24 June 2011

Summer Escapes

Then followed that beautiful season... Summer....
Filled was the air with a dreamy and magical light; and the landscape
Lay as if new created in all the freshness of childhood.
~Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

I was one of the fortunate recipients of the Chinook Jewelry design team challenge for this month. My friend Mellisa makes the most lovely pieces of ceramic art. Mini-masterpieces is what they are. They are so fine and delicate, but she assures me that they are very hearty indeed. I have always loved the architectural details on her pieces and her glazes are some of the best.

I put them in two spots on my Muffin Tin Challenge. I just got wind of this challenge from Heather Powers on Art Bead Scene yesterday so I am a bit behind, and I can assure you that I will NOT be completing 12 pieces before the 27th. That is crazy-talk. But I do like the idea of having some kick starts for my inspiration, or projects that I committed to right there in plain view. I cleared out these two pieces and already have replaced them with others. I think that I will continue to keep 12 pieces in rotation until I run out of beads or inspiration (that would be a never people! Do you remember what my stash from just THIS YEAR's Bead & Button looked like?).

Back to the projects...

The first piece I worked with is a sweet green button with the hint of an ancient floral pattern on it. I love the color of the glaze, somewhere between a sage and a teal. When I was at Bead & Button, one of the things I stocked up on were pewter components. Given the soaring price of silver, and the fact that I rarely work in sterling but like a little silver now and then, the options that were there were pretty comprehensive. In fact, I saw less of the real silver variety but plenty of shiny silver. They are getting much more fine and detailed in pewter designs these days. So don't be afraid to use them. Just be sure that you label them as such and charge appropriately.

I had this idea to use the bead caps I found without beads. I know, crazy-talk again. But I love the way these flower shapes match up with each other. But how to secure them? I had also bought a bunch of silk strands from Silk Painting is Fun and found a perfect match in my stash. But I didn't just want the green, and I needed another texture. Black leather cord it is! So I just wove this all together and tied some knots. When I got to the button, I flattened one of the bead caps slightly to sit better on the top. This is a two hole button but the holes are covered by the cap. And I love the echo of the floral pattern on the pretty Chinook button.

The other side was the problem. How to end? I thought of just tying this to a little bit of chain and then having a clasp. I just couldn't make the asymmetry work for me on this one. I knew I needed a buttonhole for the clasp and just started stringing 'E' beads and tying more knots. I like the extra texture these glass beads bring. If I were to do this over, I might add some of those glass beads into the design to pull them through.

I call this one "Summer Escape."

I see this as the perfect accompaniment to that little sundress and strappy sandals. Makes me wish that I had someplace fun to go during summer to escape the same old. Maybe I will wear it this weekend at the ballpark. Goes well with hot dogs and popcorn, don't you think?

I will admit that the second piece really stumped me.

Usually Mellisa has these really glossy finishes on her pieces. But this second piece was rough and matte instead of smooth and shiny. That worried me a bit, but I found that it was surprisingly soft to wear. This piece really has the look of some old crumbling Italian villa about it. Or maybe some piece of pottery unearthed at an ancient excavation. The earthy palette is one that is totally in my wheelhouse. And since I am longing for an escape, why not dream big of a villa in Tuscany?

I found a connector from the Vintaj Arte Metal line. What is really cool about these is the finish. It is like blackened steel. But the really fun part is that you can sand and buff them to bring out the highlights like I did here (although it is a bit hard to see at this angle). I found that the pattern complimented the ceramic pendant perfectly.

To add more of that black steel color, I found some chain in my vast bins. And the sandy brown color of the pendant is echoed in the leopard skin jasper twisted tubes. I love that shape as it implies movement. I also brought in a complimentary color in the rust/burgundy of the pearls and the Czech glass rondelles from Raven's Journey. I needed something to balance out the chain, so I added a few links of patterned antique silver large links for some interest. I finished with a clasp I made inspired by what I recently read in the neqw book Handcrafted Wire Findings. This book is SO worth it! I will be using it a lot in the future.

I call this one "Tarquinia." Because I think that and Etrsuscan escape would be the ultimate.

These are both for sale in my Etsy shop.

Thank you to Mellisa for letting me play with her stunning components. She offers so many choices in her shop. Do go and show her some love and tell her Erin sent you. ;-)

Your turn...
Do you prefer your ceramic glazed or naked? 
Do you like shiny or rough as a texture in your designs? What about mixing them?
If you were to escape someplace this summer, where would you go?
Do tell!

Enjoy the day!


Davinia said...

They are both so beautiful but the sage/teal is my favourite. I love how you used the bead caps, genius idea Erin.

somethingunique said...

Hi Erin, both of you pieces are beautiful but i really love the "Tarquinia" bracelet the gunmetal chain really picks up the gray tones in the pendant.
Ceramic is my new lamp work, and i love both glazed and naked. I think a piece is much more creative when mixing things up for sure, it shows a lot more thought went into a creation that just taking components off a strand and restringing them. I think if i were to ecscape somewhere it would definatly be somewhere without heat and humidity, i have enough of my own hot flashes i don't need any help from nature thank-you very much.....
take care & have a wonderful day!
ttfn Lana >^.^<

Anonymous said...

lovely work, i especially love the second piece.

SueBeads said...

Erin, they are both gorgeous! But I do love that second piece. I thought I liked my clay glazed, but I really like the unglazed quality too, so I think I have changed my mind!

Heather said...

Wow, those are both lovely. It's fun to see how silver colored items can look so different depending on the findings you have used. The bead cap bracelet is beyond brilliant. I haven't met a ceramic finish I don't like - they are all visually exciting and I love working with mixing textures. As for escapes I'd like to head right back where I came from - forever!

Cynthia said...

I'm with you - the date of 6/27 is ridiculous! I thought everyone was mad for signing up for this challenge! But I will use the muffin tin idea as a way to jumpstart some quick project. Your 2 items are stunning, I love Chinook, and I really like the matte glazes! I think the colors look richer in matte. Can't wait to see the other 10 finished pieces (by 6/27 hahaha)

Green Shoot Jewellery Designs said...

I never thought to use bead caps without beads but your design is fabulous, it really really works for me!
I usually escape to St Ives in Cornwall, it is my favourite place in the whole world.
Deb x

Alice said...

Two very different pieces, each beautiful in their own way.

Glazed or naked, shiny or rough--I like them all! But you would find more shiny stuff in my bead boxes.

If I could escape anywhere, it would be to the Redwoods in Northern California. It is so peaceful and tranquil under the canopy of these giants.

Anonymous said...

Beautiful Erin as always. I love that ceramic piece. As for texture I love it all!! I love mixing as many different looks and colors as I can get away with. Kristi

rosebud101 said...

Erin, very, very nice. If Jenny had a muffin pan, I might try this with the few beads I have. Oh, well! It's an idea to pursue later. I love what you did with your beads!

Off the Beadin' Path said...

It's impossible to keep up with you, Erin! I'm still sighing over the bridal jewelry and here comes these 2 knock-outs! Seeee, you did some great shopping at the Bead show, now you have what they say every artist needs:"plenty of materials to work with"! I can't remember who gets the credit for that, but isn't it true? Love what you did with all the textures and innovative ideas. The different kinds of chain worked perfectly in "Tarquinia"! I probably prefer smooth ceramics, but love this look also. I think combinations are usually more interesting. Escape? To wherever it feels like a normal summer, especially if it's Tuscany, the place I always mention! Your bracelet will look great wherever you wear it!

JeannieK said...

I could not complete or start the muffin tin challenge to save my life. You brave girl. Your designs always make me want to grab them right through the screen. You have made the button and pendant very happy.

I like shiny, matte, rough, smooth, mix them up, shake them up. All of it.

Rebecca said...

Very very beautiful Erin, especially that top piece. I love the colours and textures you have used, for me, I prefer my ceramics glazed. Unglazed is lovely for a change but generally, glazed is the way to go for me. Shiny or rough......well, I don't think I like rough but I do like matte. Shiny can also be very nice as well. Love the shots of your muffin tin contents. I am going to have a go at the challenge! My partner is at work today and I have nothing on (just a little 'homework' to do) so am sitting in my bed, and have made the first 5 items. None as glamorous or as intricate as yours however! You seem to outdo yourself every time you post a new piece. And ps, I bought that book too. It's great, isn't it?

Rebecca said...

And pps, if I were to escape this summer, it would be to somewhere by the sea, possibly even Cornwall on the south west coast.....I crave the sea air when I feel stressed as I am a little at the moment, and know it would sort me out! X

Charm Bracelets said...

The love the sea blue green color and the piece itself....the color and the design has gelled too well to make a beautiful attractive piece.

Maneki said...

I really like that bracelet. Lovely!

Ceramics is one of my favourite materials. Love it with glaze and without. That "rusty" pendant for example, looks gorgeous to me. When it comes to glazed, there's nothing better than matte (with an almost peachy surface, very tactile), crackled and crystalline. I like glazes where "something is happning" in them. Shiny isn't my fave -- the shinier, the less I like it -- but it can depend so much on the bead/pendant/component itself: sometimes it looks just right with a shiny glaze. (The same way, I can see a shiny ceramic bead and thing it'd look so much better matte or wish a smooth pendant would've been crackled.)

My Life Under the Bus said...

These are beautiful Erin! I don't think I am going to get anything done I've only finished 2 and I have errands and a birthday party today! EEEEK!!! Oh the embarrasement - I may pull an all nighter : P

Aquariart said...

Beautiful pieces Erin- love them both. The pendant in the second one reminds me a little of my Alamo beads. I can't fit another challenge in this month but hope they do this one again.

Linda Landig said...

You did a beautiful job with Melissa's components, Erin. I especially love the necklace!!!


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