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…

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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…

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

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And inside the box is the sun…

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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.

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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 🙂
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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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

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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.

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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

 

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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.

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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.

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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.

 

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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.

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

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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

 

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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

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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!

 

 

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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.

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

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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.

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

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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.

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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!
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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

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

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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.

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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.

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

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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…

 

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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.

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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.

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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.

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Blueberribeads Fireflies

 

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Blueberribeads Fireflies

 

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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.

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Blueberribeads Fireflies

 

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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:

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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.

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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.

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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!

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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
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AJE Component of the Month – Tree Wings Studio

I’m back on track this month with my blog as it’s component of the month reveal day. This month we were treated to beautiful polymer clay hearts by Rebekah of Tree Wings Studio.

I asked for a surprise for mine and received this beautiful grey heart.

 

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I had hoped before I received it that it would match with one of my new favourite glazes as I had an idea for what to do with it almost immediately!

And it did!

 

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I made up some tiny puffy hearts in earthenware clay and glazed them all in the rusty glaze.

 

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They were knotted on some thick silk cord I dyed in teal blue with fuchsia Miyuki seed beads and the gorgeous little heart as the focal.

 

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And you can see from this angle there is a secret message on the side!

 

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The necklace was finished off with a grey ceramic button and a simple loop to close it.

Big thanks to Rebekah for her wonderfully inspiring component, I had great fun creating something around it! And if you’d like to see what the rest of the team and guests made with theirs, follow the links…

 

Guests

 

AJE Team

 

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March Theme Challenge – Hares

It’s been quiet on here for a while, I missed my usual monthly COM blog post using Melissa’s gorgeous metal clay components thanks to our rubbish postal service. But they did turn up eventually, so keep an eye out for a future post using those!

This month, we decided to change it up a bit and rather than sending each member a component to work with, we all created our own designs with a theme – Hares! You might have noticed that I’m a little bit obsessed with these wonderful creatures, so making something with this topic wasn’t ever going to be a problem!

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And the great thing about this challenge is that everyone can join in using their own medium. There were no set rules to what you could do… just create hares!

I got a little bit carried away with raku firing and experimenting with masking glazes – here are some of my favourites…

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This one is bare raku clay with the design masked and glazed in a rusty colour. I love the halo effect this glaze creates and the specks of grog in the clay could be stars!

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Another using the same technique on a pendant.

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This one was fired with the hare masked and then later decorated with copper lustre. The hare wasn’t dark enough for my liking, so it was coloured with Indian ink for a better contrast.

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Another using the same technique, but with church like trees stretching through the design.

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And these are a work in progress. testing screen printing with my own drawings.

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And for the reveal today, I decided to do something completely different….

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I’ve wanted a hare ring for a long time, but never found exactly what I was looking for that wasn’t an absolute fortune. So having a perfect excuse to make one, I ordered some silver. The band is made from 2mm sheet, etched with a tree design, and the running hare is cut from 0.5mm sheet and sweat soldered on to the band.

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Originally, it was going to include a 3mm moonstone cabochon, but after trying the stone in place, it looked a bit too much. I think it’s perfect just as it is and haven’t taken it off since I finished it!

Thanks for reading, and to see what the rest of the team and our lovely guests have created… follow the links for the Hop!

 

AJE Team
Caroline << You are here 🙂
Guests
Heather – Hidden Ridge Studio
Karin Grosset Grange – Ginko et Coquelicot
Michelle McEnroe ( 4 pieces pinned on  the AJE Pinterest page)

 

 

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My first web shop update

I’ve been thinking for a while to make the move away from Etsy and set up my own web shop and today is the day! Well not exactly today as I’ve not finished writing up listings, but you get the idea!

The shop is just about ready to take it’s first orders, I’ve been working hard behind the scenes to get it all ready to open the doors.

Here’s a peek at what will be coming…

 

I’ve been exploring new ideas for surface design and I’m really pleased with how this is going. These pendants change as the light hits them. From one angle you can see the design….

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And from another the lustre takes over giving them a beautiful flash of colour…

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This style of finish will be available as pendants as well as beads…

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I’ve been having great fun raku firing and there will be plenty of different styles to choose from…

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I’ve also been playing around with carving in to coloured designs and will have lots of sets of carved round beads.

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As well as some painted and carved lentil focal beads…

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There will be a few sets including these raku father pendant sets…

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And of course no blueberribeads update would be complete without some birds….

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I’m aiming to be open on Monday evening 16/2/15 at 7pm… keep an eye on my Facebook page for any changes!

https://www.facebook.com/Blueberribeads

 

Hope to see you there 🙂

 

Caroline x

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Beading back in Time Blog Hop

 

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I was really excited when I heard about the Beading back in time blog hop run by co-hostesses Lindsay Starr and Sherri Stokey.

It’s going to be split in to 4 parts run across the year with different themes through history. The first topic is Pre human. instantly I knew that I would be focusing my designs on fossils and rocks. I’m a bit of a secret rock nerd and have boxes full of stones, crystals and fossils I’ve gathered from places I’ve visited. I love anything to do with geology.

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My all time favourite are ammolites.

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I decided I wanted to try and recreate the beautiful effect of these opalised fossils in some beads. I have seen numerous tutorials around the web with instructions for creating polymer clay opal. I found out the materials used and set about trying to make my own version.

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They are earthenware clay fired without glaze and set with mica in resin. I think they could have done with a couple of layers of mica rather than just one to fill out the pools a bit more, but I’m thrilled that they worked reasonably well and turned out so sparkly!

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For my next make, I decided I wanted to make some fossils. I have quite a few shells and sea lilies that I have collected myself, but imagine finding something as amazing as this…

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I find it incredible that so much detail can be captured in rock, and it fascinates me to imagine the things that have been on the earth millions of years before us.

So I wanted to make something that had an ancient feel about it. I made some rough stone shapes in raku clay and glazed them with copper and crackle glazes and resist.

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My favourite is definitely this darker version, the background colour has been created by smoke from the fire with glaze used to draw out the design.

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I also attempted a trilobite, although I don’t think it was quite as effective as the fish skeleton.

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I’ve had great fun taking part in the first instalment of the Beading back in time hop, Thank you to Lindsay and Sherri for organising such a great event! If you’d like to see what they and the rest of the participants made, follow the links…

Co-hostess: Lindsay Starr of Phantasm Creations

Co-hostess: Sherri Stokey of Knot Just Macrame

Kelly Rodgers of Beadin’ Black & Blue

Michelle McCarthy of Firefly Design Studio

Caroline Dewison of Blueberribeads

Melissa Trudinger of Boho Bird Jewellery

Sue Kennedy of SueBeads

Stephanie and Chris Haussler of Pixibug Designs

Jen Cameron of Glass Addictions

Jean Wells of Jean A. Wells Artisan Jewelry

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AJE Component of the month – January

Use your stash!

 

That was the rule for this months AJE component of the month challenge.  Rather than one of us supply the same component to every one, we each supplied a blog reader with one of our components, and team members used what we had hidden away.

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I dive in to my special stash quite often, but I never use any of it, so the challenge for me was to take my treasures and turn them in to something rather than just fondle them and put them away again.

The first piece I chose was by Diana Ptaszinski (Suburban Girl Studio)

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I have a few pieces of Diana’s, but this is my favourite, a gorgeous large ceramic donut. If you’re going to do it, you may as well go for it! I teamed it up with enamelled bead caps by Anne Gardanne, copper wire and teal seed beads.

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I added some Czech glass up near the clasp to echo the green of the enamel.

Next, I chose an owl focal by Jenny Davies-Reazor.

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I cheated a little bit and used more than one AJE member component, a seed beaded bead by Kristen Stevens. The tiny facetted beads are pyrite and the holes are so small, they wouldn’t take a needle, so they were strung with steel wire. To finish off, I used pewter seed beads for the chain.

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The leaf dangle is by Kristi Bowman-Gruel and the ceramic bead and oak leaf dangle are made by me.

Next up I chose a bead that I have hoarded for a long time to use more of Kristi’s copper. The focal is made by Pixie Willow Designs and is one of my favourites.

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I wanted to keep it simple, so I chose 2 glass spacers to compliment the focal and a different design of leaf by Kristi.

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I strung Amethyst and copper chain to make a long dangly necklace and added a couple of Czech beads for a little sparkle on one side.

And finally, I chose components from Jennifer Stout Cameron.

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I wrapped one of her headpins with a Marsha Neal ceramic flower to create a clasp.

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The bracelet was made with aqua blue crystal rondelles, Czech glass, and more of Jen’s lamp work, and the whole thing was finished off with one of Kristi’s charms.

I’ve really enjoyed using up my stash, they’re all quite simple designs and all started off being more complicated, but after playing around, I felt that too much going on around the components put them in to the background. Now I think they really stand out and are definitely the stars of the show! And now I have big gaps in my box, so I better go and do some more shopping! 😉

As well as AJE Team members, and winners, we’ve invited anyone else who wants to join in to take part in the hop. To see what we’ve all made, follow the links!

 

AJE team: 

Kristen Stephens

Susan Kennedy

Jenny Davies-Reazor

Lesley Watt  

Melissa  Meman

 Lindsay Starr

Jennifer Cameron

Caroline Dewison

Linda Landig

Guest Participants ( aka winners)

Lee – Strega Jewellry

Shai – Shai’s Ramblings

Samantha- Wescott Jewelry

Kathy – Bay Moon Designs

Nikki – Silver Nik nats

Melissa Trudinger

Becky Pancake

Yvette – Blue Kiln Beads

Karin – Ginko et Coquelicot

Bonus participants! 

Sarajo Wentling

Leah Curtis

Susan Delaney 

Karen Z

Christine walker

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I’m back!

Well I gave blogger a good go, but it’s not for me. So now I’m back here on wordpress. The main reason for swapping was I wanted to host my own shop, not an option on the blogger platform, so I’m going to be working hard over the next week or so to get everything in place and sell from here. While you’re waiting for that to happen, I thought I’d share some pics of what I’ve been up to recently!

Playing with Raku…

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Getting up early!!

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Sculpting more…

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Playing mine craft with the kids…

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Winning the battle with metal clay!

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Experimenting with finishes on raku beads..

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And playing on my torch!

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So this is a taster of what’s to come in my shop, and of course there will be all the usual favourites such as birds and urchins. I hope you’ll stop by again and see what’s new!

Caroline x

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AJE – December Component of the month

Happy New Year! I hope this post finds you well and that you’ve had a wonderful Christmas and New Year! I’m really exited to see what 2015 brings, I have lots of plans and resolutions that I’m looking forward to putting in to action!

This year, one of my resolutions is to try and keep up with blogging a little better (I wonder how many people have said that!) We’ll see 😉

My first post of 2015 is the Art Jewelry Elements Component of the month reveal for December.

We were each given a gorgeous clay snowflake handmade by Diana Ptaszynski of Suburban Girl Studio LLC.

Originally, I wanted to make an ornament for my tree, but after a few failed attempts, I gave up. It looked lovely in my head, wrapped copper and red with the snowflake as the focal, but I just couldn’t get it out as I’d imagined.

So I switched ideas and decided to make a brooch. I’ve had these kilt pins for ages and never known what to do with them, so I imagined a snowfall pin.

I really wanted to use navy blue seed beads to represent the sky with the sparkly snowflakes in Czech crystal and moonstones. I had every colour of seed bead other than navy, so I went with crystal AB finishing off the ends with Czech drops and silver stars.

I’m a sucker for dangles and I love how this has turned out (although I think the navy would have been a better contrast!). I think I might order some blue beads and make another.

Thank you to Diana for a great focal, and if you’d like to see what the rest of the team has done, follow the links…

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AJE Component of the month – November

Good morning 🙂 It’s component of the month reveal time again, and this month we got another gorgeous handmade component to design with. 

 

This time, it’s Kristen Stevens turn, and she gave us all a pair of cute little beaded rings. She makes the most amazing designs with the smallest beads, you can check out her shop here.

 

Yes, I forgot the photo, but I had 2 pairs! Hahaaaa!! So here’s what they look like, but for my design I used another colour…

 

Aren’t they lovely? Originally, I was going to make a pair of earrings, after playing around with them, I thought they looked great as the centrepiece of some antique bronze rings I picked up from The Bead Shop Liverpool.

 
 

I tried to suspend them in the centre with copper wire… I knew exactly what I wanted them to look like, and it would have looked lovely, but it just wouldn’t work… after 4 attempts I gave up. Then it struck me, when I started out I used to make dreamcatchers. I grabbed some thin leather and wrapped the design in the centre and tied it off when there was a hole large enough to hold the beaded ring. I stitched the ring on to the leather. I added silver feathers with green seeds and brass cubes. The design isn’t particularly heavy, but I thought they would be too big for earrings, so I strung it as a pendant with flat leather. I’m not sure if this is still a work in progress, it looks to me as though it could do with a little more, maybe some leather tassels or something, I will keep thinking!

 

Thank you to Kristen for her brilliant component, it’s been great fun to revisit some old ideas!

 

To see what Kristen and the rest of the AJE Team have made, follow the links…

Cindy Martin Shaw
Shai Williams
Karen Martinez

Linda Landig

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