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.

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.

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.

I had never worked with Cubic Zirconia Beads or components prior to making this piece.  I knew CZ was a less expensive alternative to diamonds and was often seen in settings similar to those you would find for diamonds and precious stones but did not really consider them as something I would use in my jewelry.  So when Artbeads.com asked if I would try designing something with them, I was excited by the challenge.  I quickly realized that CZ beads come in a number of shapes and colors and as soon as I saw these long teardrops, I knew this was what I wanted to use.

They are absolutely gorgeous, sparkly with rich colors and facets that play with the light.  I laid them on a blank piece of paper, took my pencil in hand and started sketching.  I came up with the idea to create squiggles out of wire to separate the CZ teardrops.  After considering silver and copper, I decided on brass and I knew I wanted to darken it to accentuate the golden and red tones of the CZ’s.  I also added crystals in warm colors with the exception of the tiny olive crystals that cool down the heat of so many warm, fiery colors.  Black spacer beads and two lengths of handmade brass chain complete the design.

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Red Jasper Necklace with Picture Frame Part

The inspiration for this necklace came from two things – one was the red jasper cab set in silver at the top of the pendant.  The other is the blue and rust strip that sits at the bottom of the pendant.  It is a piece of painted wood that had an earlier life as a picture frame.  It had broken but I liked the colors and put it in a box to do something with – I wasn’t sure what.  I’m not a pack rat, but as a creative type, I tuck things away here and there that seem interesting.

When I started building the pendant for this necklace, I realized I wanted more dimension that just the copper strip provided.  I started digging in my box of stuff, saw the picture frame, and knew it was the right color.  Problem was, I have no experience working with wood.  Compared to my jeweler’s saw, wood saws look giant and I don’t understand the purpose of the different types of wood saws.  So, I used what I know and tried my jeweler’s saw on the picture frame and it got the job done.  I started by cutting a test strip off the frame.  I tried drilling it to see if the wood wanted to split.  The wood drilled beautifully, so I thought – this is workable.

I then cut the actual piece used here in the pendant.  The copper strip is soldered onto the silver base.  The wood piece is riveted to the metal.  I love the pendant and enjoyed working on it, bringing multiple layers together.  It only wanted a simple necklace in a harmonious soft olive green tone with the tiniest dash of blue crystals.  I obliged.

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warm carmel browns with pale, icy blues.

Agate Slice with Blue Lace

This is a departure from earlier this year when the color green had a huge gravitational pull on me.  So bad that everything I wanted to work on was green and I almost had to put myself on restriction from using green!  The green period has passed (at least for now) and I am loving the brown-blue combination.  But it has to be really icy blues.

The agate slice used as the focal point in this necklace has both tones in it.  Rather than attach the agate slice directly to the necklace, I dropped it down with crystal and shell beads giving it significance and removing any competition between it and the pieces of rough cut blue lace agate.  The bit of roughness at the edge of the agate slice also ties in with the rough pieces of blue lace.  I am just loving these tones right now and just enjoyed making such an interesting necklace.

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