21 January 2011

Open Doors

"Not knowing when the dawn will come I open every door." ~ Emily Dickinson
I am delighted to announce that the lovely Miss Melanie of Earthenwood Studio invited me to be a part of her Earthenwood Studio Design Team. 

Each month she will be providing us with some beady goodness and challenging us to come up with a design.  This month's theme is "Cabin Fever." 

Melanie makes some extraordinary ceramic components and focals that I absolutely love for their cleverness and wit as much for their detail and beauty. For the "Cabin Fever" theme she sent us each a Lumber toggle and a Lumber round links with this great wood grain in them. Additionally, she sent us each a different house pendant.

I started with the wood grain pieces. I decided to channel a childrens book that we used to read called "The Three Little Wolves and the Big Bad Pig" by Helen Oxenbury. It is the funniest twist on the traditional tale with some absolutely charming illustrations by Eugene Trivizas. 

The little wolves construct their houses out of all sorts of things to bar the mean ol' pig from gaining access, including riveted steel, but the Pig manages to blow them all up - literally. In the end the little wolves build a house made of flowers which calms ol' Big Bad down. They invite him to tea and realize that they have misjudged the Pig as Big and Bad and they all live together in harmony. 

I call this "Sticks, Bricks and Straw" in those industrious little wolves' honor. I had the Czech glass brick beads but I had a bit of a dilemma with the straw. After a $97 trip to Michaels {oh yeah...I found more than I went in for! Did you know that the Bead Gallery is all 40% off right now? And 40% is close to 50% and that is good enough for me!} I found what was called waxed cotton cord in a lovely straw color. Unfortunately, it was too big to go through my bricks {note to self: bring beads with next time}. So in desperation at the last minute {because I was determined to have this done last night!}, I wrapped some jump rings with the cord and tied it in a knot. I think that I need to add one little detail to this... a little flower bead!

{Sticks, Bricks & Straw}

My pendant piece from Melanie looked like a weathered piece of an old paneled door. So that made me think of keys {of course!}. I have just started making my own pendants and charms that I am preparing to sell on my Etsy site very soon and I had one made that fit this theme perfectly. 

I call these 'simple truths :: modern wisdom' pendants. They are made from polymer clay with painted details. But what is really special about them are the words. Words are so important to me. They can encourage or discourage in one fell swoop. I try very hard to choose the encouraging side of the equation. These one-of-a-kind pendants act as a powerful mantra to hold close to your heart. The simple truth on this one says  
"open doors for others" 
to remind me that I find it so very satisfying to help others to grow to beyond the limits they set for themselves to all that is possible.

{Open Doors For Others~
Click to enlarge!}

Vintaj products seem to go so well with Melanie's glazes, so I used the etched chain and jump rings as well as a stamped keyhole and a little key that I turned into a toggle bar with a vintage brass square to echo the shape of the ceramic pendant. I also mixed in some of my favorite twisted bar links from the Industrial Chic line paired with cracked fire agate rounds and brecciated jasper rondelles and one solitary faceted smoky quartz {truly one of my very favorite stones to work with}.

This particular 'simple truths' pendant is double sided, because versatility is how I roll. There is a skeleton key on the back. In order to wear this reversible pendant, I needed to jazz up the simple black back of Melanie's pendant. I found a copper toned square filigree in the stash that fit the back perfectly. I roughed up some brass gears from Rings & Things and then grunged them a bit with alcohol inks and a heat gun. Punched a few holes and layered them with a copper brad to give the effect of an ornate door knocker.

Just looking at the list of participants in the Earthenwood Studios Design Team makes me have to pinch myself because they are each so very different and so very talented! I admire each of them for the unique flavor that they bring to the beading community. Do check out their blogs to see what they have created.

Andrew Thornton
Gaea Cannaday
Denise Yezbak Moore
Erin Siegel
Heather Powers
Lorelei Eurto
 Lori Anderson
Jean Yates
Marie Dodd 

To me, opening doors for others means that you have to be willing to share which is a risk. You hold that door open for other ideas to flow through that might not be what you expected. But in so doing, you open yourself up to unexpected joys as well.

Thank you, Melanie for opening a door to your Design Team to me and for trusting each of these talented people to make great things. We hope they bring you unexpected joy as well.

Items mentioned in this post credited to Earthenwood Studio were provided as a promotional gift as part of the Earthenwood Design Team. These items are for review or design purposes. Thank you, Melanie!

Your turn...
If you were a little wolf bullied by a big bad pig, what material would you create your house with?
Have you ever misjudged someone because of their behavior only to find out that they were much different than you once thought? 
What doors have you opened for others lately? 
What doors have others opened for you?
Do tell!

Enjoy the day!


steufel said...

Oh Erin, I simply admire your style. Great pieces!

Kristen said...

Oh Erin! I have to tell you I took in every little detail of that pendant and in fact I have made it my new computer background! The inspiration and heart you put into it is so beautiful I don't have any words to do it justice. I know I won't be able to buy it and making one to match its meaning would be impossible so I need to look at it every day I hope you don't mind.
Thank you for making and posting this amazing work of heart!


Gardanne said...

I have not been able to stop looking at your creation, there is so much detail, but it is not busy. How do you do that!!??!! I know I will love your new components, can't wait to see them.

hint said...

I love your interpretation of her work and of course "open doors for others" is amazing. You've given me the words I've been trying to express these last couple weeks in my heart. Thank you so much for sharing this idea.

peacockfairy said...

I love your handmade pendant and look forward to your new Etsy shop! Great designs with wonderful stories behind them!

Judy said...

Erin,your detail is amazing! I love how you can interpret a picture,a painting and words into a stunning piece of jewelry! You rock!

Erin said...

Erin, you always amaze me! There is just no limit to your talent. You can beautifully work with any medium and style from rustic to refined! I love the sticks, bricks and straws bracelet. I love the innovative way you incorporated the waxed cotton cord. Who would come up with innovative ideas if not faced with a challenge, right? That's why I know you love these challenges. Necessity is the mother of invention, as they say and our necessity in this beading community is to design the perfect piece! LOL! ;)

Your 'Open Doors' piece is also stunning! Beautiful concept and thought behind it as usual because that's how you roll. I love how you incorporated Melanie's rustic piece seamlessly into your elegant design.

Silver Parrot said...

Great job! I can't believe you cord-wrapped all those jump rings - I would never have had the patience to do that LOL! It looks fantastic, tho. The perfect element with the "wood" pieces!

lunedreams said...

Love how you wrapped those jump rings in cording! I have a bunch of that waxed cotton--I was thrilled with all the colors it comes in--but I haven't used it yet. You've inspired me to haul it out and do something with it! Love how you made the pendant double sided, both sides are lovely! What a great idea.

SallyAnderson said...

I love everything about this, Erin -- the beauty of the jewelry and the sentiment are equal. You knocked this one out of the ballpark!

Holly said...

Erin, now you've got me adding that book to my "want for the kids" list! Sounds awesome ;)

And I love what you've done with both of these pieces - so unique and beautiful. But then, what else should we expect? Gorgeous pieces, both...and those pendants of yours are going on my own want list!

Designs by Dawn Marie said...

Awww Erin, this post gives me the warm fuzzies. You truly are an inspiration to so many people including me. Open Doors for Others could be your personal motto my dear. You're always giving with your heart, mind and soul!

Keep shining! {Hugs!}

For My Sweet Daughter said...

I love this piece, truly inspired!

rosebud101 said...

Love what you did with the components, Erin!!!! Opening doors. I hope I did open a few when I was teaching. I was a special ed teacher. I honestly learned to like so many of the unliked kids at school. They were really great once you got past the defenses. I remember one Halloween talking with a kid who had a mohawk haircut. He was giving me tips on how to get my hair into that style for costume day at school. I really enjoyed him!

Jenners said...

Congrats to you!! I'm sure you are a great addition to the team. I love your idea for the three little pigs jewelry!

Erin Fickert-Rowland said...

What a gorgeous bracelet! I love the fact you channeled inspiration from a children's book! Your pendant is also lovely, and the message is brilliant!

JeannieK said...

The Design Team would be so fun to be apart of. That is quite a group of talent.
Melanie's pendants offer a lot of inspiration.
Hey, Kudo's to new on your PC pendants. I hope they sell like hotcakes.

Beadwright said...

Erin I love this post. What you have created and the inspiration behind it. You made my morning.

Pretty Things said...

You put me to shame! You really rocked this out! I'm so impressed with everything you did, and that bracelet and the book tie-in is spot-on!

cindydolezaldesigns said...

I recently took a job a couple of nights a week due to changing life circumstances. There is a guy who works there who comes across as very curt, always in a hurry, too busy to say please or thank you. I thought he must be a real jerk. But one night I was leaving and it was late. The parking lot was deserted. He had to unlock the door for me so I could leave. He made all kinds of noises about how much trouble it was to let me out. But then I noticed he not only waited for me to get to my car, but waited til I started it and drove away before he went back inside. We've become pretty good friends.

N Valentine Studio said...

I love that, the texture is to die for!

Opening doors is important for me. Being a coach for years it made me realize that sometimes a tiny thing can make a big change in someone else's life. Paying it forward is an important part of my life. My favorite saying is "if opportunity doesn't knock build a door" providing opportunities for others really can be a joy.

You may really like the "Knock at the Door" video on this site.



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