Friday, October 9, 2015

Book Review: Timeless Wire Weaving

The Complete Course

"Sure, It's only wire, but look what you've done with it! The transformation is amazing" -Lisa Barth

Timeless Wire Weaving
Today I thought I would share one of my favourite jewelry making books EVER! Yep, it's that good!

Timeless Wire Weaving, The Complete Course by Lisa Barth.

It starts out with a wonderfully worded and very empowering introduction, talks about the tools you will need, the materials you will use, the terminology, types of weaves and other techniques needed to create the projects in this book.

After providing all of this information it then takes you on to the four beginner projects, admittedly normally I turn my nose up at beginner projects (I like to run before I can walk) but these ones are beautiful and really worth making!

Such beautiful pieces
The projects included in the beginner section are Spiral woven hoops, Donut bail pendent, Woven frame pendent and a wonderful Woven link necklace.

The book then moves on to four intermediate projects.... Woven bezel earrings (oh my these are cute), Cross pendent, Inverted donut bail, and Scalloped edge woven bracelet. These projects are so beautifully detailed that it is hard to believe that they are for an intermediate level.

Work in Progress Bracelet
Then on to my favourite section, five Advanced projects. It starts with the amazing Woven bezel pendent (seriously stunning) this even has a seed beaded back option! Then there is the Double diamond woven bracelet, Mirror image bracelet, Twist and turn woven bracelet and then the amazing Double-crossed woven bracelet. The book ends in an outstanding Inspirational Gallery where Lisa talks a little about the designs and shows how they can be changed for different looks, and an About the Author page.

What I really love about this book is how incredibly easy it is to follow. I am a very visual learner and find it a real struggle to follow written instructions alone/at all, so this book is great for me because it is crammed full of easy to follow photos.

Labradorite Woven Bezel Pendent
This is my first attempt at Lisa's Woven bezel pendent and I love it, of course when I got around to the back I got side tracked and ended up doing some thing different, which is another thing I really like about this book, Lisa encourages you to change up the designs and make them your own....

Soldered Heart Back Plate
Overall I thoroughly enjoyed this book and am looking forward to trying some of the other projects!

Wednesday, October 7, 2015

The Journey - Part 3

This is the third in a series of posts titled "The Journey".  I've been sharing the artistic journeys of our AJE team members.

Pacific Crest Trail -  © 2015  by H. Landig
Many of of us have worked in other art mediums.  Some of have been artists our entire adult lives and others of us have come to this path later in life.  Just like you, all of us are continually growing, learning and evolving.

In Part One of the series, we took a look at Karen's, Jen's, Melissa's and Niky's art journeys. Part Two gave us a little history for Lesley, Sue and Rebekah.  Today's post will cover the remaining team members:  Francesca, Caroline, Kristen and myself  (Linda).

Francesca Watson-
Although Francesca is best known for her metalsmithing expertise, she started her jewelry journey with a focus on wire wrapping. I love the fanned out wire in the bail.

This is Francesca's first bezel set pendant. She says, "OMG. Let me count the things that are wrong with it...but I was sooo proud of it at the time!"

And these versatile earrings were Francesca's first attempt at sweat soldering.  She says she wore these all the time...till she lost one of them.  Don't you hate it when that happens!

Kristen Stevens
We all know Kristen for her prowess with seed beads, but from this early picture, you can see that she has tried her hand at a bit of straight forward bead stringing, as well.  The bracelet shown in the lower part of this picture is one of her earliest attempts at seed beading.  She claims she had very limited knowledge at the time she made this.  Uh-hum, wish I could do this, even now!

Caroline Dewison
Caroline started out wanting to do lampwork, but her children kept spending all her money - you know how that goes!  So she looked for other things to do in her kiln. She got herself a bag of clay and the rest is history! This is one of her first ceramic pieces from 2010.

And here's floral bead, also from 2010.  

This picture shows an early iteration of Caroline's wonderful sea urchin beads.

Jenny Davies-Reazor
Jenny was already making and selling beaded earrings, in a local shop, when she was in high school! But her real love became metal. Jenny says, "I found a receipt from my undergrad art school days- sterling was $5/oz! 
 Here are three of Jenny's early college pieces. She states. "The pendant on the right was first semester metals, sweat soldered. The ring, (ocean and phases of the moon), was made purely for me, for fun. I wore it every day for approximately 10+ years. The moonstone pendant was lost wax cast, (in my) third year metals (course). Also for me, not a specific assignment."

After college came full time teaching and concentrating on painting. Metals got left behind. And 20 years ago there weren't torches suitable for apartment use so Jenny turned her attention to ceramics.  Jenny feels that her study of design/metals has informed her work in both beads and mixed media. She adds, "I want to return to the roots and let the solder flow!"

Linda Landig 
I started making jewelry in my 20's during a stressful period in my life.  I wanted to do something fun for myself, to balance the negatives in my life at that time.  I started out metalsmithing.  I made this really ugly belt buckle for my brother, about 2 years later.  He probably gasped in horror when he received it.

When we had children, life became busy.  I eventually sold all my metalsmithing tools and machines (note to self: really bad decision!) and dabbled in some other crafts for awhile.  Around 1998 or so, I wandered into a bead store and was instantly addicted!  I made my mother-in-law a necklace for Christmas and have been hopelessly in love with beads ever since.  These earrings were made around 2002.

My latest gig is an infatuation with clay.  And in a way I feel I've come full circle.  My earliest childhood memory is of being 3 or 4 years old and sitting in, what seemed to me, to be a very high stool (probably a bar stool) in the clay studio of a friend of my mother's. I remember being given clay to play with and now here I am in my 60's playing with clay again.   The sculptor, Evelyn Raymond, was fairly well known in Minnesota in the 1950's.  I found this link to an old newspaper article about her work.
This photo was taken much later, in the 1980's, when my parents took a trip back to Minnesota.
That's Evelyn in the foreground, my mother in the back. 

One of my first stoneware pendants.

That concludes our series on the AJE team's evolution as jewelry artists.  I hope you have enjoyed the journey.

Linda Landig Jewelry


Tuesday, October 6, 2015

We have a winner!

What an amazing response to our giveaway! The entries were counted and after removing a couple of repeats, we had 116 in total. The number generated by was 71...


Congratulations Skylar Bre'z 

We will be in touch soon for your address and have your prize on the way!

Huge thanks to everyone who took part!

The AJE Team.

Monday, October 5, 2015

Falling Waters Retreat with Heather Powers at Allegory Gallery!

A couple of weekends ago, I traveled (the 1 hour!) to Ligonier PA to take a class with Heather Powers.  Andrew Thornton of Allegory Gallery sponsored her workshop entitled Falling Waters Retreat at the Main Event Gallery in Ligonier.  It was a beautiful weekend to be in beautiful Ligonier and to take a fun workshop with a lot of fun people!

The retreat was for 2 days, the first day was making polymer clay canes and beads, and the second day was making jewelry inspired by Falling Water, a Frank Lloyd Wright house near Ligonier.  It was also inspired by Ohiopyle, which is a white water rapids area with water falls as well. 

The first day, we spend conditioning clay and making canes and beads.  The following photos will give you an idea of what we did!

We made three different types of canes, and with those canes, we made some of Heather's better-known beads, like the disc beads you see above.  The next day, we made jewelry with what we created!

We started by making the copper oak leaf you see that was used as a clasp for a necklace.  We made Falling Waters earrings and a necklace using Swelligent metal patina and we made an awesome long necklace with the long tube bead we created.  I'm really please with how the tube bead turned out - however, when I made the hole through the bead, I kind of mangled the inside! But I like it on the outside!

The Gallery was a nice place, with some interesting sculpture on the outside.  There were many more, but here's a few examples.

Heather has a new book coming out in December, you can already pre-order it on Amazon.  A lot of what we did in this retreat was taken from inspiration from her book!  Kind of a sneak peek!

And Andrew always has some great classes going on at Allegory Gallery - if you are in the area, you should definitely go, but even if you aren't, you should check them out!  There may be some classes that you just HAVE to take! 

Susan Kennedy

Sunday, October 4, 2015

Raven: Our Fall Art / Component Theme

An Illustration from Raven Steals the Sun, Moon and Stars, by Bill Reid;
 more of Bill Reid's art can be viewed at The Raven's Call.
"All the world was in darkness… Raven plucked up the ball of light in his beak, flew through the smoke hole in the Sky Chief’s lodge and disappeared into the dark sky. Raven stole the sun from the Sky Chief and gave it to all the people, though his snow-white feathers were burned black by the heat of the sun. And the people looked into the sky in wonder, for they could see the world for the first time, the trees, the rivers, the animals.” ~ Adapted from Raven Steals the Light, Legends of the First Peoples of the Pacific Northwest.
Common Raven, from "Into the Woods".

There is something about the Raven that has long intrigued us human folk. Beautiful blue-black plumage, a majestic ebony bead, and a native high intelligence and evident curiosity, all add up to a creature full of potential for story and mystery.

First, let's define the distinguishing characteristics of a Raven. I for one, was uncertain of the exact differences between ravens and crows:

"A raven is one of several larger-bodied members of the genus Corvus. These species do not form a single taxonomic group within the genus, but share similar characteristics and appearances that generally separate them from other crows. The largest raven species are the common raven and the thick-billed raven." ~ Wikipedia.

From "Ravens vs Crows"

Ravens in Art, Story and Myth

Ravens are depicted in art, story, and myth around the world. I am particularly drawn to native american versions... such as these totem works:

Raven, Hopi Kachina by Glenn Fred.
Haida Creation Story: Raven Opens Oyster Shell to Release the First Humans. Sculpture by Bill Reid.

...and one of my favorite stories:

Raven Steals The Sun, Stars And Moon

In the beginning there was no moon or stars at night. Raven was the most powerful being. He made all of the animals, fish, trees, and men. He had made all living creatures. But they were all living in darkness because he had not made the sun either.

One day. Raven learned that there was a chief living on the banks of the Nass River who had a very wonderful daughter who possessed the sun, the moon, and the stars in carved cedar boxes. The chief guarded her and the treasure well.

Raven knew that he must trick the villagers to steal their treasure, so he decided to turn himself into a grandchild of the great chief. Raven flew up on a tall tree over their house and turned himself into a hemlock needle. Then, as the needle, he fell into the daughter's drinking cup and when she filled it with water, she drank the needle. Inside the chief's daughter, Raven became a baby and the young woman bore a son who was dearly loved by the chief and was given whatever he asked for.

The stars and moon were each in a beautifully carved cedar box which sat on the wood floor of the house. The grandchild, who was actually Raven, wanted to play with them and wouldn't stop crying until the grandfather gave them to him. As soon as he had them Raven threw them up through the smokehole. Instantly, they scattered across the sky. Although the grandfather was unhappy, he loved his grandson too much to punish him for what he had done.

Now that he had tossed the stars and moon out of the smokehole, the little grandson began crying for the box containing the sunlight. He cried and cried and would not stop. He was actually making himself sick because he was crying so much. Finally, the grandfather gave him the box.

Raven played with the box for a long time. Suddenly, he turned himself back into a bird and flew up through the smokehole with the box.

Once he was far away from the village on the Nass River he heard people speaking in the darkness and approached them.

"Who are you and would you like to have light?" he asked them. They said that he was a liar and that no one could give light. To show them that he was telling the truth, Raven opened the ornately carved box and let sunlight into the world. The people were so frightened by it that they fled to every corner of the world. This is why there is Raven's people everywhere.

Now there are stars, the moon and daylight, and it is no longer dark all of the time. 
~ A Native American Creation Story of Raven, Marshal Cultural Atlas.

Ravens of the Tower of London...

One of the earliest legends that connects the Tower with a raven is the tale of the euhemerised mutually destructive battle against the Irish king Matholwch who had mistreated the British princess Branwen. Branwen's brother Bendigeidfran (King of the Britons) ordered his followers to cut off his head and bury it beneath the White Hill (where the Tower now stands) facing out towards France as a talisman to protect Britain from foreign invasion. ~ Wikipedia.
The Ravenmaster of the Tower of London
Ravens who dwell in the Tower of London

Inspiration from the Art Jewelry Elements Team....

Mixed media piece titled after Odin's Ravens by Jenny Davies Reazor

Raven tiles - from the "Mythic Nature" series by Jenny Davies Reazor

Raven bead set by Carline Dewison

Raven pendant by Carline Dewison

Raven necklace by Linda Landig

How to Participate in This Month's Theme Challenge

I invite you to discover how Raven inspires your work in art, beads, or jewelry. That's right, you are not limited to jewelry or beads / components. This is your chance to stretch if you feel so inclined.

For jewelry, you are free to use any artist bead / component in your design:
- From an AJE team member
- Of your own creation
- From another artisan bead maker...

Share / Reveal - Reveal date October 31

If you would like to be included in the blog reveal at month's end, please email Karen at karen (at) Since this is open to all, this is the most efficient way to be included. Emails need to be received by October 29 to be included.

Have fun!