Monday, May 26, 2014

The Creative Continuum of 7 artists - May reveal: Seasons

If you're looking for the Bead Soup Blog Party #8 - please click here!

Welcome to a new CC7A - the lovely group of 7 artist friends who are creating on a given theme each month, with someone's choice of beads.

This month I am hosting the party, one that reflects upon and celebrates 'Seasons'. Weather-like seasons or personal seasons :)

We had to work with gemstone cabs and a strand of gemstone beads - mine was an Amazonite group and I have to tell you upfront, I don't recall who received what, so it'll be a surprise for all of us.

I kept the amazonite because of the colour - it is one of my favourite: a light blue, the colour of water, sky, and - for me - happiness. The season I chose is spring, the season I used to love the most (I still love it, but here, in Canada you never really know when it's spring, it always seems to jump from winter directly to summer :) ).

I won't lie, I almost not posted (again!) - I had one design in mind, and that design meant I had to get to the studio in Hamilton... as luck would have it, the entire week something happened on the day I wanted to go until there was no more time! Now what?!

I sat today looking at my cab and asking for help from any higher power there might be. You know how some beautiful things can be born out of necessity?! Well, that was me last night. At 11 pm (yes, you read it right) I picked the cab and the strand of beads and sat at my improvised 'working desk' in the living room. An hour later I was ready to take pictures (and most of the time had been used to make the actual necklace, not the pendant! I kind of dislike knotting now :) ) and here is what I am ready to present you:

The Waterfall:

CC7A May: The Waterfall ~ amazonite, ooak necklace, wire wrapped :: All Pretty Things

I've been seeing this type of wire wrapping for a long time, and wished to try it... no time like 'now' - I tried it and I love it! I have to figure a couple of things out, but for a first try I am pretty pleased with how it came out.

CC7A May: The Waterfall ~ amazonite, ooak necklace, wire wrapped :: All Pretty Things

I still need to add the clasp, it was way to late at midnight to hammer wire :) it'll have to wait until daylight.

CC7A May: The Waterfall ~ amazonite, ooak necklace, wire wrapped :: All Pretty Things

Originally I was worried about this design, I thought it'll cover too much of the stone. Now I like how the swirls add some character to the stone, without taking away its beauty. I believe this design is better than what I originally had in mind ~ but I'll still want to try my original design... I have to chose another cab and try.

Thank you for stopping by today - and please make sure you visit everyone else as well, can't wait to see what they have created!

Alicia Marinache (May host) <- you are here

Sunday, May 18, 2014

The Creative Continuum of 7 Artists - May preview

If you're looking for the Bead Soup Blog Party #8 - please click here!

Welcome to a new CC7A - the lovely group of 7 artist friends who are creating on a given theme each month, with someone's choice of beads.

There are no hard rules - we 'met' late fall and sent each other a package of goodies, and as they all came around December, it felt like Christmas every day when a new package would arrive!

I missed April, I will post in a few days my 'Lucy in the sky with diamonds' creation, based on Therese's choice of beads (her own diacritic glass cab and an assortment of lovely beads). April has been a crazy, crazy month for me: the school has piled a lot, then Easter, then our first competition of the season... by the last day of April my body had enough and it told me in no questionable terms. Hence I spent the following week mostly resting and taking it very, very, *very* easy. I still am on a lower speed than my usual Formula One :) And that's why I am behind with a few tasks (but I did my taxes in time!).

Anyhow... I am hosting the CC7A in May! And since my laptop decided to take a break too, it has been completely wiped a couple of weeks ago (on purpose, by my skillful hubby). I thought I backed-up everything, but I cannot find the pictures I took of my packages. Truth be spoken ~ I cannot remember if I took them off the camera back in November... Oh, well... It's a pity, because I loved the combinations, and I also made the boxes myself, from Christmas cards. Hopefully one of my lovely friends took a picture for me :)

This is (partially) what went out: a cab of green moss agate (not pictured), pink quartz, picture jasper, and amazonite, along a strand of the same beads in 8 mm (I believe). All from Robert Hall Originals, a local shop and much more than a shop (lapidary studio and what not). I bought them at the Gemstone and Rock Show, back in September - we have 2 close by, one in April, one in September and I love both.

Please come back in a week - next Monday it is the 5th reveal of the CC7A adventure.

Saturday, May 17, 2014

Focus on Life: playing catch-up Weeks 15 through 20

If you're looking for the Bead Soup Blog Party #8 - please click here!

Sally Russick of The Studio Sublime is hosting the 2nd year of 'Focusing on Life'; for 2014 Sally is providing a monthly theme, with a more fine-grained focus each week of the month.

I had a crazy April and so far May too - so my last submission has been week 14. Back then we were still in April, focusing on moments.

I did lots of focusing, really, as the following week I had 2 presentations, 1 project, 1 assignment, and 2 reports due :) That was on the school-side. Not counting the fact Easter was approaching and the house needed some cleaning and the kitchen needed baking and cooking and egg colouring and... Well, you know how it goes.

So back to focusing.

Week 15: A moment of focus

Week 15: A moment of focus ~ Focus on traditions and Light :: All Pretty Things

With the Easter fast approaching - that was my primary focus. The Light. I love Easter, it is by far my favourite religious Holy day. I had an interesting philosophical conversation with William: what is more important, Christmas or Easter? For us, as Orthodox Christians, the main focus is always on Easter. Yes, we need Christmas (Nativity) for all to follow, but Easter (Resurrection) is what defines us. So we focused simply on the Light that was brought to us. And what you see there is the Light brought from church the night of Easter. There are no candles lit before midnight, at midnight everybody gets outside the church, in the cool night. The priest is the last to come out of the church, and he brings The Light outside, the message of Christ's Resurrection in the symbolic lit candle. The closest person to him light their own candle from the main one (and one from another after that) until everybody holds a lit candle in their hand. The sermon is being held outdoors, and after a short procession around the church we can now all enter the church, bringing the special message "Christ is risen!" with the answer "Truly, He is risen!".

Week 16: A moment best captured in black and white

Week 16: A moment best captured in black and white ~ Lucky, our chocolate lab :: All Pretty Things

Our chocolate lab, Lucky. She's a true lady in this picture - I am happy she let me take it (she's not camera shy, but she doesn't like to pose, like our 2 German Shepherds before her!). Isn't she adorable?

Week 17: Evening moments

Week 17: Evening moments ~ a boy and his dog :: All Pretty Things

From the 'A boy and his dog' series: this is a true evening moment: William watching something on TV before bed, with his hand on the above-mentioned dog :)

That concludes the 'Moments' month, April.

For May Sally picked the 'In, At, and About' theme.

We start with Week 18: In your (their) hands

Week 18: In your (their) hands ~ William handling Egyptian artifacts at the ROM :: All Pretty Things

First in their hands: we went on a school trip at the ROM (Royal Ontario Museum) with both Grade 5 classes. The focus of the trip was Ancient civilizations and the trip had 3 parts: about 2 hours of roaming freely through the museum, then 1 hour in a lab, working on Egyptian artifacts, and 1 hour with a guide, in the Egyptian exhibit. The picture is not very good, but it shows that their hands truly touched antique Egyptian artifacts. William has gloves on, holding a miniature statue of a god of some sort (you can't keep up with Egyptian gods!). They had artifacts from 2,000 to over 6,000 years old. And they got to touch them, to study them, to analyse and try to figure what they were for. I couldn't help but sigh at the idea of having such an opportunity so young!

Week 18: In your (their) hands ~ home made cheerful flower arrangement, smiley mug :: All Pretty Things

And this is in my hands :) Yesterday I had enough of this horrible weather (it's grey and cold) and I was thinking to order myself a cheerful flower arrangement. Then I stopped and thought - why?! Went to the market (the farmer's market is open!!), bought 2 bouquets: one with yellow mums, one with white mums. I looked for a red tulip or rose, but I couldn't find any. Came home, and with half of the flowers I made myself what you see. At a fraction of the cost and as cheerful (even more cheerful, since I saved tons of money :) ) as the wan I wanted to order originally. I promised myself to keep this activity (making myself cheerful arrangements) going as long as possible. And if you wonder, I made another similar arrangement with the rest of the flowers, but the effect is not the same - one needs the smiley mug for this to work perfectly :)

Week 19: Good things inside

Week 19: Good things inside ~ the dragon fruit :: All Pretty Things

We recently bought a dragon fruit. It was adorable on the outside: the bright pink with a very bold green. But when I cut it - I couldn't believe my eyes how beautiful it was!! And yummy too. Hence - good things inside :)

Update: The dragon fruit tastes good. It is a watery fruit, the feel of watermelon a little bit, but way, way, way more sweet than watermelon. Cold it's better than at room temperature (just like watermelon too).

Week 20: The view about the ground

Focus on life, Week 20: The view about the ground ~ salad and herbs :: All Pretty Things

Focus on life, Week 20: The view about the ground ~ veggie garden: tomatoes, peppers, herbs, flowers, rose, lavender, blueberries :: All Pretty Things

Last week, we got sick with some sort of a virus: both William and I spent Mother's Day and the next one in bed, watching movies. We filed it under 'fun' :) Right before, though, on Saturday, we had a splendid spring day and we managed to clean our veggie patch, add some new soil and plant it. If they didn't freeze last night, we will have tomatoes, onions, peppers, and salad. Plus the usual herbs. And blueberries / raspberries. Looking forward to late summer :)

Thank you for stopping by - and sorry for a longer post... hopefully I'll get back into the weekly rhythm now.

Saturday, May 10, 2014

Bead Soup Blog Party # 8 - the day is here!

Welcome to yet another Bead Soup Blog Party! #8 to be exact :)

BSBP is one of the few blogosphere events I try to participate every they are hosted. Lori Anderson of Pretty Things is a lovely artist who takes on this herculean task of hosting the parties, now once a year. They are humongous parties, I forgot the number of participants this year, but it's somewhere close to 500. Trust me, that's a lot of work to organize! So a big Thank You! from the start to Lori.

My partner this time is Penny Neville of Copper Penny Designs, from Alberta - a fellow Canadian. Not only that, she sent me mostly Canadian art beads, and it was a true pleasure to work with her 'soup' ingredients.

I'll keep it short -this is my original soup, for more details on it please check a previous post, right here.

Soup ingredients from Penny Neville of Copper Penny Designs: focal by Marie-Noel Voyer-Cramp of Skye Jewels, polymer clay by Elaine Robataille, a little mushroom by Bubly and McGurk Beads, lampwork by Ericabeads, a lovely copper toggle and button, Czech glass leaves, faceted jade, pearls, lucite :: All Pretty Things

A lovely colour mix and a gorgeous bead mix all together. I have been stumped for a little bit, I am always stumped by lucite, and how to showcase them the right way. At first I wanted to incorporate everything in one piece. But the piece itself had a mind of its own and took a different approach :)

I started from metal: using copper washers, soldered them together, textured them, soldered them again (nothing like a good hammering to find out if your piece is holding itself together!), buffed, shined, and flame coloured the base.

Base for the Childhood memories garden: copper washers, metalsmith, colour with flame :: All Pretty Things

Hubby saw it and said "It's perfect like this"... hmm... but I still have stuff to add, now what?!

After a few days of keeping it on my desk and watching it carefully, I started to add more elements. Not too many, though, I didn't want to cover it anymore :) I am silly, I know.

I used the pearls for the flowers 'stamina' and 2 of the polymer clay beauties to connect the focal.

Childhood memories garden: ooak necklace detail ~ copper washers base, focal by Marie-Noel Voyer-Cramp of Skye Jewels, polymer clay by Elaine Robataille, pearls, lucite :: All Pretty Things

A new question presented itself: how to hang all this? As I am allergic to base metals, for me it's out of question to use copper or anything else other than silver or gold on the skin. That's why my neck-pieces are either thread-based, or fabric covered. As luck will have it, I found the perfect element: a piece of velvet from a costume I wore when I was very young!

Childhood memories garden: ooak necklace ~ copper washers base, focal by Marie-Noel Voyer-Cramp of Skye Jewels, polymer clay by Elaine Robataille, pearls, lucite, vintage velvet ribbon :: All Pretty Things

Perfect colour match, isn't it?! And a lovely childhood memory at the same time. Can you spell perfection?

I decided to name it 'Childhood memories garden' and I'm very happy with it :)

But that was only the focal! I still needed to use the clasp. Oh, my. Originally, I knotted the round and faceted beads on the Irish wax linen, thinking that will be my neck piece. But it didn't match the main piece anymore... and it was too short to use it as a necklace... so it became:

Wrap bracelet: copper toggle clasp, Irish wax linen, faceted jade, stone :: All Pretty Things

A wrap bracelet! My first one - and I do love wrap bracelets to pieces. So much so that since I decided it stays a bracelet I've wore it every single day. Love it!

The upside? If I find another toggle identical to this, I can transform it into a necklace - I'll show you when I'm done :)

This is my (short version of the) story and I'm definitely sticking to it :) More details can be seen in the slideshow below - enjoy!

First and foremost: thank you to Lori for organizing this wonderful event! I learn a lot, and I have tons of fun :)

Thank you to my lovely partner - I still have lots of ingredients to work with, and some ideas of earrings and bracelets to complete the 2 pieces done so far. Thank you, Penny, it has been a wonderful experience, and I'm looking forward to seeing what you created too :)

And last, but not least, thank you to all who visit and leave a note. I am honoured to have you stop by!

For a complete list of participants, please check Lori's post: Bead Soup Blog Party #8 - Participants list