placed the tiny brass, floral end caps on the Czech glass tulips, I decided to create something with an early 20s, Parisian flare for the challenge.

Monday, September 13, 2010

New Necklace Designs

It seems like forever since I sat down and created a necklace. The old muse flew the coop AGAIN about a month ago, and I haven't seen hide nor hair of her since. I got tired of sitting around moping about it, so I opened up the gemstone drawers and started throwing stuff on the table. These are the result.

I created this faux bone pendant a couple of months ago. This is one of three remaining pendants from a large batch of faux bone clay. I think it has a Southwestern look and feel, so I added some denim Sodalite, green Chrysoprase and antique copper accents. This is based on an older necklace designed titled "I Wanna Be A Cowgirl", revamped and all grown up.

The pendant featured in this necklace is one of my personal all-time favorites. It is an image from a collection of Ancient Lace tapestries which I transferred to translucent clay backed with a medium copper metallic clay. I framed some champagne Czech glass rondelles with antique copper filigree bead caps, which I think give it a really old world look. I also added more faceted, copper speckled Czech glass beads and some really nice Cosmic cut Swarovski crystals. I think this is the topaz color, not sure... it's been awhile since I bought them.

This pendant is the last thing I created before the Muse took a hike. The necklace is called "Sheba Exotica Necklace." I had these really neat carved horn bone talons which I purchased at Etsy several weeks ago, and thought they would look really good paired with the large Fire/Crag Agate rondelles and rounds. The rounds are big honkers, 16mm! This is really a statement piece. I think I'll submit it to some jewelry design magazines and see what happens. It isn't easy incorporating these faux talons into a design. I looked for some inspirational photos, but the only place I could remember seeing them was in the movies on a bunch of cannibals, so I put Fleetwood Mac's "Tusk" on the cd player, jacked up the volume and let it belt out a beat to inspire me. The cannibals danced, too.

The pendant featured in this necklace is made from scrap clay in a metallic celedon color. I stamped it with my new favorite stamp, which looks to me like faux dinosaur bone, but how romantic would that be to call it peacock blue faux dinosaur bone? Not very, so I called it Rustica Peacock Blue Necklace. Hee Hee.

This is my version of a Skinner blend. I guess I shouldn't call it a Skinner blend, since I don't do it the same way. I just keep folding two separate colors (no neat triangles for me) together and running them through the pasta machine until I get what I want. The larger "rice" beads are from same batch of clay, I just kept on rolling until I got a solid color of dark copper. These are the most "organic" looking beads I think I've ever made. They just kind of folded over on themselves. My OCD self must have left with the muse. It didn't scream at me to make them perfect or exactly the same.