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.

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leaf-bead-bracelet

 A week or so ago I wrote about some glass leaf beads I was experimenting with.   At the time, I wasn’t sure what I would make, only that I wanted to stack or layer them in some way.  Well, I ended up making this bead encrusted cuff bracelet and I love it.

I layered the leaf beads in a staggered, overlapping pattern that causes them to almost look more like feathers than leaves.  I then added a strip of randomly placed purple/blue/teal matte beads in contrast to the more precise alignment of the leaf beads.

The bracelet feels good to touch and hold because of the weight of the beads.  It also has a sculptural feel to it and is definitely different from any I have done before.  I’m glad I experimented and let myself have some playtime with this.  It allows me to see the bracelet form as a canvas in a different manner than I did before.

leafbeadsI bought these glass leaf beads a while ago and just love them.  I was able to get them in a few different colors and they just feel wonderful because of their rounded edges and matte finish.  I’ve used them in the past in some simple strung designs that I felt came out very pretty.  However, in the back of my mind, I knew I wanted to try them stacked or layered in some fashion.

I took a bit of stiffened felt, my beading needles and thread, and just set out to play.  Here you can see some of my experimentation.  I’m not sure where I will end up with this.  Right now, I’m just enjoying the journey.

copper-leaves2For quite some time now, I have been fascinated by the  leaf motif.  When I am on the phone and doodle absentmindedly, I usually doodle leaves or scrolls.

My doodles have turned to thoughts of jewelry made of metal leaves.  It is important to me that the leaves have some veining and dimension.  These are my practice leaves I’ve used to determine the best way to texture and shape them so they are not just lifeless and flat.

When I am working out a piece or technique, I work in copper.  It is so much less expensive than silver, giving me the freedom to make mistakes – so necessary while learning.  Once I have the technical aspects worked out, I then transition to silver and make finished jewelry.  It will be interesting to see where my original doodles take me.

glorious-yellowAll of a sudden this past week, the leaves changed.  Almost overnight it seemed.  However, it was overcast and rainy most of the week and I couldn’t wait for a sunny day to just enjoy the colors.

Today was that day and this is the view as I stand in my back yard and look up.

Just glorious!

Originally uploaded by TheBeadDreamer

 

Nature gives us such a dazzling display this time of year; it’s easy to find sources of inspiration. These earrings were made using a traditional Russian beadweaving technique interpreted into an autumn tone color palate.

It’s interesting that spending most of the past few months learning to do metalwork has brought beadweaving back into my life. It has been a few years since I focused on bead weaving.  It feels good to have them both in my life and I am getting little seedlings of ideas of how to marry the two together. We will see…