The first challenge of 2016 for the Art Jewelry Elements blog is called “Buried Treasure.” We were challenged to dig into our stashes of art beads and components to create jewelry.
It seems I am not the only one who has an easier time collecting art beads than using them. Why are they such a challenge to use?
For me, the challenge is my fear of not coming up with a design that does the artisan component justice. Each of these beads, pendants, bars, charms, etc. are miniature works of art. Imagine putting an original Picasso in a black plastic frame from the local craft shop. The horror! I also have a tendency to think I need to come up with an elaborate design for my art beads. But all they usually need is something relatively simple to show them off properly.
I have been curating a growing collection of art beads and components in the last few years. I have beady goodness in ceramic, lampwork, metal, enamel, and polymer clay from about a dozen different artists. I made a concerted effort to conquer my fear and embrace this challenge. I completed six pieces of jewelry, using components from nine different artisans. That doesn’t make a noticeable dent in my collection, but it’s a start.
The Buried Treasures Uncovered
When I acquired this ceramic bracelet bar last year it was with the intention of making a bracelet as a birthday gift for a friend. The birthday came and went with no ideas on how to make a bracelet. Plan B was to give the bracelet as a Christmas gift. That also didn’t happen. Bracelet bars stump me (especially the kind with two holes on each end), and yet I continue to collect them. In the end, I worked my way out of my designer’s block by using lengths of chain rather than stringing beads as originally envisioned. But I had to add some beaded dangles. Had to.
Two years ago I participated in a design challenge using “sparkling rocks” lampwork beads by Maryse Fritzsch-Thillens of Glass Bead Art Lampwork. I received a single sparkling orange bead from the challenge hostess and immediately had to visit Maryse’s shop to buy more of these “rocks.” I have several strands. The blue-green in these turned out to be a perfect pairing with the hints of turquoise in these ceramic spikes by Petra Carpreau of Scorched Earth. The dark oxidized copper ear wires are also from my artisan stash, made by Rocki Adams (no relation) of Rocki’s Metalwork.
I haven’t counted them, but I’m fairly confident I have more ceramic focals from Lesley Watt of Thea Elements in my stash than from any other artist. I went a little crazy ordering her bunnies, turtles, and foxes last year. Every glaze color combination is the best, so I needed one of each. I found some Czech glass flowers – sort of hibiscus-y shaped – that coordinated well with the blue-green glaze on this turtle. I may re-do this with some blue Swarovski pearls in place of the gold. Or not.
Since I came up with a way to use that first bracelet bar, I decided to tackle another for this challenge. I won this ceramic ticket stub with a set of coordinating beads in a Facebook auction group. It’s by Gaea Cannaday. I didn’t use the full set of beads, which included a little red heart, for the bracelet. Instead, I wired a few of the ceramic beads to antiqued brass rolo chain and added some Czech glass flower dangles. The bracelet fastens with a heart-shaped lobster clasp and Vintaj natural brass chain extender.
Another pair of earrings made their way out of the stash for this challenge. The swirly splotchy (in a good way!) patterns on these stone-textured orange lampwork beads by Genea Crivello of Genea Beads seemed a perfect complement to the blue-green splotches and bumps on the enameled metal “numisticks” by Kimberly Rogers of Numinosity. The copper ear wires are my favorite shape – elfin – from Rocki’s Metalwork.
Last but certainly not least, I created a simple beaded chain necklace for this wonderful ceramic orca pendant by Jenny Davies-Reazor. I have pulled this pendant out of my stash numerous times intending to make a necklace. I don’t know why I was stumped for so long. Okay, yes I do. It’s the same reason I get blocked with any other artisan component: how to do the piece justice. I set it next to every kind of blue bead in my stash, from sodalite and dumortierite to Czech glass and beach glass. I’m not thrilled with the relative size of the twisted jump rings between the beaded links, but I do like the look of these blue glass nuggets with the pendant. This one may get a re-do when I find jump rings or chain links that are just right.
This was a great challenge and I hope I can maintain some of the momentum and bring more of my precious art beads out of my stash and into the light. Many thanks to the Art Jewelry Elements blog team for hosting this challenge. Be sure to visit the contributors and other guest artists to see more uncovered buried treasures jewelry designs.
Terri – Terrri’s Blooming ideas
Shai – Shai’s Ramblings
Melissa – Bead Recipes
Tammy – Paisley Lizard (That’s me!)
Sarajo – SJ Designs
Kathy – Bay Moon Designs
Karin – Ginko et Colquelicot
Lola – Bead Lola Bead
Samantha – Wescott Jewelry
Mona – Bijoux Gem