Monday, March 24, 2014

Which of These Things is not Like the Other Ones?

Hello all!  I'm hoping that winter is waning for all of you and that Spring is right around the corner.  What a brutal winter!  Record breaking from one end of this country to the other!  Hoping that you guys haven't been affected too much.  Well, other than the 792 feet of snow that some of you have received.  If you're as ready for Spring as I am, this will whet your appetite.

For the first time, I've joined the Bead Soup Blog Party.  I must first of all, say a big THANK YOU, LORI  and second, Lori Anderson is a genius!  For those of you who may not know, the idea is to be paired with another participant, exchange a collection of beads (the bead soup) with your partner that will challenge each other to use materials out of their norm, then make something fabulous with the bead soup.  I think Lori hit the nail on the head with my partner.  I've been paired with Laney Mead, a fantastic lampwork artist from the UK, where all addresses sound like fine poetry, and flowers are so prolific they burst forth from the end of a torch!  Would you like to see the soup she sent me?  Get ready for a fresh and delightful blast of Springtime....

Look at all of that color!
She sent me a wonderful collection of COLOR!!
Delicious textures, shapes and a wide variety of materials.
You might be familiar with her scrumptious berry beads

I have long admired them and now I have some of my very own to play with!
Yes, that's a cross-eyed bee!  How cute is that?!
Along with this...

A happy little mushroom man.
My long time blog readers are well aware that I have a few lampwork fails under my belt
and that I greatly respect the skill it takes to work with hot drippy glass and a mandrel.  
I don't understand how she got this much perfect detail in such a tiny little spot.
Impressed with that?  Me too!  But there's more..look at this..

Chicken nostrils and critter whiskers!!


Yes, indeed, that is in fact a pink chicken bum!


Yes, these are definitely not like the other things I usually use.
Which is, of course, the whole idea of the Bead Soup.

per the rules, you are obligated to use only the focal and clasp.
Laney sent these beauties...

A "Yellow Rose of Texas" focal
and a beautiful lampwork ring clasp.
She thoughtfully included a metal clasp so that I would have a choice.
I've been known to use two clasps in a neckpiece before!

Needless to say, I will be challenged to do these justice.

If you would like to see more of Laney's work, and I think you will,
visit her Etsy store, Izzybeads
and if you would like to see what  inspires her creations,
you'll enjoy her hilarious and charming blog
I promise you'll be introduced to a few four-legged characters
 every bit as adorable as these she's created.

I'm excited to work with this generous and beautiful collection from across the pond.

No doubt you're wondering what I sent to someone who obviously loves to work with
bright happy colors.
ummm, yeah.
You know me.
I sent a sepia-tone collection.


Not a single color in the whole batch of soup...

but wait,
I also included a seasoning packet....


so this is what her soup ingredients look like...

Looks surprisingly like the colors er I mean non-colors, I most favor, doesn't it?
Hey, red is a color!
I see some aqua in there too and.....yellow?
Why yes, citrine yellow!
And mooakite plum and there's a bit of green and...
ok.  fine.  That's all of the color.

Here's her focal and clasp

A fossil ammonite focal 
and a soldered wreath/stick pearl and eyeball toggle clasp.
Because everybody wants an eyeball toggle clasp!!
Don't they?

To redeem myself, when I found out her favorite color is purple, 
I also threw a few things in her box that she might actually like to work with.
I'm very excited to see what wonders she'll work with this.

 Now do you see what I mean?  
I think Lori's choice of pairing us together was brilliant!
Our soups couldn't be more different if we intentionally  tried to make them that way.
This will be fun.
There are so many other things to share with you as well.
The Spring 2014 issue of Belle Armoire Jewelry is out

Beautiful cover photo!

And as Mr. wonderful said when I showed him the table of contents..."The gangs all here"

Some of my fav Etsy buds...
in order of appearance..

~Melinda Barnet with an article about transforming "Charming Tiny Tins" into yes, very charming wearable art, incorporating metals, polymer clay, ephemera and found objects;
 ~Kimberly Rogers who not only tells us how, but shows, step by step, how to torch fire enamel, gild bottle caps and make a lampwork bead.  Then she shows how to wonderfully put it all together!
~Marcia Dunne, whom I did not know is trained in landscape architecture, shares an article featuring how to fashion unusual materials into a striking necklace and earrings titled"The Joy in Juxtaposition".  
It is truly a joy to read.
These and so many other talented artists make this an exceptional issue.
 Here's my contribution...
one of my most favorite techniques ...

 Why, yes, it does involve lots of hammering!

Which is why it's a favorite technique!  You know how I love to hammer

Thank you, Cynthia and staff! 
You've done it again!
Thank you for doing such a beautiful job with my article.
I'm always honored to be included with so many incredibly talented people.

And now onto the recent jewelry making...
I've been having some fun!

Remember the rattlesnake Paula shared with me awhile back?
The only thing she wanted when I got it back from the taxidermist was the rattle.
So I figured I'd make something out of it for her as a thank you for giving me the skin.

Here's what I did......

I originally intended it to be a keychain but as it turns out, the rattle is too delicate for that.
No, I didn't smash it up like that.  That's how it was returned to me.
I thought maybe it had been handled a little bit rough.
Nope, just delicate.
So she's got a rather unusual doodad to collect dust.
 I made these for her too..
more to dust?

Rattlesnake vertebrae and roller printed aluminum.
Keeping with the rattler theme.

I've also been collaborating with Frank Bergevin on a fascinating project.
Frank is an Anthropologist and an antiquities and tribal arts dealer.
He has a very cool Etsy shop called AncientEvenings  filled with incredible treasures.
When you go visit him, please be thoughtful and leave some treasures for the rest of us.
Oh wait...nevermind!  He's constantly adding new stuff.
There'll be enough for all of us!
You know that anything ancient is right up my alley 
so when Frank asked if I thought I could recreate something similar to this..

An authentic Viking Yoke.
I jumped at the chance!
Using just the materials I had on hand , I came up with these two prototypes..

The chain isn't right, not heavy enough but I think other than that, it captures the style.
Here's a few more views...
Designs inspired by those on the authentic pieces.

Copper prototype

Brass prototype

The "inspired by pieces" will be made from bronze as the originals were.
Of course, these prototypes look like the excavated artifact type of Viking relics 
whereas some will be made with un-patinated metal, 
made to look as they did before spending countless years in the ground.
I'm really excited about this project.
I'll keep you posted!
Thoughts, comments and critiques are most welcome.
Unless of course you think I should take them out and run them over with my car. 
 Please keep those thoughts to yourself.
Now if you can bear with me a bit longer.
Another too many pictures to count post.... 
here's some of my usual fare...
Vibrant recycled tin in shades of red, pink and orange with red and black lampwork headpins, carved coral roses (Thank you, Tracy!) and verdigris patinated metal . I've added subtle texture to the tin and oxidized it for a dramatic effect.  Ruby colored stone beads, black ceramic discs and gorgeous hand dyed silk ribbon provide the final flourishes .

This romantic assemblage bracelet features a mother of pearl button, brass filigree, vintage beaded chain, and a vintage focal with turquoise colored stones and white pearls on a leafy brass base. I've added turquoise accents to the brass filigree and preserved them with metal sealant. The carved mother of pearl button harmonizes with the white pearls and the white metal toggle. Light and airy, with a sense of time gone by.

These eco friendly, recycled tin earrings remind me of the romantic colors and flourishes of old Venice. Beautiful carved coral flowers (Tracy, I adore these! Thanks much.) combine with striking raku turquoise lampwork headpins by NuminosityBeads. Accented with Czech glass beads and heart stampings

The Bluebird of Happiness is Back!
This assemblage bracelet features a beautiful, highly detailed ceramic bluebird button 
by Double Dog Studio as the focal piece.
 I've wrapped a vintage velvet button in filigree for my interpretation of an antique perfume button. 
You can add a drop or two of your favorite perfume or essential oil to the velvet 
and wear your signature scent as refined ladies of days gone by have done.
Adorned with a delightful wire birds nest, filled with white pearl eggs, a Czech glass leaf, tiny turquoise blossoms and wire wrapped stone beads of Lapis Lazuli and Sodalite. The handformed hammered brass band has been embellished with wee beads of lapis Lazuli. I've oxidized the metal for a woodsy feel and preserved the patina with micro wax. The bracelet closes with a vintage mother of pearl clasp.

These eco friendly earrings combine etched metal tribal shields with vibrant recycled tin in shades of red, pink and orange. To compliment the etched design in the copper shields, 
I've added subtle texture to the tin and oxidized it for a tribal effect. 
Glass beads in shades of deep purple and black provide additional visual texture.

This beautiful fossil ammonite reminds me of the wonders of the ancient earth, while the vintage Kuchi piece makes me ponder the people who walked upon it before us. What their hopes may have been. What did they dream about? Their joys and sorrows. Combining these two pieces with the hammered metal band resulted in this handmade, assemblage bracelet titled "The Ancient Dream Wearer". 
The patina on the kuchi metal is how it arrived to me.
 I applied an interesting bluish-green patina to the copper band with a buried sawdust method.
 Metal sealant preserves this patina. 
 The metal bells create a delicate tinkling sound when worn.

These striking hoops have a modern edgy vibe with a bit of a romantic flair. Ceramic beaters (by Scorched Earth on Etsy) hang simply below filigree double sided hoops. I have oxidized then lightly brushed the filigree to highlight the design in the embossed metal. The smooth texture of the ceramics perfectly compliments the more ornate design in the filigree.

Who can resist the romantic tales from long ago of the dashing, gallant Knight, hoping to capture the hand of the fair maiden as he heroically rides in the jousting competition? I love the pageantry of the matches and the artistry of the suits of armor and the banners bearing the coat of arms of the participants. These earrings are my homage to that splendid time.
These up-cycled, eco friendly tin earrings featuring a magnificent castle with an armor clad Dark and Valiant Knight, a fleur de lis charm, a tiny helmeted knight, a wee metal rose and a coat of arms are combined in these rustically romantic assemblage earrings. I have added texture to the tin with dimpling pliers . The entire earrings have been oxidized for an aged effect.

I had a request for a clamshell amber-colored eye for display.
Similar to my clamshell eye necklaces but larger.

These handmade, ooak earrings feature complimentary textures of natures leaves and industrial hardware.
I've roller textured copper then patinated it with a beautiful deep green verdigris patina.
Paired with gorgeous ceramic leaf drops made by Petra of Scorched Earth on Etsy.

These unique, mixed metal handmade earrings combine bronze glazed ceramic drops by Petra of Scorched Earth with multi wire brass hoops. Textured brass sheets peek out from behind the hoops, adding an air of ancient mystery.

These elegant whirlwind earrings combine gorgeous platinum glazed ceramics by Petra of Scorched Earth with multi wire brass hoops. I've oxidized the hoops and preserved the patina with micro wax. Modern and sexy with a rustic elegance.

These Walk in the Woodlands mixed metal, assemblage earrings have a rich combination of green hues, reminiscent of the subtle coloring of the lush forest floor. I've combined beautiful green ceramic droplets by the talented Petra of ScorchedEarthonEtsy., with copper discs that I've hammer textured then given a verdigris patina. The discs are adorned with brass stampings that I've applied a sawdust patina to. This assemblage connects to multi wire hoops that have been oxidized for a rustic effect.

These asymmetrical earrings combine the hot flash of Mexican fire agates with the fascinating earthy colors of the many-named Red Creek jasper. Whether you call it Picasso, Picassa, Cherry Creek or by any other name, these beautiful jaspers are irresistible. They remind me of viewing the earth from an airplane window. Always a captivating treat!

These are clear, fiery agates in a warm, almost neutral matrix. I've paired two fire agates with the shorter piece of jasper and a larger, single fire agate with the longer jasper for a balanced asymmetrical effect.

Fragments of ancient Roman glass has been excavated and made available for artisans to use
 in their own interpretation of ancient style jewelry.
The beautiful aqua glass has been paired with striking faceted labradorite stones, rare black sapphires, small frosted light aqua glass beads and sparkling white druzy in these modern artifacts. The labradorite stones have flashes of blue-green chatoyancy that catch the light as the earrings dance on your ears. These gorgeous natural stones compliment the lovely patina that is uniquely found in excavated Roman Glass.

a romantic boho vibe.
I've paired gorgeous ceramic flower drops made by Petra of Scorched Earth on Etsy with roller printed aluminum shield shapes. I added extra texture to the shields with dimpling pliers. The subtle turquoise and red hues in the ceramics add a lush richness to these earrings. Embellished with a snippet of hand dyed silk ribbon, these eye catching earrings will be your go-to earrings.

These elegant ooak earrings feature exceptional large, white, keishi pearls with dramatic, precious raw ruby nuggets. I've added wee faceted rubies and small sterling discs for an additional pop of color floating amidst the pearl's luster. These lightweight earrings are approximately 1" wide and 2" long. 
 They hang from handformed sterling earwires. 
 I've affixed a bit of vintage French text to the back of each pearl for an added bit of romance.
These are one of my all time favorite pairs of earrings. I'll be making myself a pair.

I've paired gorgeous faceted natural aquamarine gemstones with stacked keishi pearls and sterling in these unique, ooak, elegant earrings. These are my version of the earrings a Modern Marie Antoinette might wear. The aquamarines have a subtle light blue color. They are stunning. The fancy keishi pearls have a rich luster. These are elegant and dressy without being the least bit "fussy". I've oxidized the sterling to add an aged effect to these lovely earrings.

I also added some supplies to the AnvilsAttic shop...
some of my raw brass pieces, some new beads....
I went to a local bead show a few weeks ago and picked up some of these goodies.
There's another show this weekend.
I'll keep my eyes peeled for anything unusual. 

intriguing irregular shaped, silver colored druzy beads

These filigree stampings are made in the USA with vintage dies. They are very good quality, sturdy metal pieces. They are lead and nickel free, solid raw brass. These pieces are gently dapped, not flat.

These beautiful, rough, stone nugget, fluorite beads are striking in their translucent shades of light aqua.

These jasper nugget beads are a rich combination of striped reds, blue-greens, golden shades of tan, brown and cream. Each stone is a unique, ooak masterpiece of nature.

raw brass dagger -spear -drop pieces.

There's more already listed and I've got alot more to list...
 more brass stampings, 
large African glass beads from Ghana,
tourmalinated quartz, dragon's blood jasper, lapis lazuli,
 ruby in zoisite with a cream colored matrix, turitella, opalized ammonites, some
 really interesting green agate slices for earrings
 and beautiful chrysophrase slabs for earrings and pendants.
But I'm too tired from blogging to sit in front of this computer for one more minute
so it won't be happening tonight!
Maybe if I didn't make you guys look at a gazillion pictures it wouldn't be so tiring, eh?
Like that's gonna happen!
Hoping you all enjoy a great couple of weeks until next time!
Here's a little bit of spring for you to savor...

Zai jian
(goodbye in Mandarin)


  1. Janet, I LOVE the "inspired by" pieces, and even just the idea of it. What a fun project!!!!
    Of course your other pieces are lookin' not too shabby themselves. (That The Ancient Dream Wearer bracelet does it
    for me just fine. Just wish I could wear jewelry for more than 15 seconds.)
    I applaud your success using the rattler's rattle. I've tried a couple of times and ended up with crushed rattle stuff.
    Nice to have another installment--
    Janet (the Other one, of course)

  2. Oh my goodness!! What a huge amount of the most AMAZING photos I have seen in ages. I have to go back and re read the words as I started skipping forward to the photos, your work is totally FABULOUS! You are so unique and inspired!! WOW!! I love that rattle snake rattle pendant, I love snakes, sadly no one else in our house does! I can see now why the infusion of colour is going to be a challenge to you, your palette is so many soft shades of sepia and vintage beauty, whereas I tend to be in the bright and wacky camp! We are going to have so much fun doing this challenge. Its been an absolute pleasure to meet you. I am now off to re fill my tea cup and have another look at the treasures you create...working with an anthropologist...jealous!!

  3. Congrats on another beautiful article. They struck gold when they found you !!
    Love the Viking pieces. Definitely envious of those xo. You'll have them perfect with your mastery of patinas. Awesome !!

  4. Janet some really outstanding work ....

  5. The collaboration looks like a wonderful project - love what you've got so far....and of course you have a ton of great, new earrings! And once again, congrats on the magazine article!

  6. Goooood grief!! Janet does it again!! Another Mega blog post, just bursting with gorgeousness. Thank you sooo much as always, for making my tiddlers look sooo HOT!!! I love those dark green ones - perfect match with the Emerald Falls glaze.
    Wow, your collaboration pieces are incredible - can't wait to see what your two visions will come up with next!! Your metal mastery never fails to make me gasp!! Oh, oh, and another glorious eye piece - LOVE the eyelid!
    Big whoop to you, Melinda, Kimmoo and Marcia on your BA articles - beautifully presented - it must be a big thrill, every time.
    Lovely, lovely - I feel rather giddy now .........
    xoxo :O)

  7. Congrats for the Belle Armoire article! and as usual your post is a feast for the eyes! I love the dark green ones and this Viking project sounds awesome, like what you've done already so exciting!

  8. First of all it's such an honor to be rubbing up against your metal urchins in Be;;e Armoire Jewelry. Thanks for your vote of confidence in which encouraged me to submit in the first place and for your guidance in rounding out my artist's statement.
    I see you found some of those sparkly druzy crusticles. Aren't they fun!
    You've got some crazy beautiful pieces once again and win the award for punching it out with bravest color combinations as only you can do. And you are just as skilled with making the neutrals revel in anvilosity. Coming here and seeing this post makes me realize how much I miss consorting with you as of late. We'll just have to take care of that and I can pester you with convos and such. and you make me miss blogging, I'm not sure what happened . I guess I got too busy for my own good lately.
    Congratulations and it's always a pleasure to find your blog!

  9. Hi AA - you are at it again - ten posts in the one post - so much for my poor eyes to take in. But first congrats on the publication - great to see the beaten metal and patina. You are going to have fun with ethe bead soup. Go well and enjoy. B

  10. Thank you ALL for your wonderful comments. I so enjoy them. Your thoughtful words are always a delightful day brightener! THANK YOU!

  11. How did I miss this megapost? So much inspiration! My very favorite has to be that rattle pendant. I actually got here from a pin of it on Pinterest! It's so freaking awesome!


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