Oldies but Goodies - Cranberries

I remember a time when you didn't get cranberries here in Germany. Now they are everywhere. Frozen or dried like in the quite addictive cashew-cranberry mix I just had for a snack.
The first time I met the cranberry was in a fruit punch (that was simply fabulous). Around these parts we are more familiar with the lingonberry. Both kinds are easily confused as you can see on the aptly named site Botanical Accuracy which was a relief for me because that means for once I don't stick out with my pathetic botanical knowledge ;-) Both kinds go well with meat and are popular on Thanksgiving and/or Christmas. I don't eat meat, but potato salad and caraway bread with lingonberry sauce, mmmmm.

The Jewelry Artisans Community Oldies but Goodies Challenge asked for cranberry colors this week and this is only part of we came up with.

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


You know you are a jewelry artisan when ...

This was a game we used to play at my jewelry forum (before it was even JAC) and now we made it the topic of November's blog carnival at the Jewelry Artisans Community.
I'm sure it is the same for all creative people. Their minds are working differently. A musician probably notices sounds that I would not necessarily pay attention to (did you know that trees make music?). A painter or a photographer will see shadows and light from his own creative point of view. How does a writer listen to a conversation? Does someone who sew look at other people's outfits and get a new idea from it? Does a dollmaker dig into the depths of the own childhood or listens to children? Of course I could go on and on and on, but then there are jewelry artisans.

You know you are a jewelry artisan when you can't look at stones, keys, shells, baubles, glass etc. etc. etc. without wondering if you could use it for jewelry.

You know you are a jewelry artisan when you change TV channels and suddenly you have the feeling you need to make something with giraffes, but don't really know why. You start on the giraffes and a few days later when you go through the channels again, there's a sitcom on - and there's that boy who is wearing a shirt with giraffes on it! And then you remember that's exactly the same scene you passed last time. True story.

You know you are a jewelry artisan when a burger recipe makes you think of  a new design. Again, true story, but nothing to show for it yet.

You  know you are a jewelry artisan when you watch a quiz show and instead of listening to the questions you are trying to find out if that one lady's bracelet is beaded and what kind of beads those are (I didn't find out until the end).

You know you are a jewelry artisan when you see a top with beads on it and you hate the top, but you'd love to have those beads.

You know you are a jewelry artisan when you go to the garden department although you don't have a garden or even a flower pot just to see what kind of wire they have there.

You know you are a jewelry artisan when you go to the museum, see an antique chest of drawers and think how well it would work for your supplies.

You know you are a jewelry artisan when you have a collection of gift ribbons although you don't wrap gifts.

You know you are a jewelry artisan when you are crazy enough to write about how you know you are a jewelry artisan!
This could turn into an endless post, but how about reading the other JAC members' thoughts on this topic? Check them out here.

Jewelry Art by Dawn 
Violetmoon's Corner

And if you have a moment time and do something creative of whatever kind, tell us how you know you are a writer/painter/sewer/clay smoosher/felter ...........


Interview with the artist - Cindy from illustris designs

I am really excited about today's interview. Please welcome Cindy, a lady most talented in the art of wire wrapping. Actually this is pure understatement. These suncatchers can brighten everyone's day, even without sun! I am sure you will agree with me, so I'll leave the stage to Cindy now.

Couple wire tree sculpture

Tell us a little about who you are and where you come from.

My name is Cindy and I was born in Amsterdam, but currently live on the coast in Den Helder, the Netherlands. I have got a huge travelbug and I love to travel all over the world. But I also love just to be at home, curl up with my book or work in my own small veggie garden.
But most of all I have a creative mind and have been artistic all my life.

What's your craft and how did you get to do it in the first place?

My craft is making wire art. I have my own style and every design is my own. I make Suncatchers, wire candleholders and recently started making wire sculptures as well.
How I came around to this craft has been a long road filled with disappointment and pain, but ultimately led to my biggest passion ever! I have been creative all my life, but my craft was mostly clay sculpting, drawing and painting. Several years ago I suddenly found myself in a medical stream and learned that I have got arthritis and neuropathy, this means a lot of muscle and joints pain. It became very difficult for me to express myself artfully in the forms that I used to. For an artistic person not being able to express myself in a creative way was a very difficult time. But suddenly I came across a picture of wire art and it just lit up a spark inside me. I use little hand tools that are easy to use for me. It started by making one Suncatcher and from there on the sky is the limit :)

Christmas Reindeer candle holder

Is there a story behind your shop name or why did you choose it?

Yes, there is!! My wire art brought me back that creative spark and passion. Every single piece has been made with so much time, love and passion that I hope a buyer will enjoy it just the same. But also every piece has been made with such quality materials like crystals, Czech glass and Swarovski crystals. These materials reflect the light in a most stunning way. This is why the name "illustris designs" felt so fitting for my work. In Latin it means bright, shining, sparkle.

I think this is one of the most asked questions - where does your inspiration come from?

Yes, I do believe you are right! This truly is the most asked question I have gotten so far. I have made so many suncatchers and wire candle holders and truly make an effort to create something new every single time. I do not copy someone else's work, all the designs are my own! I get my inspiration out of life. I truly love nature and travelling. I have made water works that have been inspired of my snorkling adventures and made a stunning tree which I saw in Trinidad or a bird who flew just here around the corner. I also love music which inspired me to do a music themed one, but truly anything that touches me can be one form of inspiration or another. I also love fantasy and mythology. Life itself gives me more inspiration on a shelf that I can handle :) I always say, look around you and see a beautiful flower, let your imagination go with it and it can turn into the most stunning art!

Dragon wire sculpture

Have you ever told a story with one of your pieces or is there a special background story to one of them?

Oh my, that is a very difficult question! Every single piece has been made with so much passion and holds a story of its own. There is so much happiness in a lot of them. It always touches me when a buyer tells me a story about the reason they purchased my art. Most precious stories about it being a wedding present or for somebody's baby shower. I always feel so honored that my art can be a part of such a private and personal eent.
But the one that stands out the most for me is the one I ultimately ended up giving away to my parents. I always want to experiment with new materials and different designs. I came up with the idea to make a Suncatcher that would stand on a foot instead of hanging in front of a window. I told this idea to my parents and they spontaneously said, oh some Japanese Cranes would look stunning. I got excited working on this theme and it took me ages. In the meanwhile we all of a sudden got the crushing news that one of my parents has colon and liver cancer. When I finished working on the Japanese Cranes project, it only felt right just to give it to them as a little light in the darkness and the light on their faces when I gave it to them said more than a thousand words.

Tell us a fun thing about yourself.

I am a bit crazy with a capital C :) :) :)

Do you do other crafts, if yes, what?

I used to do a bit of mosaic work as well, but the last couple of years my passion has been completely into the wire work. I do however expand my wire art more and more. It started out just being Suncatchers, later on also candle holders, and now I am starting making wire sculptures as well.

Swan wire suncatcher

Which one of your pieces is your absolute favorite?

Pff, that feels like having to single out a favorite child :D I think it is a tie between my Couple wire tree, Fairy suncatcher and Phoenix candleholder.

Which one was the hardest to make and why?

My wire Angel sculpture has been the hardest because it truly is the first wire sculpture I have ever made. I wanted to express love and loss and combine heaven and earth, in a beautiful, not in a sad way. It is a large sculpture of an Angel whose legs turn into branches surrounding a blue crystal ball (the earth). The entire sculpture sits in a open hand with lots of flowers and little butterflies.

Angel wire sculpture

Is there someone whom you admire and who inspires you, artistically and/or for life?

In a world filled with stereotypes and strife for perfection I admire anyone who has the guts to stay their own unique selves.

If you had free choice of one supply you need for your work, no matter how expensive, what would it be?

Oh my, wire, wire, wire ... every single gauge size and color they come. Silver and real copper and every color of the rainbow.

Peacock candle holder

Do you sell online, if yes, where can we find you?

YES!! You can find me on Etsy (with a 10% discount until the end of 2016, too!) and DaWanda at illustris designs.

Do you do custom orders?

Yes!! The first custom order was local and I was a bit nervous the first time. Would the buyer like it and will I be able to create what they had in mind? In the end I LOVED making it and bring to life what somebody had invisioned. Now I have made custom orders all over the world, from Australia to the US. For any questions or information please feel free to contact me.

Famous last words ;-) Is there anything else you want to tell us?

I just hope my story and passion will re-ensure anybody who finds themselves between spaces in time to keep hope and faith that "when one door closes, another one will open".

Cherry blossom wire tree
Thank you so much, Cindy.
And guys, if those pictures don't make you head over to the shops to see more, I don't know what can!


Oldies but Goodies - Wood

We all know that jewelry has been around for thousands of years. In the early days before gems and metals humans used what they could find, plants, feathers, shells, bone, stones - and wood.
None of these materials has disappeared from today's jewelry.
This week's Jewelry Artisans Community Oldies but Goodies Challenge was about wood, treated or untreated, painted or in its original color.
Do you like wooden jewelry? Tell us about it!

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


Oldies but Goodies - Topaz

"Honey yellow. Fiery orange. Cyclamen pink. Icy blue. In warm or cool tones, topaz is a lustrous and brilliant gem." This is a quote from the website of the Gemological Institute of America. Another one is the reason "why we love this gemstone - topaz comes in some of the gem world’s largest crystals: the largest are kilos, not carats". Wow.

Here at the Jewelry Artisans Community Oldies but Goodies Challenge we are not offering you kilos of topaz. In fact I don't even show you all colors, and not all of it is even real topaz.
The choice of topic was inspired by topaz being the birthstone for this month. I'll admit that birthstones confuse me sometimes because you get different lists. For example I read on one page that the golden topaz is the stone for November and the blue variety for December.
Just to be on the safe side I stuck with the golden color. I hope you'll enjoy my selection.

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


Oldies but Goodies - Gothic

I know I have been neglecting this blog lately and I'm still quite a bit away from being able to dive back in fully, mostly due to health reasons that are cutting both in my computer and my creative time. There haven't even been Oldies but Goodies although the challenges themselves did not take a break.
At least I'll be trying to bring you some pictures until I'll be fully back.
Let's start with this week's Jewelry Artisans Community Oldies but Goodies Challenge, please enjoy the topic "Gothic".

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