Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Art Bead Scene Blog: Monthly Challenge - Monet's Water Lilies

Do you love using photo inspired challenges in order to get the creative juices flowing? If the answer is yes, then Art Bead Scene's May challenge is for you. The inspiration photograph is Monet's Water Lilies. Criteria includes that an art bead be used in your piece. Click on the link below to see other requirements and the deadline. Good luck!

I love photo inspired challeges. I participated in a photo inspired jewelry challenge last year while on an online beader's group and loved it ... I ended up selecting three photographs and making three pieces of jewelry! I definitely took the challenge part to heart, because I selected photographs and color palette outside of what I typically use in my jewerly. I've included photographs from two of the pieces submitted during that challenge. My 'Orange Bird Wing' pendant (shown left) ended up placing second from a very worthy group of entries.
The focal for this piece was a calcite flat bead drilled for stringing ... but you know me, I made it into a cabochon! I had purchased some vintage blue and orange flower beads several years ago and knew they would be the ideal transition accents for this pendant. Blue is not a color that I typically use in my jewelry (I'm more of a green type of gal), but I love the way this turned out. Detail of the pendant is shown on right.

For some reason the photograph of the white bird with the colorfull bill really intrigued me (pictured left). I had purchased a white stone cabochon a while back and even though I usually like 'colors' in my stones, I liked the unusual markings and shape of the cabochon. When the photographs were posted for the challenge, I remembered the striations of solid banding on the stone and pulled it to compare to the photograph. The stone markings reminded me of bird feathers and I immediately knew it would be the perfect start for my white bird photograph inspiration piece.

Because I have a reaction to plated metal, I really like using glass beads as closures instead of metal toggles or clasps. And, the additional benefit is that the clasp will blend in (if you choose) or serve as the special finishing touch to your piece.

Friday, May 1, 2009

Custom Glass Beads to Match Focals ... Why Not?

Here you are, working with your latest favorite focal (for me, it's usually a cabochon), and you can't find the right glass beads to compliment and complete your piece. Sometimes Lady Luck is on your side and you can find what you need already made and ready to purchase, but other times it's not quite that easy.

In the case of my Lily Pad Jasper necklace (pictured right), I had purchased a set of multi-colored glass beads from Mother Beads and then they sat on my work table ... for months. Every once in a while I would pick them up and roll them around in my fingers, but then ultimately set them aside because I didn't want to waste them on something that I didn't consider to be the ideal project for them. Probably a year later, I added a gorgeous Lily Pad Jasper cabochon from Designer Cabochons to my cabochon collection. As I was going through my stash to gather up beads to start my necklace, I pulled the Mother Beads set over to audition them with my gorgeous new cabochon and knew they were the perfect accent for my necklace.

What happens when things don't work out quite that easy? What do you do then? Well, have you ever thought about having beads custom made to match? It's not as hard to do or as expensive as you may think. My friend, Hannah Rosner of Good River Gallery, has made several sets of custom beads for me to go with my cabochons. Hannah has told me that she loves creating glass beads to compliment my stones and, in the case of a wonderful Spectrolite cabochon, it gave her the opportunity to experiment with a glass bead making technique in order to create just the right effect. (Pictured Left: Hannah Rosner beads made to compliment a Green Adventurine cabochon.)

The next time you have that special focal and are having a hard time trying to find exactly the right complimentary beads to go with it, why not consider having some custom beads made to match. Not only will you end up with unique beads made special for YOU, but your jewelry will become even more distinctive with its one-of-a-kind components. (Pictured Right: Hannah Rosner beads made to compliment a Chinese Pietersite cabochon.)

Mother Beads website: http://www.motherbeads.com/

Hannah Rosner, Good River Gallery website: http://www.goodrivergalleries.com/

Designer Cabochons website: http://www.designercabochons.co.uk/