Saturday, October 27, 2012

Well the Synergy competition is over,
the winners selected.
My entry wasn't one of them,
but congratulations to the winners.
 Now I can show you pictures of my
 Synergy and Great Lakes Beadworkers
Guild Challenge creations.
 My Guild Challenge did win a prize,
I am just not sure which one. I missed the
October Guild meeting visiting my daughter
in Maine where she is doing graduate work
in Marine Sciences and is a Graduate
Teaching Assistant. I will find out the rest at
 the November meeting.

These pictures show the steps in
creating the Synergy piece- Detroit, Paris of the West.

This is the completed piece. The Fist Bead was created by Carol Shepard of the Southeastern Michigan Glass Beadmakers Guild.

This is the official photograph -Photograph by Sylvus Tarn ~ Rejiquar Works.

This is the second interpretation
I did for the Guild Challenge-

Update- This won third place for finished jewelry in the Guild Challenge.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

This necklace presented several interesting challenges. Not the challenges you might expect, however. It started out as a simple three strand transition necklace; jet black to gunmetal gray crystals. Then, I spotted the flower in Jo Ann's or more accurately, my wife pointed it out to me. If you are married you know what that means. It has an antique copper finish with black crystals, I spotted a silver one at another Jo Ann's but liked this one better.
 My first challenge, I had no antique copper findings or crimps, thus the need for a special trip to one of my local supply shops. Challenge number two, how to attach the strands to the rose. The bails designed into the rose were too close to the edge for what I wanted to do and there were only two of them, on opposite sides of the rose. I wanted to attach the strands further under the edges, luckily there were two cross braces underneath with two small holes and enough space for a third strand in between.
Challenge number three, each strand is custom strung to conform to neck and shoulder curvature.
I strung from the outside in and it can only be worn with the rose on the wearers left. Each strand is a different length and because they are in fixed positions on the rose it cannot be reversed. As I was stringing the last strand I came up three inches of crystals short. I tried four shops with no success, so I returned to the shop where I had purchased the original strands of crystals, all the strands they had out. Luckily, they had more.
Challenge number four, it was BORING.  Beautiful, but boring. There was nothing that said, this rose belongs here. I went to my beads and found some lovely bronze bi cones that were a near perfect match to the rose. Now I had to figure out what to do with them. After some experimenting, I eliminated uniform patterns throughout the necklace, then I scattered some beads randomly on each of the strands and then solid, as though the color was dripping off the rose and pooling at the bottom of the front  necklace curvature.
My final challenge was getting an acceptable photo of the necklace. I gave up using my digital camera because it always bleached out the color because of the sparkle of the crystals. So, I used my trusty film camera, stopped down the camera for color saturation and then took bracketed shots at various shutter speeds and f stops. I used natural sunlight. I took the film to my trusty camera shop to develop the film and save it to a CD. Then all I had to do was crop the picture and  I had an acceptable picture. I am still working on the best picture, but I need a couple more studio lights and diffusers. The necklace form is supposed to be black velvet, not charcoal gray. It is almost, but not quite right.

Saturday, October 13, 2012

I'm preparing for a couple of upcoming classes. The first group,a garden club, is a big unknown for sewing ability, so I will use a kit that is excellent for introducing bead weaving; a square stitch bracelet with five flower shank buttons for decoration.

The button shank takes the place of a bead and is sewn into the bracelet. It is a great introduction to bead weaving, is appropriate for beginners and can be completed in a couple of hours.

The second group are accomplished sewers, but I will use the same project because they will be able to complete it by the end of the class and have a completed project. It is infinitely customizable, so they can hit their button stashes for a wide variety of looks.

The top sample is for a friend who likes pirate stuff, the middle bracelet is a sample using pretty buttons, the bottom sample is for my daughter who loves candy corn. These are all the same square stitch bracelet, just different buttons.