Thursday, August 10, 2017

August Art Bead Scene Challenge

Ceramic leaf necklace by BayMoonDesign

watercolor Twelve Princesses on the Way to the Dance by Nieslen

Twelve Princesses on the Way to the Dance
Kay Nieslen
Published in 1923
Watercolor and ink

Twelve Princesses on the Way to the Dance by Kay Nieslen is a watercolor and ink that I love and it is August's Art Bead Scene Challenge inspiration piece. There are so many different elements to focus on in it  First and foremost being a retired children's librarian, I am fascinated by how this work delves into the realms of fairy tales. 

When trying to focus on some elements, Heather Powers sums up many of the choices with the following series of questions:
"Will you pull from the opulent patterns of the dresses? Play with silk ribbon and floral beads inspired by the Princesses? Will you explore the repetitive elements of the tall trees using wire or gather beads mimicking the branches and leaves cascading down from the forest canopy? 
Will you mix the dark tones of black and grey with the pastel tones of peach, coral, lavender, greens and warm cream hues?"

color palette for watercolor Twelve Princesses on the Way to the Dance by Nieslen
August Palette
I focused on the tall trees.  I noticed the contrast in shades of dark and light.  I selected the dark tones of brown, black, and gray and contrasted them with warm tones of green, cream, golden yellow.  I also mimicked  the straight lines of the trees by using agate spike beads.

ceramic leaf necklace by BayMoonDesign
Ceramic Leaf Necklace by BayMoonDesign

 I love the creamy ceramic leaf shaped ceramics.  Unfortunately, these art beads had been hoarded so long that the artisan who make them is no longer with us.  I used the largest of the leaves as the focal. Moss green and brown agate spikes in addition to round light brown jasper beads are found in this necklace.  I had some creamy yellow ceramic beads that I added to lighten up the necklace.  I made the brass clasp which reminds me of the sun.   This  necklace is 18 inches around.

I am happy to say that this necklace sold already.  It was one of those sales that you know you are going to make from the first moment you spot the customer.  I watched the woman smile and walk to the necklace.  She immediately put it on, admired it in the mirror, and bought it.  I could tell it was going to a loving home so I smiled too. 

 I have many other pieces of jewelry for sale in my BayMoonDesign store.  Stop by for a look!

Thursday, August 3, 2017

It's a Bee Thing

photo of bee
photo credit ::

Bees are considered extremely auspicious throughout the world. They have played an important part in symbolism since Ancient times. I have been collecting bee beads and using them in my jewelry because of their symbolism.

The list of virtues of the bee is very long. They have been considered to be messengers carrying news to the spirit world in many cultures. Bees represent wisdom and immortality. Bees symbolize love and also fidelity. They represent productivity and industry. They produce beeswax and honey which are golden. Gold and the golden color have always been related to wealth. Bees were believed to have knowledge of the future and secret matters.

photo of bee
Photo by Dominik Scythe on Unsplash
I did some research on fall trends for 2017 to get some ideas on what to add to my jewelry collection.  I found that leather jewelry is going to be popular once again.  I decided to go with the leather trend and make some leather bracelets.  I wanted a set of bracelet that can be worn separately or together.  To be worn together, a theme and color scheme is needed.

I decided to go with the theme of bees.  Bees are the true source of very positive symbolism. Bees represents such fine moral qualities as hard work, diligence, wisdom, spirituality, humility, modesty,  communication as well as physical and spiritual cleanliness.  Bumblebees are considered to be beneficial insects because they pollinate crops and plants. The tiny bee is essential for our very existence.  I also decided to go with a yellow, orange, and black color scheme. These are great colors for the fall. They also works with the beads that I decided to use.

Bee bracelet by BayMoonDesign
Beehive Bracelet by BayMoonDesign

I designed these earthy leather and bead bracelets to have a side clasp. In addition to the enameled flower, ceramic bee, lamp work bee hive, and assorted ceramic beads, I used in my 3 bead connectors for each bracelet I used: 

7 inches of heavy sterling silver wire
14 inches of 1.5 mm black leather
2 end caps
1- 7mm jump ring
1 – 9mm lobster clasp
Round nosed pliers
Wire cutters
Chain nose pliers

First, I created beaded connectors, which requires some simple wire-wrapping. About 3 inches down along the wire, bend it slightly to the left, then wrap it over the right side of your round pliers, forming a loop. Then, take the tail end and wrap it a couple times around the main part of the wire. Cut off the excess tail with wire cutters.

Add your beads, and repeat the process to form a loop on the other side. A few mm from the bead, create a loop, and wrap it around the main part of the wire until it fills the space between the loop and bead. Trim off the excess wire.

My connectors are about 1.75 inches long, which is a good size for a bracelet. I wouldn’t go any longer than 2 inches.
I spent some time looking at various leathers and I decided to go with 2mm leather cord because I wanted the leather cord substantial enough for a bracelet yet not too bulky when worn with other bracelets. I tried a new company to me Plessmann Endless Leather. It is located in Germany. They are a supplier with the largest choice of leather cords and leather laces worldwide. They have more than 2000 different leather cords at wholesale prices online. Braided bola cords, finest stitched and braided, nappa cords, cords made of finest salmon leather, suede, printed leather, exotic leather lace and much more and in a huge selection of colors. They also have a the selection of jewelry findings that you can select for their leather. I often find one shop has the leather, but they don't have the findings. I love that they have both.

I used one of the black Plessmann Endless leather cords and I threaded the leather cord through one loop, and tied it tightly in an overhand knot. You will lose a little bit of length tying your knot – but trim up your ends evenly so that you have about a 6-inch length of leather cord. Combined with the beaded connector you made, you will end up with a bracelet length of roughly 7 inches.
Finally, twist open a jump ring and connect a lobster clasp to the two holes in your end clasps. The lobster clasp will connect directly to the loop in your beaded connector.
Bee bracelet by BayMoonDesign
Set of bee bracelets by BayMoonDesign

I followed the same directions for this flower and bee bracelet.  I used some more of the black leather cord.  The orange and gray flower is enameled by 

Bee bracelet by BayMoonDesign
1 of 3 leather bracelets by BayMoonDesign

For the third bracelet, I used a luscious orange leather cord, with ceramic beads. 

Bee bracelets by BayMoonDesign
Bee bracelets by BayMoonDesign

I like each bracelet individually. but I love them together.  If you love them, they are available for purchase in my online shop.

photo of bee with flower
Photo by Dixit Motiwala on Unsplash
What are your thoughts on the trio of bracelets and bees?

Thursday, July 27, 2017

Some of My Favorite Birds

I have loved watching birds for decades and I have several favorites--the hummingbird and cardinal are at the top of my list.

Hummingbirds are the subject of much conjecture this summer. These tiny birds are among the smallest of birds and are between 3 and 5 inches in length. There is a rumor in my area and possibly yours that there are less hummingbirds this summer. I did a brief search on the Internet (non Scientific articles only) and found no evidence to support this theory. My small number of serious birder friends agree that there are less hummingbirds this year and offer a variety of explanations which range from chemicals used on lawns to control mosquitoes to a decline in the bee population.  Who knows?

In the wild, hummingbirds visit flowers for food, extracting nectar, which is 55% sucrose, 24% glucose and 21% fructose on a dry-matter basis. Hummingbirds also take sugar-water from bird feeders. I have a number of friends with hummingbird feeders. Such feeders allow people to observe and enjoy hummingbirds up close while providing the birds with a reliable source of energy, especially when flower blossoms are less abundant. This is a win win for hummingbird fans. A negative aspect of artificial feeders, however, is that the birds may seek less flower nectar for food, so reduce the amount of pollination their feeding naturally provides.

I just learned that one way to increase the number of hummers feeding in your yard is to have a fruit feeder or two nearby the nectar feeders. Using overripe fruit like bananas or peaches attracts fruit flies. Once the birds realize that the fruit is attracting insects, they will fly over to the fruit feeder and eat those tiny insects. In a few hours time a new generation of fruit flies replaces those previously eaten by the hummers. In this way, you can provide both the nectar and insects they need to thrive and keep them around longer. Otherwise, off they go, away from your feeders looking for insects in the wild. Some folks who really want to attract hummingbirds may want to try this. I will not. I absolutely hate fruit flies which hover around my wine for months. I am so paranoid about this I am considering not having any fruit in my house this summer and keeping the windows closed until the first frost.  

Photo of cardinal bird by Nathan Anderson on Unsplash
Photo by Nathan Anderson on Unsplash

My other favorite bird is the cardinal.  No matter how many times I spot one, I always get excited.  They are robust, seed-eating birds with strong bills. The family ranges in size from 4 to7 inches.  They are typically associated with open woodland.   The northern cardinal is so well loved that it has been named the official bird of seven U.S. states. Bright red cardinals are easily identified by even casual bird watchers. They are often seen frequenting backyards and bird feeders. When foraging elsewhere the birds eat insects, seeds, grain, fruit, and sap. Cardinals do not migrate and have traditionally been more common in warmer climes such as the U.S. southeast.  In recent decades they have expanded their common range north through the United States and even into Canada. This population growth may be due to an increase in winter birdfeeders and to the bird's ability to adapt to parks and suburban human habitats.  Even though I don't feed cardinals, I see numbers in my wooded backyard and neighborhood.

Red Cardinal Bracelet by BayMoonDesign

I want to share with you a bird related project of mine.  This winter I spotted a tin can on eBay that had a number of birds on it.  One of the birds was a cardinal so I knew that I had to have this can.  It arrived and I promptly transformed it from a cylinder to a flat surface with some heavy duty shears while wearing gloves.  I invested in a disc cutter and proceeded to make a few disks.  My first disk was the cardinal.  This red cardinal bracelet was handmade using one of the beautiful vintage tin scenes.   Cardinal bracelet comes with a vintage recycled leather button and leather clasp. The leather button comes from a jacket that I wore decades ago.  I loved the buttons so much that I cut them off the jacket and hoarded them.  The bracelet has red colored natural Irish waxed linen thread woven through to add a pop of color. This handmade cardinal jewelry is wearable art that makes a special art gift for you or a friend who is a nature or bird lover.  It is available on in my online store for purchase.

 Bird Connector by BayMoonDesign
I also made a few disks for other jewelry designers to create with.  They are available in my online store.

Blue Bird Connector by BayMoonDesign

I still have lots of the tin can left so check my online store periodically to see what I have to offer.

I am wondering what your favorite bird is and if you have a hummingbird theory.

Friday, July 21, 2017

We're All Ears July Challenge

                                                 Bach, JS: Toccata and Fugue in D minor
animated score by Andy Fillebrown

The We're All Ears challenge for July 2017 is to find a piece of music with a graphical notation or animated score from either Andy Fillebrown or Stephen Malinowski. They each have dozens and dozens to choose from - or any other artist. Then represent that in a pair of earrings. 

I really enjoyed listening to a wide variety of music and watching  3D music animations with notes passing all around and lighting up. I ended up selecting a piece of music composed by Johann Sebastian Bach in the 18th century--Toccata and Fugue in D minor.

Long Orange Earrings by BayMoonDesign
Long Orange Earrings by BayMoonDesign
The colors and linear movement in the animation inspired these carnelian earrings.  I paired orange ceramics and carnelian beads with copper to capture the orange colors. I then used copper head pins to get the linear movement. These long orange earrings have a modern and contemporary look. If you are looking for edgy orange jewelry these are a great fall choice. These long orange earrings dangle about 2.5 inches and have great movement just like the musical animation.  They are available for purchase in my BayMoonDesign online store.