25 October 2011

Shift Into Iridescence

Sorry that this somehow didn't get posted yesterday...

The winner of the enamel earrings "Nothin' But Blue Skies" is Stephanie McGinley! Stephanie, please email me with your address.

The winner of the signed copy of Barbara's book Painting With Fire is Courtney Breul! Courtney, please email Miss Barbara with your address.


The Dragonfly
a poem by Louise Bogan

You are made of almost nothing
But of enough
To be great eyes
And diaphanous double vans;
To be ceaseless movement,
Unending hunger,
Grappling love.

Link between water and air,
Earth repels you.
Light touches you only to shift into iridescence
Upon your body and wings.

Twice-born, predator,
You split into the heat.
Swift beyond calculation or capture
You dart into the shadow
Which consumes you.
You rocket into the day.
But at last, when the wind flattens the grasses,
For you, the design and purpose stop.
And you fall
With the other husks of summer.

When I attended the Inspired by Nature retreat in South Haven, MI in September, Heather had the idea to do a bead mixer party. We each had to bring in a 16" strand of nice beads in the colors of green, teal or purple. We cut them all apart and put them in a big stock pot. Then one of the ladies got a big spoon and stirred them all together.

There were pearls and amethysts, crystals and pressed glass, ceramic and seed beads and every shape and size you can imagine. We were each served up a healthy portion of the bead stew and challenged to get our creative juices flowing. Then we set about to create something special from this mix.

Around this same time, I had found out about a little contest that Jewelry Television was hosting. I had heard about it through the wonderful Miss Margot Potter. Do you know Miss Madge? She blogs, and writes books and comes up with unique and crafty ways to stretch your jewelry creativity. Plus she is the on-air educator for the Jewel School videos. I have found many helpful videos on there from the likes of Sherri Haab, Leslie Rogalski, Katie Hacker and more. Check it out!

The contest rules were to make a piece of jewelry and submit it for judging. That's it. There was not even a rule that you had to use a Jewelry Television product (I checked on that) which I thought was pretty generous, especially since the grand prize is valued at $5,000 ($2,500 in cash and $2,500 in JTV credit plus the chance to have the winning design created as a kit or for sale on JTV and in the Jewel School videos!).

I wanted to find out how their products stacked up against other online vendors so I gave it a shot and found a few things to try. I bought some druzy cabochons (I am thinking of filigree wrapping them) and some clay beads (which I ended up using in my ABS entry for September) and these intriguing mosaic mother of pearl shell donut beads. I never buy that shape. I don't know why. But something about the way these donuts shimmered when the light shifted and the soft colors really drew me in.

As far as a critique of JTV, I will say that I was a bit dismayed when my PayPal account was charged a separate charge for each item, instead of one charge, and it took a bit longer to receive them than I expected, but the quality of the beads and cabs was very good. Each was packaged in a separate, very sturdy and almost decorative box. Nice touch.

I started with the donut and a Czech pressed glass shimmering dragonfly button that I bought in a little bead shop in South Haven. I wanted the donut to be the focal of this garden-themed bracelet, and so I started grouping clusters of dangles in the hole, like a wrist corsage, with the bee hovering up above. I have a few of these golden bees left that are dimensional on all sides (wish I knew where I found those so long ago!) and I thought that with all the silver toned spacers and wire I was using that this little pop of gold would draw your eye in nicely.

The rest of the bracelet came together rather quickly. I used two strands of Beadalon beading wire and started with the purple peanut beads to make a button hole for the dragonfly button for the clasp. Then I just strung a random pattern of beads, weaving them in and out of the beads for structure. A few more dangles to fill the space, and voila!

{Shift into Iridescence}

I don't enter challenges because I think that I am going to win them. Often I don't make it that far. I do challenges just for the fun of it, to stretch my creative wings and to see if I can rise to it. I am very honored to have been chosen by a very esteemed panel of judges to be in the top. I have seen the other finalists and they run the gamut from metal clay to wire wrapped gemstones. Each is very beautiful in its own way.

The next phase of the Jewelry Television contest, I am told, consists of a live broadcast on Wednesday, October 26th where they will show off all the finalists. The program guide shows it from 11:00am-2:00pm (but that could be EST). They will be kicking off the popular voting portion of the contest. If you don't get the television station (check your listing guides), they do have streaming video on their website and they are on Facebook, so there might be a way to vote through those methods as well. But hurry! I believe that they will be announcing the winners on Sunday, October 30th!

I hope that you will go and check out the wonderful finalists and perhaps think about voting.  And if you choose to vote, please vote for the design that you feel really deserves the top honor (I won't know if you voted for me anyway!). I have no illusions that I am going to be in the top three after the vote, but it is certainly an honor to be selected as a finalist.

Your turn....
If you were to get $2500 for your creative business, what would you spend it on?


Alice said...

That is one gorgeous bracelet! I love your source of inspiration--the dragonfly, and your piece has captured every nuance of these delightful creatures.

Thanks for the link to Jewelry Television. There's something new to learn every day.

Patty said...

It's stunning, Erin!

SummersStudio said...

Erin, that is a beautifully composed bracelet. Stunning really. If I had $2500 I'd probably buy more tools. I like tools.

shelley said...

incredible bracelet...wow...nicely done...if i won $2500...i'd start building a new studio...above ground...my studio is currently in the basement....i'm grateful i have a studio...and i've discovered over time i need more natural light and well...be above ground to create...play well...

Off the Beadin' Path said...

Oh, that bead mix sounds wonderful, My Colors!! That MOP donut is incredible!! The dragonfly button right next to it works so well and the entire bracelet just glimmers like dragonfly wings! Have you moved into a higher level of brilliant creativity?! Looks like it! $2500 - my first thought was to hire a HeLPeR! Someone to organize and find things so my creative process isn't interrupted :) I think investing in classes would be the wise way to spend it!

Lisa said...

It is so obvious why you were picked to be in the top! Congratulations! That IS one gorgeous bracelet! $2500? Well, after I recovered from falling out :), I would probably use it to make a better place for me and my daughter to create. We definitely need storage and better lighting! Think, no I know!, I would have to save some for future ideas. Have a great day, Erin, and best of luck to you!

Designs by Dawn Marie said...

Erin you totally rock! Congratulations on being in the final group. You are most certainly deserving and your designs are truly special. I will be watching JTV and voting for your design my dear! Congrats! You'll hear me hootin' and hollering all the way up to your house!


Brandi said...

Erin, WOW. That focal with the cluster of beads is absolutely to die for! I'm constantly surprised by the detail of your pieces!

Congrats on being a finalist!!!

Rebecca said...

Beautiful Erin, I thought that when I saw it appear as your new banner. Love how you change them up so often, your blog is a moveable feat for the eyes :-)

Now, if I were to win $2500, I reckon that's about £1600 equivalent. (Had to check the spelling there! Oops.) It's so tempting to say blow it on a massive spree on Etsy.....but I think I would think about possible investing in some business advice from someone like Brandi Hussey or Tara Gentiley....but someone over in the UK I think, so they would know the scene I was dealing with. I am not sure when jewellery making went from glorified hobby to part-time work....or even if that's what I definitely want to happen....but it would be good to get some concrete advice from someone in the know. I am not sure if I will be able to vote, but I'm going to hop over to the site to check it out anyway. Gorgeous work as always, lovely Erin :-)

Rebecca said...

Oh! Look who commented right before me! I promise you I didn't read the comments til afterwards. How funnY!

Lois Moon said...

Love the colors and texture! Gorgeous.

$2500? metalsmithing tools, a complete set of Lindstrom hand tools, a trip to a fabulous retreat/workshop to learn new skills, and built in storage for beads, beads, beads. Ooops, maybe I went over the $ limit!

cw said...

What a gorgeous bracelet. I love the jewel tones this time of year, but the addition of the dragonfly clearly makes it an all year 'round beautiful piece.
Congrats on getting this far, I hope you take 1st place. This piece is stunning.
$2500 would buy me a lot of seed beads, and some handcrafted beads from various artists.

Shaiha said...

That bracelet is so radient I would be surprised if you don't win.

Let's see. I would purchase storage containers. I find that I work much better when I can just reach out and grab what I need. I know exactly what I want, I just don't happen to have the extra money laying about.

Kim Stevens said...

Beautiful Erin!! So much wonderful texture and rich color for the fall! Hmmm, $2500? Torch and enamels for sure, and a Foredom, and since I haven't been working with metal clay because it's so stinking expensive right now, I would buy some of that too! And then since I would be working non stop with all the new stuff probably would have to get a massage!! ; )

Christine Altmiller said...

this is so lovely...the faded memory of springtime. best of luck!
i would get a better workspace with $2500. i am in desperate need! and a few beads :-) always a few beads.


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