Andrew Thornton Challenge – Beadsophisticate

April 15, 2015

Periodically, I have been able to snag one of Andrew Thornton’s challenge kits – he only makes 19 or 24 available for sale, so you have to be quick. This month I was able to get in on Frenzied Motion. This is what I received to work with:

Kit contents

Kit contents

Frenzied motion bead blend

In addition, Andrew always includes a handmade “mystery component”, which is not revealed until a couple of weeks before the challenge reveal.

Sometimes when I get the kit open, I don’t know what to make and have to think about it for a while, but when I looked at this one, “bracelet” popped into my head, and that’s even without thinking about the challenge title. Andrew does a great job naming the kits; he has a way with translating inspiration into beads. I put it aside until the last minute (as usual), but was happy I did, because in the intervening time, I received an order containing the perfect bracelet finding for this project.

Frenzied Motion challenge bracelet

Frenzied Motion challenge bracelet

The mystery component is the round piece in the middle. Next to it is what I am coming to think of as my signature, a peyote beaded bead. Beaded beads seem to keep popping up in my work, so I plan to explore that.

I thought a shot of the piece on the hand would be nice. Not having worked with this bracelet finding before, I learned that there are four ways to put it on, and three of them are wrong.

on the hand

on the hand

The first time, the mystery component was back side up. The second and third tries had the dangles under the wrist. Fourth time was the charm. Sheesh!

While doing this project, I also remembered that there is a reason that I generally work with wrapped loops instead of simple loops. Lesson learned.

Here are the links to the other participants in this month’s challenge:

Christina Hickman
Michelle McCarthy
Marybeth Rich
Alison Herrington
Ann Schroeder
Andrew Thornton, Laurel Ross, Joanne Goldberg, Lisa Mendum
Christy Porter

JAC Blog Hop – Spring Cleaning

March 30, 2015

spring cleaning suppliesEach month, some of the members of the Jewelry Artisans Community blog on the same topic.  No secret about today’s topic, it’s spring cleaning.

I don’t normally do spring cleaning as such, as I clean my studio whenever it either gets too messy to work, or I am stuck for inspiration, but this year the timing was perfect as I’m in the process of moving back into my home. I can’t tell you how much I’ve missed my little studio with it’s four windows and a skylight.  I’ve been working in a basement with one meager window and poor overhead lighting, so this is a blessing.

Since the house has been unoccupied for two years, there was plenty of cleaning to be done, mostly dusting (microfiber is my friend), but I’ve also wiped down all the shelves and tables with some Clorox just to be on the safe side.  You’d think it would be easy to just put all my stuff back where it was, but the thing is, in the time that I’ve been gone, I’ve changed.

I still have my giant bead collection, which goes on the shelf units hubby made for me.  If I space the shelves every two holes, my shoeboxes fit perfectly without wasting any space. (Plug for shoeboxes from the Container Store, they are sturdy and stand up to the weight of the beads.)

shelves 2

I’m not sure what is going to go on the lower shelf of each unit.  I originally intended to store my kiln on one of them, but I have decided not to pursue metal clay anymore, so I don’t think I need the kiln handy; it can go in the basement shop.

I have a long built-in desk that runs the width of the room.  Right now it is set up for working with polymer clay, because I needed to complete a project before my worktable was moved over, but I think I will reserve it for office work going forward.  Here is where my laptop will sit, and I’ll have my paperwork center there too.  I hope to leave a good-sized area of the desk free so I can do larger projects.

office desk

I’m debating regarding painting.  I’ve taken up art journaling and mixed media work as well as polymer clay.  I planned to do that in the downstairs workshop, but I really want to do it in the sunny room.  Maybe I’ll move that downstairs in the winter.  I have 3 Elfa carts filled with polymer clay and painting paraphernalia.  I’m not sure it will all fit in here.

Across from the shelves is my worktable.  You can see my tool rack on the left and the beginnings of my soldering station on the right.  I bought a revolving soldering pan, but I’m not exactly sure where it is at the moment. There are a ton of boxes in this house right now.  Normally my pasta machine is anchored at the right side of the worktable, but I need to make room for my enameling torch, so I might make this the “hot” side and make a clay space on the office desk where it is now.

worktable

Last is this corner.  Pay no attention to the chair, it is an antique from my husband’s side of the family, and is only in here to keep it safe from the moving hubbub.  My big lateral filing cabinet used to sit in this corner, but hubby has made a place for it in the adjacent mud room, so I have some extra space to play with.  I think I will put a comfy chair and a reading lamp there, for when I want to leaf through an art book for inspiration.  This will also be my video booth when I get around to making some videos.

corner with chair

As you can see, I still have quite a bit of sprucing up to do, but at least I can work in here now.

Read what other members of the JAC have to say about spring cleaning at these links:

The Crafty Chimp

Cat’s Wire

Jewelry Art by Dawn

 

 


B’Sue Boutiques Build a Line Challenge Reveal – Carole Carlson of Beadsophisticate

March 20, 2015

Pink and Blue Necklace

Today is the big reveal for the B’Sue Boutiques Build a Line Challenge.  For the past three months, my classmates and I have been working to develop a cohesive line of at least five pieces for today’s post.  I have 11 pieces in 3 colorways to show.  The detail of the necklace above is my top-of-the line piece; here is the full necklace.

pink and blue necklace

Notice how I solved the problem of the bezel with no hole.  I prepared a piece of B’sue Boutiques filigree with a complementary finish, and mounted the bezel on it.  I was then able to wire wrap the beaded chain to the filigree.

Next is a similar necklace, but less complex, in the second colorway.  This time I mounted the polymer clay bezel on a piece of B’Sue filigree in the brass ox finish.  In order to meet the portion of the challenge that required us to produce some pieces in the $10 – $50 range, I had to look for efficiencies, and using already-patinaed findings was part of that.

yellow green onyx necklace

And here is a closer look at the pendant on this one.

green yellow close up

Another way to meet the pricing tier challenge was to make smaller pieces, so I turned to bracelets to help myself out.  I showed a sneak peek of a polymer clay bracelet in the February blog hop.  After test-driving the bracelet I noticed that it had a tendency to stretch a bit, so I added a tie made of silk ribbon from B’Sue Boutiques grab bag package.

.green yellow bracelet

Another quick and easy bracelet was this one, with handmade polymer clay disks inserted into a bezel bracelet blank.

bezel bracelet

As we learned in the class, you should at least be aware of trends, even if you don’t plan to follow them, and brooches are going to be big this year, so I made a couple of pendant components into brooches.  Next time I will make them convertible.

brooches

For the lowest level of my pricing tier, I put together some really simple matching earrings, shown below:

simple earringsdeco earrings

 I said I had 11 pieces (actually 13 because I made four of the polymer clay bracelets, two in each color).  The 11th piece is another necklace using pre-made pearl chain from B’Sue Boutiques.  This piece was from an idea that didn’t really work out as I had hoped it would, but I wanted to show it because of the cool faux opal effect.

faux opal necklace

I had a great time with this challenge.  It’s given me a lot to think about and I plan to continue to develop these lines.  Here are a couple of pictures of the pieces grouped together.

pink and blue with earringspink blue bracelet brooch deco earringsgreen yellow with earringsgreen yellow bracelets and brooch

If you are interested in purchasing any of these pieces, please either leave me a comment on this post, or email me at beadsophisticate@gmail.com.

And now, please visit the blogs of the other participants in the class, starting with our fearless leader at B’Sue Boutiques.

.

Brenda Sue Lansdowne, B’sue Boutiques

Jewelry Making Outside the Box

Marcia Tuzzolino

Aurora Designs

Jann Tague

Clever Designs by Jann

Judy King

Apt to Wander

Linzi Alford

Magpie in the Sky, Spoil Heap Tales

Cynthia Wainscott

Exotic Peru

Carole Carlson

Beadsophisticate

Lynn Stinten

Dragonzwench

Marica Zammit

Bead Lovelies

Catherine Shattuck

VRBrose

Michaele Collie

The Vintage Gem

Mary Craig

Jewelry Alchemy

Lee Koopman

Strega Jewelry

Erin Whitacre

Shattered Time Jewelry

Monica Casady

MJCasady Copper Works

Leila West

Leila Nicole Designs

Cindy Peterson

https://howlingdogjewelry.wordpress.com/

Leila Belcher

Leila Bee Designs

Gloria Allen

Wings and Beads

Pamela Anger

Novegatti Designs

Tammy Adams

Paisley Lizard

Lynda O’Mara

LOmara Creative

Elizabeth Hildreth

MadScientistsDesigns

Dana Hickey

Wind Dancer Studios

Janet Calardo

Jan Lea Designs

Maria Clark

Sweet Willow Designs

Lori Beekman

  1. Accessorized

Jennifer Kroeger

Relic Charm

Amy Jorgensen

Hoarder’s Corner

Robin Reed

Artistry: Handcrafted Bead Designs

Ingrid Anderson

Lilis Gems

Louise O’Shields

Desire Divine Jewels

Susan Killam

Killam Creative

Mary Katherine Deis

The Rose Sword: Artisan and Vintage Collectible Jewelry

Nike Bottalico

Nike Bottalico

Susan Bowerman

Woodside Wireworks

Kristy Le

Kristy Le Trendy Jewelry Designs

Jan Peters

Stylized Vintage

Mitzie Crider

Needful Luxuries Occasional Blog

Gina Hockett

Freestyle Elements

Linda Anderson

From the Bead Board

Alexandra Sefton

Imaginary Jewelry and Altered Art

Melida Boman

The Journey of Pens and Things

Teresa Shurter

TreeZ’s Treasurs

Melissa Latimer

Smithed Up

Renee Hong

Fine and Dandy Jewelry and Art

Nadine Edris

Moondance Jewelry

Lori Meyer

Parisienne Girl

Jennifer Merrill Williams

Artists of All Stripes

Denise Lussier Poirier

Jewelry by Denise

Renee Allen

Small Stuff Design

Autumn Adams

Autumn Dawns

Elizabeth Owens

1996 Shabby Lane

Kat BarronMiller

Midnight Kat Productions Art Jewelry

Sandra Ballard

Mama San’s Mojo

Coral Law

ab:coraldesign


Jewelry Artisans Community Blog Hop – Carole Carlson of Beadsophisticate

February 24, 2015
playing with texture and color

playing with texture and color

Each month some of the artists from the Jewelry Artisans Community blog on the same topic.  Since many of us are living in areas experiencing unusual weather, we thought we’d discuss how weather affects our creativity.

I live in a moderate climate, but this week the temperature is 30 degrees lower than normal for this time of year.  In fact, we had a snow event on Saturday that 1. caught us by surprise (thanks, Mr. Weather Guy and 2. turned into ice overnight.  The next day, the temperature shot up to 50 degrees. Go figure.

Trying out different shapes

Trying out different shapes

Snow and rain means time to cocoon for me.  I love to watch the snow come down, as long as my family is home, safe and warm.  Since this latest snow day fell on a weekend, it was the perfect time to start working with polymer clay.  I’m working on a line of jewelry for the B’Sue Boutique Build a Line Challenge, and I decided to include some polymer clay items, so I’ve been trying out some different things, just playing around and seeing where that takes me.

Textured beads

Textured beads

See what the other members of the Jewelry Artisans Community have to say here:

http://jewelryartbydawn.blogspot.com/2015/02/weather-and-creativity-february-blog.html


Build A Line Master Class Blog Hop, Part 2 – Carole Carlson of Beadsophisticate

February 20, 2015

beaded chain

This is a section of beaded chain I’m making for one of the pieces in my line for the Build A Line Master Class sponsored by B’Sue Boutiques.  In Part 1, we talked about the inspiration for our lines.  In Part 2, I’m talking about some lessons learned during the last month from our class discussions.

One of the challenges is to make pieces that are priced in the impulse buy range – $10 to $50.    Last month I mentioned that the inspiration piece for this line sells for $75- $150, depending on the materials, so I knew I’d have to be creative in reducing the cost.  I decided to use polymer clay to make some of the parts.  To do that, I spent some time making test swatches of textures and color combinations.

Test swatches

Test swatches

After getting opinions from classmates, I made a second round of test swatches.

Test swatches part deux

Test swatches part deux

I bought some bezels from B’Sue Boutiques to use with the clay. Only after coloring the bezels and baking the clay pendants did I realize there was no way to attach them to my necklace.  Lesson learned: a little planning is a beautiful thing.  You’ll see my clever solution in the reveal blog in March.  Hint: I’m still using the bezels.

Pendant parts

Pendant parts

I learned that I can’t really reduce the amount of time I spend making the necklace.  By making a production line, I cut assembly time a little bit, but making the pendants myself added time, so I called it even.  I am using silver plate and mixed base metals in this one to help keep the cost down.

I've got 3 different metals in this one.

I’ve got 3 different metals in this one.

Nevertheless, the necklaces are going to end up being my mid-range pieces. So then I had to come up with some lower-priced items.  I shall not reveal all now, but here is a sample:

Polymer clay bracelets

Polymer clay bracelets

You won’t believe how light these are!  I still have to test-drive them. If they can stand up to a couple of days of me wearing them around, they will be fine. I’m hard on anything near my hands.

From a business standpoint, generous class members gave some tips on improving blog features.  See my new search box on the upper right? And I added contact information.  I’ve also been encouraged to get pinning on Pinterest, so expect to see more from me there (Beadsophisticate on Pinterest).

Please visit Brenda’s class notes blog (B’Sue Boutiques), and the blogs of the other class participants to see what they are up to and get their take on what we’ve learned

Brenda Sue Lansdowne, B’sue Boutiques

Jewelry Making Outside the Box

Marcia Tuzzolino

Aurora Designs

Jann Tague

Clever Designs by Jann

Judy King

Apt to Wander

Linzi Alford

Magpie in the Sky, Spoil Heap Tales

Cynthia Wainscott

Exotic Peru

Carole Carlson   (you are here)

Beadsophisticate

Lynn Stinten

Dragonzwench

Marica Zammit

Bead Lovelies

Catherine Shattuck

VRBrose

Michaele Collie

The Vintage Gem

Mary Craig

Jewelry Alchemy

Lee Koopman

Strega Jewelry

Erin Whitacre

Shattered Time Jewelry

Monica Casady

MJCasady Copper Works

Leila West

Leila Nicole Designs

Cindy Peterson

https://howlingdogjewelry.wordpress.com/

Leila Belcher

Leila Bee Designs

Gloria Allen

Wings and Beads

Pamela Anger

Novegatti Designs

Tammy Adams

Paisley Lizard

Lynda O’Mara

LOmara Creative

Elizabeth Hildreth

MadScientistsDesigns

Dana Hickey

Wind Dancer Studios

Janet Calardo

Jan Lea Designs

Maria Clark

Sweet Willow Designs

Lori Beekman

https://baccessorized.wordpress.com/ (B Accessorized)

Jennifer Kroeger

Relic Charm

Amy Jorgensen

Hoarder’s Corner

Robin Reed

Artistry: Handcrafted Bead Designs

Ingrid Anderson

Lilis Gems

Louise O’Shields

Desire Divine Jewels

Susan Killam

Killam Creative

Mary Katherine Deis

The Rose Sword: Artisan and Vintage Collectible Jewelry

Nike Bottalico

Nike Bottalico

Susan Bowerman

Woodside Wireworks

Kristy Le

Kristy Le Trendy Jewelry Designs

Jan Peters

Stylized Vintage

Mitzie Crider

Needful Luxuries Occasional Blog

Gina Hockett

Freestyle Elements

Linda Anderson

From the Bead Board

Alexandra Sefton

Imaginary Jewelry and Altered Art

Melida Boman

The Journey of Pens and Things

Teresa Shurter

TreeZ’s Treasurs

Melissa Latimer

Smithed Up

Renee Hong

Fine and Dandy Jewelry and Art

Nadine Edris

Moondance Jewelry

Lori Meyer

https://parisiennegirldesign.wordpress.com/2015/02/20/build-a-line-challenge-from-bsue-boutiques-lori-meyer-from-parisienne-girl-part-two/

Jennifer Merrill Williams

Artists of All Stripes

Denise Lussier Poirier

Jewelry by Denise

Renee Allen

Small Stuff Design

Autumn Adams

Autumn Dawns

Elizabeth Owens

1996 Shabby Lane

Kat BarronMiller

Midnight Kat Productions Art Jewelry

Sandra Ballard

Mama San’s Mojo

Coral Law

ab:coraldesign


Andrew Thornton Challenge Blog Hop – Carole Carlson of Beadsophisticate

February 19, 2015

Today is the reveal for Andrew Thornton’s Marsala Valentine challenge.  Andrew picks the theme and puts together a fantabulous kit.  There are only 20 each time, and he keeps one for himself, so you have to be on the ball to snag one.  This month the theme was Pantone’s color of the year, marsala.

Here’s what we got in the kit:

kit contents

I didn’t use any of the luxury bead blend this month, but I’m still showing the close up, so you can see what the options were.

bead mixNote the large marsala and white bead near the lower

left of the first picture. That screamed focal bead to me, so I wanted to use it.  It has a large hole, so I thought it would be a perfect opportunity to use the waxed linen thread, which I’ve always wanted to try.  But wait! There wasn’t any included in this kit!

Dang it!  Month after month, there it is, and now that I have an idea for it, no linen thread.  After sulking for a few minutes, inspiration struck.  I ran to my past challenge boxes, and sure enough, I found some in a color I could use.

Next, I settled down to knot some beads.  Let me tell you when the last time I knotted pearls was.  About 20 years ago, that’s when.  I was hoping muscle memory would kick in, but alas, no such luck. Internet to the rescue! I picked the first video I found.  The lady went way too fast for a beginner, but between my wayward memory and the video, I managed  to make the handful of knots I needed.  I also got to use the ribbon included in the kit, another first for me.

knotted necklace with ribbon

knotted necklace with ribbon

The mystery component was not one, but two of Andrew’s ceramic pendants.  I whipped up a pair of earrings with them.  Here’s a closer shot of the earrings.marsala valentine piece close

I’m working on improving my photography.  If you don’t mind, please tell me which of the two jewelry shots you prefer.  Thanks!

Please visit the other challenge participants at their blogs here:

Carole Carlson (that’s me)
On Andrew Thornton’s Blog:

Jewelry Artisans Community Blog Hop – Carole Carlson of Beadsophisticate

January 27, 2015

Each month some of the members of the Jewelry Artisans Community blog on the same topic.  This month we’re talking about creative block. You know what that is.  Whatever your art form, you just can’t get started.  Writers and art journalers call it blank page syndrome.  We all experience it from time to time.

So, how to deal with it.  I have a few different techniques I try.  The first thing I do is clean my studio.  That usually generates some ideas as I find things I forgot I had.  If not, at least I now have a tidy space to work with.

Whenever I buy several beads that I think will work together, I put them in a Ziploc bag and put them in a box.  Then when I want to make something but don’t have a particular idea, I’ll go to the box and see if there is anything I want to work with.

turquoises and blues

turquoises and blues

If that fails, I’ll pull out my sketchbook and flip through it to see if anything strikes a spark.  Sometimes I’ll choose a particular technique to try out.  Of course, there’s always perusing books or magazines from my collection.

If I really just can’t think of anything, I will put my beads away and pull out my art supplies and work in my journal.  Sometimes the best thing is to just give your brain a change of pace. See what other members of the forum do here:

http://www.catswire.blogspot.de/2015/01/creative-block.html

http://jewelryartbydawn.blogspot.com/2015/01/coping-with-creative-block-january-blog.html


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