Saturday, August 31, 2013

The August Component of the Month Reveal

Happy Saturday, dear friends! I can't believe we are at the last day of August already...the summer has flown by!

Last month, I created some of my Molten Morsels and sent them to our design team here at AJE, as well as choosing 3 guest participants.


Perri Jackson
Hope Smitherman
Monique Urquhart

AJE Team:

Jennifer Cameron
Jenny Davies-Reazor
Sue Kennedy
Linda Landig
Kristen Stevens
Francesca Watson
Lesley Watt - Unfortunately, Lesley's component decided to take a vacation and hasn't shown up at her house yet :( But you can still go check out her great blog!

and me of course!

Go and look at all the fab creations, ooh and ahh, and show them some love!!!

Friday, August 30, 2013

Bead Fest Friends And Fun

Last year I made a very spontaneous decision to fly across the country, from Washington State to Philadelphia, for the April 2012 Bead Fest.  I had the best time meeting and hanging out with beady Facebook friends that I was meeting for the first time.  Everyone told me that I should come back the next year in August, because that is the larger Bead Fest and I would have the opportunity to meet many more people.  

Having just returned from the August 2013 Bead Fest, I can tell you that I met many more online friends and had the most wonderful time imaginable.  I could go on and on about it, but I'll make sure that my mental editor is in firm control today!

Perhaps this "Sh-h-h" from Diana is a reminder to avoid writing a short novel here!

Before I left, I withdrew my budgeted amount of bead money from the bank.  I figured that if I had the money as cash, I would stay more in control of my spending.  Its just a little too easy to lose track of your spending when using a credit card (I speak from experience at other, smaller bead shows).

I had a few shopping goals in mind.  First and foremost, I wanted to stock up on artisan beads and components.  Secondly I wanted to get some of the more unique, higher-end Czech glass beads and then, if I had time or money left, there were some tools that I hoped to pick up.

I wanted to visit all my friends' booths on Friday, so I could give them big hugs and get first dibs on their creations.  I had told Jenny Davies-Reazor that I would lend a hand in her booth, so I started there. It was so great to meet Art Jewelry Elements team members Jenny, Jennifer, Kristen, Melissa, Karen and Susan for the first time! We talk online all the time, but now I can picture the "real person" when I am reading their posts!

I knew beforehand that I wanted one of Jenny's new Russian nesting doll pendants and I also picked up a delightful house milagro.

Marsha Neal brought me a bag full of goodies.  I was so delighted to meet her for the first time!  We've been Facebook pals for a long time.  I met Staci Klinger-Smith last year, so I gave her a big hug and got some goodies from her booth.  I met Diane Hawkey for the first time and got an assortment of delights from her too.  This is Friday night's loot laid out on my hotel bedspread.

I've already made a pair of earrings with the black ceramic headpins (above) from Marsha Neal.  Come back for the earring reveal this Sunday, to see them.

By 2:00 on Saturday I had blown through almost my whole budget, just on handmade items.  Needless to say, the Czech glass and tools just never happened.  But it was worth it. Handmade beads and components make my world go round.

On Saturday, I chose glass beads from Jennifer Cameron and Sue Kennedy.
Jen - Glass Addictions

Susan - Sue Beads

I indulged my ceramic lust with goodies from Diana Ptaszynski, Jenny Davies-Reazor, Karen Totten.
Diana - Suburban Girl
Jenny - Jenny Davies Reazor
Karen - Starry Road Studio
Gathering all these fantastic beads was wonderful, but I have to say that meeting and getting to know these talented, warm, funny and generous women has been one of the most wonderful experiences of my life.  I feel welcomed and at home in this creative community.  I'll be forever grateful.

Left to right: Sue Kennedy, Linda Landig, Karen Totten, Jen Cameron, Jenny Davies Reazor and Diana Ptaszynski.
(Melissa Meman and  Kristen Stevens came to Bead Fest on Saturday , but weren't present on Sunday when this photo was taken.)

Thursday, August 29, 2013

Folklore Friday - faience of Egyptian amulets

Welcome to the third, and final installment in the Ancient Egyptian amulet series. Today: the material faience. - prized for its intense blues and versatile for its inexpensive, even humble origins... 

I think my interest in faience is twofold. I love clay, and the alchemy of firing and glazing. I am continually inspired by Art History. And that color! I could dive in and get lost. It really resonates with me... 

To the right is William. Have you "Met" him? (Art history humor! Forgive me...) He is a famous piece in the Metropolitan's Egyptian collection. He has his own page in the shop!  How he became a celebrity I do not know - but he IS made of faience... 

The Egyptian word for faience is "tjehnet" meaning "shining, dazzling". Archaeological evidence dates the use of faience to as early as 3500 BCE. It was developed as a substitute for lapis lazuli and was used for beads, amulets, statuettes, bowls... 
Vessels, a shabti figure*, and a beaded netted collar

Comprised of finely ground quartz, lime, copper oxide, water, and a binder/gum arabic - this was a recipe of common ingredients, easily sourced in the area. The materials are mixed with water to form a paste, them molded or modeled and fired when dry. The paste is thixotropic - and hard to work with as it is much less plastic and malleable than clay. The interesting thing about this material ... it is self glazing!  The term is "efflorescence of glazing" - glaze materials ( water soluble alkali salts) are mixed with quartz. As the water evaporates, the salts migrate to the surface, recrystallizing on the surface. When fired= glaze. 

Knowing that - take a look at the detail in these amulets of Egyptian deities: 

In my research recently I have found recipes and may attempt mixing up a batch of Egyptian paste in the fall when I return to the Ceramics studio /classroom on my regular schedule. In the past I have used "Egyptian Paste" from art suppliers like Dick Blick. (At the writing of this article, I could not find this prepared version for sale. Recipes for making  from scratch are readily available with a Google search.)

 Its like trying to sculpt peanut butter - the consistency is so gooey! As per the ancient methods - I found bisqued ceramic molds the most user friendly: they are porous, and absorb moisture quickly, allowing the molded paste to release, and drop out easily.

The challenge is patience. The paste is best left alone... as the crystals form on the surface as the piece dries. Sometimes patience is tough... Shown here are a few samples done when researching this material.

I love the colors and the history of the materials. For all its quirks - I do think I am inspired to give it another go!

Thanks for following this exploration! I would love to hear what you think... 

Until next time - 


*The ushabti was a funerary figurine used in Ancient Egypt. Ushabtis were placed in tombs among the grave goods and were intended to act as substitutes for the deceased, should he/she be called upon to do manual labor in the afterlife. They were used from the Middle Kingdom (around 1900 BC) until the end of the Ptolemaic Period nearly 2000 years later.

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

BeadFest Hangover and Eye Candy!!!!

Sue, Linda, Karen, Jennifer, Jenny and Diana
I know we have been talking about Beadfest a lot but let me assure you it is totally worth it!  Not only are you surrounded by beads of all shapes, sizes, and mediums, it is also pretty much a love and fun fest!  Meeting friends from FB or Blogging for the first time, Seeing friends from the previous year, all the amazing designers you have admired, basically it is paradise!  I can not tell you what it feels like when you are there because both times I have gone I have been in a complete and total bead haze.  Which I thought would not happen this year but yeah it is totally unavoidable!
I have to tell you I was in such a haze that I did not take any pictures.  I feel very bad about that because these amazing women were there and I am so proud to be a part of the team! 

I do however have some eye candy for you!!!!

Met Amy Blevins of Bead and Glass Boutique to finally get my destash stuffs!

Gorgeousness I have been fondling!!!!

Jenny Davies Reazor yummies

Mary of White Clover Kiln I didn't get any of hers last year so this was my first stop!

Karen Totten components that just speak volumes to me!

Diana's gorgeous medallion

Jan of Molten Mayhems newest bubbles and an oh so special fishy!

Staci Klinger Smith's amazing metal clay!!!

Jennifer's gorgeous lampwork!!  I had to have another Nightmare Insomnia bead and I won the tube bead at the swap oh and I practically begged for the red focal!!!!

My swap goodies from Heather Marston

My goodies from Beyond Beadery!
So there you have it.  Did you get any treasures?  Feel free to share them on our Facebook page!


Tuesday, August 27, 2013


As hard as it is to believe, the end of 2013 is right around the corner... and it turns out I'm already behind the curve in planning for 2014. How is that possible?? I've been working on updating my teaching outlines for next year, trying to figure out what workshops I want to offer and what techniques I need to concentrate on fine tuning in the next few months.

In the course of making those lists, I realized that I really have been a little too indulgent of my "magpie" tendencies this year. One of the good things about working in an art studio is that you are constantly exposed to new ideas and techniques... and one of the bad things about working in an art studio is that you are constantly exposed to new ideas and techniques! In talking over my plans for the coming year with a good friend, it became clear that I need to spend some time focusing on the "girl that brought me" - the thing that attracted me to jewelry-making in the first place: metal.

So I've spent some time drooling over researching metalwork over the last couple of weeks, soaking up inspiration in preparation for my upcoming Metal Retreat in Trout Lake, Washington (there's one spot left!!), and remembering why I fell in love with metal in the first place.

In addition to the Metal Retreat, I'm taking a class with Richard Salley in October (sooooooo excited!!) and I'm seriously looking at ways to get back to basics. What about you? How are you planning for 2014?

* * * * * * * * * * *

Congratulations to our guest designers for the September Component of the Month! Each designer will receive one of Lesley Watts' gorgeous "seed pods" to play with. And the winners are...

Claire Lockwood
Cate of Fulgorine
Erin Prais-Hintz

Check back at the end of September to see what they do with Lesley's wonderful components!

Until next time -

Monday, August 26, 2013

Silhouette Cameo Class with Wanaree Tanner

A couple of weeks ago I was lucky enough to take part in a Silhouette Cameo Class with Wanaree Tanner at a wonderful place in my area called The Ranch Center for Arts and Crafts.

It was quite an intense class but so much fun!!
Wanaree is a wonderful and generous teacher and a whole lotta fun!!

I wasn't feeling well that weekend so didn't take as many photos as usual but here are a few of my pieces in process.

This was on the second day, I had attached the bail and it was drying.
Very close to being ready for the kiln!

Another view.

Here is a picture showing the beautiful stone I was going to set in this piece.

Me playing with scratch foam, love that stuff!!

Class picture!

Here's the finished piece. I'm still debating if I want to leave it shiny or give it some patina.
What do you think?


Sunday, August 25, 2013

Bead Fest!

Okay so I'm having so much fun at Bead Fest I don't have time to write a long blog post. Yet. So instead I will share lots of pictures. I took way more than these but they disappeared off my camera. Boo! But I have some that survived, plus photos taken by Bead Fest buddies... Enjoy!

Amy, me, Genea, Staci, and um... I think we got photo-bombed by Nancy Adams!

My booth

Diana P, Genea Crivello-Knable , Diane Hawkins, Staci K. Smith, Linda Landig

Staci's booth

Some of the AJE crew.

ParTAY on the patio

Diana P's booth

Staci Smith and Amy Tayler Freeland

Our awesome AJE postcards!

Genea, Lori Anderson, Staci

Staci's booth

Jenny Davies-Reazor and her booth

Staci and Genea and their amazing banners 
Bead Swap!

Genea's booth

Ricky Crivello Knable, me, Genea, and Staci at dinner

the awesome Diana P. and her dashing hubs Colin

Genea, Marsha Neal, Staci

more staci's booth

more staci's booth

Nellie's WoolyWire booth

Jewelry in Jen Cameron's booth - yum!

My booth

Diana and Melinda 

Jen Cameron at her booth

Melinda conducting the Artisan Whimsy giveaway

Amy and Genea

Me and Genea