Tuesday, August 30, 2016

August Design Challenge-Art Headpins!

This was definitely a challenge for me... I have just recently joined the Art Jewelry Elements group and thought I would sit this art headpin challenge out. Then after returning home from a quick trip to visit relatives I figured I should just go ahead and jump right in. 
Well...I didn't have time to order some of the lovely glass or ceramic headpins that some of my fellow AJE members create so I decide to just make my own.
So what do I make? How about polymer clay?  I haven't played with it in years, but what the heck, let's try it.  When I went to my stash the only colors I happen to have are black and purple. Hmmm-Ok, I can make it work.  Used a bit of Pearl-Ex powders on the clay before cooking and here they are.
Polymer clay headpins
 I thought it was too much Pearl Ex, so I sanded them. Then they were too blah, so I added dabs of gold ink here and there. (sorry I forgot to take photos after the sanding and dabbing of ink)
I attempted to go for something fun & funky and a little bit out of my comfort zone. I used a copper pipe (with patina added) to hold my tassels made of strips of sari fabric. I used several lengths of chain mixed in with the sari strips and dangled the polymer headpins from the chain, but first I threaded a mix of metal and ceramic beads on the headpins. Sorry these photo are not doing the headpins justice. They really aren't that black. They have splashes of purple and gold.
Close up of chains and dangling headpins

Silk sari tassel pendant
With so much going on in the pendant itself I decided to keep it simple & just hang it from 2 pieces of soft black leather. The colors have a kind of Mardi Gras look to it.
Funky tassel necklace


Not completely happy with just the polymer clay headpins I turned to my wire. I curled and hammered and then when I went to give them a nice patina with my liver of sulphur IT DID NOT WORK! It was the powdered form and it is quite a few years old. I tried doubling the amount-nothing. So I used heat to give a little color to my wire and then used a patina for metal to give some of them a blue/green color.
Here's my collection of brass & copper spiral, twirly headpins.

Copper & brass wire headpins
 And here is what I did with them. The headpins didn't turn out to be the stars of the show but I do like how they enhance the project.
Spiral headpin with patina added
Especially when I decided to pull out the wire to create a little basket to hold a piece of beach glass and brain coral in. This little spiral headpin with the patina gives just the right amount of color.
Woven wire basket with headpin attached
I added a necklace made with chain and recycled glass beads as well as some Czech glass beads.


Woven wire necklace
Since my true love is bead embroidery I just had to come up with something that I could incorporate a headpin with.

Close-up of twirly headpin
Close-up of beaded ceramic face
I used a ceramic face cabochon I made years ago when I used to play with stoneware clay and beaded around it. I paired the beaded head with some copper discs (etched & domed slightly) with a blue/greenish patina added. Used regular old copper balled headpins to connect the discs to each other and the beaded piece. Then used a swirly headpin with metal bead to dangle from the bottom.
I hung it from a piece of copper wire that I flattened in areas. Again, no liver of sulphur meant I had to try and patina with heat. I added some matte amazonite beads and a clasp to finish.
Mixed media necklace
Creating this piece using the bead embroidered cab along with metals and wires really made me rethink my whole jewelry making process. I have been so focused on bead embroidery that I forgot how much I love metals.
close-up of copper headpin
So I had to start another pendant that incorporates another wire headpin.
It isn't finished YET. I will do another piece of bead embroidery to hang the metal pendant from.
This is a piece of brass, flooded with solder and embedded with a brass filigree flower and a metal ring around it. I threaded an African opal bead, turquoise fetish bird bead & metal beads onto the spiral headpin. I believe I have a stone cabochon that will be perfect to pair with this. Stay tuned for the finished piece.

And finally I made a pair of earrings just because I needed another pair.
I did take the quick and easy way out and used store bought ear wires for photographing. I will probably go back and make my own ear wires so that they will look more cohesive.
Etched brass earrings with brass spiral headpins
The earrings were made with etched brass. Metal and glass beads were threaded onto the brass spiral headpins.

I can't wait to go blog hopping to see what wonderful things the other AJE team members and reader participants have created.
Here they are if you want to check them out:

Guests :

Alison Herrington 
AJE Team:


Until next time...Live your life creatively~
Cathy


Monday, August 22, 2016

'The secret of change is to focus all your energy, not on fighting the old, but on building the new.' Socrates

Moving is hard... I knew this before we moved and yet somehow I thought this time would be different since we wanted to move and we got to choose where we moved. I was so excited to start this next chapter of our lives-heading down the path to retirement.
The good thing is, I was so busy unpacking and visiting with family and friends the first couple of months that I didn't really have time to process all the changes that we were going through.
It has now started to sink in that life is really different...
Not bad different, just different. I have had a bit of a pity party lately. I miss my art groups and I miss my art group friends. I miss my yoga studio and my wonderful yoga teachers and fellow yogis.The heat in Carolina has been a bit much especially the humidity-so yes, I guess I miss the cooler temps of Illinois. BUT I won't be saying that come January and February!
I knew this small town we moved to only had ONE yoga studio but thought it would be fine. I have tried going several times. I keep hoping I will feel more at home there but it's soooooo different from the yoga studios that I knew and loved along the North Shore of Chicago. Everything is different about the studio and the yoga. I keep researching the studios in nearby Raleigh too. I will have to put my 'big girl' yoga pants on and drive to Raleigh and check out one of those studios. In the meantime, I do my own yoga at home and there are exercise classes at the clubhouse in my neighborhood. It's very convenient and it's a nice change of pace. So I guess I need to 'build on the new' like the quote in the title says.
As far as my art groups...I mentioned in my last post that I had joined the local art group which is nice but still not quite like the group of fiber friends in IL. The good thing has been joining the Art Jewelry Elements group online. It's the next best thing to having a local, in-person group. I am 'building the new'!
So with that bit of whining out of the way and a desire to 'build the new' I am revisiting my yearly project. I put it on hold when I discovered that I chose the wrong color for the Earth element.
This is the first element I did-FIRE
FIRE element





The next element I started was supposed to be Earth. I started it the week we were in the process of moving. I thought it would be good to keep handy to bead on while the guys did the packing. It was while we were driving form IL to NC that I realized I had done the Earth element in the wrong color. When I started it I just assumed Earth would be green. Right?? Nope, it's supposed to be yellow. So after keeping it stored away in a box for the last 4 months I have pulled it out and think I can salvage it by cutting another round piece of green felt and embroidering the proper symbol for the Wood element. Wood is green. That way I don't have to toss this aside or tear out all the beading. I think I can manage to slip the newly embroidered piece under my peyote bezel. I didn't bead it too tightly so I think it will work. Below is the Chinese symbol for Earth but the color palette is for Wood. Next time you see this green embroidered piece I hope to have the Chinese symbol for Wood covering the Earth symbol up.




Since I was so frustrated with that I chose to just work on pendants for necklaces.
Here are several that are in various stages of being complete. I have promised myself I WILL NOT MAKE any more until I finish these. Of course I did start a bracelet yesterday with one of the beautiful Czech glass buttons I just got! LOL

Roan Leopard Marble cab with Onyx cab
Labradorite cabs with freshwater pearls
Turquoise Howlite cab with a Moon snail shell


There is a challenge going on at the Art Jewelry Elements blog this month and I really want to participate in that. So as soon as I finish this blog post I will head to my studio and see if I can make my own artisan head pins for the challenge. Wish me luck!
Check out the blog post, you might want to join in the fun also. 

Life your life creatively~
cathy


Thursday, August 4, 2016

The Migration to North Carolina

My last post was in February, 2 months prior to the 'BIG' move. Whew! What a flurry of activity since then...
Quick Recap:
Jan:Did a 3 day beading workshop with Lisa Binkley
Feb:Did a 2 day Indigo/shibori workshop with Akemi Cohn. Submitted an article about making jewelry to Belle Armoire Jewelry magazine. Was accepted-published in the summer edition which came out in June!!! Started my yearly beading project which for this year is shortened to only 5 pieces since moving really throws the schedule out of whack. This year is going to be the 5 Elements according to Chinese Philosphy. First element-FIRE.
March: Went to the Field Museum of Chicago for the Terracotta Warrior exhibit (fabulous) Helped set up the WJIF exhibit at Navy Pier in Chicago for the Flower & Garden Show. Most likely the last time I will ever be able to help with that exhibit due to moving. Exhibit was as wonderful as it always is!
April:I was featured on the blog Art Jewelry Elements!!!My friend Jenny Davies-Reazor ,whom I met through Instagram and Facebook is a member of the team over at AJE and asked to interview me. Very flattered and honored ;-)) Then the big MOVE...Packed, loaded, shipped out to North Carolina April 16. 14 hour journey by car with a whiney dog and a very vocal cat-not fun. We survived and the moving vans arrived April 18. (I am happy to report that the mountain of boxes they unloaded are now all unpacked!) Realized that the second beaded element I started-EARTH was done in the WRONG color. Big oops! Need to figure out how to salvage it.
May:Spent many hours unpacking, organizing, wondering why I didn't purge MORE things before moving...Daughter graduates from University of Florida College of Veterinary Medicine (BIG WOO HOO) The culmination of years of hardwork finally paying off! For her and her parents :-)
June:Girls'weekend at Ocracoke Island, NC with girls/women I have been friends with since elementary school/high school! Always a fun time with them and it was very much needed. Belle Armoire Jewelry magazine issue that I was published in came out (Yay)!
Daughter moved after graduation but unfortunately for her parents she moved to Denver :-(
Maybe one day she will come back to the east coast to be near her dottering old parents.
Attended our first neighborhood gathering in our new home-a pig pickin'. Fun times, met lots of new neighbors. Got driver's licenses, registered vehicles, and researched doctors/dentists in our new area.
July:Best friend that I have known since we were 8 years old came for a visit-always a great time with her. And her daughter and daughter's boyfriend even came for a quick visit. Was also able to head to VA to visit my brother & his wife as well as my cousin & his wife. Then the following week we joined my brother and his wife, their daughter & her husband at the beach-OBX.  Just last week we decided to explore the crystal coast of NC. A little further south from OBX- we went to Atlantic Beach.  Also, getting back to my southern roots and the whole caning/pickling process. I made a great batch of peach/jalapeno jam and a batch of HOT pepper jelly. Which brings me to the current month...
August: Started with a bang!
Got a FB message from Jenny over at AJE asking me to join the group. How flattered and shocked I was. All the old anxieties: am I good enough?, will anyone want to read what I write on their blog?, can I handle the pressure?, What will I write about?, but most importantly I am HORRIBLE at staying on top of this blog, my own personal blog. Now I have been asked to join their group and I will need to commit to a blog post almost every 2 weeks. The pressure!! But as you can see/read, I have no trouble blabbering on once I get started-HA! I guess the problem will be shutting me up once I start. :-P  So that took place Monday and I thought long and hard about accepting the offer for membership but today I bit the bullet and said YES. I am now a team player at Art Jewelry Elements blog. So come on over and read about the rest of the amazing jewelry artists that are there.
Yesterday marked another big step in my creative life in my new town. I attended and joined the local art group- Clayton Visual Arts. They seem to be a great group. I am an anomaly in that I am the only fiber artist and bead artist that they have! So I must seek out more fiber & bead folks to bring to the group. They are excited about me joining. The group does a lot of exhibiting locally and also does a fundraiser to support the local art teachers. The have an Art Faire next month and I am exhibiting my '12 Months of Buddha' beaded/quilted wall hanging. I was also asked to submit a series of work for a possible monthly exhibit next year. They have monthly exhibits and usually just showcase one or two artitsts! So I need to frame my goddesses from last year so I can be prepared to exhibit quite a few pieces of my work. 
One of the fundraisers the art group does is an annual Christmas Home Tour. They showcase an artist in each home, meaning the artist brings his/her pieces to display and sell during the home tours. They are actually showcasing the neighborhood I moved to and have begged me to place my home on the tour-- Whew! Talk about pressure... I love decorating for Christmas, I really do. So it does sound perfect. I get to decorate my home to the MAX for showing and also display my jewelry for sale! The only thing is-I have already starting planning the 'theme' for decorating and I really need to be working on beading rather than even thinking about Christmas decorations at this point. I mean it's only August and it's still in the 90's! Planning the Christmas decor can wait until at least September.
Sorry for not posting any photos. I did give you lots of links to click on which will take you to see many delightful photos, blog posts and websites.
I know I've said this before, but this time I mean it. I am commited to blogging more. I have to wean myself off FB. The whole political thing makes me CRAZY. So I would much rather log into my blog and ramble on about life and creativity!
Stay tuned....I will be back soon. Hopefully with lots of photos!
Until then.........live your life creatively~
cathy