Friday, September 28, 2012

Presence # 1 and Presence # 2

 Think part reptile part robot, part monster with green fur and mismatched eyes, and you got these two guys.
Presence #1 has a brass cuff blank, available from the wonderful Diane Hyde at her bead embroidery store .
Presence # 2 is very much the same, but a real softy, got no cuff blanks at all.
In many ways this is an experiment to find out what YOU prefer. So please leave  your comments.
 The brass cuff blank has it's advantages: fits almost any size wrist, has a wonderful wholesome weight when held in the palm of your hand, and I heard a lot from other artists that they prefer using cuff blanks, because "one size fits all". Well, my experience with "one size fits all" items is that truly, they never fit anyone perfectly.

 Let me explain: a hard cuff with a brass or aluminum blank will never caress your wrist as perfectly as something that has been specifically made for your own wrist. It will fit, it will be reasonably comfy, but it does not move as well with the wrist as a softy cuff, one without the blank.

I prefer making and wearing the soft ones, they are more comfortable, and when I make them without cuff blanks, I start out knowing I might need to re-size a design, or even re-make it to fit my customers needs.
Which is fine by me, but I could see that it could become an issue for other artists. 
 Here we have the two stacked again. Presence #1 with the cuff blank on the bottom, #2 without the cuff blank on top. 
#2 is a lot lighter naturally, and a bit smaller too, since I did not have to add extra room for the edges around the blank, it has a more streamlined appearance. On the other hand #1 feels a lot more substantial, almost like you get more bracelet for the money... When it comes to cuff blanks verses no cuff blanks, I think it's once of those things that is just going to be a matter of personal preference, really. 
 This and the following pictures are all of the soft cuff. Just in case you were wondering  what the green fur was about, it's squirrel zonkers.

Yes.

Squirrel Zonkers.

Available in small strips at your friendly neighborhood fishing store at the fly fishing section.
Tiny long strips of squirrel or rabbit fur that I laid in in-between rows of 24 carat gold plate size 15 Miyuki beads. These zonkers come in a variety of colors, I also got  purple and white. The rabbit fur has longer hairs but the squirrel is just perfect for delicate bead embroidery projects.
 The funny eyeballs are the work of Matthew Nix, owner of Nixcreations on Etsy. He has these and many more to choose from in various colors. 
 I thought it was an interesting idea to make a backwards bracelet, where what's supposed to be the back is looking right at you in the front instead.
 I had a handful of eyes and based on the asymmetrical shape of original brass cuff blank I built the design around, it seemed like a great idea to mismatch the eyes too.
 There are shimmery green triangle beads, tilas and  a repeating pattern of stripes going around the back. It's definitely a very experimental thing for me. 
Both bracelets got lined with a contrasting green metallic sheepskin linings with a diamond finish.
And now it 's time for you to tell me how you like your bracelets and why. 

Friday, September 14, 2012

My Favorite Time Of The Year

 Autumn is just around the corner and I could not be more excited about it. I love the rich hues of orange and purple and red, the coppers and bronzes and the moodiness and the smells.
 This is  when Paul, Sammy and I usually take some time off to visit with family and friends. Our vacation will start next Saturday, the first day of Fall. Until then, it's full speed around here, work ,work work, and sneaking in as much creative time as possible. Hence the two bracelets here.  Very autumnal, right? 

The one with the bronze snail is really special: I got a kiln and some bronze clay and I have been trying to make some interesting bronze clay components for my jewelry. This is the very first piece using that. I must say that working with a kiln is a bit harder then I thought it would be, and most of the things I put in there came out in dust form. Hopefully I will get better at it. But I was very happy with my shiny bronze snail shell that came out with a gorgeous rainbow patina and made good use of it in this piece.

The second one with the Buddha center piece is pretty neat too. The Buddha was part of a pendant that   Paul's cousin gave me when we visited her last year. She had a giant stash of antique beads and components and let me take whatever I could use. That's like giving a magpie shinies! You can imagine my delight.
 I took the little Buddha and it sat in my treasure chest for a year. Then I read a really cool article on how scientists found a Buddha statue  in a Medieval Viking settlement in Sweden.  The settlement being a farm actually. Apparently the Viking farmer was fond of art in general, because the statue was found with various Byzantine and Egyptian objects. And to think that the Vikings had time to make it to America too!

Anyhow, the idea of a Buddha in a Medieval setting intrigued me, and so I built this little bracelet around it. Stone wall like structure with Tila Beads, rusty bronzes and shimmery greens. A muted palette that I found suitable for such an idea.


And now that I have made so many things without eyeballs, I must say I am itching to get back to making something that has a bunch of them. But at least two, not matching of course, that would be too easy...
I will share it before I go on vacation, if all goes well.
Happy Autumn Everyone!

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Some things without eyeballs....

 Now that everyone has gotten used to me making things that have at least one, possibly a lot more eyeballs, I figured it was time to challenge myself to make something without them.

The first two pictures are new pictures of old bracelets I made about a year ago. I love these guys, they are so wearable and pretty...
 The one on the left is what came of  my "do anything that does not have eyeballs" effort.

 It was also inspired by a number of things. 

My friend Patrick Duggan was working on a modern contemporary piece that he posted on Facebook. So I have been thinking about what modern contemporary is in jewelry design. Then I happened to go to my local bead store, Arvada Bead Connection where I found a gorgeous dichroic focal piece. I thought to myself: looks like modern contemporary to me!
 By the time I was done with it, it looked stuck on the verge of Art Nouveau and Art Deco. 
 A bit Gustav Klimt - like perhaps. Oh, there is a lot of room for improvement with this piece. The design kicks butt, but there are a number of flaws.
 I should have cut the Pellon closer around the square focal, the stitching shows too much, and it's a bit uneven. ( That's why it's a bit more Art Nouveau then Deco! )
On this picture there is some gunk showing on the side, which happens to be Fireline zapped with the thread burner, but I should have been more careful. Anyhow, this one is for me, and I used my 24 karat plated
 size 15 Miyukis for it, and I am happy with the way it came out, and I will prance around wearing this piece like a prize winning pony. It pleases me, but next time I measure things better when making geometric designs.
Then here is an oldie but goodie. This one is made with those awesome metal seed beads distributed by the Beadsmith. Cost and arm and a leg ( I got those for free, thank you Beadmsith), but boy, they are amazing.This piece has a happy home, and out of all things I made I miss it most. It's so big and blingy and textural. 
Here is a the "Not so Modern" piece laid out.
And here is why I think it's a bit like a Klimt painting. All the lush gold and stones remind me of this picture. Hopefully , one of these days I will have enough time to make the necklace in this picture. This is Judith with the head of Holofernes. One of my favorite paintings ever.A neck piece like this would be extremely unwearable, uncomfortable and stupendously extravagant and splendid in every way.
It's on my list of things to do.....