Monday, July 21

Kelp Forest of Monterey Bay Inspires Silver and Chrysocolla Pendant

Kelp Forest, Monterey Bay
photo by Fred Hsu
(photographer has given free use of this photo)

I am extremely lucky to live beside the Monterey Bay in California.  It is home to one of the largest kelp forests in the world and much life, including my favorite animal:  the sea otter.  Kelp forests are recognized as one of the most productive and dynamic ecosystems of the world.

When I was sketching designs for some new stones I'd purchased this past spring I was immediately struck by how this Bluebird Chrysocolla cabochon looked like a kelp forest.

After posting the drawing on Instagram a friend responded that this better be the first one I create after getting my metals studio back up and running.  Well, it wasn't the first, but it was the second!  Perhaps setting a marquis cut stone was not the best idea for getting back to my bench, but the whole process was meditative and reinforced patience.

Kelp Forest
Sterling Silver
Bluebird Chrysocolla from a mine in Arizona that's been
closed since the 1980s.
The lapidarist purchased the rough from an old estate collection.

The result also gives me confidence to go running back to my stone storage and find my next victim!

Friday, July 11

Adrift - Ocean Inspired Necklace - with a little help from my friends

My latest one of a kind necklace brings up images of mermaids and weddings by the sea.

I was inspired to create this necklace by both the sea anemone shell in its perfect symmetry and the lampwork bead by Canyon Echoes.

Creating it required fire and fumes though and I've been waiting for my garage studio to be completed before pulling those tools out of boxes.  However, I just couldn't wait any longer.

Sea Anemone shell
Canyon Echoes lampwork
Sonoran Beads Boro droplets
Argentium sterling silver frame
Sterling Silver, Resin

This necklace took a small village to come to fruition though.  The village of helpful teachers out on the web that is.  I thought I'd share their generosity of knowledge with you, too!

A month or so ago I posed a question on Facebook about how to reinforce the sea anemone shell.  I knew I wanted to fill the space in the back a bit, but safe materials were just not coming to mind.  Diane Hyde came to the rescue.  She suggested paper clay and in my mind it was like "Of course!"  That was something I actually already had!  I added a layer of resin over the dried paper clay and shell to really give it a protective shell, so to speak.

For more great ideas from Diane for using found objects and such check out her latest book Break the Rules:

One of my favorite books this year has been Behind the Brooch by Lorena Angulo.   The idea is that no plane should go unfinished in a piece of jewelry.  The brooch is special, because its back will only be seen by the wearer so it becomes a place to add a surprise or secret message for the wearer.

I thought this anemone shell was the perfect place to hide a surprise for the wearer, too.  I've talked about the Starfish Wasting Disease that's decimating the population of sea stars along the west coast before.  I decided to place a tiny preserved starfish in a tidepool filled with resin sea water inside the pretty frame on the reverse as another reminder of how delicate our ecosystems are becoming.

Finally, to create the setting for the shell I remembered watching a free video, posted on Beaducation, by Joe Silvera, one of my favorite silver teachers in the Bay Area, where he used these types of pronged frames to set found objects or stones that are best shown off outside a bezel.  By simply following the steps I was successful!

Monday, June 30

Will it Go Round in Circles

...Will it fly high like a bird up in the sky

Do you know that song written by Bruce Fisher and Billy Preston?  It's from the early seventies, but the first part of it makes me think of YouTube and what makes a video or anything go viral these days.

No, my inspiration for my Circulo de la Vida statement necklace and Wholeness earrings were not inspired by this song.  But they were inspired by circles.

Circulo de la Vida
Fordite, lampwork, brass chain, waxed linen

Actually it all started with my tornado earrings where the circles spin very fast.

I slowed those circles down and made them groovy in my Circulo de la Vida necklace.  The Fordite cab reminds me of seventies music videos where even if you weren't high you kind got dizzy watching them.  The colors reminded me of the colorful Mexican blankets that you fall in love with when you're visiting, but when you get home you realize they don't really go with any of your decor.  Or maybe that's me.

Circles have likely been an important part of culture since the caveman.  They bring to mind celestial orbs like the moon and sun.  How about the water rings when you drop a rock in a lake?  And what about that wheel?!

They symbolize wholeness, completion, and unity.

All good things.

Orbicular Rhyolite, wood, vintage French nailheads

Their simple form brings us together.

For a moment of happy (!) and a reminder for all of us to remember to dance like no one is watching once in awhile:

Sunday, June 22

Break from Tradition Blog Hop - Spikes prove to be a Challenge

Where some may see bat ears when given black howlite spikes, I saw bee stingers!  Bees are my story.

Cynthia of Antiquity Travelers found these black and white howlite spikes and decided to torture invite her beading friends to participate in a hop using the spikes as the challenge component.

I first thought about doing a cuff with a bee tile centerpiece, but I just couldn't get excited about it.  I still may do it, as I think it would be pretty cool, but for now it's a resting idea.

Instead, after tossing them in the corner of my work table, I ran with the bee idea in a different direction.  The spikes landed next to one of Lorelei Eurto's Tin Snippets and I figured it was fate.

In another flight of fancy, last summer I'd placed a pressed flower and the brass hexagon beads with a vintage French crystal in a bezel and set it on the table, too.  I was going to cover it in resin some day.  So thanks to Cynthia I cleaned up some of the bits on my work table and created this new statement piece for myself:

One of the cells drifted a bit during the resin-ating process, but I think that adds to the story.  The story of the plight of the honeybee.

Wait there's one more creation!!!  Cynthia also gave us white spikes if we wanted them.  I foolishly asked for both, but I finally in the nick of time came up with a design that makes me happy. 

My Circus
Fairy Flowers by Mermaid Glass
Lampwork bead by Pink Beach Studios

I named these after a Polish Proverb that's making the rounds on Pinterest and Facebook:

Every time you feel yourself getting pulled into
other people's nonsense, repeat these words.

Thank you Cynthia for challenging me and including me in this fun hop.  Ignore my whining, I am blessed to have you and the rest of the bead posse in my friends online loop.  I look forward to the day we'll change that to just friends.  I've got a couple of interesting items for us to play with next.  Mwa haha!

Here are the Break from Tradition blog hoppers:

Therese (Therese's Treasures
Christine (One Kiss Creations)
Janet (Honey from the Bee) - You are here!
Cynthia (Antiquity Travelers

Tuesday, June 17

New Earrings Inspired by Tornados

Ever since I bought these hollow lampwork beads by Alisha White I've known I was going to highlight the black spiral.  This week I decided on how.

I did some wirework and created spiral beads out of sterling silver wire!  Simple makes awesome this time!

Tornado Earrings
available in my Etsy Shop

I'm waiting for our rain and drizzle to stop so I can take some more photos for Etsy posting.  In addition to the sterling silver spiral bead, the earwire is also sterling silver.  These are very lightweight and fun.

The topic of tornadoes though isn't fun right now.  Midwesterners live with this type of weather phenomena every year, but when I created these I was thinking of the shape and the thought of how we all know people that are just little tornadoes of energy themselves.  My timing wasn't the best.

My good friend next door happened to come over to see what I was working on and I showed her the new earrings I was working on.  She is from the Missouri and Kansas area so is very familiar with tornadoes.  She asked me if I knew that the skies sometimes turn a pea soup green when a tornado is coming.  Nope!  We looked it up on Google to see why.  Apparently due to the amount of water droplets in the clouds and the sunlight shining through create the green color.  It doesn't always happen, but it was something they were taught to watch for.

Yesterday evening many of us saw the spectacle of two tornadoes touching down in Nebraska leaving one dead and $$$ of damage.

Best wishes and prayers to those recovering from the horrible weather you guys in the midwest have had this past year.  Please take cover and stay safe with the tornado and hurricane weather to come.


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