Monday 30 April 2012

Peacock Solar Quartz & Freshwater Pearl Necklace & Earring Set

I had posted pictures here of the stones when I first bought them from Bamiyan Silver last summer, then made this necklace (but never photographed it -- or more likely I did, but I can't remember where I filed it) and it has been sitting on my market table ever since, often admired but yet never finding a good home.

This past Saturday, it was bought by a group of friends -- someone is going to have a great surprise on their birthday in a few days. Shhhhh... other than to say this lady has some great friends who love and admire her very much, my lips are sealed.

I will say, though, I had a great Saturday with several sales and orders, plus I met more new people. It was such fun. It never fails to amaze me how the market will start out sooooooo slow and quiet until 9:30 or 10:00 and then kaboom. A trickle will turn into a deluge of people. Was it the sun coming out that finally pried people out of their jammies and into their cars? It got warmer and warmer as the day progressed, Sunday was lovely, but here we are on Monday, phhht... raining and cold, dark and miserable. Must have been specially ordered to match many people's moods as they frantically try to get their taxes done and filed by midnight. Mine are in Deirdre the Tax Goddess's capable hands...

There is plenty of information on the significance of solar quartz available across the web so I won't bore you by repeating it here, but geologically speaking, solar quartz is white or grey agatized quartz cut horizontally from stalactites. This particular string of beads was cut in a graduated, faceted, teardrop shape which has been dyed a "peacock" colour to highlight the detail of the growth rings (where the term agatized fits in -- all those hard parallel bands) and occasional dendritic mossy inclusions. These are endlessly fascinating stones to gaze upon. The solar quartz beads have been set off by creamy white freshwater pearls. Tiny sterling beads wink like distant stars on either side of each solar quartz bead and a sterling heart clasp holds it all together.

I have one more string of the peacock solar quartz, and I will be stringing it with peacock purple/green-dyed rondelle-shaped pearls I got a couple of weeks ago from Titan Beads to see how the quartz looks with dark pearls instead of creamy white.

I can get more if anyone wants to buy just the string(s), or, to order a complete necklace email me for details and prices.

Thank you for looking!

Monday 23 April 2012

"Patchwork" seed bead necklaces...

These are what I worked on all day yesterday. Haven't quite finished them, but...

For years I've been fascinated by the colourful mixed up patterns of the seed bead jewellery worn by many African women, hence my calling these patchwork necklaces. The hundreds, if not thousands of hours involved making their jewellery blows me away, and that's just the assembling part. They also make many of their beads by hand or in small production batches in simple wood-fired kilns.

I've always known that learning another's craft or art gives insight into how the person -- or the culture -- viewed/views their world and thought/thinks visually. Reproducing a work, studying it from the doing of it, to an infinitisimal degree allows me to crawl inside the artist's motivation and/or way of looking at the world, not to mention provides a deeper appreciation of their art of their place and time, whether it's drawing, painting, etching, calligraphy, bookbinding, paper marbling, and now all the different forms of jewellery-making (wrapping, chain maille, Viking knit, PMC, stringing, etc.). Jewellery, which is to me simply wearable art, if not wearable sculpture, is all positive/negative space to me -- which is why I was always drawn to the monochrome of silver and pewter in particular. Colour adds an impenetrable complexity. Still lots more to learn on the jewellery-making front, not to mention the geology of it which is a whole 'nother colourful and 3-dimensional world within a world.

Since my own use of colour is notoriously bad, I had to force myself to not overthink the process, just pick colours at random, work with them for a couple of inches, pick more colours, and not try to second-guess myself or control the final order. Maybe instead of patchwork, crazy-quilt would be a better term, emphasis on the first word.

I was also curious to see how long it would take to make one single simple strand: about three hours for the long one, over an hour for the shorter one. These still need to have the clasps finished, but here are some pictures.

The "bracelet" I'm wearing in the top picture is actually a 58" necklace; the other necklace is about 26". I've used fine wire to string them with and the long necklace has been double-crimped at each end so it will safely hold pendants if desired, and take the abuse of wrapping when worn as a bracelet.
About 26"

About 58"
More of these necklaces are in production. Still also working on the final design of the clasp loops. I've chosen to use the tried and true lobster clasps as they are the most secure.  
They will be for sale (at first world prices, alas), please email me if interested or you want to commission a particular length.
Thanks for looking!

Friday 20 April 2012

MORE skulls...

Got stuck typing all week, but managed tonight to put a few things together. This is a variation on a theme. I will photograph more stuff tomorrow or Sunday, but here's the first one.

I made a pile of seedbead necklaces last week, all about 23" long, some I've added deerskin strings to, to make them adjustable, add pendants, feathers, whatever one likes.

This for now is a fixed length, but easy enough to add leather strings.

BTW, I just got some mood beads. Are they ever wild! Amazing colours. I guess the '70s are back, bigger and better than ever -- except everyone from then keeps DYING so it's kind of a bittersweet trip down memory lane. I missed mood rings the first time around... I actually knew one person who had one. I thought it was the tackiest thing I'd ever seen, cheap glass set in plastic, basically. But they did turn colours. High tech for those days. These beads I just got are finished nicely, edged in silver colour metal with large holes, so they're a lot more useful.

Looks like I have the whole week coming up free of typing and I plan to get a lot done -- including my pesky taxes. Geez, didn't we just have to do those a few months ago? Time is flyin', innit? Only 8 months and 5 days until Christmas. Get your orders in now, folks.

This necklace is for sale: $35 plus shipping/handling. Email me if interested. Thanks for looking!

Friday 13 April 2012

Bwahahahaha V, I think...

I've lost track. These are rawther cute, I think. These are the same skull beads -- well, not exactly the same ones, but you know what I mean... don't you? I hope you do -- that my dog ate at 4:30 a.m. last Saturday morning while I was sitting here checking my email just before loading up the truck with my market bags and boxes. I could hear this strange crunching coming from the kitchen but most of the sound was drowned out by the two fans humming away inside the hard drive beside me here. I thought at first he was drinking water very loudly... then I thought is he eating ICE? From where? Crunching on a stick??? But... oh nooooooooooooooooo.......... I rushed in and he was scarfing down the skulls that I had tied into threes with fishing line and indestructable sharkskin price tags for the market. (Those price tags really ARE completely indestructable, btw.)

What do you say to a dog doing his doggy job eating bones??? It was my fault for putting them at nose level, sitting on the top of a bag of market stuff.

Here are a couple of the ones he didn't eat.

In case you're wondering, they all came out in the end largely intact (including fishing line -- I was terrified I was looking at a huge vet bill) during our walk last Sunday morning.

The earrings are for sale, $25 plus shipping. I can upgrade the silver-plated earwires to argentium sterling for $3 more.

Thanks for looking!

PEE ESS: From the Too Good Not To Share Department, a sign I saw today at a local greenhouse, Walter's, out on Highway 5 near 24: "We're so excited it's spring, we almost wet our plants".