creativity


A while back, I wrote about these gorgeous CZ drops and a necklace I made using four of them.  Well, I started out with six CZ teardrops and had two left – one red and the other amber.  I didn’t want to use them together again since I had already done that.  I also thought one of them might look a little sad alone, so I looked for a companion and found this little black glass piece with a red splash.  He said he wanted to play so I said OK.

I love the pairing and I call the piece dash dot.  I realize that technically it’s maybe more of an exclamation point and dot, but at this point the dash dot name has stuck.

I used black beads with white spots and black glass for the main body of the necklace and for some reason, brown crystals seemed right for the front.  A few tiny shell squares and two silver crescent roll beads complete the design.

I love the simple sweetness of this bracelet.  There are three red white heart Venetian trail beads at the center.  “White heart” beads are ones where a color – red in this case – is layered over a white core (heart).  In the days when these beads were made, colored glass was harder to make and more expensive so this was a technique used to keep the beads more affordable.  I find the white heart also gives the beads a touch of luminosity.  I kept the design simple – jet crystal, black glass, aquamarine teardrops and darkened sterling silver chain.

Sometimes when I make very simple jewelry, I question whether I’ve done enough.  At times, I will ask my boyfriend what he thinks.  He always says the same thing – more notes don’t make a better song.  And he’s right – there can be just as much artistry in a simple, clean design as in one with a lot of complexity.

I’ve been of two minds here lately – on one hand I’ve been making larger, chunkier ethnic eclectic pieces and I am so in love with them.

On the other, I’m equally enamored with a series of pieces based on images from the forest floor – tiny leaves, pods, vines, moss, lichen.

This pair of earrings is from the latter.  I’m working in brass primarily, cutting tiny designs in it, and then adding a second layer of related designs by stamping the metal.  I then add additional interest by darkening the brass, sanding it, and then darkening it again.  The result is darker edges – a small touch, but one that I think matters.

When I first learned to saw metal and was breaking saw blades right and left, I could not have imagined making such tiny cuts.  It’s nice being better with the saw and being able to make some of what is in my imagination.  So far, I’ve done two necklaces and this pair of earrings in the series.  I’m calling it “Secrets from the Forest Floor”.  I’d like to explore it more over the coming months.

Two of my friends and I have embarked on a collaboration project and I am very excited about it.  First, because I’ve wanted to collaborate with other artists and have tried at times, but my attempts never fell on fertile soil until now.  Secondly, both friends are amazing artists – one paints and the other is a collage and mixed media artist – so I know I will not only enjoy the process but also learn and grow from what happens.  And end up with a beautiful creation they both lent their time and talents to.

So, here’s what we’ve come up with.  Each of us will create an item of our own choosing.  We will then hand it to the next person who will embellish it and add the artistic elements of their choosing.  The second person then hands the item to the third person for them to further enhance.  Each item then goes back to its original owner altered in some way by the hands of the other two artists.

Everyone created their item and we made the first hand-off.  We made the exchange at lunch and everyone was excited to see what they would get to work with and also had questions about  any constraints or limitations the originator felt strongly about.

The collage shown above is what I received.  I think it is beautiful and I can’t wait to work with it.  I have an idea and I’m trying not to think too much about what the next person will do with it.  I want to add elements that honor it and express my point of view and where I am artistically right now.

A surprise occurred when the second friend also brought something for me to work with – a button she had painted on, some handmade paper, and a bit of raffia.  I’ve got an idea for it too that I’m excited about.

And here is the item I made and handed off.  It’s a copper rectangle with a second piece of copper that has a flowered pattern on it.  I really can’t wait to see it at the second hand-off and to get it back after the third.  OK, I really want all three pieces to come back to me, my two friends have said – no way.

I’ll put up photos of the collaboration project as it moves through the two phases and just enjoy the process however it goes.  I’ve already learned something from it.  I realize that I tried to exert some level of control in what came back to me.  I’ve let that go and am open to whatever occurs.

I hope we do this again.  It feels good and true.

I love playing in  my button jar and finding ways to make jewelry using buttons.  Button jewelry can be colorful and fun, buttons can also be used to make jewelry more contemporary and sophisticated like these earrings.  I like the color palette – everything is in dark neutral and muted tones.  The adventure for me in making these earrings was to use the holes without using a lot of jump rings.  I could have done it that way but I think the visual emphasis would have shifted away from the buttons and towards the jump rings.

I used one jump ring in each earring – to attach it to the earwire at the top.  The other connections were made using head pins that start in the center of the smaller button at the bottom.  The head pin at the top bends up, through the back of the top button, back down and then around to complete the attachment.  The second head pin bends into a loop in the back used to attach the brass dangle below.  I’m going junk shopping today and hope I can snag a jar or box of more buttons.

Gray is a favorite color of mine.  I love it whether it’s soft gray sweaters, furry gray kittens, or beautiful gray beads.  Gray is a sophisticated neutral that makes a statement in a quiet way.  The idea for this necklace came when I saw the gray agate tubes sitting next to the gray fresh water pearls.  It was one of those happy accidents that occur from time to time.  I loved the light and dark gray pearls with the agate tubes and made all the dangle segments, not really sure at the time where I would head with the necklace.  All of the links were made with sterling silver wire that I darkened to a matte finish that I think shows the beads off better than shiny silver would.

When I went to bring the necklace together, I remembered I had these matte finish hematite beads and felt they were just perfect.  They brought another aspect of gray into the design and look wonderful with shiny dark gray pearls interspersed in short intervals.  Given that the necklace was made using a single color – shades of that color, shape, texture, and finish had to bring the visual interest and artistry that I seek to create in each piece of jewelry.

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This is a photo of my work table yesterday.  I was having one of those days when ideas were just flowing – multiple ideas for multiple pieces of jewelry, all in a rush and tumble, almost all at once.  Some are captured as sketches, others have enough beads pulled together to give me the main idea of the piece.  Do I have way too much going on?  Probably.  Should I reign it in and work on one piece at a time?  Yes.  And I will.

But when the ideas are flowing like this I let them flow, even if it means temporary chaos.  I do what I can to capture each idea and then begin to focus on the actual development of each piece, evaluating each idea for soundness as I go along.  I’m excited, I did get some soldering done yesterday.  I need to get on my jeweler’s bench and get some sawing, drilling, and filing done today.  I can’t wait to see the ideas become reality.

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