AJE Design Challenge: Ravens

Raven feather earringsThe fall art/component theme on Art Jewelry Elements is ravens, in mythology and in nature.

As the subject of many myths and legends, ravens are also a popular subject in the art of many cultures. They make great focal elements for jewelry designs as well.  I took this challenge as an opportunity to create a small collection of raven-themed jewelry featuring artisan components from several of my favorite artists. I threw in a few components of my own making as well.

Ravens are distributed across much of the northern hemisphere. This, and their characteristic behavior, is possibly why they feature in the myths of such a wide range of cultures. In mythology, ravens are generally either the familiars of gods and goddesses, or are deities themselves, depending on the culture from which the myth originated. In nature, they have a reputation for being intelligent, playful, social, and sometimes mischievous.

Raven Steals the Sun

In some myths, Raven is responsible for creating the world, or at least for bringing light to the sky by stealing the sun, moon, and stars. Raven’s feathers were initially white according to some of those legends. They either turned black from heat or smoke when he stole the sun, or they were turned black by another god as punishment for the theft of those shiny objects.  In nature, ravens have been known to collect shiny objects, which may have contributed to their association with stealing the things that sparkle and shine in the sky.

This necklace features a white raven ceramic pendant from BeadFreaky. The beaded copper chain includes artisan beads mixed with Czech glass.  The two creamy white etched spiral beads are lampwork by Genea Crivello. The ceramic moon face connector, by Lesley Watt, came with a march hare focal. I don’t think the little bunny will mind that I used it here. There’s also a copper sun bead and copper chain.

White Raven necklace

The artisan components in this necklace include a ceramic white raven focal by BeadFreaky, etched white lampwork spiral beads by Genea Crivello, and a ceramic moon face connector by Lesley Watt. The beaded link necklace also includes Czech glass beads, a copper sun bead, and copper chain.

The raven’s head focal on this next necklace is a ceramic pendant by Jenny Davies-Reazor. The ceramic moon connector and star charm dangles are by Lesley Watt. Once again, I stole these from some march hare focals.  And I’m still pretty sure the bunnies are okay with it. The neckline is beaded chain using Czech glass with Swarovski Elements crystal pearls on antiqued brass wire and chain.

Moon and Stars Raven Necklace

The artisan components in this necklace are a ceramic raven head pendant by Jenny Davies-Reazor, with ceramic moon connector and star dangles by Lesley Watt. The neckline is beaded chain with Czech glass and Swarovski Elements crystal pearls on antiqued brass chain.

Raven Foretells the Future

In some cultures, ravens are harbingers or messengers, or are associated with gods or goddesses of prophecy, thought, wisdom, or intuition. The association of ravens in mythology with matters of intellect and messages may be related to observations of their behavior, including their problem-solving skills and ability to mimic human speech and other sounds.

The focal on this necklace is a black ceramic pendant by BeadFreaky. It’s almost the photo-negative of the pendant in the first necklace. The neckline is beaded chain using antique-cut Czech glass beads with a metallic bronze finish wire-wrapped on antiqued brass wire.  The glass beads almost look like pyrite, which is also known as “fool’s gold.”  The back of the necklace is finished with Vintaj natural brass chain with a “wisdom” word charm on the end of the extender.

Black Raven pendant necklace

The artisan component in this necklace is the black raven ceramic focal by BeadFreaky. The neckline is beaded links using Czech glass beads with Vintaj brass chain. There’s a “wisdom” charm at the end of the chain extender.

Raven and the Goddess

In some Celtic myths, ravens are associated with goddesses of battle, war, and death. They are either familiars to the deities, or they are an alternate form in which the goddess appears.  The tendency of ravens to feed on carrion, and thus to be present on the field after a battle, may have contributed to their association with war and death.

The focal on this necklace is a ceramic pendant by Jenny Davies-Reazor. The triple moon symbol above the raven, which is a common symbol for the Goddess, inspired me to create a celtic-ish thing-a-ma-do from which to hang the pendant. I wanted to make a wire-work celtic knot, but that didn’t work out. (I’ll spare you gory photos of the mangled wire monstrosity.)   So I turned to polymer clay with the intent of creating something that resembled antiqued silver.

Celtic Raven necklace

The artisan components in this necklace are the blue ceramic pendant by Jenny Davies-Reazor, and the polymer clay whatchamacallit, made by me. The neckline is beaded chain links with sodalite on silver-plated chain.

This piece is very much a prototype and I will absolutely be taking another run at that polymer clay whatchmacallit.  I think it needs to be thinner, with perhaps more texture around the edges, for starters.  I also ran out of sterling wire for making the beaded chain neckline. You can’t put a nice dark patina on silver-plated wire that’s been treated with an anti-tarnish finish. And this piece needs some antiquing. The lovely blue sodalite beads will get re-wrapped as soon as I re-stock and patina some sterling wire.  And then I hope to be able to do justice to Jenny’s lovely focal.

The focal on my final necklace design is a feather I carved from polymer clay. It has a blue-black iridescent effect, much like real raven feathers gleaming in the sun. Unfortunately, I can’t adequately capture that in my photos. Trust me, it’s there and it’s all kinds of shimmery and shiny. The beaded chain of the neckline pairs deep blue dumortierite nuggets with fire-polished crystals on gleaming gunmetal finish wire and chain.

Raven Feather Necklace

The artisan component in this necklace is a feather pendant I carved from polymer clay. I also made the earring feathers from polymer clay, using a mold. The necklace has beaded links made using dumortierite nuggets with fire-polished crystals on gunmetal chain.

The necklace has coordinating earrings with polymer clay feathers in the same iridescent blue-black finish.  I used a silicone mold to create these smaller feathers, and the earrings are asymmetrical as the feathers are slightly different shapes.  I think this set looks like something An Morrigan, or another goddess, might wear when not in their raven form.

The Challenge Participants

I hope you enjoyed this unkindness of ravens in jewelry form.  (Yes, that’s what you call a group of ravens:  an unkindness.) I had a fabulous time designing for this theme.  Many thanks to the Art Jewelry Elements team for the inspiration.  I’m off to visit the other designers who participated in the challenge. You can come admire their work too.

Art Jewelry Elements Team:
Lesley Watt
Jenny Davies-Reazor
Phantasm Creations
Caroline Dewison
Linda Landig
Niky Sayers

Guest Bloggers:
Linda Newnham
Michelle McEnroe
Sarajo Wentling
The Copper Cat
The Paisley Lizard (you are here)

24 thoughts on “AJE Design Challenge: Ravens

  1. Lesley

    Wow Tammy – you have been prolific…what a great range of designs and so much variation! Hard to pick a favourite but maybe ‘Raven steals the sun’ just edges it for me…but all are lovely. Thank you very much for joining in the challenge with us.

    1. Tammy Adams Post author

      Thank you so much, Lesley. It was a very inspiring theme and I had some wonderful artisan components to work with.

    1. Tammy Adams Post author

      Thank you, Caroline. The artisan focals helped inspire the different designs. It’s what I love most about working with them.

  2. Kathy Lindemer

    I especially like the first and last necklace. They are gorgeous and speak to me. Well done!

    1. Tammy Adams Post author

      Thanks, Kathy. As I completed each one I thought “this is my favorite” but for a different reason than the one before. Now, I can’t decide.

  3. Jess

    Wow! So many lovely designs – looks like you had a lot of fun with this theme too 🙂 I especially like the unexpected white raven design – winter is coming!

    1. Tammy Adams Post author

      Thank you, Jess. Sometimes a theme really gets my muse going. This was one of those themes. I had a few more focals to work with but ran out of time.

  4. Jenny

    I don’t even know where to start! You were so creative! SO inspired! SO prolific! I like the unexpected white raven – and its links to myth. I love my raven hanging out with Lesley’s charms. Thats so fab! And I think you are on to a SUPER cool thing with the Celtic knot work polymer thingamajig. I agree – either a bit thinner or beveled at edges? I like that a lot. Super great month! Hope to see you in December too!

    1. Tammy Adams Post author

      Thanks so much, Jenny. I truly enjoyed working with your ceramic focals. Beveled edges sounds like a good idea for the thingamajig. I’ll give that a try. And I look forward to the theme for winter.

  5. Linda Landig

    I love that you centered all your creations around different myths and legions. I especially like the first necklace and the Celtic “thing-a-ma-bob” tht you made. Every design is so wonderful!

    1. Tammy Adams Post author

      Thank you, Linda. There are so many myths to choose from, I think I could keep going for another month. 😉

  6. Jen Cameron

    What a wonderful collection you created! I am so impressed and inspired by your work. Thank you for reading AJE and for participating in this month’s challenge.

    1. Tammy Adams Post author

      Thank you, Jen. And thanks to the AJE design team for hosting these “open to the public” challenges.

  7. Sarajo Wentling

    Wow! So much to love here! You found (and made!) some great art beads for this challenge. I agree that Lesley’s hares will be just fine without their star and moon charms… they are probably leaping with joy that you made such good use of them. Your carved feathers are really great!

Comments are closed.