Saturday, January 28, 2012

A Few Valentine's Pieces

I am having a major polymer slump, folks.  I am at the point that I can't even bring myself to go into my studio.  It's a bummer which is reaching epic proportion.  I have read books and magazines and cruised lots of websites for inspiration, but nothing. 

My friend Lupe Meter sent me some photos of a few faux bone and ivory creations she made using my tutorial, and I was so excited about them, that I thought I felt the creative juices start to flow again... but nothing.   Almost everything I have tried has gone straight to the trash pile. 

I think writing the faux bone tutorial just took all the oomph out of me.  It took so long to finish, almost three times as long as my mammoth faux jade tutorial!  I made so many revisions trying to get it just right for all my wonderful customers who were waiting so patiently for it, that I have lost my way with polymer. 

I did manage to create a couple of polymer pieces in the Ancient Romance series, and I did a few Valentine's day transfer pieces, but most of my free time in the past two months has been spent creating non-polymer jewelry.  I am having a lot of fun with the Scottish Tartans.  It's become an obsession, researching and learning the different patterns and the significance of the colors.  I was especially pleased to learn that tartans have been created over the years to commemorate and honor several of the U.S. states and some lineage societies and other public companies and societies.   

My mother, bless her heart, put in a custom order for a necklace in her Forrester tartan.  It's not a recognized tartan because "we" don't have a clan chieftan.  I keep telling my Forrester Uncle he needs to step up, but I don't think he wants to move to Scotland.  Hee Hee.   I haven't come across a Scottish Forrester castle, so it might be for the best.  Imagine what the taxes on a castle? 

My mother wanted to incorporate her birthstone, the Opal, into the design, so I added a sand opal Swarovski flatback rhinestone in the bail.  Not my first choice, but you know the old saying, "If Momma ain't happy, ain't nobody happy."  Yes, Momma, whatever you want, Momma, even if it doesn't match, Momma.  She'll wear it to a Red Hat to-do next week and show it off. 

I was particularly pleased to find the New York Firemen's Emerald Society Pipes and Drums Tartan pattern featured in this necklace. 2012 marks the 50th anniversary of the charter for the FDNY's Emerald Society, and the tartan was created for them in the 1960s, too.  

So if you are interested in a Scottish Tartan necklace, let me know.  I have virtually every Scottish surname tartan, several Irish district tartans, and a few company and commemorative tartans created for U.S. states, companies, societies and commemorative events.  I have sold several of these since I started making them, and they make wonderfully unique gifts, no matter the occasion.   The tartans look best with the antique silver components, but I can frame them in antique brass, too.     


Monday, January 9, 2012

Art Bead Scene Designer of the Week!

I love a nice surprise, and it sure was a great one to find out that Melanie Brooks of Earthenwood Studio chose me as the Designer of the Week at Art Bead Scene today!  Yay, yay, yay!  I am doing the happy dance today, and what a nice little bit of added inspiration to get back to the polymer!  Thank you so much for the honor, Melanie! 


Saturday, January 7, 2012

Hangin' Out On A Branch With BeeTreeByMe

My friend Mary Ellen, a/k/a BeeTreeByMe, blogged about my Rock Goddess Earrings today on her blog.  Her post encouragses us to branch out in 2012 and try something new in our creative endeavors.   

I have been feeling guilty about not using polymer in my latest designs, and M.E. gave me a boost with her post.  I still love polymer, and will never abandon it, but I think it's time to knock down the sides of that box and see what else I can do.  I was worried that I'd lose sight of style I've become known for, that elegant, heirloom look that I love; and that no one would recognize my new work as mine.  M.E. pretty much squashed that notion for me by saying that she liked that I could step outside my comfort zone and still maintain my personal style.  She felt the earrings were a good example of that, and we've come up with a new name for the style "Edgy Heirloom."  So, a great big hug and a THANK YOU, M.E.  I'll go out on a limb with you anytime, my friend!  

Speaking of non-polymer, here are a few of the newest necklaces I've been working on this weekend.   If you would like to see more, and more detail on these, please visit my flickr photostream



Tonight, it's back to the studio to start on some polymer pieces inspired by St. Valentine's Day, and some Celtic knot jewelry inspired by my Irish roots and St. Patrick's Day. 

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Another Day, Another Challenge Entry - Rock Goddess Studded Faux Tooled Leather Earrings for Vintaj's January "Rock n Roll" Challenge

I am going to try hard this year to enter as many challenges as I can.   They almost always inspire me to push my limits and I usually end up taking myself in a new direction as a result.  

Vintaj Natural Brass Company's January challenge theme is "Rock n Roll," and I really struggled with it.  The light bulb didn't go off over the old head for several hours after I started working this morning.  I didn't like anything I did, and I think it was because I had decided to use Vintaj's black finished Arte Metal components.  First, I haven't used the AM pieces a whole lot, and second, there aren't a whole lot of them to use.  The selection is not nearly as big as with the antique brass finished pieces; but I gave it a shot because I thought the black finish lends itself better to the theme for some reason. 

From all that angst came a really great looking pair of earrings, if I do say so myself.  The photo does not do these justice.  They are a gorgeous red and the color really pops.  I am going to give these to my niece.  I am calling them "Rock Goddess Studded Faux Tooled Leather Earrings," in honor of my 3 favorite rock goddesses:  Stevie Nicks, Joan Jett and Pat Benatar.  Yeah, I'm dating myself, but those ladies, and the sisters of Heart, got me through high school and my 20s!   So here's to you, ladies.  Thanks for the music!

I took a pair of Arte Metal Mythical Wings, manipulated the shape with bail-making pliers, and painted them with cherry red nail polish.   After the polish dried, I removed most of it so the black finish came through, and applied 4 coats of Renaissance Wax.   I added dark oxidized sterling silver earring findings, Swarovski black onyx crystals, and gunmetal ball studs.

So what do you think?  Do these earrings inspire you to get out the karioke machine and wail away to I LOVE ROCK AND ROLL, SO PUT ANOTHER DIME IN THE JUKEBOX, BABY!  

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Art Bead Scene January Challenge Entry - Garden Nymph Necklace

Wow, it's been awhile since I've been on the blog.  I took a little vacation after finishing the faux bone and ivory tutorial.  I haven't opened a package of polymer in more than a month, but the cobwebs have cleared and I will be back in the studio later this week.  

I hope all of you had a wonderful holiday, my friends; and I hope 2012 treats you well and that everyone stays healthy and happy. 

I cheated a little this month with my ABS entry.   I usually try to make a new piece for the challenges, but when I saw the theme, I decided to enter a necklace I'd already created.  
The theme this month is based on William Morris's Trellis Wallpaper, which features soft moss green and a baby pink which reminds me of Betsy Pease Gutmann's paintings of babies and children.
I created the pendant focal using an image transfer method for polymer clay. The digital image was created by Lynn Palazzo using one of the famous Victorian "Flower Girls" (Lynn, I hope you don't mind me using it again, it is still my favorite!)

I framed the pendant with antique brass finish filigree and Vintaj components.  Keeping to the floral/garden theme, I added Czech glass roses, Vintage Rose Swarovski crystal bicones and Swarovski Sand Opal Rounds, and tiny, luminescent glass seed pearls.  I also added Vintaj Natural Brass floral end caps, a bail created from Vintaj's Fanned Trellis filigree embellishment; and created a chain using Vintaj Blossoming Duet fastenables.