Monday, May 4, 2015

Supplies Added To Our Shop


We are expanding our Etsy shop to include beautiful lapidary work in jewelry supplies.  To start out we listed a few gemstone cabochons.  We will expand this section very soon. 




















Agate is a semi-precious silica mineral and is a favorite among jewelry makers because of the interesting variation of grain and color.  Polished agate is a wonderful stone that usually includes bands of color and sometimes crystals are present, like in the photo above.  Stones come in so many colors, depending on where it was mined. 
















This stone has been used for centuries, there are early recordings of agate mining in Europe dating to the 1400’s. Ancient treasures have been found including bowls, pendants (believed to having healing properties) and vases.  

Some folks love agate for its interesting colors while others believe that its strong connection to the earth gives it the healing properties such as strength, protection and harmony. 

Our beads were created from raw forms of agate, cut, drilled and polished. 




Dinosaurs were roaming the earth approximately 245 million years ago.  The name dinosaur comes from the Greek work deinos meaning fearfully great and sauros meaning reptile or lizard.  Dino bones are ancient fossilized bones that turned to rock (stones).  To think that these amazing creatures walked the earth millions of years ago and that paleontologists are able to find skeletal remains today just amazes me. 





When asked most gemologists are not sure what part of the world a specific dinosaur bone came from nevertheless these stones are popular among jewelry makers.  Cellular formations within the bone make them interesting to look at and talk about.  Most of the stones on the market today are bone fragments. 




Some believe that fossilized dinosaur bone increases physical energy, communication, healing of broken bones and that is helps increase memory.

Obsidian (Volcanic Glass)

Obsidian, better known as natural glass of volcanic origin, is formed by the rapid cooling of lava.   This is one of my favorite stones.  One of the things I find interesting about obsidian is that some stones are composed of many, many tiny crystalline materials.  The crystals are so closely spaced that they appear as one.  If you read up on obsidian you will learn more about what an interesting mineral this is. 



















History buffs know that obsidian was widely used by ancient peoples to make weapons, tools, and even mirrors.  Arrowhead artifacts reveal that this stone is one of the sharpest and hardest.   

Like many gemstones obsidian comes in many colors and properties.  We have Blue Snowflake Obsidian in our shop. 
























Some believe that the properties of obsidian are both soothing and grounding.  Healers often believe the specific color of the stone also has specific healing powers. 

This is just a small sample of the many good things to come!  Please stop by periodically to see new additions in shop our shop sections.

Some of the photos published here belong to their respective owners.  



Keep Creating


Karen



Wednesday, April 22, 2015

ABS Monthly Challenge - Tribute to Frida Kahlo

The Art Bead Scene (ABS) Monthly Challenge has been on my radar for some time now.  I love art!  So the idea of using a piece of art, usually a painting, to inspire creativity is an absolutely fantastic idea.  The ABS hosts are not saying, copy it, they're saying embrace this piece and use it how you choose; research, color, emotion, etc. -- dive deep and CREATE an original piece of jewelry that is uniquely yours.

This month's inspirational art piece is a masterpiece by the artist Mexican artist, Frida Kahlo, entitled Thorn Necklace and Hummingbird.  I've been a fan of Frida's work for many years.  I was fortunate enough to see some of her work in a couple of museum exhibits.  I own many books and art pieces replicating her original work.  When I see her work I am drawn to her bold use of color, her odd choices for pets, her ability to depict how painful life really is and her strength as a woman. 


In many photos you will see Frida's magnificent use of clothes and jewelry which was quite the contrast from the Hollywood bombshell in the 1930's.  Her fashion choices are synonymous with this legendary lady. She built on her individuality and all the tragedies and pain that shaped her life.  Despite major health issues and a passionately painful relationship she managed to present herself as a beautiful and talented woman.  Frida's art was a true expression of herself.  She didn't hide behind the canvas instead she used the canvas to show the world what was going on inside of her; the woman, the wife, the artist, the activist, the animal lover.

The only thing I know is that I paint because I need to, and I paint whatever passes through my head without any other consideration.  Frida




Her individuality is the very thing that draws audiences to her - past and present.  She often wore large jewelry pieces and flowing cotton dresses/skirts.  Frida used every bit of herself to create beauty, she didn't hide behind the monobrow, instead she painted it for all to see.  Her hair was always a beautiful display of creativity.  These bold choices help us to know just who this beautiful woman was.




The necklace I made was not in the same color scheme as the portrait chosen by the ABS group but the beads are rich in color which makes a dramatic statement.






The Tierra Cast swallow and 25mm metal ring make a great focal point for this tribute to Frida.  I added a bit of wire wrapping to the metal ring with 24 ga. Artistic Wire in gun metal and bronze canon copper wire.  The Raku pottery beads were made by Amy Mealy of the Xaz Bead Company.  These beautiful rust 12mm beads and the vivid blue/green 20mm beads have been in my stash for some time.  I met Amy in Santa Fe at Bead Fest in 2013. 




I included some large 20mm copper beads, spacer beads and findings that I purchased at Beads & Needs in Colorado.  The finishing touch was some small turquoise pieces to add to the length of the necklace.  This eclectic range of metals and the kaleidescope from the Raku pottery beads comes together nicely.




These are two of my favorite images of Frida. Each shows Frida's dark eyes, smooth skin, dark hair and full lips.  She was young and beautiful.  Looking at life head on.



This is a photo I have in my home.  Frida in another self portrait with her hair down.  The dark brow draws attention to the third eye.  The vine-like appearance of her clothing adds another dimension to her work which in and of itself was her autobiography.




Please click here to view the ABS Pinterest board where you will find jewelry of every category imaginable for this monthly challenge...our tribute to this beautiful and intriguing woman.



Karen


Monday, April 13, 2015

Torch Enameling 101

During Bead Fest Santa Fe I was able to take a class with Sara Lukkonen owner of C-Koop Beads from Duluth, Minnesota.  Sara shared her expertise with us teaching basic enameling techniques. 



 I especially liked that she emphasized safety precautions repeatedly throughout the class.  SAFETY FIRST!!!  Because everyone knows that the more you do something the more "comfortable" we become.  Comfort is fine but being safe is the most important -- we are working with FIRE and glass powder!


With 30 years of enameling/bead making experience Sara creates quality components and shares her expertise nation-wide. Here is another photo of Sara teaching torch enameling techniques in Santa Fe, NM.




Her easy to follow instructions inspired me to try my hand at torch enameling so I set up a new station in my studio.  We'll see what transpires.

components made in class
If there's something in particular you are interested in learning about I encourage you to take a class.  The environment allows the creative process to begin without worrying about EVERYTHING because so much is done for you.  Step-by-step instructions, instant feedback, Q & A and praise!  Get out there and do it!


Karen




Thursday, April 9, 2015

Game of Thrones Jewelry Reveal

Game of Thrones fans are anxiously waiting for Season 5 to begin.  Will you be watching? Many of my beading buddies and I anxious to find out where Tyrion is and whether or not the dragons turn on Dany?  Who will live and who will die?  

The costume designers on go all out and create a fantasy world that captivates (us) their audience. There is something for everyone ... that's what makes it exciting and so fun to watch.


Margaery Tyrell's wedding dress
As a tribute to Game of Thrones Heather Powers owner of HumbleBeads invited jewelry makers to join her in the Game of Thrones blog hop!  Heather recommended that we choose a House or character as our inspiration.  

I chose Castle Black for obvious reasons...Jon Snow.  



Jon Snow is Lord Commander of the the Night's Watch who's duty is to guard The Wall; protecting the Seven Kingdoms in the far north. The Night's Watch live in Castle Black which is located in a remote region at the base of a glacier.  You won't see an actual castle here it's more of a fort.  


Headquarters of Night's Watch
This dark and chilling place is home to a band of misfit soldiers who take their vow to serve and protect seriously.  They face their enemies in the harshest of elements.  

To represent this cold dark place I chose some pretty onyx round and faceted beads.  I strung them with silver crystals and included a couple of Venetian beads that give the look of cracked ice.  




The show is sometimes very dark and I love black so I automatically was drawn to my stash of black beads.  The silver and gun metal findings represent the armor that you see throughout the show.  




Please stop by the other blogs to see the wonderful creations that they're showing in the Game of Thrones Jewelry Challenge.  Do leave a post telling me who your favorite GOT character is....



Karen