Thursday, March 31, 2016

Eye Love Beads Challenge Reveal

The eyes have it
Eyes are the window to the soul

Keep your weather-eye open

This month we were all inspired to create with an Eye theme for the challenge! 
I am so excited to hop along and see what everyone created.  Please join in by clicking the links below.  Huge thanks to everyone who participated!

AJE Members 

Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Tiny Faux Terrarium Pendant

I'm currently getting ready for two events; the bead cruise and Steampunk World's Fair.  In my prior post I shared what I was making for the cruise.  Now I'm going to share with you a project I'm working on for one of my steampunk costumes!

Photo and hat by Chiki Bird
I purchased this fabulous mini top hat from Chiki Bird Hat Studio  for a steampunk faerie costume I'm putting together.  I have most everything I need for it but I'm missing jewelry.  I love the little mushrooms all over the hat so I knew I wanted the pendant to incorporate them somehow.  In my vast supply stash I happened to have several glass-domed components.

Glass Dome Component
I purchased my stash of them from Ingredients for Lovely.  You can also find them at Make Desert Green if you'd like to buy in bulk.

Tiny Faux Mushrooms
I took a trip over to the local craft store and purchased tiny faux mushrooms in an assortment of sizes. You can find these in the dollhouse miniature aisle.

I also picked up a bag of moss found in the same aisle as the sand, glass pebbles and foam for wreath-making.

Trimmed Moss
I trimmed down some of the moss until it fit inside the metal base.

Snipped Mushrooms
Then I selected and snipped the wire off of two mushrooms.  I left a tiny stem on each mushroom for adding the glue too.

Moss in base
After playing around with the mushroom placement, I spread a thin layer of glue on the base and pressed the moss down onto it.
Mushrooms in moss
After allowing the glue to dry, I added a dab of glue to the bottom of each mushroom and inserted them into the moss.

Finished Pendant
Once the mushrooms were dry, I put tiny drops of glue onto the inside of the base and covered the mushrooms with the glass globe.  The bail was glued on once the base was secure.

Adding a jump ring
I added a jump ring and some ball chain but you can easily do some beaded wirework if you prefer something fancier!

Finished Terrarium Pendant

If you'd like to go a step further and really customize your terrarium, make your plants from polymer, air-dry or ceramic clay!  

Happy Beading!

Tuesday, March 29, 2016

April is for amulets... the component of the month.

I am excited to share these new pieces with you, our readers and my team mates here at AJE. This month I wanted to break out of the "clay cave" as I call it - and offer something different! I am busy glazing and firing pieces for the last Bead Fest Spring event - and taking a day to work in polymer feels like a welcome break. 

So - without further ado... my polymer amulet beads. 
Fresh from the oven, painted and ready
I love a wearable piece that has a message, or a meaning. And these take that to a new level. The core of the amulet is a piece of aluminum tubing and the beads are open at the top. I imagine them with a miniature scroll of paper, an image, a message... 

Amulet bead in hand - shown for scale. 

The facts: 

  • These focal beads are approximately 1.5" long. 
  • Some have corks, others do not. 
  • They are drilled through - so they can be strung easily or have wire wrapped loops added on...

You could win ONE of these - but let me surprise you... 

Want to play along? Here are the rules…

  • I will give away 2 amulet tube beads (chosen at random) to 2 winners selected randomly from those who leave a comment below this post. Your comment MUST include your EMAIL AND BLOG address so we can contact you should you win.
  • Please — only leave a comment if you can commit to creating a finished piece and blogging about it on the reveal date.
  • The names of the 2 winners will be announced on Saturday - April 2, 2016.
  • This giveaway is open to US and international countries, but please be aware that these will be posted from the US and international addresses will have longer postage times… sometimes up to 3 weeks.
  • The blog reveal will take place on Saturday - April 30, 2016.
I look forward to hearing your comments and seeing you at the end of the month! 

Monday, March 28, 2016

A new creative outlet.

I may have told you all this but before I found my love of beading I was a cross-stitcher, quilter, and all around general crafter.  I love most forms of art that involve needle, thread and fabric.  Quilting did give me my first feeling of being an artist.  This was my first design of my own.

I loved quilting but then I found the beads and for the last 8 years it pretty much consumed all my creativity and really made me feel like a true artist however, I have been feeling a bit burned out for a while and needed something to jump start the artist in me.  Around the holidays I bought my first needle felting kit.

I fell in love with it.  I considered buying another kit but then I really wanted to challenge myself.  So I went to a local shop to check out their supply of felting wool.  They really didn't have a good supply but I was able to get some white and fun grey.  As I was there I noticed the rugs (mostly wall hangings because who would actually walk on them) I had seen them before but never really up close and I was very intrigued.  One of the owners was more than happy to show me more and how it was done and tell me she offered class making this rug.

Now I know when I tell you this is called rug hooking most of you will instantly think of the hippy yarn thing that was popular,  This is not that.  Primitive rug hooking uses wool strips hooked into a linen (burlap) backing, creating pictorials that truly amaze.  In fact I was able to attend a Hook-In which was an all day hooking fun fest.  Look at the amazing rugs I was able to see.

I have to say I was a bit intimidated by all the artistry however, these ladies were full of compliments, tips and all around excitement to have newbies to the craft,   It was very welcoming.  This was so good for me as I had changed up my rug from the class sample and was feeling very unsure of myself.  Here is what my rug looked like at that time.

As you see from the class picture to mine I had made the decision to change those funky(and frankly scary) flowers to trees.  I wasn't seeing what I had planned until one of the ladies said "never look at your rug on your lap, always lay it on the floor to get a good idea of what you like"  so I did and I was pleased.  Here is my completed rug.

I am so happy with this one that I have been hunting for my next one but let me tell you a secret.  I discovered you can design your own!  That just blew me away.  All of the sudden I saw why I was drawn to this.  The artistic expression on such a personal level that I had found in beading is also in rug hooking.  Here is the rug I have designed and begun working on.

Now when the beads are silent or I just need to do something different I have another outlet to create in.

Do you have other outlets that excite you?  Tell me about them.

Friday, March 25, 2016

Video Demo of Creating a Lampwork Glass Headpin with a Murrini

murrini headpins glass addictions by Jen Cameron

For today's post, I thought it might be fun to make and share a video of me creating one of the above headpins. Try not to judge too much because I am definitely NOT a professional. Otherwise, enjoy.

In need of ideas for how to use these headpins? Here are just a few of the tutorials published here on Art Jewelry Elements:

Make a disc stack pendant with headpins
2-for-1 tutorial: Make a ring and a link using a headpin

Headpin Cuff Tutorial
Headpin + Wire Chain Tutorial
Easy Earring Tutorial

Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Spring Daisies - Simple Earring Tutorial

Spring officially arrived in the northern hemisphere last weekend so I'd thought I share this tutorial for my Daisy earrings as published in Belle Armoire - very quick and simple to make and perfect for adding a little spring fever to any outfit.

2 double drilled daisy connectors (Thea Elements - to order)
2 enamelled leaf charms ( Gardanne Beads )
4 brass tube beads ( Hands of the Hills )
16" waxed linen
Ear wires

Step 1
Cut an 8 inch length of waxed linen and pass it though the hole in an enamelled leaf charm. Bring the ends of the linen together and pass through a hole in the bronze daisy charm from front to back.

Step 2
Bring each end of the strand round to the front and then wrap the linen around itself a few times finishing at the front. Knot to secure.

Step 3
String a tube bead to each strand, knot and trim.

Step 4
Attach ear wire.

Step 5
Repeat steps 1 - 4 for the second earring.

And there you have your new earrings. You can of course substitute any similar components to create your own take on the design - the possibilities are endless.


Monday, March 21, 2016

3D Stamps

In ceramics, or any other types of clay work, stamps and moulds are always a bit of a grey area. Can you use the design commercially? Do you have to give credit to the designer? Are you limited by a certain number of reproductions? It’s a minefield. So to keep things simple, I try to make my own wherever possible. 

Design Ideas

I have made moulds and stamps from all sorts of materials, clay, plaster, polymer, foam, lino, resin… they are all great ways to make your own mark and be able to reproduce it accurately.

Today, I’d like to share what I’ve been trying out to create a different kind of stamp using craft foam and fabric paint.

Craft Foam

The foam is from a craft store, sold as ready to decorate door hangers, 3 for £1 and they’re nice and thick (about 5mm)

Dimensional Fabric Paint

The paint is 3D fabric paint, this one was Tulip brand. It’s likely that other brands will give the same effect, but make sure whatever you choose has a narrow nozzle tip.

Tracing the design

For ease, I chose a design from one of my (copyright free) books and traced it in pencil on to baking parchment.

Transferring the image

The design was then transferred on to the foam by flipping the parchment and drawing over the design again

The design ready to paint

Here you can see the pencil lines transferred really well.

Painting the outline

Next, take your fabric paint and slowly and carefully draw over the pencil lines. It's tricky to get them neat, but you can tidy up any mistakes once you've covered the design.

Filling in the details

Use a paintbrush to pull out the paint for fine details. You may need to add an extra dot of paint to build up the design again. You want to try and keep the height level for a good image when you come to stamp it.

Tidying up the drips

If you accidentally splodge a bit, use a craft knife to neaten up the edge by scraping the paint back to where it should be. 

Once you’re happy with your design, leave it to dry. This paint takes 4 hours, but I left it overnight.

Using the stamp

Once they’re dry, that’s your stamp complete and ready to use. I found with the foam, I had to roll over the stamp with a rolling pin to get a deep impression, I’m going to try this on some stiff plastic for my next ones and see if that makes it a little easier to transfer the design. 

Drying out

These just need a bit of tidying up once they've firmed up a bit and I think they'll look great with a translucent glaze pooling in the design. 

The possibilities of what you can create are endless. It’s a quick and easy way to build up a good selection of unique designs!