Tuesday, 20 August 2013

Bracelets vs Bangles

I am unable to make much jewellery these days. A water leak in our basement has resulted in the complete gutting of my workspace. Most of my tools and jewellery supplies are now locked in storage, until September, when necessary repairs will be completed.

So, by necessity, my jewellery designs have become very simple indeed.

What is simpler that a stretchy bracelet? I often string on stretchy cord as an interim step to a finished piece. (Let the beads decide if they want to live together.) That has me thinking about some of the tutorials I have enjoyed lately regarding bangles.

Ethereal Bangles by Kristen Robinson was a very enjoyable online class. (It does not appear to be available any longer.)

Fanciful Devices has a great tutorial on stacking bangles, available here.

PDF Tutorial- Tribal Gypsy Bangle Stack.

These are so much fun to make because you get to choose what to include and you decide where it is to be placed. There are many interpretations of this available on Etsy.

Since I do not have access to metal wire, at the moment I  am working with the concept using stretchy cord as a temporary stringing medium. In October, I intend to replace this stretchy cord with metal wire.

Here are a few examples.

These lovely beads are mostly from shipwreckdandy. I love her work.

Semi precious stones........


I will try to put up more stretchy bracelets as they are done. I am short of beads but will have to make do........

Once I have access to all my tools, supplies and workspace again, I can hopefully make some of my bracelets into bangles.....

Friday, 21 June 2013

Inspired by Reading Book Club - The Bucolic Plague by Josh Kilmer Purcell

Thank you Andrew - this book club is becoming a great way to make a habit of blogging. (I know once a month is not great but it is at least regular.) I love to make jewellery and to learn new techniques but marketing has me blocked. I will keep plugging along.

I LOVED this book but my inspiration came from the intro and not the story itself. whenever I see a historic painting I always try to design a piece of jewellery for the subject to wear. The image created of rich New Yorkers coming to Sharon Springs was just too good to pass up.

Life in the last half of the nineteenth century (the Victorian age) in upstate New York, played out much more slowly than it does now. The experiences described by Josh Purcell in his book, 'The Bucolic Plague", centre on the small resort town of Sharon Springs, where well-off New Yorkers came to "take the waters", which were thought to be beneficial. It was a popular destination each summer, attracting more than 10,000 visitors who had their pick of over 60 hotels and rooming houses.

Prominent women of wealth arrived with plenty of luggage so they paraded about wearing all their finery and beautiful jewellery. These pampered and fashionable ladies were able to afford their luxuries and enjoyed being members of high society.

This life of the moneyed elite, very evident by the clothes and possessions they flaunted while visiting Sharon Springs, inspired me to create this simple, classic necklace of pearls and "diamonds", which would have been the very definition of conspicuous consumption. I used 2 strands of pearls, plus a focal of a glittering, sparkling rhinestone fur clip, to evoke the lifestyle and mindset of those who made their annual pilgrimage to Sharon Springs - to "take the waters".

Maybe she would have worn my necklace with this dress??????

Here it is......

 I normally knot my pearl necklaces but I am trying to master crimp covers. This gave me a chance to try them out. I still need more practice but I love the necklace.

Monday, 3 June 2013

Inspired by Reading Book Club - A Rumor of Gems by Ellen Steiber

Again, thanks to Andrew - I never would have read this book if it had not been on the list. I am not generally a fan of fantasy so would likely have given this a pass. I am very glad I took the time to give it a chance.

In Ellen Steiber's book of 2005, A Rumor of Gems, she describes the port city of Arcato as an old and magical town where gemstones mysteriously begin to appear, as if falling from a robe worn by Alasdair the shaman, one of the four main characters. Although the novel is set in the modern world, I strongly feel that if any stones were to fall from a garment, they would be roughly cut.

I have always wanted to use chain in a necklace and decided to incorporate crackle agate and pyrite spacers to fashion a piece of jewellery that might have existed for centuries. The chains have a patina that would help to 'age' them. To impart the impression of stones falling from a sleeve or from a fold in a garment, I decided to use agate beads that have irregular facets. These 'rough cut' beads also have holes that are off-centre that helps to give them an impression of falling. My wish was to create a necklace, of chain and gemstones, that evokes an image of mystical power that could be used in spells for good and for evil.

Thanks for stopping by. Hope you enjoy it.

Monday, 29 April 2013

Inspired by Reading Book Club - Paris to the Moon by Adam Gopnik

I wish to express my appreciation to Andrew Thornton for his efforts in setting up this reading group. My hope is that the group will grow larger as more and more people learn about it. Even though I am an avid reader of pulp crime fiction,  I really enjoyed this opportunity to branch out and read a different genre, then design a jewellery piece inspired by the book.

Our first book was Paris to the Moon by Adam Gopnik.The part of the book that I most enjoyed was the description of the time spent at the carousel. Children try to thread the stick through a ring held by the carousel operator each time they go around. When I was younger, my own children loved to go for a ride on a carousel. We would ride wherever we found one. Because my daughter-in-law was born and raised in Paris, I enjoyed reading about the author's experiences while living there. As I read, I had to keep reminding myself that this was a series of short stories, based on his life, and not a novel. My family will be with me this fall in Paris. We plan on visiting the carousel and taking some photos! It is hard to imagine a carousel that has been in operation for so long (about a hundred years).

My usual jewellery style could fairly be described as being "over the top", because I incorporate many elements into a single piece of jewellery. But recently, I have been experimenting with a very simple necklace design. I made just 2 charms - not a very involved or complex arrangement - and then used a silver chain. The combination of a "stick" and the "ring" seem to me, to fit with the Paris that Adam Gopnik lived in. When I wear this necklace as I ride the carousel this fall, I only wish that I could  try playing the game myself. Maybe listening to this on my iPod.

Tuesday, 2 April 2013

"David" Line

I was stringing beads the other evening and could not decide what to put with what - my ever practical commentator suggested "what about putting some white with that", so.......

The "David" line was born. Each strand is a seperate necklace. You create your own piece by connecting as many or as few strings as you like. (And it does not even have to be black and white :) )

Saturday, 23 March 2013

Roman Glass

These glass disks were found in Afghanistan, and are made from fragments of ancient Roman bowls. I think the colours are amazing.

Thursday, 14 March 2013

Bohemian Wedding Beads

"Wedding Beads" were made in the Czech Republic specifically for the African trade in the 1950s and started being exported from Africa to the US and Europe in the 1980s.

These beads come in several different shapes, colors and patterns. One of the most popular shape is the round tear drop. Another attractive shape is the flat tear drop. "Wedding beads" also were made as flat tabular shapes, stylized claw shapes and other varieties.

Tuesday, 12 March 2013

Egyptian Faience

From Wikipedia.....

Egyptian faience is a sintered-quartz ceramic displaying surface vitrification which creates a bright lustre of various blue-green colours. Since it is not made from clay, it is often not classed as pottery. It is called "Egyptian faience" to distinguish it from faience, the tin glazed pottery associated with Faenza in northern Italy. Egyptian faience, both locally produced and exported from Egypt, occurred widely in the ancient world and is well known from Mesopotamia, the Mediterranean and in northern Europe as far away as Scotland.

Friday, 8 March 2013

Terracotta Beads

Ancient Terracotta Beads Mali Fish Net Weights  (19th-20th century)

Ancient clay beads excavated in Mali, Africa. These are incredible and very large beads. They were primarily used as fish net weighs. They were made of buff-colored clay and worn by women as valuable jewelry and are said to have the charm to attract men.

The beads (and photos) are from the collection of Africa Direct. Please have a look at their other pieces.

What is a bead?

"A bead is any object that can be strung to adorn or decorate a person, thing, or place. From early beginnings people have worn beads to proclaim their identity, status, and kinship; to bedazzle others and to please themselves. Beads have been used to tally property, pay for goods, and record events.

Beads invoke protection and well-being. They declare power and wealth. They tell of those who make them, wear them, pray, pledge, love, mourn, and celebrate with them.

Our fundamental human needs have found expression through beads. They reflect the history of Earth’s people and continue to be a part of our lives."
The quote above was taken from the website of the The Bead Society of Greater Washington. I want to learn more........

Friday, 1 March 2013

Challenge of Music

I wish to thank Erin Prais-Hintz for creating this very unique challenge - designing jewellery inspired by instrumental music. I have enjoyed listening to this particular tune, which evokes seafaring images for me. And this challenge was the perfect opportunity for me to combine my love of the sea and love of jewellery elements that remind me of the sea. I usually try to clear my head when I work - I rarely have any back ground "noise" of any kind playing when I design. My preference has always been to work in complete silence and not to analyze my motivation while I design. But this challenge forced me to change how I work. So, while I listened to this music, I visualized it as a piece of jewellery.

The beginning of this piece of music takes me immediately to the sea. I find it to be very powerful and motivating. I have an affinity for water and this music very clearly represents an "ocean" to me. Since I am a Canadian familiar with both coasts, I feel that this tune definately represents life in the Atlantic provinces, rather than the Pacific coast.

My necklace is composed of things from the sea, washed up on the maritime shore - after a storm perhaps? - sea glass, stones, old fishing net pieces, mother of pearl, shells, starfish and clam charms, silver coral pieces, driftwood, .........

Hope you like it....

Wednesday, 13 February 2013

Longer is Good! Another Pair of Earrings...

I like these earrings - they move when you move your head but are very light. The mix of greens is very pleasing to me.

Saturday, 9 February 2013

Earrings R Not Us

Not sure why but I do not like to make earrings! As part of my "climb" I am going to try to make at least one pair every few days. (This is big for me.) Wish me luck.

Here is my first pair..... Nothing too creative but a start none the less.

Monday, 4 February 2013


Wow! Thanks for the encouragement.

I have been making jewelry for a few years but am not very comfortable with social media. That may sound strange since I have been in the computer industry since the 70s. I started with papertape and punch cards.

Before stringing a few beads I had rarely done anythig creative. I have taken classes online as well as in person and have been practicing alot. I find I get lost in the process. The climb is fun so far. I plan to develop skills in a number of areas that so far I have only dabbled in; etching, resin, wirework, patinas, cold conections, soldering and on and on.....

Saturday, 2 February 2013


It is a steady climb to "master" the art of jewellery creation. and I am only just starting. My word is CLIMB.

I wanted this piece to represent where I came from as well as where I am going (not sure I will make it - the climb can be steep at times) therefore....

The technique as well as the materials used (vintage African beads strung on leather cord) are primitive while the message is born of the computer age (binary code - just a series of "0s" and "1s", representing on and off) where each letter is represented by a combination of 8 "0s" or "1s".

My word is 01100011 01101100 01101001 01101101 01100010 (CLIMB).

Please let me know what you think. Thanks for looking.