Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Light and Swingy Lariats

I've recently started exploring lariats.  They can come in a variety of styles, sizes, weights, designs - imagination is the limit.  In my post on April 18th, I showed a lariat with multiple neck strands and a large central piece for the ends of the strands. Since then, with summer coming, I've been experimenting with lighter and more easy stylings.


This gold and black lariat uses ultra microfiber suede strips. The strips are strong yet supple, very lightweight, and are soft against the neck and skin.  The adjustment loop has a sliding goldtone metal bead.  The same bead is also used at the end of the strips to hide the joining work where the polymer bell flowers are attached to the suede strips.  I plan to make more using the microfiber strips.

 The coral lariat is a different design.  I used 2 strands of the suede strips side-by-side.  They lie flat behind the centerpiece with the flowers.  This section lies right against the neck in front.  Then the strips go around the neck, cross in back, and come to the front again. At this point, the dangling sections can be left straight or flipped loosely over each other.  Styling options!
I think that both of these styles would look great with summer T's or tops. Of course, when it's colder, they would also work with a turtleneck.
Versatility is a real plus with jewelry!

Wednesday, May 10, 2017

Skinner Blend Lei

As you may  have noticed, I really like the ruffled lei necklaces I've been making for the past few months.  It occurred to me that it would be fun to make a set of ruffled lei beads that incorporated the concept of a Skinner blend.  With spring colors just starting, and summer coming, I decided to try a blend that would move from the bright corals and yellows of spring into the more cool greens of summer.  The core of the ruffles is made with translucent clay, embossing powders, and a gentle tinge of color, while the edges are solid clay colors following the Skinner blend I chose. The ruffles on this necklace are separated by honey gold Swarovski pearls.  Their glow just seems to reflect the glow from the translucent clay.  I made this necklace longer than usual since I think it will be a perfect piece to wear with a variety of clothing styles.

Wednesday, May 3, 2017

New Half-hollow Bead Necklace

I was playing around with an Ikat cane I'd made, and started making hollowed circles.  I used a sheet of the Ikat cane, laid it across the edges of a circle shape cutter, and gently smoothed the clay so it stretched down into the cutter.  Then I pressed the cutter onto a flat sheet of clay, making sure there was a firm connection between the domed section and the flat backing.  The pieces baked well, retaining the domed shape. I used a ribbon of clay and some Genesis Thick Medium to bond the various dome shapes together, and created this necklace.  I like the look and feel of the domes, and plan to be making more shapes and pieces in the near future.

Thursday, April 27, 2017

Tube-Style Necklaces

I love the warmth and glow that translucent clay imparts to a piece.  Recently, I made a couple of blended "cell" canes that have a lot of translucent in them.  I call them cell canes because they remind me of a group of cells clustered together, or perhaps a bit like the inside of a bee hive.  Each "cell" is a bull's eye blend fading to translucent, with a white polymer wrap around it.  Of course, once you've made a cane, the next challenge is to use it.  I decided to make hollow tube beads, keeping the irregular edges as part of the shape.  I made a set which I combined into a necklace. I had done a similar necklace with this type of cane a few months ago in a different color combination.  I really like the way the navy pearls and light blue crystals complement the tube beads.

Just for fun, I decided to try something a bit different.  I made just one larger tube, and figured out a way to hang some chains with pearls from the inside of the tube.  The results are shown here.  I really like the way these turned out.  I particularly like the look of something hanging from inside the tube, and will have to give this idea more time soon.



Saturday, April 22, 2017

Sweet Floral Dangles

Here are some new earrings I've been making - sweet flowers and hollow buds.  I must admit that these were an off-shoot from the Moroccan beads I was working on a while ago.  The idea to go small and add some three dimensional dangles for fun just sort of evolved.  And here they are!

I have them hanging from a wire "earring tree" that I spray-painted white.  It was a black and brass color, and just didn't shout "spring" and flowers.  I'm happy with the white.  It's surprising sometimes what just a simple change of color can do.  The tree and earrings are to the right.

Here are a couple more close-up photos of some of the earring pairs.  I made a couple pairs for myself. They're fun to wear, and they've been drawing attention.

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

A New Lariat Necklace for Spring

I should really make more lariats.  They are such statement pieces and really stand out.  Though they take longer than some other pieces, I do enjoy making them. Besides, they are fun to wear!

This particular lariat has 3-D petal designs on the focal piece and smooth, rounded pods at the ends of the strands.  I used ultra-suede strips for the necklace straps. They are strong, yet feel good on the neck. One of the beauties of this necklace form is that it is very adjustable, and one size really does fit most.

Thursday, April 13, 2017

Lei Necklaces for Spring and Summer

I really enjoy making these "lei" type necklaces, and I think they're fun to wear, too.  These pieces have some nice natural components.  The pale yellow core on the aqua ruffle beads provides a really lovely contrast, and makes the necklace "glow" from within.  I found some lovely turquoise stone beads with yellow markings, and they match the polymer beads perfectly.

For the burgundy and white petal bead lei I used freshwater pearls and garnets for contrast.


The orange and yellow polymer focal piece below went perfectly with some coral chips I had.  I like the way the unevenness of the coral chips compliments the swirled shapes and colors in the polymer.  Mixing natural stones and pearls with polymer adds another dimension to these pieces.

Sunday, April 9, 2017

Earrings on a Moroccan Theme

Continuing on the Moroccan theme, I decided to use the cutters and the leather imprint stamps to make some fun and colorful earrings.  In a couple of the pairs, I added a silver daisy bead, while others I left open with a tiny Kemper star-shaped cutter.
These go well with the hollow Moroccan pendants, and can certainly be worn on their own. It was fun to cut these cheerful shapes while I experimented with colors.

Monday, April 3, 2017

Moroccan Bead Necklaces

In early March, I posted some photos I took of some Moroccan themed beads I made in a CFCF 2017 workshop taught by Lisa Haney.  For more information about the class and Lisa's great ideas, take a look at the March 8th post. Today, I'm just going to share some pendants that I made using the hollow beads.  As you can see from the photos, I went a bit wild and made several of these beads in various sizes, colors, and finishes.

To the left is one of my favorite pieces. I used mica powders to add some sparkle and shine to the clay.  I found a wonderful metal bead with a verdigris finish that compliments the piece perfectly, then hung everything from a chain.

To the right is a cluster of other focal pendants hanging from chains, each with their own dangling bead.   These were fun to make and will be fun to wear!

The photo at the bottom shows a few more necklaces made with hand-dyed silk ribbons instead of hanging from chain.  The ribbon is pretty, allows these pieces to be adjustable, and creates a softer, more rustic look.  These necklaces are all going to the Westerly Art Gallery where I'm a featured artist for April.   Drop by if you're in the neighborhood!

Friday, March 31, 2017

More Plaid Pieces

I really like making these sheets of plaid to use as veneers.  Here are a few earring and bracelet combos I've just finished.  The bracelets are from my new adjustable knotted line.  The earrings are new with a cutout section that gives the piece some dimension as it is pulled to meet in the middle. I'll be putting these pieces in a show I'm doing at the Westerly gallery for April.
I tried something new with this periwinkle and pistachio colored bracelet.  The surface wanted some spring-time decoration, hence the little flowers.
The colors in these next two sets remind me of the Madras shirts that were so popular many years ago.  One of the things that is fun about a plaid is colors you might not normally put together have a way of complimenting each other and creating an interesting visual harmony.

Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Little "Floating Flower" Earrings

Sometimes, when I'm finished working on a project, I'll pick up some of the left-over pieces, and start fiddling around with them.  I was playing with a "scrap" from a wedge cane, making a little drop shape, and it looked like a bud or flower center.  Since I'd just been making the wine glass "ID rings", I had some of my smaller shape cutters out, too.  Well, one thing led to another, and these little lotus flowers took shape.  They remind me of the water lilies that floated on the backwaters in the delta area near where I went to college.  They looked like this with wider petals open and the center still folded tight.  I may play again with more petal layers, but I like the simplicity of these for now.
I guess the saying is true, in polymer, there are no scraps!

Friday, March 24, 2017

New Polymer Beaded Necklace Design

I enjoy making canes, particularly the wedge canes that work so well in flowers and similar designs. Of course, once I have a cane made, I have to play around with a slice or two to see what shapes might appear.  That's pretty much how these 2 necklaces evolved.  I had made new canes and was folding and bending slices in different ways, then combining them, when the design on the cane slices led to the curved shape you can see in these 2 pieces.  I had to make a lot of individual beads before I could construct the necklaces.  It was fun to watch them lined up on folded card stock for baking.

The necklaces, while very similar, are strung slightly differently.  The pattern on the piece with the pistachio green and deep periwinkle beads just flows all the way around the necklace, each piece separated from the next by light green fire-polish crystals and deep periwinkle glass pearls.  I really like the way the deep purplish lines radiate into the cream section on each bead, and lend a feeling of motion and continuity to the piece.

The purple and fuchsia polymer beaded necklace has the beads facing in opposite directions along each side, meeting in the middle in front. The lines from the wedge cane in this example fill the whole space of the bead and look almost velvety.  Glass pearls in mid-cream and deep purple pull the piece together.

I have found that good magnetic closures are working well and make it easy for anyone to be able to wear these pieces.