AJE Theme Challenge – Headpins

For this month’s challenge we’re trying something a little different than our usual component of the month. Our blog leader Jen set us a headpin challenge. We could make some in our chosen medium, create something with headpins from another Artisan maker, or both…. pretty much anything goes as long as the design has, as Jen put it, some ‘fancy schmancy’ pins in it!

 

 

hpchallenge
A beautiful collection of head pins & design from Lesley’s AJE Blog post. Jewellery by TheaJewellery. Click here for details. 

I have only made ceramic headpins once before. They’re difficult in clay if you want them on anything other than high temperature wire. I don’t think it’s as pretty as copper or other wires which will melt while firing, so you need to fire them on something that won’t collapse in the kiln at stoneware temperatures. I rigged up a little firing tray from soft kiln brick with wire wedged in it to hold them and crossed my fingers I wouldn’t open the kiln to a welded lump!

Luckily everything came out well and after fixing with bronze wire the pins were finished.

IMG_3240

I’ve been playing around with lots of tree ideas so the first pair were based on buds on a branch.

I like how the buds looked so I tried out a multi bud design. It’s hard to keep everything so small!

IMG_3236

IMG_3235

Next I tried out some leaves… these are my favourites!

IMG_3233

I decided they needed something to finish them off so I added some tiny copper flower spacers.

IMG_3237

I had intended to use some of each to create some jewellery, but it’s been a busy month, so I only managed a quick pair of earrings. I love these… they remind me of magic wands!

IMG_3258

I’ve really enjoyed working on something smaller and I’ll definitely be trying out some new ideas in the future!

To see what the rest of the AJE Team and special guests have created, join us in the blog hop by following the links below.

 

Guests:

Alison Herrington

Renetha Stanziano

Karin Grosset Grange

Gloria Allen

Deb Fortin

Cate van Alphen

Mona Arnott

Shai Williams

Sarajo Wentling

Kathy Lindemer

Solange Collin

Brooke Bock

Melissa Meman

Patricia Handschuh

Tammy Adams

Melissa Trudinger

AJE Team Members:

Caroline Dewison << You are here

Lesley Watt

Cathy Mendola

Jenny Davies-Reazor

Susan Kennedy

Laney Mead

Diana Ptaszynski

Lindsay Starr

Niky Sayers

Continue Reading

AJE Component of the Month – July

Another month has flown by and it’s time for the big reveal of our Component of the month challenge.

This month we were all treated to a gorgeous fossilised pebble pendant from Lesley Watt of TheaElements.

Aren’t they gorgeous? I love Lesley’s stoneware designs, they’re always wonderfully tactile, beautifully finished, and she has all the best glazes!

This is the one I received to work with…

IMG_2857

I raided my stash and found a couple of bronze ammonite components (also made by Lesley) that I’d been hiding, which made my decision for how I wanted the design to look. I think these were earring charms, and having large holes for stringing, I decided to join them with leather thong and wrap them with bronze wire. I’m a little bit obsessed with bronze at the minute, it has such a lovely warm colour and looks great with everything!

IMG_2868

I chose some matching beads in Czech glass, Amazonite, and some of my own lamp work, and made long connectors for the lower part of the chain.

IMG_2872

And finished the top section with Aged seed beads and a Vintaj clasp.

IMG_2869

It ended up as quite a simple design, but I think it leaves the focus nicely on the pendant! I’d like to say a big thank you to Lesley for such a gorgeous component to play with 🙂

To join us in the blog hop and see what the rest of the AJE Team plus special guests have made, follow the links below…

Guests
Caroline Dewison << You are here.
Continue Reading

AJE Summer Challenge

When Jenny asked the AJE Team ‘What represents Summer?’ I immediately thought of warm evenings and relaxing in the garden.

Early evening is my favourite time… the light has changed, the heat has gone, the bees are making their last trips around the garden before bedtime, and you can sit and enjoy a glass of wine waiting for the stars come out.

That’s the dream… but living in the UK, we’ve not been out much this summer as it’s been throwing it down since May. So for our Summer Theme challenge I decided to create that feeling for myself in a piece of jewellery.

IMG_2714

I wanted the focal point to be a bumble bee, we’re lucky enough to have loads in the garden. They love it when we’re slow cutting the grass as they get lots of clover to buzz around in and I can lie for ages watching them visiting each flower. My bee was created from earthenware clay with slots in the side to add etched copper wings.

IMG_2715 (1)

The chain was handmade from bronze wire, with wrapped Czech glass, crystal, and tiny hematite stars.

IMG_2717

I need to get myself a mannequin so I can display chains properly. I kept the chain length quite short and it hangs really nicely!

I’m pleased with how this design turned out and it’s got me thinking of other ways I can add a little more mixed media in to my ceramic work.

To see what Summer means to the rest of the AJE Team plus special guests, join our blog hop using the links below…

Caroline Dewison << You are here
Continue Reading

AJE Component of the month – May

Another month has flown by (where is the time going???) and it’s time for our AJE component of the month reveal.
For May, we were treated to some ever so cute tiny glass cabochons from Susan Kennedy of SueBeads.
IMG_2583
Aren’t they sweet?
I decided I was just going to use one of the cabs for my design and picked the green star to work with. I had lots of ideas, most involving metal and prongs, but eventually I settled on a brooch using seed beads. I don’t seem to be able to stop buying them… they’re like tiny addictive sweeties available in hundreds of wonderful colours and I need them all!
I decided the star would make  brilliant dragonfly head, so I glued it to some stiff stuff along with some Czech glass flowers and a Hill Tribe Silver shell charm for the body, all held together with a headpin.
IMG_2607 (1)
The wings were added in Bronze and shades of  iridescent pale green, and for a bit of interest, I added Czech glass leaves to the body.
IMG_2606
It was finished with a brooch pin and some green leather on the back.
IMG_2608
I’m really pleased with how it turned out… I’m still deciding on whether to add a line of beads for an edging… you can still see a little bit of the white stiff stuff, but I’m not sure if it would end up too bulky?
IMG_2609
Big thank you to Sue for her wonderful component, it’s been fun designing around it! If you’d like to see what the rest of the team, plus special guests have made with their cabs, join in the blog hop by following the links…
Guests
AJE Team Members
Caroline Dewison  <<You are here
Continue Reading

Component of the Month Reveal – April

For this month’s challenge we were all treated to a wonderful Amulet charm by Jenny Davies-Reazor. I’m always amazed by Jenny’s creativity, I love everything she makes, and I particularly love her mixed media work so I was thrilled to receive one of her vessels to create with.

IMG_8412

This is mine… I love anything Celtic so it’s perfect!!!

IMG_2479

They are made from polymer clay wrapped around aluminium tubing, so they’re hollow inside… perfect for hiding little secrets.

I decided I wanted to make a copper chain for my design, the colour would be a perfect match, and while playing around twisting some wires, I came up with this…

IMG_2522

The links are connected with mookaite beads wrapped with thin copper wire. I didn’t realise when I started that it’s the tarnish free type, so when I came to darken it with liver of sulphur it didn’t work. I’m sure it will age a bit with wear and time though.

The links fitted nearly perfectly to the holes in the amulet and to keep them in place I added a bar with a tiny hematite star wrapped around it.

IMG_2523

To give the pendant a bit more balance, I added some hammered rods of wire wrapped with some Czech crystals.

 

IMG_2519

I love how it turned out, big thanks to Jenny for a wonderful component to design around, I’ve really enjoyed hammering metal again!

 

To see what Jenny, the rest of the AJE Team and special guests made with their Amulets, follow the links…

Guests: 

Marsha of Marsha Neal Studio

Alison of Alison Adorns

Jess of The Copper Cat

Brooke from Artistic Endeavors

AJE Team: 

Lesley 

Caroline  << You are here.

Niky 

Jennifer

Diana

Lindsay

Susan

Jenny

Continue Reading

AJE Theme Challenge – March

Instead of the usual Component of the Month Challenge, this month, we’re having a theme challenge.

Hosted by Lindsay Starr, the theme for March is Eyes, and we were all tasked with creating a piece of jewellery or a component around the theme.

As Lindsay says in her post, eyes have been important symbols throughout time, used as symbols of protection, devotion, and spirituality. It’s not something I’ve ever explored in my work, so it was a great challenge to come up with something new.

I decided to try out some ceramic cabochons. My first design comes from Egypt. I have always been fascinated with anything Egyptian, especially the symbols so I chose the Eye of Horus.

The “Eye of Horus” was one of the most important Egyptian Symbols, representing royal power, protection and good health. It is depicted as a human eye with a long tail and brows which are the markings of a hawk. It was a fetish that was believed to embody magical powers and offer magical protection. It also had the power to heal the living and protect the dead.

IMG_2376 (1)

They are painted with underglaze in traditional colours, and I really like how they turned out looking as though they could be relics or shards.

My second design started out as a take on an Art Nouveau style eye.

IMG_2377

They didn’t come out as I’d expected, but then I decided when painting they needed lilac eyeshadow. I like how they eventually turned out, they make me think of Picasso paintings!

Thanks to Lindsay for pushing me to try something new, it’s been good fun coming up with something a little different.

If you’d like to see what Lindsay, the rest of the AJE Team plus guests have made for the challenge, follow the links…

Guests –
AJE Members –
Caroline Dewison << You are Here.
Continue Reading

AJE Component of the Month – February

This month it was Diana of Suburban Girl Studio’s turn to provide the component for us all to work around…. and it’s stunner!

It’s a captured crystal, hand woven with aluminium chainmaille rings using the Phaedra pattern, and the colour is amazing. I’ve been smiling at it sitting on my desk, I love anything with a bit of sparkle.

IMG_3223

I’d just started making and remembered I hadn’t taken a picture, I’m getting better! Isn’t it gorgeous?

When Diana originally showed us what she’s made, I though I would get some chainmaille rings and weave something around it, but I decided against that as I have enough supplies to sink a boat so I raided my stash.

IMG_3241

I paired it with this gorgeous ceramic pendant from Jenny Davies-Reazor, Czech Glass in bright blue, my precious blue nuggets that I’ve had for so long I can’t remember what they are, and some silver toned spacer beads.

IMG_3238

I was originally going to use the stones higher up in the necklace, but the component is very light so using them lower down gave it a bit of weight to hang nicely.

IMG_3240

Big thanks to Diana for such a beautiful component, I think I’ll be keeping this one!

If you’d like to see what the AJE Team and special guests have made with their components, follow the links 🙂

 

Guests

Shaiha Williams 

Renetha Stanziano

AJE Team

Diana Ptaszynski

Jenny Davies-Reazor

Caroline Dewison << you are here

Jen Cameron

Lesley Watt

Sue Kennedy

Continue Reading

AJE – Use your stash

This month Jenny challenged us to use our stash for the monthly AJE blog hop. Unfortunately January ran away with me so I only have a WIP. Since I was short on time, I decided that I would go for one piece using my absolutely favourite thing, this wonderful Seal/Selkie cabochon from Jenny Davies-Reazor.

 

I wanted something with a bit of sparkle, so I decided to etch some copper with a wave design, and set some stones on it. It’s been ages since I made anything in metal. Something I discovered when I tried to find all of my supplies after a good tidy up. I think I spent longer looking for everything than I did making!

sealcabochon02

The crown settings were bought for using with copper clay and had prongs on the underside, so I sawed those off and soldered them to the etched copper. Silver wire was soldered on to make the prong settings and the seal was set in place.  Sorry the pics aren’t great, I was waiting for some daylight but I think I’ll be here until this time next month for that!

sealcab02

 

Looking at it, I decided it needed a bit more something, so I dug out some cut topaz and iolite briolettes and added those as dangles.

I’ve not quite decided what to do with the chain part so it’s a work in progress at the moment. I’ve attached some copper wire for now so I can hang it up and ponder what to do next!

sealcab01

 

If you’d like to see how the rest of the team plus special guests got on with raiding their stash follow the links…

AJE team:
Caroline Dewison << You are here.
Guests: 
Melissa – Bead Recipes
Tammy – Paisley  Lizard
Sarajo – SJ Designs
Kathy – Bay Moon Designs
Lola – Bead Lola Bead
Samantha – Wescott Jewelry
Mona – Bijoux Gem
Suntsa – Suntsan
Continue Reading

Rebirth of the Sun

It seems to have been dark forever, so I’ve really enjoyed taking part in Lesley’s Winter AJE theme challenge – The Rebirth of the Sun… thinking about brighter days coming has really cheered me up!

Earlier in December, I created some pendants…

sun01

sun02

But for the reveal I decided I would like to try something other than jewellery or components.

I’ve spent the last couple of weeks looking for inspiration and reading through winter solstice stories and it’s fascinating to see how the different cultures interpreted the changes in light. My favourite story and the one I chose to portray is the tale of The Raven and the Sun from the Tsimshian Tribe. Here’s an abbreviated version…

Once the sky had no day. When the sky was clear there was some light from the stars but when it was cloudy it was very dark. Raven had put fish in the rivers and fruit trees in the land but he was saddened by the darkness. The Sun at that time was kept in a box by a chief in the sky. The Raven came to a hole in the sky and went through. He came to a spring where the chief’s daughter would fetch water. He changed himself into a cedar seed and floated on the water. When the girl drank from spring she swallowed the seed without noticing and became pregnant. A boy child was born which was really Raven. As a toddler he begged to play with the yellow ball that grandfather kept in a box. He was allowed to play with the Sun and when the chief looked away he turned back into Raven and flew back through the hole in the sky.                                                          http://solar-center.stanford.edu/folklore/raven-and-sun.html

And here’s my interpretation of the story…

IMG_2756

The box is hand built from raku clay and smoke fired. Raven sits on top of the box in his true form.

IMG_2757

And inside the box is the sun…

IMG_2763

The glowing inner was created with copper leaf. I did want to use gold leaf, but couldn’t get hold of any in time. I still think the copper gives it a lovely warm glow, and I love the contrast against the smokey dark clay.

IMG_2762

Thanks for reading, and if you’d like to see what the rest of the team and guests have made for the challenge, follow the links below 🙂

Guest Designers

AJE Team
Caroline Dewison <<You are here 🙂
Continue Reading

Component of the Month – November

I’m very excited today as it’s the reveal of my component of the month for the Art Jewellery Elements Blog.

AJE Team members and special guests were given either one of my new Lichen pendants or cabochons and I really can’t wait to see what everyone’s done with them.

com2

I chose a cabochon for myself, but my excitement quickly turned to dread… I make all sorts of components, but never make any jewellery, or ever really consider what to do with them… I was stumped. For a couple of weeks I sat and looked at it wondering what on earth I should make.

com01

I love the texture of the cabochon, I carried out around 50 tests to get the glazes just as I wanted them, looking like stone and crusty lichens and I decided I wanted to reflect this in the design. I had a woodland palette in mind, something natural echoing the colours of the cab with an organic finish. I wanted it to look as though it had grown rather than been created by hand.

DSC_0381
First the ‘chain’ part was created by rolling a long length of deep purple merino wool with hot water and soap to create a long snake. I then laid the rest of the design over the top of it using more merino and curly wool, some really colourful wool nepps, and wet felted everything together.

DSC_0388

After drying, the cabochon was glued down and bezelled to hold it in place.

DSC_0385

I added some little accents of beads to complete the design. As usual, I wanted to add all the beads, but I decided to keep it subtle and I love the results.

DSC_0389

As my ideas came too late, I didn’t have time to finish it, but I’m going to make some cord ends with etched copper pipe. The felted ends of the necklace will be inserted into them with a loop to attach a clasp.

 

And now for the exciting part, I hope you’ll join me in the blog hop to see what everyone else has made! Follow the links below…

 

Guests

 

Continue Reading

AJE October Theme Challenge – Ravens

It’s reveal day for the October theme challenge… if you weren’t around for the last one, instead of a component of the month, one of the team chooses a theme and we all create something in our chosen medium. This month it was Karen from Starry Road Studio’s turn, and she chose Ravens. Here’s Karens’ original post with some fascinating history of ravens in art, story and myth.

I love ravens, it’s a subject that I’ve worked with before to create some raku pieces.

DSC_0156

DSC_0154

I was excited to turn the idea in to some components for jewellers. I had hoped to make a few more things, I had so many ideas including some non jewellery items, but this month has run away from me. I have plans to continue with this theme through the year though.

My first component was a pendant design. The glazes are my own recipe mixed with enamel and fired and the design is painted afterwards with china paint.

IMG_2579

Next I went back to my raku ideas… when I made the ravens above, I wanted to make a crown for them, I never got around to it, so I thought I’d try the idea for a pendant. These are unglazed on the raven, the black is from smoke in the reduction bin, and the crown has a golden glaze.

 

IMG_2582

I really liked the shape of the raven in these, so I made another without the crown and underglazed it. The tree design is done with sgraffito. I think the clear glaze on this is a bit too shiny (and a pain to photograph), but I like the effect.

IMG_2578

And finally in with the raku firing, I made this soaring raven, he’s unglazed and embellished with silver leaf.

IMG_2585

Hope you’ll join us in the blog hop, to see what everyone else has made for the challenge, follow the links…

 

Art Jewelry Elements Team:
Lesley Watt
Linda Landig
Jenny Davies-Reazor
Phantasm Creations
Caroline Dewison << You are here
Niky Sayers
Our Guest Bloggers:
An Ordinary Miracle Day
Linda Newnham
Michelle McEnroe
Sarajo Wentling
The Copper Cat
The Paisley Lizard

 

Continue Reading

AJE Component of the Month – September

All of a sudden it’s Autumn. This year has flown by and already we’re at the end of September, which means it’s time for the Component of the month reveal.

This month we were treated to ceramic components from Linda Landig.

lindalandig

Linda hasn’t been working with ceramics for very long, but already her pieces are lovely!

As usual I forgot to take a picture… I asked for a surprise and received the middle top design.

I love the autumn colours, it’s my favourite season of the year so it was great to work to a theme.

02

I gathered lots of supplies and played around and decided to create a bit of movement around the pendant. I added copper chain to the loops, some dangles of Czech glass flowers and leaves, and a copper component from Kristi Bowman Design. The bottom leaves are free moving around the chain, but the rest are fixed so that you don’t end up with a big cluster at the bottom.

04

To begin with, I strung beads on either side of the pendant, but I didn’t like how it looked, so after a rummage around in my stash I found this perfect ribbon from Diane at Sowzere. This was double threaded through the loops and I added a tyvek bead from Carolyn Saxby, one of my ceramic beads and a lamp work bead from Mad Cat Glass.

03

The ribbon was finished off with one of my favourite head pin clasps, made with pins from Glass Addictions and some wrapped copper wire.

01

Thanks to Linda for a wonderfully inspiring component, it’s been fun working with it! And if you’d like to see what the rest of the team plus special guests have made with their components… follow the links!

 

 

Continue Reading

AJE Component of the month – August

This month’s Component of the Month was supplied by the wonderful Diana Ptaszynski of Suburban Girl Studio LLC She makes the most amazing ceramic beads and components and we were each treated to one of these gorgeous rustic stoneware coin pendants. I love the colour and texture!

Of course I forgot my photo, but I received one in yellow. I decided to use it as part of a necklace design with the coin as a central component to join some of my hoarded wide leather, headpins, and pendant.

com01

The bronze shell pendant is by TheaElements, and is teamed up with a Czech glass bead and a lamp work lentil by MadCatGlass.

com02

I made a bail for the pendant using one of Glass Addictions lamp work head pins and attached the dangle to the bottom of the disc.

com03

I used a couple more head pins to attach the leather. I just love the colours in these!

com04

At the top, I joined a double length of chain and the clasp to make it nice and long! And here is the complete design.

com05

I’m really pleased with how it turned out. I don’t often work with neutral colours, but I love how Diana’s coin takes centre stage in the design.

Big thanks to Diana for a wonderfully inspiring component! I’ve had great fun with it 🙂

 

To see what everyone else made with their coins… follow the links!

Guests
AJE Team
Caroline Dewison << You are here!
Continue Reading

AJE Component of the month – July

It’s that time again, the AJE Component of the Month reveal day, and for July we were treated to a gorgeous coin clasp or bead by Niky Sayers

coins

I love everything Niky makes, but her coin designs are my favourite. I was thrilled to receive this clasp to join in the challenge…

blueberribeads01a

It arrived in this cute little tin (sorry for it being covered in clay I was excited to open it!!!) And for once I remembered to take a photo before I started! This one is from 1937, exactly 40 years before I was born, it’s fascinating to think of all the places it could have been up until now.

I decided from the beginning it was going to be something for myself, and I wanted to make it really special. I chose some of my most hoarded beads, two stunning Basha beads, some vintage and aged picasso seed beads, peanuts, crystal chunks and points, a greek urchin, and a couple more artisan components.

bracelet

The loop for the clasp was made from one of Jen Cameron’s gorgeous headpins, wrapped in a double loop, and a copper charm from Kristi Bowman was added with a chunk of rock crystal for some dangliness.

blueberribeads02

I added a bronze point and a chunk of amethyst to the strands and fastened everything with stranded wire and crimps.

blueberribeads03

I’m really pleased with how it turned out and I can see me wearing it often!

Thank you to Niky for such a gorgeous component to design with, I’ve had loads of fun creating and the coin finishes off my hoarded treasure design perfectly!

To see what Niky and the rest of the team plus special guests have made, follow the links…

 

Continue Reading

AJE June Theme Challenge – Fireflies

This month we’re taking a break again from our regular Component of the month reveals and running another theme challenge.

It’s our blog team leader, the lovely Jen Cameron’s turn to set the theme, and for June she chose fireflies.

I have to admit, I struggled at first to come up with an idea as they’re not something I’ve seen up in the North of England, I was lucky enough to see them once, at the Glastonbury festival, and they were magical. So not having much to go on, I turned to Pinterest for inspiration.

During the day, they’re not the most inspiring subject.

photinus-pyralis-firefly
Daytime Firefly

 

But once the light dims, they put on an amazing show.

Each time I searched the same picture kept popping up. I’ve been exploring ideas with trees in porcelain, so this was perfect for my inspiration.

yumefireflies-3
Fireflies by Yume Cyan

 

The photograph was taken by Yume Cyan in a forested area near Nagoya City, Japan. You can see more of these amazing long exposure shots here.

And here is my interpretation, hand carved in porcelain and fired multiple times with china paints, powders, and lustres.

P1130451
Blueberribeads Fireflies

 

fireflies02
Blueberribeads Fireflies

 

fireflies03
Blueberribeads Fireflies

 

A few days after making these, I was playing on my lampwork torch and by accident, a second idea emerged…

They are a total pain to photograph, it’s difficult to catch the depth and reflections in the same picture, but hopefully you can see the threads of silver glass and fine silver wire running through them.

fireflies04
Blueberribeads Fireflies

 

IMG_1752
Blueberribeads Fireflies

 

The little dots of silver wire glow behind the trees (not that you can tell from my photographs!)

 

I’d like to say a big thank you to Jen, I’ve really enjoyed rising to the firefly challenge and it’s been great fun exploring a subject that I didn’t have any immediate inspiration for.

If you’d like to see what the rest of the AJE team, plus special guests have made, follow the links below…

 

Guest Designers:

 

AJE Team:

Continue Reading

AJE Component of the Month – May

This month’s challenge components were provided by the multi talented Sue Kennedy of SueBeads. As well as making gorgeous enamelled pieces and lamp work beads, she creates these cute little beaded beads.

I am full of admiration for anyone who can create anything with these fiddly little things, especially when they are as lovely as these colourful little gems!

I’ve been a bit short on time this week as I’ve been preparing for the Stourbridge Bead Fair, in fact I’m there as you’re reading this. But I did manage to squeeze in a bit of time to join in the challenge.

com may 01

I decided to keep it simple and make some earrings. Orange isn’t a colour I usually work with, but I love the earthy tones of this pair. Two little cut Czech glass beads echo the orange, and matt hematite spacers provide a neutral colour for the dangles. I also managed to use the cute little charms I received from Melissa (Melismatic) for the COM a couple of months ago. Unfortunately they were delivered the day after it was all over and I didn’t get chance to join in.

And having a second pair of beads in my stash, I thought I’d make another pair.

com may 02

These are made with glass headpins, (also made by Sue) my own lamp work spacers, and a couple of large seed beads.

You might have spotted that there are no ear wires on either pair. I just didn’t have time to make any, that’s a job for next week, and they just didn’t look right on the cheap ready made ones I had in my bead  box, they deserve something much fancier!

com may 03

A big thank you to Sue for her wonderful components, (and Melissa for hers!) the final designs with them are quite simple, but they really pushed me to try out some different colours and I had a nice break from show prep!

If you’d like to join in the hop and see what the rest of the team and guests have made, follow the links 🙂

 

Guests
AJE Team
Continue Reading