We’re All Ears Earring Challenge: Tidepools

Green Patina Starfish EarringsThe inspiration for this month’s We’re All Ears earring design challenge was a series of vintage illustrations of tide pools. The colors in the illustrations were muted and warm. Which is my happy place when it comes to color.

However, tide pools can also be bright and vibrant, depending on the critters in them. I was inspired to design earrings in both color palettes. And I played with some metal paints in the process.

Tide pools are an almost ephemeral marine habitat in that many only exist as such at low tide. They’re little pockets of salt water, surrounded by rocks, temporarily separated from the ocean each time the tides go out. And then they effectively disappear as the tide comes back in. There’s something poetic about that, don’t you think?

Scallop shell dangle earrings on vase

The scallop shell charms on these earrings are brass that I colored with Vintaj Patinas® to imitate copper with a blue-green patina. They dangle on copper chain with sparkling blue beaded drops. These cracked glass beads, which I have in several sizes, have always reminded me of the way water sparkles in tide pools on a sunny day.

The animals that inhabit tide pools are, for the most part, specially adapted to cling to the rocks so they are not washed out to sea with the tide. Full-time residents of tide pools also have to be tough to survive the dramatic changes in temperature, salinity, and dissolved oxygen (the stuff they breath) that occur daily and seasonally. They include mussels, sea urchin, starfish, sea anemone, scallops, snails, and other molluscs.

Pastel starfish dangle earrings on bottle

I used Vintaj Patinas® to turn raw brass charms into colorful starfish. They dangle on antique finish copper chain from raw copper wires.

You have to admire their tenacity and their ability to thrive in seeming adversity. Plus, who doesn’t love sea shell and starfish jewelry? I don’t know what it is about sea shells and star fish and urchins and such that we find so enchanting. Maybe they remind us of our ancient aquatic origins?

For this challenge, I pulled out of my stash a bag of raw brass charms I bought on impulse from B’sue Boutiques earlier this year. I didn’t have any design plans in mind, but it never hurts to stock up on versatile jewelry supplies like that.

Large stafish dangle earrings on bottle

I used the same Vintaj Patinas® as with the scallops to turn these starfish charms into a copper patina finish. The charms are dangling from antique copper finish toggles, accented with green beads. They hang on natural copper wires.

I knew I wanted to color them or distress them, to go with the color palette in the inspiration images as well as my memories of tide pools I’ve seen in person. I used some Vintaj Patinas®, which are technically opaque inks designed for use on metal.  By blending different colors, I was able to get both a copper with blue-green patina effect, and some soft mottled pastel colors on my charms.

I also used a couple of sand dollar components I made from polymer clay earlier this year. I don’t know if sand dollars are found in tide pools. I guess it depends on whether the pools have sandy bottoms?  (Hang on. I’m having a Minion moment. Bottom. Bahahahaha!)

Sand dollar and starfish earrings

The sand dollars in these earrings are polymer clay. I added antique copper finish star fish charms as dangles on the bottom. They hang on natural copper wires.

I meant to make another pair, using some sea shell and fish charms I distressed with Swellegant patinas. But then I misplaced them because I decided I needed to clean up my work space. I should know better by now. I am a piler, not a filer, when it comes to organization. I have a pretty reliable mental map of where things are in what looks like chaos. But the moment I put them away in what seems like a logical tidy spot, they are lost. Just like when a small child thinks you disappeared during peek-a-boo.

So, that’s it for my tide pool-inspired earrings today. When I find those other charms, I’ll let you know. Many thanks to our hostess, Erin Prais-Hintz, for yet another fabulous inspiration theme. I can’t wait to see what’s on tap for July. Until then, be sure to stop by the Earrings Every Day blog to see Erin’s lovely designs. And then visit the links at the bottom of her post to see contributions from the other designers inspired by this month’s theme.


28 thoughts on “We’re All Ears Earring Challenge: Tidepools

  1. Millie @ Click'n Camera

    These are all wonderfully executed and portray tide pools beautifully! My favorites, a tie between the shells (#2 – the cracked glass beads really make it pop) and the colorful starfish (#3). Enjoy your day…

    1. Tammy Adams Post author

      Thanks so much, Mille. This was such an easy theme, in that shells and starfish are so fun to use in jewelry.

  2. Terri G.

    Sandy Bottoms…lol! So cool to use the sand dollars you made…perfect for this months challenge. And the Vintaj patinas gave just the right effect to the scallops and starfishes. Just Fabulous one and all!

    1. Tammy Adams Post author

      Thank you, Terri. I couldn’t resist that little giggle. I only started using Vintaj patinas earlier this year and I feel like “where have you been all my life”. LOL

    1. Tammy Adams Post author

      Thanks so much, Susan. I was initially going to put a seahorse charm with the sand dollars, but the starfish just seemed more “right” but I wasn’t even paying attention – consciously – to the symmetry. Maybe my subconscious saw it. 🙂

    1. Tammy Adams Post author

      Thanks, Kristi. And yes, I did. There’s something so easy about finding inspiration in images from the beach and ocean.

  3. Fiona Robertson

    Yes, it’s always a mistake to tidy up your workspace, that’s always when things disappear! Love your designs… at first I thought your polymer sand dollars were ceramic, they are very gorgeous beads. I also love the patina effect you have acheived on the copper earrings, so clever…xx

    1. Tammy Adams Post author

      Thank you, Fiona. You’d think after all these years I’d have learned my lesson about putting my toys away. Can’t play with them if you can’t find them. 😉

    1. Tammy Adams Post author

      Thanks so much, Alice. Those charms are so adorable, I’m glad I bought a whole bag of them.

  4. Sarajo Wentling

    Wow! What a great collection of earrings! You achieved some really nice colors with the patinas… I need to work more on the blending and also using them as more of a stain. Those polymer sand dollars are awesome… that’s my favorite pair!

    1. Tammy Adams Post author

      Thank you, Sarajo. I find diluting the Vintaj patinas with the glaze makes it easier to marble and blend them.

    1. Tammy Adams Post author

      Thanks so much, Linda. I was sort of thinking out loud, in blog form. 🙂

    1. Tammy Adams Post author

      Thanks so much, Veralynne. I guess I need to get busy making more sand dollars.

  5. Erin Prais-Hintz

    I love the dreamy effects you are getting with the metal patinas. I always forget that I have them! There is something so primal and earthy about the sea and all its creatures. They have been this way for all time and I love the way you described the tenacity and the adaptability of those creatures! And yes, I am a ‘piler, not a filer’ – that suits me to a T! I am so glad you played along with me this month and thank you for the kind words. I really enjoy coming up with these challenges and then seeing what transpires. Join me on July 3rd for the next inspiration for We’re All Ears! Enjoy the day. Erin

  6. Tammy Adams Post author

    Thank you, Erin, for another inspiring theme and design challenge. I truly enjoyed the excuse to play with my metal paints and give some plain brass a little make-over. I look forward to next month’s challenge as well as the inspired designs on Earrings Everyday in between.

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