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Friday, August 22, 2014

Farore's Wind Bracelet Again

Where do I start?  Hmm... I'll start with this.

I'm back to making some small jewelry things, taking my time, trying to make sure I've got a really solid design and am using materials I already have to pull together something pretty rather than wasting time, energy and dexterity on something on experiments and trying to come up with new techniques. 

I had a few of these awesome green beads left over in my stash.  I wanted to make a necklace with them laced together with wire, but I couldn't logically see that working out well. It only works well when you have something to lash the beads against or they're big enough to be the focal by themselves.  So, I opted for a frosty looking white and green motif.

It's really simple, but it works very well with a nice cocktail dress.

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Saturation: A poem

Too novel and new
Too unique to stay you
Elements scraped, refined, and tinctured
Hues boiled, extracted, and decantered
Not added for the benefit of design,
But an arms race to keep it mine.
Fighting for relevance.
They wanted more.

Color seeping from your skin,
Mimicked till water thin
Concentrate the shades to make them real
Super-saturated, lost all appeal.
Because the colors made you blind
Burning rods and cones to stay defined
Losing all elegance
You give them more.

Monday, August 11, 2014

Arachne: A Study in Suggestion

In high school we briefly studied Japanese water color and woodblock printing. The art of suggestion, of abstract illustrations of things present in nature with simple brush strokes was key.  I found it difficult to do that sort of thing.  I usually add layers of little details bit by bit until it's ridiculous.  Still, I managed to get the idea of that particular unit.

Recently, I decided to see if I could apply simple themes and techniques with jewelry making.  That was how this particular necklace came about.  As many of you know, I like spiders, bugs, and cute little things represented in jewelry and embellishments.  With this piece I decided to try to suggest the idea of a spider instead of tossing some spider charms in there.  This was the result.  Tell me if you can see the Arachnid elements.

I used some of the same beadwork techniques I used for the red necklace in a previous post.  I made some modifications to the spacing and execution, though.  I wasn't going to use a pendant with quite the same impact as that design, so I had to make sure the elements and spacing of the elements fit with the more modern and sleek feel of this necklace.

I also made a pair of earrings to compliment the necklace.  They aren't nearly as ornate as the necklace.  However, they still suggest elements common to spiders.  As you can see, I used leverback earrings.  They're better for keeping the earrings in your ears.

So, here's my question:  Did you guys see the spider elements I mentioned?  Comment with what you thought was related to our 8-legged friends. 

Friday, August 8, 2014

Fruit Snacks: For Nostalgia!

How many of you guys used to eat Fruit Snacks when you were younger?

You  know.  Fruit snacks.  Those fruity gummies that everyone thought were healthier than gummy bears and starburst because they were shaped like fruit and had artificially added vitamins to them.  They tasted like 'fruit' too.  Ha! 

When I went to high school fruit snacks fell out of favor as the go-to sweet because all the demands of an over-scheduled teenager required more calories than eating fruit snacks could efficiently provide.  What I'm saying is, that 4 dollar box of not-candy didn't have the maximum caloric punch possible for the effort it would take to buy it, carry it, store it, open it, and eat it.  There were heartier snacks available for cheaper.  I left the fruit snacks behind.

Recently, I stumbled on them again in the grocery store.  Same brand, slightly different name, revamped packaging.  They were waaaaay cheaper than I remembered.  Twenty packages of fruit snacks for the same price as a 6 pack of fruit snacks back in the day.  On a whim, I bought them.

I couldn't wait to try them...again!  They weren't quite what I remembered.  They were sweeter, not nearly as tart and you couldn't seen the weird vitamin crystals in them any more.  The texture was more like that of a gummy bear and the artificial flavoring was much more pronounced.  They weren't gross, but they weren't as good as I remembered.  Still, I ate them up.  They have more sugar than they did in the nineties, but that's fine.  I work retail.  A 5 minute break with a handful of these and a glass of water is the difference between a dead-eyed zombie stare and the bland, stupid smile that customers are much more comfortable with. 

Thursday, August 7, 2014

Abandoned Commissions: Part 2

The next incident of commission related disappointment came shortly after a coworker encouraged me to bring my jewelry on one of the days we would be released early for holidays.  I was still working at my university at the time.  I shrugged and decided to bring some of my hoard.  If things went well, I'd have more money.

I brought the jewelry.  I had to lug it to and from class with me.  Ugh.  At the end of the day, we all sequestered ourselves into one of the empty conference rooms and spread out everything I had on the tables.  It was one of those rare moments when I look at my jewelry as an observer instead of as a creator.  The effect is waaaay different.  I stood back while the ladies pawed at, fussed over, and made agreements with each other about who would get what.  At that time I didn't make duplicates of anything.  So you and your BFF had to come to an agreement otherwise it would turn out like an episode of the Highlander: There can be only one.

I made a decent amount of scratch.  2/3rds what I'd make if I sold at a convention.  However, there was one young lady who wanted something specific for her niece's graduation.  I was still new to this commissioning thing, so I decided to take on her request, thinking that the folks at work might be a bit better than the ones at church.

What followed was an ordeal that tested every fiber of my patience and level temper.  The young woman wanted something 'flashy but not too flashy' to go with her fucsia dress.  I informed her that she would have to secure the beads.  She claimed to not know where to go.  Despite me instructing her on which craft stores she could visit to get the materials for her jewelry set, she never seemed to have time to go and in the end I was asked to take care of it for her.  That's a no-no.  I didn't know what she wanted and I was not about to waste time and busfare going out to a craft store and paying out of pocket for her stuff.

So, I turned to eBay.  I sent her a barrage of links to various beads that could arrive within a week if they were purchased right away.  She went with the smallest number of the cheapest beads she could find.  The quantity wasn't enough.  Thinking creatively and hoping that my dedication to helping her realize a good design would hopefully win me a return customer, I scoured my stash for some left over stardust beads to add into the design and give it a little extra sparkle to attractively contrast the shape of her face.  It would help me stretch the limited quantity of materials I'd be given.

Then she decided that she wanted that particular style of bead to be ALL OVER THE NECKLACE instead of in strategic places.  I told her that I didn't have any more and that she would have to get more from the craft store because they were on the expensive side.  She hem-hawed on that, then claimed that it was ok.  Later she brought a different kind of silver bead, again, cheap as possible, and demanded that I use those instead.  I remade the set.  She wasn't satisfied.   "Add the really shiny ones back in."  I remade the set.   Then we went back to the idea that I buy more stardust beads and add them into the design.

I still wasn't used to putting my foot down when faced with people older than me, so I asked my mother what I should do.  Wise as always, she told me to stand firm and that saying 'no' wasn't impolite because technically I was an adult too.  She also warned me of what was to come.

I refused to buy stardust beads for her necklace.  The woman claimed that it was fine.  Later, just as my mother predicted, the young woman claimed that since she wasn't getting what she wanted, she shouldn't have to pay.  If there's anything that pisses me off, nothing does it quite like giving me the run around when I'm trying to be kind and then having the audacity to act as if a small act of charity has impinged your honor and I should have to pay for it.  I'm sad to say that she brought out the worst in me.

In the end, she spent a total of $2 on materials and I spent 10 hours, nearly $15 dollars, and probably a few dozen gray hairs remaking the set several times.  I was so flustered and upset.  I considered cutting out the materials I contributed to it and throwing the rest away.  But that would be wasteful.  In the end, I gave the darn thing away because just looking at it made me sick to the stomach.  Repurposed and rehomed, I can say this, I felt much better giving the piece away than trying to sell it to someone who didn't want to pay in the first place.

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Glitzy Earrings From the Treasure Chest

A while ago I did some photos of some of the awesome finds lurking in my stash.  WELL.  I've turned another of those finds into a pair of earrings.  So, here you are.  I won't make you wait for it.

These are actually already available on my Etsy here.

Monday, August 4, 2014

Something For Me: Skelly Earrings

I almost never make things for myself.  Well.  My birthday just passed and I decided to change that.  These earrings are made of howlite skull beads, gunmetal chain, brass jumprings and cute little swarovski accents to give them more color.  Also, They are Mine. 

Look at those gap-toothed grins.  Adorable.

This is allllllll mine.  Ok.  I'll stop teasing you guys.

They look helpless.  Time to put them on.

Friday, August 1, 2014

Floral inspirations

I like flowers.  They're pretty, simple, and they brighten up a place.  Rarely do I see flowers explicitly expreassed in jewelry.  I don't mean, like, a resin pendant with a flower in it or something like that.  I mean a TRUE expression of a flower with the necklace mimicking vines, branches and leaves around a floral focal.

I've never seen that outside of specific art pieces.  So.... I made my own.  8D  I had some flower bead caps in pink Czech glass.  I also had some vintage leaf beads that I won in a destash auction.  All of them were leftovers from other projects that have either sold already or claimed by yours truly.  Together, they built up something beautiful and rather hypnotic...

I'll let you guys in on a secret.  I name every piece I make.  Each one gets a name.  It's good for helping me keep track of which is which.  Anyway, this baby is called Path of Flowers.  Here are some more photos.

Some detail shots for you too...
I tried to keep the flower and leaf motif uniform throughout the design, even in the little extra elements.

I made earrings as well.  I'm starting to get back into that.  It's awesome.

I tried to make sure they looked as much like fruit and flowers hanging on a vine as possible.  Even though their design is simple, they pack a punch as far as striking visual appeal.

I'd say it worked.

EDIT:  Someone asked for a Link to my Etsy Page.