Oldies but Goodies - Carnelian

"Although now the more common term, "carnelian" is a 16th-century corruption of the 14th-century word "cornelian" (and its associated orthographies corneline and cornalyn). Cornelian, cognate with similar words in several Romance languages, comes from the Mediaeval Latin corneolus, itself derived from the Latin word cornum, the cornel cherry whose translucent red fruits resemble the stone. The Oxford English Dictionary calls "carnelian" a perversion of "cornelian", by subsequent analogy with the Latin word caro, carnis, flesh."
Huh. Thank you, Wikipedia, I have never read the word cornelian before. You never stop learning, do you?
What I do know, however, is that the warm orange-red of carnelian reminds of so many things. A warm fire, fall leaves, sunsets ... what do you associate with carnelian?

At any rate this is what the latest Jewelry Artisans Community Oldies but Goodies Challenge is about, the warm colors of carnelian (and other stones from the entries, but honestly, would you have noticed? ;-)).

2 and 7 RioRita
3 and 4 MC Stoneworks
5 and 8 Cat's Wire


Oldies but Goodies - Edgy/Steampunk

Why two topics today, you ask? It's easy, yours truly doesn't do steampunk and our challenge mistress graciously added edgy, so I could play, too.
I think it makes for a fabulous mix of items in our Jewelry Artisans Community Oldies but Goodies Challenge today, don't you?
We have it all, gears, eyes, an octopus, spikes, dangles, pendants, earrings, a great hat, something for everyone!

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


Oldies but Goodies - Oval

I don't have a story for you today, but a question. What is your favorite shape in jewelry? Do you prefer it rounded or rather with angles and points?
When I looked through my cab stash and thought about what appealed to me over the years, I found that I have always been very drawn to oval cabs. I'm not sure if that has to do with my jewelry making beginnings when an oval cab seemed to be the best choice for wire crochet bezels or if this is in fact my favorite shape. I'll let you know if I ever find out ;-)
Oval was the topic for the new Jewelry Artisans Community Oldies but Goodies Challenge, so here's this week's collage for you. Maybe there's a topic you'd like to see sometime? Let me know!

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


Art Elements Design Challenge and Blog Hop - Faerie

Will I ever learn? Don't even bother, I'll tell you. The answer is NO, NEIN, NON, NEE, NEJ (I could keep going, but you get the idea).
The worst thing about it is that I had a plan for the Art Elements Design Challenge and Blog Hop for which Caroline gave us the topic "Faerie" - which should have given me hundreds of ideas -, not at the beginning of the month, but last weekend. It came sudden and I didn't jump on it right away. Because I never do. Because I have to roll it around in my head first and let it grow on me.
That's how my brain works. It takes a very basic plan or vague idea and then it grabs bits and pieces out of the air and adds them to it or discards things again. Imagine a manikin. You put a basic dress on it and then you start adding a scarf, a belt, gloves, you don't like the scarf and take it off again, then the belt, then you add a shawl, maybe take the gloves off and add a bracelet instead - only my brain uses colors and shapes.
That sounds creative, doesn't it? Instead it's mostly chaos that finally spits out something, and if I'm lucky, it's something good - if not, it ends up behind the summer house like Mr Mo's poor plasticine wife (see "Mary Poppins in the Park", a book that I love very much), well, actually my infamous WIP drawers.

Unfortunately life got in the way over the last week. Work, a crafts class, and then I got sick which sucked up the last bit of motivation. Since Wednesday I have been thinking about opting out of the challenge, I even started writing the email once.
Instead I pulled myself together yesterday and ended up with a variation of my idea because, let's be honest, this was bound to go wrong at some point or at least stray from the original plan which had been a small fairy that I wanted to put on ... no, I'll keep that one to myself, it may still be happening, who knows.

Small, yes, as small as I wanted my fairy to be, no. The proportions had been slightly off, enough so to make me uncomfortable about it when I was looking at her, so I needed to add to the arms and legs which meant I needed to add to the head and body.
I don't know yet if she's a WIP. Maybe she needs some wings after all although I don't think so at the moment. After all she could ride the ladybug, he may look a little small for her, but he's tough through and through (and reminds of the time when I dabbled in polymer clay). Or she could take the "Exotic Butterfly Airline" (I made that strange looking butterfly after I won that box of Twin Beads and ran out of ideas for them) ? ;-) 


Now let's see once again how much more organized our other blog hoppers were! :-D

AlisonAlysen - Cat (aka me) - Divya - Hope - Kathy - Sarah - Tammy - Vic

AE Team Members
Caroline - CathyClaire - Jen - Jenny - Laney - MarshaNiky


Oldies but Goodies - Copper again

I'll keep it short today for several reasons, instead I want to ask you to go this post where I talked about copper the first time.
Of course I have new items in the collage that I made with entries for the Jewelry Artisans Community Oldies but Goodies Challenge today.

Maybe you'd also like to tell us if you prefer copper or other metals yourself and what you like about them or not!

1 and 8 Jewelry Art by Dawn
2 and 4 MC Stoneworks
3 and 7 RioRita
5 and 9 Cat's Wire
6 and 10 The Crafty Chimp


Oldies but Goodies - Pumpkins

Before the last family dinner my sister called and asked me if I'd like some pumpkin soup for a starter. What kind of question is that?? I love pumpkin soup! And I hate cutting pumpkin just for myself!! I really do, you know, so I would never turn down an offer like that.
Yup, pumpkin season is upon us (and pumpkin spice season ;-) although that is not such a big thing here in Germany, so the squabbling between fans and people who hate it leaves me unfazed), so that will be the topic for today's Jewelry Artisans Community Oldies but Goodies Challenge, too.
Not everyone makes actual pumpkin jewelry, though, so pumpkin colors were allowed as well.

1 and 10 Jewelry Art by Dawn
2 and 8 The Crafty Chimp
3 and 5 MC Stoneworks
4 and 6 Cat's Wire
7 and 9 RioRita


Oldies but Goodies - Dangles

Last Saturday I told you a story about my friend and myself going to the local office supply store and buying sealing wax and stamps.
Today I'll tell you a story about one of our jewelry stores that took place around the same time, in the late 70s.
That store was called "Jewelry Chest" and, honestly, once I was grown up enough I felt a little sorry for the staff there. The "Jewelry Chest" had a sister store - whose name I don't remember at the moment which is driving me nuts - which was an ordinary jewelry store. Ordinary at least to us teenagers. They sold the real stuff, gold, gemstones, watches, way out of our budget.

The "Jewelry Chest", however, had little trinkets and decorations, from small animals carved from quartz to what we would call boho jewelry today, affordable silver pieces and more. It was heaven for us teenagers. I'm surprised I never stuck to that window with my nose because I couldn't resist it. Of course we bought friendship rings there (there may be another Saturday story in there) or we went just in to browse a little which I can't remember ever being discouraged, by the way, no matter if we bought something or not.

One day I finally had the money to buy a special birthday gift for one of my friends, a pair of dangly earrings from sterling silver (much of the silver jewelry still was 835 instead of the 925 at that time) that cost me incredible 32 DM. That was a lot of money for me back then, but my friend's family had always been so nice to me. They even took me with them for a vacation once, so I wanted to show that I appreciated it.
I had been so excited about these earrings. I had to go there all the time to see if they were still there. I loved them so much that I couldn't imagine anyone else not loving them. There was one little silver ball with two more little silver balls dangling from it on chains. Nothing that unusual, you may think now, but apparently I have always had a thing for dangles!
To present them in style I knitted a doll with yellow yarn braids and stuck the earrings in the head at the spots where the ears would be.
The birthday came and guess what. My friend didn't seem excited at all. She barely even looked at them. I don't know why, I really don't remember anymore if that was a style of earrings she never wore and if I had simply chosen what I liked instead of what she might have wanted. Then again I was only 13 and not always very wise. Okay, I'm still not always very wise, but maybe a little more than 40 years ago.
I wasn't mad at her, by the way. Maybe I regretted that I couldn't take the earrings back to keep them myself, but I never forgot that feeling when I walked out of the store to look into the little paper bag, and it's a good memory.

So why have I told you that story at all? Kudos to you if you made it all the way through. Dangles were this week's topic at the Jewelry Artisans Community Oldies but Goodies Challenge, just what I like :-D
I hope you will, too.

1 and 8 The Crafty Chimp
2 and 7 Jewelry Art by Dawn
3 and 5 MC Stoneworks
4 and 6 Cat's Wire


Random Saturday - Feeling like a Queen

The time was the late 70s. My best friend and I were on a mission to shop. We came packed with money, well, what we considered packed. After all we were teenagers and on a rather tight budget, so we had to choose wisely, think twice. We couldn't afford to regret.

Don't get fooled by the title of this post. We didn't go to a jewelry shop, we were at the local office supply store. Not one of the department stores, but the place where they had the good stuff, the special stuff. Beautiful pens, stationery in all colors of the rainbow, and what you needed for the latest hype at that time. Seals and wax.
The seals were easy to pick, our initials, a U for her, a C for me. The wax was not so easy, though. I can still see the display before my inner eye, all the beautiful colors lined up, but we knew we couldn't have them all.
A classic choice was the red of course, and if my memory doesn't fail me, that's what I picked in the end.

Those were the times when we still had pen pals. I wrote letters, between five and ten pages long. EVERY day. Today my wrist starts hurting after one page, but as a teenager I had pen pals in Belgium, Australia, Ireland, England, Germany and for a very short time a fellow in the USA who became a foreign exchange student very quickly after we started writing, came to Germany and sent me a letter every day - on a differently colored stationery for each letter.
Today I still feel the excitement when I get one of those elusive hand written letters, maybe even more because it is such a rare event.
And now I could send my own letters in royal style. Here you go, that's the title explained. I stole it from a friend of mine, by the way, who mentioned feeling that way when using her own seal in the old days.

I don't know where I first got the idea to have my logo as a seal, but it has been a while. Then I forgot it again, browsed a little more, forgot it again, and that went on for some time until I got my tax return and thought that now was the right moment to just get one.
This week it arrived, and wow, within seconds I turned back into 13 year old me and had to try it out immediately although part of me said nooo, it's too pretty to use!

Actually this is a rich, dark color, but the flash and the fact that purple likes to turn bluish in pictures didn't help here. Isn't my little cat cute, though, playing with her wire and beads like that?
Now where did all my pen pals go? ;-)


Oldies but Goodies - Recent work

Okay, that's a bit of a contradiction there, I know. These entries for our latest Jewelry Artisans Community Oldies but Goodies Challenge are no oldies, but I hope you will agree with me that they are goodies.
So without any delay I give you almost brandnew work from our JAC artisans. Enjoy!

1 The Crafty Chimp
2 and 6 Cat's Wire
3 and 4 MC Stoneworks
5 RioRita


Art Elements Design Challenge and Blog Hop - Swirl

This hasn't been my month for different reasons. Life got in the way and ate up my motivation, my concentration and my creativity.
It would have been easier to send an email in time saying sorry, can't do it this time. On the other hand I can be so stubborn. I've got this. Some light stretching, shaking my head free from the cobwebs, grabbing my wire and ... hm, can you also hear that cricket in the background? And where's that tumbleweed coming from regarding the fact I'm not even in a desert? Oh, dust bunnies. Wait, just how long have I been sitting here with that wire in my hand??

It's strange that swirls - the topic for August at the Art Elements Design Challenge and Blog Hop given us by Marsha - didn't make me jump all over the place with ideas. You know that I love to make tentacles for example which could have been one way out of this dilemma, but this time not even they helped me out. I drew a complete blank.
So I started making a little spiral hoping it would awaken some creative spark - today, on the day of the reveal! - , and there it was.
I had been admiring wire woven vessels for a long time. Mary Tucker's work was one of the first one of that kind that caught my eye. 
Basket weaving translated into wire fascinated me and I made some very feeble attempts long before I even contemplated diving deeper into the wire weaving world. Maybe it was time for another one, hopefully not that feeble this time.

This is a prototype or maybe a WIP. The piece is closed from both sides, so it's not like a basket, more like a chunky and rather heavy button. I'm not sure yet if I want to use it in a piece of jewelry or if I'm going to keep it as a reminder and as an inspiration to keep going and trying to make this work in my way. One thing I know, I will not be able to put it on my desk or Gundel will kick it round the place in no time! She already has that look in her eye ...
As you see I haven't put a bail on, I haven't oxidized, it just has been a bit of wire play for now, but who knows what's going to happen next? :-)

Other participants in the Challenge have not been quite as unmotivated or uncreative as I have been, so please go by their blogs and see what they have come up with. It's what I'm going to do myself now, and I do believe that they have to offer a big inspiration boost!

AlisonAnita - Cat (aka me) - Caroline - Jill - Kathy - Karin - Kimberly - MischelleRaven - Sarajo - Susan - Tammy 

AE Team Members
Cathy -  CarolineClaire - Jen - Jenny and Lesley - Laney - Marsha - Susan


Oldies but Goodies - Butterflies

I have always loved butterflies. I'm not good at identifying them, but I love their colors and fragile beauty. Actually I like moths, too (except for those who try to eat my Steiffs). Just the other day when I walked to the train station, I saw a pretty big one (big for what I usually see here) sitting on a wall. It probably wondered what a human was doing there at that time, but chose to ignore me in the end.
The last time my sister and I walked through our forest, we saw quite a few butterflies too, but the only one I was sure about was the common brimstone - which we call Zitronenfalter = "lemon butterfly" in German.
Never before did I wonder about where the word butterfly comes from, but when I looked up the English name for the brimstone, I stumbled upon this (from Online Etymology Dictionary):
"... but the name is of obscure signification. Perhaps based on the old notion that the insects (or, according to Grimm, witches disguised as butterflies) consume butter or milk that is left uncovered. Or, less creatively, simply because the pale yellow color of many species' wings suggests the color of butter. Another theory connects it to the color of the insect's excrement, based on Dutch cognate boterschijte."

Now I've got some different butterflies from the Jewelry Artisans Community Oldies but Goodies Challenge for you. Not much butter to see here, but I hope you will like them, anyway. 

1 and 5 Cat's Wire
2 and 4 and 6 MC Stoneworks
3 The Crafty Chimp


Oldies but Goodies - Little Something

Today's Jewelry Artisans Community Oldies but Goodies Challenge doesn't need a big story because sometimes a little something is simply enough. It doesn't always have to be big and flashy.
Don't you agree?

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


Oldies but Goodies - The colors of ice cream

We have been caught in a heat wave, and if I whine any longer, I'll probably lose friends and family ;-)
One way to fight the heat is ice cream. I'm not that big of an ice cream eater myself, but at the moment even I have a big tub of vanilla in my freezer that I usually use with my coffee or more rarely eat with a sesame sauce for which I got the recipe from the international Japanese TV channel.

So this week the topic for the Jewelry Artisans Community Oldies but Goodies Challenge are the colors of ice cream.
It's hard not to be tempted by a huge selection at an ice cream parlor, just because the colors are so pretty. And I am NOT talking about smurf ice cream (I don't even know what flavor that is).
Usually I just show you my selection and link to who made the individual pieces. Today you'll get a legend, let's see, maybe I can make your mouth water so much, you head off to the next ice cream parlor. Or just raid your freezer, of course.

1 Vanilla with red currants
2 Blueberry
3 Fruit sorbet
4 Caramel
5 Strawberries and vanilla
6 Lemon sorbet
7 Vanilla with black currants
8 Chocolate swirl#
9 Chocolate and cream
10 Peaches and cream
11 Lemon sorbet

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


Oldies but Goodies - Ruby Red

Rubies are July's birthstone, so their beautiful color was the topic for the last week of July at the Jewelry Artisans Community Oldies but Goodies Challenge.
All I can think at the moment when I see red is how hot it still is here and elsewhere (which is also why I'll keep this short, so I can head back to my A/C ... I have no idea how the cats can stay in the warm rooms!!).
The beautiful reds of today's collection may not come from rubies completely, but they are definitely hot ;-) Enjoy!

1/7 RioRita
2/4 Cat's Wire
3/5/6 Jewelry Art by Dawn
8 The Crafty Chimp


Art Elements Design Challenge and Blog Hop - Seed Pods

Another month, another design challenge from Art Elements.

The topic "seed pods" chosen by Jen who shared great pictures and stories for inspiration is quite fascinating, but you may remember I'm not a gardener. I knew about the snapdragon heads that can look like little skulls (the plant is called "lion mouth" here, by the way) when the flower is dying, but it would probably have been just a bit lazy to take some carved howlite skulls and hang them on some kind of stem (on the other hand let me jot that down for the future, it might be worth a second thought).

What other kind of seed pods were there I could use for an idea?
Well, actually I had been given an idea five years ago. Back then a friend called my attention to Chinese lanterns or physalis. She said she could imagine me knitting some with wire, and so I did my best to figure it out with a prototype first, ordered some agate beads and made three of them. I plastered the picture all over the net, then put them down and forgot about them. Every, now and then I found them and tried to come up with an idea to put them on something like a branch - sound familiar? - and put them out in the hallway as decoration. I already knew I couldn't trust Ponder with them, they were too much like balls, but the wire I had used was too thin to take that risk and also too thin to use them in jewelry.

Now the idea was back. A few years ago I got lucky on a surprise destash parcel. It was a wild mix of some silver findings, crystals, glass beads, small faceted stone beads, a sterling silver chain with a flower pendant, WIPs (one of the earrings made a really sweet focal part for a necklace just the other day that I donated for a good cause). And there were four orange glass beads which had the perfect size for the pod "filling" (also, if anyone has an idea where I put the three leftover agate beads from the first project, let me know - they are probably in a very safe place).
So I grabbed my crochet hook, knitted four Chinese lanterns in different sizes and oxidized the copper for a more natural look. For my first three I had used a coated non-tarnish copper wire,and they always seemed a bit too shiny to me. After all this filigree look means the pods have dried up. Those skeleton pods are not always that greyish then, by the way, I have also seem in a brownish hue. It definitely is a beautiful look. Mother Nature is a true artist.

Now what to do with them?
I had several ideas. One was a necklace with pods hanging from something like a branch :-P Yes, I know, still the same idea. But hey, that's what they do in nature, too.
Maybe one of my wire crochet ropes would work. Spoiler alert - it didn't. Yes, I put some of the pods together with one I made with orange seed beads hoping it would remind of a dried up, but not skeletized pod - which didn't really convince me 100%, though - on two pieces of rope of different lengths. The pods should then be attached to different spots, but no matter how I tried to bring it all together, the look just didn't appeal to me. Was the rope too thick, were just the rope ends too thick, were there too many pods, I just didn't know.
So it was time for a break from it in which I made a pair of earrings instead which I liked better.

The break took longer than I had imagined. Not only got the heat and my cold in the way, I also had WIP procrastination. It's a disease highly dangerous for artists and artisans that keeps you from going back to a WIP you may have already messed up.
Symptoms are lack of creativity, small tantrums, phases of despair when noticing the due date is creeping nearer which usually brings on even worse creativity blocks with bouts of hesitation to even touch or look at the WIP.
If you are lucky, you are strong enough to break the vicious circle, hold the piece for a while without throwing it into a corner, breathe, and maybe the solution will come to you then.
For a short that seemed to be a twisted wire torque design, but nope, another fail *insert another tantrum here* ;-)

I almost thought this was it for the necklace until it did come to me today. I cut the two already attached pods from the rope, very carefully of course because there's no telling what I would have done, had I cut a wrong wire.
Then I put them on a chain, as simple as that. It was the best decision for the moment. I would have missed my mind if it had been lost completely. The signs were already there.
Voilà, one necklace.

Thank you for following me into my small world of madness and drama ;-)
Please have a look at the other participants' posts, too. It's something to look forward to!

Tammy - Raven - Alysen - Anita - Cat (aka me) - Kimberly - Rozantia - Sarajo - Divya - Caroline - Catherine - Kathy - Norma - Jill 

AE Team Members

Claire - Caroline - Lesley - Niky - Laney - Susan - Marsha - Jenny - Cathy - Jen


Tackle that stash - The face

This piece hasn't started as a stash tackler. It started as a pair of lips, and I don't even know where that idea suddenly came from because my original plan had been to make another attempt on an olive wood disk (from one of my very first pendants ever that I cruelly ripped apart ;-)), and every time there was the one problem of the weaving not staying on the disk the way I wanted it to, and finally the disk was scratched and I started hating it and threw it out after scratching it some more to make sure I wouldn't get it out of the basket again to try an umpteenth time and ... yeah, sorry about that, I may have gone overboard a little ;-)
As you can tell lips were a very unusual design idea in that situation, but there they were, and they made me wonder if I could put a nose on them .... and eyebrows .... and how to make the eyes? .... and all that while some true crime documentaries were running in the background because I was being obsessed, so I couldn't stand up and pick a DVD.

You know how some things will be forever be connected with other things? I worked on the white bead loomed choker while watching the X-Files episode with the dogs and the 1960 Village of the Damned, my very first wire crochet piggy sculpture saw life on Christmas to the sounds of a Max Raabe concert, and this face may be reminding me of a French serial killer *eyeroll* I'll get over it.

Maybe you are wondering about the stash now.
I got these beautiful beads in March 2012. I know that so precisely because I found my old review. Melissa who made them stopped lampworking shortly after that which I still find very sad, that's why I am hanging on to the beads I still have from her. These were the only lentils I had, however, and they happened to fit in size. Otherwise I would have, no, I really don't know what I would have done. Order beads, think of something else, it's useless wondering because these were it, and they gave the face an interesting look.

No idea what I am going to do with it. If I find the right background, I may put it into a frame without the glass and hang it up out in the hallway to confuse the neighbors ;-)
The eyes make me think of a mask, probably because of Egyptian death masks, so maybe some kind of sand for the background? Of course it has to be light or dark enough to keep the contrast even when the copper starts getting a patina.
Let me know what you think!


Oldies but Goodies - Inspired by other cultures

Artists and artisans have always looked for inspiration in other cultures, sometimes deliberately, sometimes maybe not so much.
This week's Jewelry Artisans Community Oldies but Goodies Challenge has so many very different entries that it was hard just to pick a few. Then I decided to highlight my favorites and invite you to click through to the rest. It's worth it because there's much more to see!

1 The Crafty Chimp
2 Jewelry Art by Dawn
3 RioRita
4 Cat's Wire
5 MC Stoneworks


Tackle that stash - The mysterious stone

I was decluttering drawers when I found the stone. Jasper maybe? Fossilized coral? I have no idea, just like I have no idea where that stone came from in the first place. It was in a little tin box with bits and pieces of costume jewelry that I recognized, but the stone didn't look familiar to me at all.
Had it been a gift? I very rarely get drilled stones, and the ones I have usually were a gift to me. Or did I buy it myself? If yes, it must have been way before my jewelry making days because all the other pieces were so old, I got an 80s flashback. Maybe I bought it as a gift for someone?

Whatever the story is, the stone was pretty and asked for some wire weaving. So I wove ... and took it off ... tried another idea ... and ripped it apart ... the first time was not symmetrical enough for my taste, the second time I kind of liked the idea, but started it wrong and then decided I'd have to work on that idea a little longer.

Third time worked like a charm, though. Less weaving not to hide too much of the stone, a bigger bail with a pearl for accent, and three pearl dangles for movement.
A simple chain seemed to be not enough, so I crocheted a rope for the pendant and then oxidized all the copper.

And now I am happy with it. Maybe I'll have to declutter more drawers, so I can find more treasure ;-)


Oldies but Goodies - Unisex

Once again it has been a while.
I have been struggling with a mean head cold, the heat, Greebo's health, my muse, finishing pieces for challenges and life in general, but here I am now with a brand new Jewelry Artisans Community Oldies but Goodies Challenge. And without my buttermilk that I left in the kitchen while fulfilling my lady's demand for a bit of condensed milk, so she wouldn't drop dead within the next two seconds. Gundel is a very determined cat lady. Just a moment. Okay, my buttermilk and I are back.

One of our earlier JAC challenges had making pieces for men as a topic and showed us that this was not necessarily something we members were very good at. The question was if we couldn't do it, if we simply didn't think of doing it or if we didn't want to it.
Today's topic - unisex - is kind of a sequel to that. It may be interesting to visit it again in the future to see if it has changed something.
For now, however, here's what we have to offer at the moment.

1 MC Stoneworks
2/5 The Crafty Chimp
3/6/7 Cat's Wire
4 RioRita


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