Art Elements Design Challenge and Blog Hop - Sunflowers

I admit it. When I saw Susan's post for the June Design Challenge on Art Elements with the theme "Sunflowers", I thought I got this, but alas, I have been living together with myself for 53 years now and still know so little *sigh* Yes, of course there were some things that got in the way, life tends to be like that, but I really should have known that I would harbor ideas, tucked away neatly in my brain until shortly before the reveal - but I made it.

A few weeks ago I mentioned the sunflowers here that I used to have as a teenager. Since we didn't have a real garden, I only had a little spot. As I am also blessed with what I like to call ten black thumbs, all of them left with me being right-handed, plants don't really stand a chance around me. These few sunflowers, however, did their very best in a probably not so perfect spot. The highest one was around 30 inch, I'd guess, but the others were much smaller. The end of it was a last tiny flower, more like 5 inch. When a friend of my little brother's pulled it out, I became, well, let's say, a little harsh (just words, no violence). He was a natural at crying, though (that's putting it nicely), not so small anymore, and I had warned him before. When I met him decades later, he didn't seem to be too traumatized to talk with me at all, so I would say we both got over it ;-)

So that was one inspiration, the other one was obviously the first picture in the challenge post, Van Gogh's sunflower painting or should I say one of them?
"“The public is hardly aware that Van Gogh created a series of paintings of sunflowers,” says Leo Jansen, a curator at the Van Gogh Museum and editor of the artist’s letters. “For nine out of 10 people I tell, it’s news.”" This is from a BBC article about the "unknown history" behind the sunflower paintings. Yup, another thing to admit, I would have been one of those nine people. In fact I never really thought about it because - and please remember now that the perception of art is different for each person - I'm not that much of a fan. I have seen one of Van Gogh's sunflower paintings at the National Gallery in London and it didn't become a favorite of mine.
How did it become an inspiration for my piece anyway then?

What I knew first was that I wanted to bead the flowers. I had made a beaded sunflower for another challenge once using a mahogany obsidian cab in the center, but hadn't been completely happy with the petals, so I finally ripped it up again. I had also crocheted a large sunflower from wire and beads before.
This time I wanted something different, more delicate which was a good decision considering I started so late. I looked around for chessboard crystals as centers, but didn't find any brown ones, so went for rivolis instead. I beaded two blossoms and two leaves - not as easy for me as it sounds because I hardly ever bead off loom - but now what?
Put them on a bracelet? Or make them into a pair of earrings which I had actually been one of my very first plans? At least add another leaf because I blatantly ignored the rule of the uneven number (just like Van Gogh did in some of his paintings, by the way!) and turn it into a pin?
None of those because I suddenly had a different idea which was probably really triggered by me looking at the Van Gogh paintings, even if I hadn't been aware of it. A vase. A beaded vase, though? No, I didn't have an idea how to do that best, and time was running out for experimenting.
Wire. Of course. Woven wire. With some texture to it. A tad of three-dimensional feeling.
Here you go. I did it. One day before the reveal. And I like it. Something to keep in mind for future playing. Different flowers? Bigger? Oxidized copper or a different wire? Time will tell!

Hopefully Art Elements is going to let me participate again next time, and this time I'll start earli.... forget it, I know I won't. Maybe I need that pressure, who knows? ;-) I can dream, though, right?

Now to all the other participants of this challenge. I'm already looking forward to going through their posts with oohs and aahs, why don't you, too? :-D


Alysen - Anita - Cat (c'est moi) - Divya - Jill - Kathy - Linda - Linda - Mischelle - Norma - Raven - Sarajo - Tammy

AE Team Members

Caroline - Cathy - Claire - Jenny - Laney - Lesley - Sue


Oldies but Goodies - Frogs

Not far from here there's a small lake in the woods. I used to go there rather often, first as a child with my family, later also with friends. It was quiet and very nice in the summer. You could watch the fish, see dragonflies, there was a little playground with a wooden train etc. and we also walked around the lake.
From the small parking lot you walked a path downhill to get to the lake.
One time the upper part of that path was full of tiny frogs. Honestly, I have never before and never again seen so many frogs in one place. We had to walk very carefully, so we wouldn't step on one. Actually I wasn't interested in the lake that much anymore. I would have just wanted to stay there and look at the frogs making their way from one side of the path to the other. I have no idea where exactly they wanted to go because they were not headed for the lake, but I hoped it wouldn't be the road that went through the forest to the next village.
It must have been 40 years ago or even longer because I was a child, but to this day I'm hoping as many as possible made it to their destination to live happily ever after or possibly get kissed by a princess ;-)

Frogs were the topic for our new Jewelry Artisans Community Oldies but Goodies Challenge, but only two of our members stepped up and had something to share this time. I love each single piece just as much as I love little froggies!

1 2 Fab Fristers
2/3/4 Jewelry Art by Dawn


Oldies but Goodies - Monochromatic

This week's topic for the Jewelry Artisans Community Oldies but Goodies Challenge is monochromatic.
Let me head over to Wikipedia very quickly, just a moment .... here we go.
Monochrome describes paintings, drawings, design, or photographs in one color or values of one color. A monochromatic object or image reflects colors in shades of limited colors or hues. Images using only shades of grey (with or without black or white) are called grayscale or black-and-white.

The entries tried to come as close as possible, but you obviously have to allow for findings, bezels etc.
It would be fun to design a completely monochromatic beaded piece for example, though ....

1/5/9 Cat's Wire
2 and 4 MC Stoneworks
3 and 7 Jewelry Art by Dawn
6 and 8 RioRita


Oldies but Goodies - Tiger's eye

Sorry, I'm a bit preoccupied at the moment, totally non jewelry-related, so I'm going to keep today's post for the Jewelry Artisans Community Oldies but Goodies Challenge of this week short.
Our topic was tiger's eye (and no, not all of these pieces do have tiger's eye, but you know that we are generous with the rules ... can you find out which are different stones?).
Hope you'll like the collage!

1/5/8 MC Stoneworks
2/3/7 Cat's Wire
4/6 Jewelry Art by Dawn


Art Elements Design Challenge and Blog Hop - Tide Pools

This challenge is not to be confused with the Oldies but Goodies one which usually turns up here on Thursdays. When my friend Laney posted about the May challenge on the Art Elements site, I spontaneously decided to jump in as a guest, to inspire me and to give my blog a little kick, too.
The theme was Tidepools, and Lesley from the Art Elements team showed some beautiful inspirations to us in this post.

Now for the first surprise - I'm not really a beach girl. I don't live anywhere near the sea and I am not the sort of person that goes ooh and aah when they see a sandy beach with palms.
It's not as if I have never been on a beach, though. An absolutely obligatory part of each trip to the Bay Area for example was one day on a particular beach. We are not talking beautiful sand and deep blue ocean here. We are talking the kind that overwhelmed me because all you could see was water and all I could think about all the fascinating and terrible creatures that may be out there. I can always blame "Jaws" for that feeling (even though it's an old favorite of mine, "Jaws", not the feeling). While I wouldn't have readily jumped into the ocean for that very reason, I really enjoyed the rest - looking for nice shells, walking in the shallow water, trying to defend our picknick from the seagulls.
Of course there were other beaches, too.
And there was the beach in Wales we never found. I still think they put that sign up to lure us into that field with the big herd of cows to get trampled. No, seriously, we just didn't find the way after trying this path and that road and finally we headed back and ended up in a tea room instead. Not the worst alternative if you ask me. It was so hot that day, I couldn't have walked another step, not for the most beautiful beach in the world!

I can't even say if I have ever seen a tide pool with my own eyes although I had a very clear idea of it. I immediately knew I wanted to put something on a bead loomed bracelet base in one of my favorite colors, gunmetal AB. Of course there's only so much space on a bracelet and I had to decide what to put on it.
This is the result.
The green seaglass comes from a Danish beach. A friend brought it home for me. The little snail shells and the sea shell are from Italian and Greek beaches and were a gift from a co-worker. And of course there had to be pearls to kind of tie all of those elements together and a mix of grey lined and metallic ice blue seed beads to hold them down.

There are so many talented people who are a part of this blog hop, I hope you'll take the chance to see what they created. I'll do my best to catch up this weekend.
And a big thank you to Art Elements for letting me participate as a guest!


Raven - Kelly - Kathy - Tammy - Alyson - Elaine - Mischelle - Deborah - Anita - Jill - Shirlee - Sarajo - Melissa - Jenny

AE Team Members

Caroline - Cathy - Claire - Jen - Laney - Lesley - Marsha - Niky - Sue  - Lindsay - Jenny


Oldies but Goodies - Garden

It's May and people are talking about their gardens, how they are planting things, how those plants are coming along, about garden design, about new garden spaces, about relaxing in the garden.
We never had a garden when I was a kid. First it used to be a big yard which then became small when they built another house (that was a looong time ago), then they built the garages and put stones down which were very nice for my roller skates. If I wanted garden feeling, I went to my best friend where they had flowers, some herbs and beautiful old cherry trees - oh those yellow cherries!
What we had was a strip of soil along the driveway with bushes, and there I had a little spot with daisies and later some sunflowers that started out rather large and then came back smaller and smaller.

I guess what I'm trying to say - once again - is that I am completely clueless. I know hardly any plant names, I have no idea how much water they need or sun or love, but I do recognize a flower when I see one ;-)
Some of my fellow JAC members, however, are great gardeners, and while I'm showing just jewelry from our latest Jewelry Artisans Community Oldies but Goodies Challenge, I'm sure I could show you beauties from their gardens too if I had thought of asking early enough!
Do you have a garden?

1/8/12 Jewelry Art by Dawn
2/5/9/10 Cat's Wire
3/6/11 MC Stoneworks
4/7/13 RioRita


More tentacles

I love making tentacles, and this animal has been on my to-do list for some time, even before I started wire weaving. I had thought about crocheting one, knitting one, I started a pattern for a bead loomed one once, but no matter how much I made my brain cells work, nothing convincing came to mind, and the project got pushed back again and again.
It has been quite a while that I have been to the Wilhelma, but when I had visited, the common jellyfish in the aquarium have always been one of my favorite stops. I often wished I had a high chair to sit down and relax just by watching them floating in the water. It's almost hypnotizing, and I know others feel that way, too.

After working on my different octopuses, I finally decided now I'd just start by making the tentacles and maybe a good idea would come to me then. And it did!

Of course I knew that you can't recreate that special, almost ethereal look with wire. Wire and a cab are so much more solid ;-) Instead the shape was more important here. Not that all jellyfish look the same, but I think if you asked people to draw one, they would have pretty much the same features - a body like a turned over bowl and tentacles.
While I would usually oxidize the copper, however, I left it shiny this time to at least make the jellyfish not so dark.

I found just the right shape in my cabochon stash (yes, actually this is a stash tackler, but I didn't want to wait until Friday).
And the biggest fun about making tentacles is that they can all look different. Long or short, curved this way or that way, individual patterns (although there's not that much you can do with only two wires), and of course the loops that I love which you have already noticed, no doubt. I could hardly stop myself, but there was only so much space on the cab.

The chain that I added has irregularly sized links because I used the wire pieces that were left over from other projects and had different lengths, a nice way to use them at last.

I would like to say this won't be my last jellyfish because I loved working on it so much, but I know myself too well and my infamous list that changes all the time. On the other hand - tentacles!! :-D