Tuesday, April 12, 2011


I finally threw off this terrible creative funk I've been in since last fall and made a few things. It was still hard going - like swimming upstream through molasses. I'm not sure what that's about, but at least I did complete a few designs. And while I'm not overly excited about any of them (they're all okay - just not up in the stratosphere of fabulousness), I think it was important to "get back on the horse" regardless of the results. These beautiful enameled disks are from Gardanne. Not sure you can see it clearly in the pictures, but there are hints of pink and rose red towards the edges of the disks which I tried to accentuate by adding the vintage Czech glass melon beads in that lovely burgundy wine hue. Simple brass wire wrapping and Vintaj brass earring hooks let the colors be the stars of the show here. I call these "Mixed Berries." This "Driftwood" necklace design started back in November. It stalled out when the big funk hit. I kept looking at it for months trying to decide if I loved it or hated it or if it just wasn't "finished" yet. The silver "leaves" are actually a new kind of bead I picked up at a bead show last fall. They are silver-plated over copper, but a much heavier silver plate applied with a new technique that keeps the plating from wearing off. These are sort of to traditional silver plate as vermeil is to gold plate. Or so the vendor was claiming. I bought a few pieces to give them a try as they are much less expensive that solid sterling silver...and with the silver prices these days, that can only be a good thing if it works out, right? The shell "dagger" beads are a mix of ivory, brown and a deep purple (although it appears as a dark brown unless you look at it in the right light). They came from Michael's of all places. I have to say that Michael's is getting better and better as a place to get some cool beads. You have to be willing to kind of search through to find the hidden treasures and you take a risk with so many other people having access to exactly the same beads, but still, if you're observant with your shopping, you can get some cool stuff.
I wire-wrapped a few dangles onto the center pendant including a tiny pearl and added some round, dark wood beads here and there.

The clasp is hand-crafted sterling silver hook and eye from Atlantis Glass and Bead.

Love it or hate it, it IS finished. And it's definitely different!

As soon as I saw this gorgeous, feminine ceramic piece from Yolanda's Clay, it immediately reminded me of my maternal grandmother. She LOVED pink and was known for her rose gardens as well.

I knew I wanted to make something with an antique feel and feminine details.

This airy, large-link brass chain was perfect - although I did run into a problem with it being more of a yellowy-green brass than most of the rest of the more dark brown brass wire and findings in my stash. Oh, and it came from Michael's, too, LOL!

I found a few more metal pieces in this color (at...where else?...Michael's) like this flower charm and then I decided that I and any potential customers will just have to "get over" the touches of darker brass on the wire and jump rings. I added a tiny blue pearl here to pick up the splash of blue in the pendant.

A green coin pearl, dark pink shell disk, vintage blue melon glass bead and gold Swarovski pearl add the perfect touches of color up the other side of my "Watercolor Garden" necklace.

Clasp is a simple lobster claw with a Czech glass flower and Swarovski pearl dangle.

Overall, I think Mimi would be proud.

For this last set, I wanted to make something really rich and elegant looking. As soon as I saw these lampwork beads, I kept thinking "purple" and "gold" (even though the beads themselves have silver accents).

Still, they have that bit of greenish-yellow twisting through them and I think that allows the gold to work.

Dyed purple jade disks and teal vintage Czech glass melon beads made great accents.

I also had a couple of tiny glass lampwork nuggets in swirled purple from the same vendor as the main lampwork beads and I threw them in to keep the design from being too predictable. You can see one of them at the top of this picture. The purple at the bottom is the more solid dyed jade.

The clasp is a vermeil S clasp set with genuine amethyst.

I call this necklace "Sea Jewels."
Not much to show for almost 6 months of work plus a week of vacation, but like I said, it was a real struggle. I'm starting to feel better about things, though. I do have one other piece almost finished, but I ran out of 20 gauge wire so will have to work on something else until the replacement order comes in.
Thanks to everyone for the fun comments on the vacation pics (and the 7th grade science and history lecture that went along with it LOL). You are all good sports for sitting through that. There's more to come, but I'm trying to space it out a bit so I don't drive everyone off ;-)
Have a great day!


Michelle said...

Glad to see that you are back in the saddle. I really like the necklaces. I like the airiness of the last 2 but the call of the beach with the shell daggers is my fave.

I've been in a funk lately too...maybe the change of season for me.


SueBeads said...

Looks like your funk is over!

Anonymous said...

i think your pieces look great! i like them all.

TesoriTrovati said...

I am loving that one with the feminine clay pendant. Very airy and light! And the driftwood one is really great. I like those silver flowers, but I thought they were some sort of baroque pearls. Fun! Glad to have you back!
Enjoy the day!

kelleysbeads said...

Yay for getting back into the saddle and making new jewelry again! Hopefully it was a good dose of getting your juices flowing so the ideas keep coming and you can return to beading therapy :)

lunedreams said...

Woohoo! Go you! Back in the saddle again. You can't go wrong with enamel! It always feels good to make things after a long absence, but it's funny how you have to get back in the mindset. I know I sort of "forget" my process and have to focus to get back in the groove. If you have creative energy, then it must mean the recent unpleasantness you waded through is mostly behind you! That stuff is best viewed in the rear view mirror. Congrats on your "return!" You are a survivor!

Mellisa said...

Nice to see you back again! Looks like you might be getting your groove on :)

Gardanne said...

Thanks for the shout out on my enamel discs. One thing that is always true about a design funk is that it has a beginning, middle, and an end. Congratulations on reaching the end part.

The Joy of Nesting said...

Yaaa Hoo!!

Good to see that you and the horse have come to an understanding!! Wowzers those "funks" can be murder especially to our fragile self esteem!!

Oye Lit'l Missy I really love the new brass chain & ceramic piece!! You did an awesome job of creating a warm feminine ethereal feeling, which can be hard to convey when you work with brass chain.

Welcome back!!!
Pattie ;)
Mazatlan Mx.

Yolanda M. said...

Your work is beautiful, feminine and elegant. Thank you for featuring one of my pendants, it looks great and I like the meaning you found in it. Thank you.

Kristen said...

Oh I would totally say that your slump is over! What gorgeous pieces and you really described them so well I could almost feel them (I wish I could have them all!)

Linda Landig said...

Gorgeous work! I love Yolanda Clay's watercolor pendants and it is esp. cool that it makes you think of your grandmother. btw, I like the driftwood necklace. I think it is very cool.