Tuesday, October 30, 2012

October Component Reveal!

As you all know Sandy is beginning to wreak havoc on the east so I am hoping to get this post out before the power goes out.  LOL

Do you remember these? 

So now lets see what everyone else has done with theirs!  I am so excited about this because this is the first time others are working with something I have created! 
Here is the list.
And our special guests
Please have fun hopping around!

Monday, October 29, 2012

Mismatched Monday: Halloween Edition

Happy Almost Halloween!  My earrings this week are inspired by one of my favorite holidays AND by zombies (I'm an avid Walking Dead fan).
I chose two of my favorite art beads and then built the earrings around them.
Aren't they fun?!?
Green ceramic zombie bead: Earthenwood Studio
Ceramic shrunken head charm: Joan Miller Porcelain
Plastic dagger: MyElements
Niobium earwires: The Odyssey & Bead Expressions
Misc. beads & findings: Fusion Beads

Now it's your turn to show off what you created for the Mismatched Halloween Challenge!  Please add the link to your post using the linky tool below!  Also, I will update this post late tomorrow night with the random winner of one of my brown stoneware pendants!

Happy Halloween!

PS I'm in the middle of the hurricane right now and will check out all the submissions as soon as I'm able!

11.1.12  **Congratulations Kari Asbury!  You were randomly chosen as the winner of the brown stoneware pendant!**  Thank you to everyone who participated!

Diana P.
Suburban Girl Studio LLC

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Component of the month - And the Winners are...

Drum roll please...

The two lucky ladies who have each won one of these lovely bronze snowflake components are...


Congratulations ladies - I will be in touch shortly and I hope you enjoy the challenge!

If you would still like to join in with the challenge there are a limited number of these components available for purchase in my Etsy shop now, just look for the two listings with AJE component of the month in the desriptions. These are available to AJE readers at a 20% discount but, since I cannot apply a Coupon code to selected items please add a note when you check out to let me know that you are taking part in the AJE Component of the month blog hop and I will refund the discount and add you to the list of hoppers.

Thank you to everyone who joined in, I can't wait to see what everyone creates and just to help you get in the mood I've created a little Etsy treasury of wintery inspiration so please enjoy.

The Gossiping Goddess

Saturday, October 27, 2012


Hi all! I'm Rebekah Payne of Tree Wings Studio, the newest newbie here at AJE and I'm so excited to be a part of this wonderfully inspiring group of bead and jewelry artists! Thanks so much for having me!

I have to say, I had the hardest time deciding what I'd tell you about in my first post today! I was going to give you a tour of my little studio, but looking around right now, things are actually a bit quiet. Yesterday was shipping day and there's not much to see now. Just color-mixing and prepping for the next bead batches.

So… I guess I should start by telling you a bit about myself and what inspires me…

I'm a self-taught polymer clay bead artist. My work in polymer clay melds together my love of sculpture and painting. For many of my beads, I work with a solid color, painting on additional colors and details. If I hadn't discovered polymer clay, I'm almost certain I would have been a painter! I'd been squishing polymer around into various things for a few years, when I got a book on polymer clay from my Grandmother—I was amazed at just how endless the possibilities were! Now at almost any time, anywhere, you can find me with clay in my hands, a cured bead and a paintbrush, or at the very least, some remnants of paint on my hands. When I have a spare moment or two (very rarely!), I also make jewelry.

My inspiration comes from just about everything (I think that's the answer most artists give!), but mostly from my surroundings. I'm so fortunate to live in rural Virginia and enjoy the beauty and wonders of nature each and every day. I also love reading fantasy—the works of Tolkien being my favorite. His tales of dragons are what inspired my own dragons.

I didn't begin with bead-making—I actually started off with bird figurines and then dabbled in bead-making for a little while, but quickly went on to larger designs—wall decor and vases.

A few of my clay pictures:
"Time Fades"

"Home Sweet Home"

"Little Kitty in the Sunshine"

I so enjoyed doing the larger designs and not having the constraints of keeping them to a wearable size. I was still in the decor-making craze when I wanted to have a dragon necklace to give my sister for her birthday. Of course, I had to make it myself, so I sculpted a little dragon pendant wrapped around a fire agate. I was thrilled with the way it turned out (and so was she!), and from there I've continued making beads and pendants… more dragons, sleepy woodland critters (my most popular designs, by far), ponies and horses, and anything else that catches my fancy… and I haven't looked back since!

Here's a little peak at how I make some of my beads:
Little sleepy critters getting their fur and eyes added.

Primed and ready for color.

Adding "coral" inlay to the "turquoise" ponies.

Casting roses and aster wheels.

And here are some of my finished beads:
Dragons! Each one is sculpted around a fire agate.

Sleepy woodland critters, aster wheels, and ridged rounds.

Ponies and galloping horse coins.

And finally, wild rose beads.

Making beads is super fun, but I think my very favorite part is seeing them at home in a completed piece of jewelry made by one of you!

Thanks so much for stopping by to say hi!

Friday, October 26, 2012

Orange You Glad Its Halloween?

by Linda Landig
Linda Landig Jewelry

OK, please forgive the corny title.  I was raised by a family of punsters, who often tried to out-pun one another on any given subject.  Believe it or not, I have a new book, on my coffee table, about the history of puns going back to Shakespeare, and beyond to Aristotle and across cultures and languages.  But, I digress...

In honor of Halloween, I'm sharing a little orange-colored eye-candy.  I've always loved all shades of orange, from peachy orange to deep rust-orange.   So this collection of beauties fills me with happiness.  I hope you enjoy the viewing too!

From top left, clockwise: Suburban Girl Studio, Glass Addictions, Daisychain Jewellery, Sue Beads.

From top left, clockwise: Kristi Bowman Design, Tree Wing Studio,

Wishing everyone fun on Halloween!

(photo by coolmompicks.com)

Thursday, October 25, 2012

November Component of the Month and Giveaway

Yet another month has flown by all too fast and it now falls to me to present you with the  AJE 'Component of the Month' for November. Since it will be well into winter for many of us by the time the reveal comes around I wanted to use that in my theme and I've designed a completely new component for the occasion - a bronze snowflake disc.

These discs are approx. 35mm in diameter with one centre drilled hole and have been oxidised and sealed. Almost the entire team of 'Art Jewelry Elementalists' are taking part in the challenge to design a piece of jewellery with this component and there are two more up for grabs by two lucky readers so, if you feel inspired by some frosty bronze make sure you comment below for the chance to join us. No need to worry about them getting to you in time either as there are supplies on both sides of the pond to cover all eventualities!

In addition to the giveaways, I will also have a limited supply of components available in my Etsy shop THEA too from October 28th. These will be priced at £10 or around $16 plus shipping but for AJE readers there is a special discount of 20% which you can get by using coupon code AJECOM.

I'm really looking forward to seeing what everyone makes with these components, especially as I have no idea what I'm going to do with mine yet!

How this challenge and blog hop will work (please read all the information carefully!)
  • I will give away 1 component to each of 2 winners selected randomly from those who leave comments below this post. The design sent will be a surprise for the winners.
  • Please include your EMAIL address in your comment so that I can contact you ASAP should you win.
  • Please - only leave a comment if you can commit to creating a finished piece and blogging about it within the time given.
  • The names of the two winners will be announced on October 28th 2012.
  • This giveaway is open to US, Canadian, UK and European countries.
  • The blog reveal will be on November 30th 2012. 

Thank you and good luck!

The Gossiping Goddess

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Wondering Wednesday

Yep I finally came up with a temporary title for my Wednesday posts. I was thinking the other day while drifting through facebook in a stomach bug induced haze what is it that draws me to artists. Yes I am a seed beader and I love all that seed beaders create (generally) and I have my favorite artist and icons but I am also very drawn to other artists way outside my medium. I see so many artists that use wire, fiber, and other stringing materials that just defy my ability's and yet they speak volumes to me.

I am drawn not only to this amazing group of artists on this blog, but others as well. Here are just a couple and believe me it was hard to narrow it down to just a couple because I want you all to introduce me to your favorites.


Shannon's metal and how she uses it sends my thoughts wandering to ocean breezes.

Staci's use of fiber, rock and metal just amazes me. 

So I was thinking of making this a bit of an interactive post.  Are others drawn to artists outside your own medium?  Why are you drawn to them and what makes them so special to you?  I can not wait to see what you  introduce me to.


Tuesday, October 23, 2012

The Importance of a Teacher

Handmade Artisan Jewelry by Francesca Watson Designs

I've been making jewelry since early 2008, when I took a bead stringing class at a local bead store with a couple of girlfriends. I was completely and utterly hooked, but it was hard to find local classes in the things that really interested me - stone setting, metal work, and metal clay - so I turned to books and the internet. And I experimented - a lot.

There is value in experimentation. The process of trying, failing, troubleshooting, and problem solving has a tendency to imprint lessons more deeply than just reading about something or seeing it demonstrated. But after a while, I hit the limits of my own ability to intuit what came next - I was failing more often than I was succeeding and I was on the verge of deciding that metalwork (which was the thing I was most interested in) wasn't going to be something I could ever really do well. I was even questioning whether jewelry making was something I should continue pursuing - while I got compliments on my work, it mostly left me feeling unsatisfied. I knew the work could be better, but I was really struggling with how to get there.

Handmade Artisan Jewelry by Francesca Watson Designs

Then, a year ago, I was re-introduced to a local studio called Wired Designs. They were primarily known for their amazing glass-work and related classes, and frequently brought in national level glass instructors. But I hadn't realized they also offered metal and wire classes, and I began signing up for everything they offered. I felt a little bit like someone who had been very hungry for a long time being ushered into an all-you-can-eat buffet. The first time I successfully completed a complex soldering project, I actually got a little emotional.

I want to be clear: I am not "knocking" books, written tutorials, YouTube videos, and online learning. I think they are all valuable and essential resources in the educational arsenal of today's artists. But I also think there is no substitute for real-time, in-person learning from someone who really knows their stuff - especially when it comes to the foundational skills on which so many other techniques are built. An experienced teacher can - in one session - pinpoint the reasons you're struggling with soldering connections, or sawing metal, or setting a cabochon. All the reading in the world isn't going to correct my sawing form if my technique is bad - but Thomas Mann told me I was sawing too hard and too far forward on the blade - just by listening to the sound my saw blade was making. In a single class and one session of homework, he had me sawing better than I had been able to saw in three years of trying to figure it out on my own. Gail Stouffer corrected the position of my torch and gave me the key to clean soldering and fusing that requires very little finishing work - in a matter of minutes, just by observing the way I was using my torch.

Handmade Artisan Jewelry by Francesca Watson Designs

It's possible I might have figured out how to fix those things myself - if I'd found the right books and put in the the right number of hours (or years) of practice and experimentation and broken saw blades. But it's also possible that I would have either settled for substandard work or gotten discouraged enough to quit. Here's what's certain: in the last nine months of working with good instructors, my work has leapt forward exponentially, both in terms of quality and creativity. My new policy is to take every class I possibly can, from the best teachers I can find - and to submit myself willingly to the kind of humbling scrutiny, criticism, and correction that will move my work and my technique up to the next level.

So whether you're self-taught or traditionally trained, stuck in a creative rut or enjoying an exciting groove, I encourage you to make classes with a good teacher a regular part of your creative, artistic life. You'll learn (or be reminded of) shortcuts, tips, and creative ideas from people who have been doing this for a very long time and have created efficiencies around a whole range of skills. As an added bonus, spending some time exposing yourself to someone else's creative energy is a sure-fire way to jump start your own - especially if you take the occasional class in disciplines completely outside your own.

Until next time!

Francesca Watson of Francesca Watson Designs

The photos featured in this post are examples of my current work that would not have been possible for me even six months ago. I'm grateful for the investment of time I've been given by gifted and skilled teachers, especially Gail Stouffer at Wired Designs in San Antonio, Texas.

Monday, October 22, 2012

Building an Ammonite Focal Tutorial

Like the Acorn Bead I shared last couple of weeks ago,
 I've never made this kind of 2 sided Focal before either.

Here's a step by step of how I made all the pieces and put them together and the finished piece.

Create 2 identical round pieces with whatever texture you would like,
Ammonite is one of my favorite so of course that's what I chose.
I made these 3 cards thick.

I made 2 strips the approximate width I wanted to separate the 2 pieces,
they are 4 cards thick and I dried them on the next size smaller circle cutter.

I tested them out and cut one in to a smaller piece
 to allow for fairly substantial stringing material to be able to fit through if that's what I choose to use.

More testing, next step, filing things down so they have a nice snug fit
before I attach it all together to make a single piece.

Moisten both inside surfaces of the rounds and the edges of the connecting pieces,
put together and put pressure on them to give them a chance to bond.

Fill in any gaps with paste...

Continue to use a clay shaper and watered down copper clay to fill and smooth until all the spaces or gaps are filled and nice and smooth.
Almost ready for the kiln!

I placed it in the container on end with the holes on the bottom so it won't fill up with carbon and put the other pieces I'm firing with it around it and cover it up 1 layer at a time.


Sunday, October 21, 2012

Giveaway Reveal Teaser

I'm giving a little sneak peak at the giveaway I did last week with goodies from the

The lucky winner is

I wrapped the box in some gorgeous fiber that wrapped a package I received from another artist.
So pretty I just had to re-use it!

Of course I can't show you, it's going to be a surprise!
It's a mix of things purchased at the show and other items from my stash!