Art Elements Design Challenge and Blog Hop - Eyes

When Laney announced the topic for the October design challenge at Art Elements - Eyes - I didn't even think about not entering although I had no idea what to make (as usual ;-)).

I have always been fascinated by eyes. If I were a better photographer, I would annoy my cats day and night taking pictures of their eyes. Ever since I was a child, I have been drawing eyes, I still do sometimes if I'm in a meeting, but I don't think they are any good, so none of those doodles has survived.
I have created eyes in wire and beads.
Eyes are important in many of my HeatherCat pieces and I can't begin to tell you how often I ripped out the eyes in my fan wall portraits, even after the whole portrait had been loomed, sometimes just to change out one bead for a better look. It is amazing how a tiny "light reflex" can brighten up an eye or make it incredibly creepy.

This pair of earrings started out as a basket that became too big because I miscounted my stitches. Sometimes I just stare at a piece of shaped wire, no matter if it's crocheted, knitted or woven, and manipulate it to become something else. In this case it became an eye shape.
Do you remember Gozer from Ghostbusters? Gozer had those glowing red eyes that let you hardly see the white. They inspired these earrings. I wanted them dark and creepy and staring, adding white would have made them too human. I wish I had had red lampwork beads that big, but these blue and green ones work nicely, too. The lashes are supposed to add to the out of this world look.

My second idea was very different.
Cat eyes. I could get lost in them. Not that I don't love other animals' eyes in all their varieties, but cat eyes are the best, and I wanted to bead some. Not elaborate ones with a lot of shades because I simply didn't have the time to design a pattern for those with the bead colors I had on hand. Instead I took my inspiration from some Studio Ghibli anime movies I had watched recently. I wanted the eyes to be big and impressive.
This was my first attempt.

That ring was quite wide and I thought that the top rows weren't really necessary. What if I lost two of them and added something else instead that said "cat" more than just the eyes?
My first prototype was a little wonky. I had tried to add a nose as well as ears, and the nose didn't work at all. Unfortunately I had already woven in all the threads and had a hard time to find them again at first!
Now I had to try different color combinations of course, and the eyes are not all completely the same, either. This could become quite obsessive ......

That's it from me for today, but this is a blog hop, and I'd like to ask you to have a look at all the other entries, too. Have fun!


Beth and Evie - Cat (that's me ;-)) - Dawn - Elaine - Hope - KathyMichelle - Tammy 
AE team members

Claire - Cathy - Jennifer - Jenny - Laney - Marsha - Niky - Susan


Oldies but Goodies - Harvest

What do you connect with harvest?
One of the things that comes to my mind comes from church when I was still a child. Around the altar there was this huge display of fruit, vegetables and grains, beautifully arranged, in beautiful colors and so rich looking.
I see long ladders leaning against apple trees and tractors on fields of wheat (don't ask me why it's always wheat to me). I am feeling the first chill in the air. I see people picking the grapes on the small vineyards along my train route.

Today I have quite a small selection from the Jewelry Artisans Community Oldies but Goodies Challenge for you, but if it doesn't put you in a harvest mood, I don't know what does! :-D

1 RioRita
2 MC Stoneworks
3 Jewelry Art by Dawn
4 Cat's Wire


Oldies but Goodies - Non-white pearls

When did you last have a dinner Cleopatra style? I'm not talking about nightingale tongues or whatever extravagant meals we think were served there. I'm talking big money.
You remember the story? According to Pliny the Elder Cleopatra bets Mark Antony she could serve the most expensive single meal - 10,000,000 sesterces worth. Mark Antony can't imagine that that is possible, but Cleopatra just drops one of her enormous pearls in a glass of vinegar and drinks it.
Do pearls dissolve in vinegar? Obviously they do, scientists, pearl dealers and ordinary people have tried it out in various combinations. They don't do it quickly, though. I'll leave it to you if you want to believe the story of the Queen's extravagancy, look up articles or videos about it or even try it yourself.
The first time I read about this was in a Scrooge McDuck story. Scrooge put 1,000 pearls into 1,000 cans of pickles for a giveaway to raise interest in his pickles, those cans never made into the stores, though. When he opened them up to get his pearls back out, they had all gone, a just punishment for trying such a dirty trick.

That's not the only story about Scrooge and pearls. I remember his search for rare black pearls, for example. This is a nice bridge to this week's Jewelry Artisans Community Oldies but Goodies Challenge which is all about pearls that are not white.
Although there are natural pearls that aren't white, most of the colored pearls are dyed or glass pearls in the first place, and there are huge differences in luster and quality.

Here's a selection of jewelry with pearls from our JAC artisans. Be prepared for color!

1 Ganison Atelier
2 RioRita
3 Bijou Bead Boutique
4 CymberRain
5 MC Stoneworks
6 Cat's Wire
7 Jewelry Art by Dawn
8 The Crafty Chimp


Oldies but Goodies - Downton Abbey

I don't go to the cinema a lot anymore. One reason is that I like to watch my movies in small groups or even alone, in the comfort of my home where I can put up my feet like I want to, where I don't have to deal with the tall people always sitting right in front of me, where no one shines the light from their cell phone onto the screen thinking it's funny. Okay, I am exaggerating, but even if that doesn't always happen, it does from time to time.
Of course seeing a movie at the cinema is different, there's the big screen, and depending on the audience and its reactions there can be the perfect mood.
A little over a week ago I spontaneously went to the cinema right after work. There was just one little problem. It was the early afternoon showing and I was by myself, but was told they have a two person minimum. Why didn't I wait, maybe someone else would turn up. Somehow the parent and kids groups that did turn up didn't want to see Downton Abbey. What a surprise. I finally went to the guy behind the counter, not to complain, but to ask what the difference between one and two persons was for a movie showing, and he pointed at his boss who happened to sit there. I'll cut it short, in the end I was so lucky to sit in this big room all by myself (and it had been a polite conversation, I assure you, I'm not a fan of pushy people myself), and it was a very special experience.

Today's Jewelry Artisans Community Oldies but Goodies Challenge asked for pieces that were inspired by the era of Downton Abbey.
Please keep in mind that our rules are quite stretchy. For example I don't remember having seen a Flapper dancing the Charleston at Downton Abbey, but both of them belong in the era. No one entered a diamond tiara inspired by those Maggie Smith wore (I wonder why ;-)). Nevertheless I can't imagine you won't like what you see.

1 Cat's Wire
2 CymberRain
3 The Crafty Chimp
4 Ganison Atelier
5 Jewelry Art by Dawn
6 RioRita
7 Bijou Bead Boutique


Wanna go for a swim?

I have been annoyed by a head cold for almost a week now. I'll spare you the details, let me just say that I have been quite knackered. I didn't feel like getting up much, so mostly I slept, watched TV, and played with wire or Delica beads every, now and then.

The little bottle was a spontaneous idea. I have several of them that I got from my sister. They used to hold beads, so it somehow made sense to bead around them. My first plan was to make something for one, possibly two challenges, but that got put on hold when my muse decided to give me a new idea.

I have been a shark fan since I was a child, thanks to my oldest brother's fascination with sharks. He showed me pictures and told me about them, and in 7th grade when we had to make a kind of magazine for German class, he wrote a whole article for me about sharks (it was a magazine about animals, what else). Keep in mind that these were the 70s, we didn't have internet and it wasn't that easy to find suitable pictures - which is why I think that the shark pictures in the local library's "Grzimeks Tierleben", volume 4 from 1970, were probably missing because someone else did a report about sharks. I didn't get to see those pictures before I started my training at the University Library in 1983!

In an article I read that no one can forget when they saw Jaws for the first time. I guess I'm "no one" because I have no idea. I know it wasn't at the cinema, I was too young, but I remember my brother coming home and being all excited about it. He didn't see it just once. I also remember reading about people's reactions to it, for example the father who wrote that his daughter first refused showers because of Psycho and now swimming in the ocean or the lady that saw it 20 times and threw up each time.
At any rate, half my family are still fans, we often just call it "the fish film".

Enough talking, here's a picture now. Not perfect, but the best I could do in such a small space (the beaded part is not even 1 1/2 inch) and with such a fried brain ;-)

The idea for the sea foam - I don't like the decreases and thought about covering them with small pearls, not a peyote expert here, people - came from my friend Caroline, thank you for that!!

Bruce, this is for you :-D


Oldies but Goodies - Summer is over

Summer is over in the Northern Hemisphere, and to honor it a last time for this year, it was the topic in this week's Jewelry Artisans Community Oldies but Goodies Challenge.
This is a selection of what participants chose to enter. You'll see water, summer colors and flowers - a worthy homage to summer, I think.

1 and 8 Ganison Atelier
2 and 6 Jewelry Art by Dawn
3 and 7 Cat's Wire
4 and 10 RioRita
5 and 9 Bijou Bead Boutique