B’sue Boutiques Build a Line Design Challenge Part 1: the proposal

Lizard jewelry componentsI am thrilled to be participating in the Build a Line design challenge, hostessed by Brenda Sue (a.k.a. B’sue) Lansdowne of B’sue Boutiques.

The challenge is to design five pieces of jewelry that could form the basis of a line. The participants, nearly 60 jewelry designers, will be blogging about our progress along the way in a series of three blog posts, each about a month apart. This first post is to introduce ourselves and the concepts for our lines.

About Me

Before I reveal the details of my idea for a jewelry line, I’m supposed to tell you a bit about me. Like how I got started making jewelry and why I wanted to be part of this challenge.

I’ve been making jewelry for over 10 years. You can read the condensed version of how and why I got started in my very first blog post. In a nutshell, it started with a pair of earrings and a trip to a local bead store with a friend. I ended up with an online shop, a website, this blog, and an ever expanding social media presence largely because of my friends. You can also check my About page to learn a bit more about my inspirations and styles.

Cluttered craftroom selfie

B’sue suggested we show a photo of ourselves at work. I wasn’t able to train my staff how to use a camera so you’ll have to settle for this selfie in my cluttered craft room. (You can see a photo of my staff on my About the Artist page.)

Basically, I’m like a magpie, attracted to shiny objects regardless of their worth. I can’t seem to focus on one style. I keep picking up new techniques, testing new media. When I describe my jewelry collection as eclectic in my tag line, it’s not because I made it that way on purpose.

I have a “day job” that pays the bills, so I haven’t been forced to find my voice, develop a business plan, etc. I make jewelry as a creative outlet. And I sell it because I can’t possibly wear it all. My decision to make one-of-a-kinds hasn’t impacted my bottom-line because I don’t have one.

However, I would like to have a cohesive look to my jewelry designs. I would like them to be recognizable as something made by me. And that’s the reason I signed up for this challenge and am so excited to have had my proposal accepted.

The Proposal

To get accepted into the challenge, we had to pitch our idea to Brenda Sue via email. The jewelry line I proposed to develop for this challenge is called “Elemental Lizards.” I will be making five mixed-media statement necklaces, one for each of the five elements. And they will have a lizard as part of their focal piece.

Lizard on brass necklace blank

One requirement for the challenge is that we use supplies from B’sue Boutiques. I chose these “rusty black” lizard stampings for what are probably obvious reasons. This one is shown with a raw brass necklace blank, which will get covered with polymer clay and things.

Each necklace will have a color theme based on its element:  green for earth, red for fire, blue for water, yellow for air, and white for aether. In addition to brass stampings and chain from B’sue Boutiques, I will use polymer clay, paints, inks, pigments, beads, wire, and possibly resin to construct the necklaces.

I plan to use a raw brass necklace blank as the base for each focal piece. The focus of the focal (tee hee) will be a lizard stamping. I bought a six-pack of “rusty black” lizards from B’sue before I knew about the challenge. I love the rustic dark oxidized finish, which can be distressed further to reveal warm coppery undertones. I didn’t know what I planned to do with them at the time. I just bought them because they’re rustic. And lizards. I like lizards, in case you didn’t pick up on that earlier.

While I love the lizard stampings in their rusty state, they will be getting colorized to go with their respective elemental color themes. I’m still working out the details of what each focal will look like, other than color. I don’t have any sketches to show you because I don’t sketch. I don’t even doodle. I’d like to be able to draw. And taking a class or two has long been on my to-do list. Until then, the way I plan my designs is to make copious notes. Which I’ll spare you from trying to decipher.

Instead, I’ll share with you some jewelry designs I made last year for an “elements” challenge on the Self-Representing Artists in Jewelry Design blog. I didn’t manage to make one for aether, but I did make a necklace for each of the other four elements. If you click on the titles above each photo you’ll be taken to the blog post about that particular design.

Water Element Necklace

Water element necklace

I used a blue palette for the water element, in a design I called “April Showers” because I was going for a falling rain or cycle of water symbolism. The focal and the large beads on the necklace are my “faux larimar” polymer clay components. The smaller bead clusters are blue apatite gemstone rondelles.

Earth Element Necklace

Earth element necklace

This earth element necklace and earring set features my mixed media “rustic spice” sunflower beads with glass and copper accents. The sunflower beads have matcha (green tea powder) in them for the base color.

Air Element Necklace

Air Element necklace

The swirled yellow beads (representing the movement of air currents) and the textured yellow gradient beads in this air element necklace are my polymer clay components. They are paired with faceted glass spacers and my handmade wire spiral hook and eye clasp.

Fire Element Necklace

Fire element necklace

For the fire element necklace I used a mixed-media tutorial to create the molten polymer clay focal and button beads. The black beads are lava rock and jet glass. And there’s a flame red cracked glass beaded dangle. I love dangles.

As you can see, I sometimes make my own beads and components from polymer clay. I accent them with my own wire work, glass beads, and gemstone beads. Stringing and wire-wrapping are my go-to techniques for assembly. I tend toward rustic, organic, and sometimes whimsical. I’ve been branching out into asymmetry more often – which I love – but my comfort zone is symmetry and repeating patterns.

The Proof of Concept

I haven’t begun making the actual necklaces for my design. So I don’t have a work in progess to show you yet. But I do have what I’m calling a “proof of concept” piece. As it happens, there’s a challenge theme going on in one of Brenda Sue’s Facebook groups this month that was the perfect excuse for a test run of my entire mixed media focal assembly idea.

Over on the Bohemian Vibe group page, Christi Friesen challenged us to design a “secret garden” piece. She shared an example and tutorial, but also said we were free to interpret the theme as we will.  So I took my artistic license and ran with it. My secret garden is an octopus’s garden under the sea.

Octopus's Necklace on display

This mixed media necklace created for another challenge was my “proof of concept” trial for how I intend to assemble the elemental lizard necklaces for this challenge.

I am pleased to report that I was able to paint the brass octopus stamping without ruining it. (I practiced on some metal charms first). I successfully covered the brass necklace blank with polymer clay to use as the backdrop for my theme. I learned you need to leave a little curve in the blank so the neckpiece will lay properly when worn. And as far as I can tell without getting really rough and rude with the octopus, all the bits and pieces seem to be well-attached to the blank.

I’m pretty happy with how my test piece came together, although it is a bit more of a statement than I intended and it’s likely my line pieces will be less elaborate. I am ready to implement my theme ideas for the lizards. Now I just need to decide which element to make first. Let the fun begin! I’d love to hear what you think of my design idea. Just scroll on down to the bottom of this post and you’ll find a comment box.

Be sure to stay tuned here for part 2 of this challenge, which debuts on February 20, 2015. And then for the final reveal of our complete lines on March 20, 2015. (Psst. You can follow me on Facebook to get updates about my latest blog posts, or you can use one of the buttons in my blog sidebar to subscribe to rss, by email, or feed servers so you won’t miss a thing.)

The Blog Hop Participants

Please visit the other jewelry artists in the challenge to learn about them and get a preview of their new lines in progress.

Brenda Sue Lansdowne – Hostess & Instructor Jewelry Making Outside the Box
Marcia Tuzzolino Aurora Designs
Jann Tague Clever Designs by Jann
Judy King Apt to Wander Studio
Linzi Alford Magpie in the Sky, Spoil Heap Tales
Cynthia Wainscott Exotic Peru
Carole Carlson Beadsophisticate
Lynn Stinten Dragonzwench
Marica Zammit Bead Lovelies
Catherine Shattuck VRBrose
Michaele Collie The Vintage Gem
Mary Craig Jewelry Alchemy
Lee Koopman Strega Jewelry
Erin Whitacre Shattered Time Jewelry
Monica Casady MJCasady Copper Works
Leila West Leila Nicole Designs
Cindy Peterson Howling Dog Jewelry
Leila Belcher Leila Bee Designs
Gloria Allen Wings and Beads
Pamela Anger Novegatti Designs
Tammy Adams (Hey, that’s me!) Paisley Lizard   *You are here!
Lynda O’Mara LOmara Creative
Elizabeth Hildreth MadScientistsDesigns
Dana Hickey Wind Dancer Studios
Janet Calardo Jan Lea Designs
Maria Clark Sweet Willow Designs
Lori Beekman B. Accessorized
Jennifer Kroeger Relic Charm
Amy Jorgensen Hoarder’s Corner
Robin Reed Artistry: Handcrafted Bead Designs
Ingrid Anderson Lilis Gems
Louise O’Shields Desire Divine Jewels
Susan Killam Killam Creative
Mary Katherine Deis The Rose Sword: Artisan and Vintage Collectible Jewelry
Nike Bottalico Nike Bottalico
Susan Bowerman Woodside Wireworks
Kristy Le Kristy Le Trendy Jewelry Designs
Jan Peters Stylized Vintage
Mitzie Crider Needful Luxuries Occasional Blog
Gina Hockett Freestyle Elements
Linda Anderson From the Bead Board
Alexandra Sefton Imaginary Jewelry and Altered Art
Melida Boman The Journey of Pens and Things
Teresa Shurter TreeZ’s Treasurs
Melissa Latimer Smithed Up
Renee Hong Fine and Dandy Jewelry and Art
Nadine Edris Moondance Jewelry
Lori Meyer Parisienne Girl
Jennifer Merrill Williams Artists of All Stripes
Denise Lussier Poirier Jewelry by Denise
Renee Allen Small Stuff Design
Autumn Adams Autumn Dawns
Elizabeth Owens 1996 Shabby Lane
Kat BarronMiller Midnight Kat Productions Art Jewelry
Sandra Ballard Mama San’s Mojo
Coral Law ab:coraldesign

***NOTE: If you leave a comment in the box below and it doesn’t show up on my blog right away, don’t fret. My spam filtering protocols are just holding on to it pending my approval.

91 thoughts on “B’sue Boutiques Build a Line Design Challenge Part 1: the proposal

  1. Pamela, Novegatti Designs

    Love the post, Tammy! Lizards … what a great theme! I love lizards! Can’t wait to see your line … 😉

    1. Tammy Adams Post author

      Thanks so much, Pamela. I was hoping there were a few other lizard lovers out there. 😉

  2. Lee

    Tammy, I also love lizards, maybe not as much as you do but I always seem to have a lizard hanging around my house. Currently, there is Gus. He is a great pet. I’ve seen and admired your work before so it will be fun to see where you go with this. Lizard, of course, is the representative of the element of fire in pagan teachings so I know he will be right at home in the fire elemental necklace. I’ll be anxious to see how he interacts with the “representatives” of the other elements, especially the sylphs, LOL. Also, are you thinking of representing the “fifth” element?
    This comment is getting to be a conversation if I don’t shut up. I’ll be moving along now.

    1. Tammy Adams Post author

      Thanks, Lee. I haven’t got the details of elements down just yet, but I suspect the fire element will be the one I tackle first because it is a natural for the lizard/salamander. And yes, I will be doing a fifth element necklace. And if there’s time, I’d like to add a piece that incorporates all five elements in one design.

    1. Tammy Adams Post author

      I’m so happy to find other lizard lovers in the jewelry world, Susan. I hope I can make the designs as fun as the critters.

  3. Lori Beekman

    I love the element theme. And I would really love to learn to draw too. Just the basics. I screw up stick figures. haha

    1. Tammy Adams Post author

      I wonder if there’s a “drawing for jewelry artists” crash course we can sign up for, Lori. Not only can I not do stick figures, I can’t draw a straight line with a ruler. 😉

  4. Chi

    Great blog! I love your idea for the elements and using lizards/ Can’t wait to see more. Best Wishes, Chi

    1. Tammy Adams Post author

      Thanks, Shirley. Me too. This hop was so full of teasers, I can’t wait to see more finished pieces next month.

  5. Gina Hockett

    Love the “Elemental Lizards”! What a great concept. I am looking forward to see your concept come to realization! Love the Octopus necklace, too!

    1. Tammy Adams Post author

      Thank you, Elizabeth. If I can’t find my market “out there” at least I know there are some in the class who might like lizard jewelry. 😉

  6. Dana

    Lizards! I think it’s a prefect theme. I was almost expecting Paisleys but elements give a really fun range to play with. Looking forward to seeing what you do with it!

    1. Tammy Adams Post author

      I think it will be fun to explore the elements theme, Dana. If Brenda had paisley stampings, things could have gone in an entirely different direction. 😉

  7. Ingrid Anderson

    Love your idea! Those are great lizard stampings. Your octopus necklace is fantastic and I can’t wait to see what you do with the lizards and five elements!~ Ingrid

  8. Pat Jones

    Love your blog post and jewelry. Anxious to see what you do with the lizard theme. What a great idea!

  9. Kat

    great post! doing the elements and lizards sounds like lots of creative playtime for you… and i love your discription of creative distraction! I feel that way myself… like the dog when he sees the squirrel

    1. Tammy Adams Post author

      Thanks so much, Sandie. I’ve never had a pet lizard. I was just surrounded by wild ones where I grew up.

  10. MJ Casady Copper Works

    I love the photos of your previous work; the octopus and blue-beaded chain really got my attention. Enjoyed reading your blog!

    1. Tammy Adams Post author

      Thanks, Carole. The fifth element has lots of names, including spirit, the void, and aether. There, you learned something else. 😉

    1. Tammy Adams Post author

      Thanks, Janet. We’re all on a creative journey and I look forward to seeing all the finished lines.

    1. Tammy Adams Post author

      Thank you, Denise. I agree, it’s great to be part of all this talent. Very inspiring.

  11. Nadine Edris

    LOVE your theme! Very original and I’m quite sure they are all going to be fabulous. Can’t wait to see more. Really great blog post. And thank you for all your tips and coaching along the way. I appreciate it!

  12. Autumn

    Wow, such a professional approach to the process. It’ll be interesting to see what you can do with lizards. Will you have a paisley one?

    1. Tammy Adams Post author

      I don’t know about professional, but I do like to proceed with caution when I’m afraid of ruining a component. 🙂 I may have to come up with a paisley lizard necklace as you are not the first person to bring that up.

    1. Tammy Adams Post author

      I fell in love with the lizards when I spotted them in B’sue on Etsy. Now to put them together in some jewelry.

  13. Renee Hong

    Hi Tammy! Great theme, especially combined with the elements. Your necklace sets are great. I really enjoyed your three-part blog series, as well…I used some of your suggestions when sprucing up my neglected blog. I am excited to see your coming creations!

  14. B'sue

    Tammy, you have been such an asset to the class already, not only because you are a very gifted artist but also for your blogging skills! We are so happy to have you along, you’ve become our resident blog tech! Great ideas and we appreciate all your how-to blog posts as well. Thanks again for joining the Build a Line Challenge from B’sue Boutiques.

    1. Tammy Adams Post author

      Thanks so much for allowing me to be part of this challenge. I’m learning things about design, marketing, and myself.

  15. Marcia Tuzzolino

    Tammy, I loved reading your blog. Your theme is awesome and I already love what you do, so I am really excited to see what you’ll do next!

    1. Tammy Adams Post author

      Thanks, Lynda. I am thinking I will have to have a paisley design, given the comments I’m getting. 😉 And you’re welcome on the blog tips.

    1. Tammy Adams Post author

      Thanks so much, Kimberly. I’m trying to figure out how to recreate the effect of those molten beads as a backdrop for the lizard. So, you may indeed see more heat.

  16. Maria

    Pamela, the idea of elements and lizards is fascinating. Love the polymer components you have made. Looking forward to the completed line.

    1. Tammy Adams Post author

      Thanks, Maria. (and I know you meant, Tammy, but Pamela’s name is right above mine on the hop list. LOL).

    1. Tammy Adams Post author

      Thanks, Amy. I’ve been drawn to elemental and alchemy themes for as long as I can remember. And I guess lizards are one of my totem animals. It’s about time I have a jewelry line for them.

    1. Tammy Adams Post author

      Thanks so much, Renee. I hope to see you back here for the grand unveiling in March.

  17. kristy le trendy jewelry designs

    love your blog your already a pro at blogging and this is my firrst time doing it so my blog is very simple but I will learn as i make this journey with all of you. I love your concept for the challenge love your little lizard friend their the bomb. here’s to happy creating.

    1. Tammy Adams Post author

      Thanks so much, Kristy. I wouldn’t say I’m a blog pro, but I did get a bit of a head start on a few of my classmates. 😉

  18. Coral

    Your octopus necklace is so unique and well balanced. I really like it. I am not a fan of lizard but I do look forward to your final designs. The five color concept is great.

    1. Tammy Adams Post author

      Thank you, Coral. Especially for saying the octopus necklace looks well balanced. I struggle with asymmetry but was pretty pleased with that one.

  19. Beth Petricoin

    This sounds like such a great challenge idea! I look forward to seeing what you come up with combining lizards and elements! And the octopus garden piece is wonderful!

    1. Tammy Adams Post author

      Thanks so much, Beth. This challenge is already helping me focus, even as I change my idea for the necklace designs once a day. 😉

  20. Eliozabeth Owens

    Hi Tammy!
    I am still playing catch up and finishing up on the hop, hop, hop, … I could swear I already commented but I don’t see it so I will comment again… I love that you are building your line around those lovely little lizards!! LOL… Love the coloring you used. Your test piece is so GORG!! Cannot wait to see the whole line!

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