Thursday, February 25, 2016

Swarovski Cyrstals & Pearls

The perfection of Swarovski crystals speaks for itself.  I enjoy incorporating Swarovski elements into the jewelry pieces I design.  The efforts of Swarovski to remain on the cutting edge of design, robotics, technology, art and science is unsurpassed.  The range of creative goods that they offer is marvelous.  Swarovski produces binoculars, tools, jewelry, accessories, figurines, lighting, gemstones & crystals all of which offer the cutting edge in quality and design in the world marketplace.  Can you believe that they’ve been in business for 120 years?  When you familiarize yourself with all that is Swarovski it will amaze you.  They're expertise crosses over many industries. 

One thing that I really like about Swarovski is that they embrace creative collaboration.  I think most bloggers can relate to that.  They invite designers, scientists, creative thinkers and superstars to join their creative team to expand their vision and continue making amazing products for all to enjoy.  Swarovski is in every corner of the world including London, Vienna, Mexico, Brazil, Paris, New Zealand, Russia and the US. 

CHANEL Swarovski crystal brooch
They have produced costumes for not only Marilyn Monroe and Madonna but now J Lo is now strutting her stuff in Las Vegas wearing costumes embellished with Swarovski crystals.  Designers such as Christian Dior, Alexander McQueen and Coco Chanel, and many others, have embraced the use of Swarovski products to adorn their creations. 


So what’s my point?  Well the new scarabaeus crystals and pearls were on my list of “things to find” in Tucson, which I did!  I also picked up some of the crystal light chrome’s in shimmering silver which are AMAZING!  Swarovski prides itself on encouraging individuality and creative originality so even though I’m a novice jewelry maker I insist on including quality materials in my simple designs.  Thus my relationship with Swarovski was born a few years ago. 

You’re going to LOVE, LOVE, LOVE the dazzling colors of the scarabaeus crystals and pearls.  The creator of this radiant color combination is the infamous Jean Paul Gaultier. The color was inspired by the verdigris roof of the Paris Opera House and the metallic green-blue-purple sheen of the scarab beetle seen in Ancient Egyptian artifacts.  The creation is a brilliant burst of color combinations. 

Okay so I’ve already said that the new colors are absolutely mind blowing.  Well guess what?  Jean Paul Gaultier took his idea a step further by taking the perfect crystal and make it ‘perfectly imperfect’ or ‘broken’ thus creating the Kaputt crystal by Swarovski.  Bravo!!  There's a lot more debuting this Fall/Winter 2016/2017.  so stop by the Swarovski website to get your eye full.  You'll be glad you did!! 

Share your creative designs using crystals in a reply post.  I’d love to see what you’re creating.

Thursday, February 18, 2016

Red Carpet Ready Blog Hop

Hi there!  I came across a great blog hop hosted by Candie Cooper, it's call the Red Carpet Ready DIY Earrings That Sparkle and Shine Blog Hop.  I jumped at the chance to participate even though I may be crashing the party with a very late entry.  

Well, you know how I looove sparkle & shine so this is the perfect opportunity for me to use some of my Swarovski crystals and pearls.  Crystals are one of my go-to components when making jewelry.

On the red carpet we are able to see amazing creations by the BEST designers in the world.  This year tassels are all the rage and they were visible on many of the leading ladies.  You will see some great artistry on the other blogs too which include an interesting variety of creative designs, including tassels.  

I chose a sleek look of Swarovski pearls & crystals, making these earring chic and timeless.  I've had these components in my stash for several years now so I'm not able to provide the correct name of each color.  I am very pleased to have used up some of my stash for this cool blog hop!  

Swarovski crystals & pearls

Please stop by Candie's blog and visit the other blogs too.  You'll be inspired at each stop.

Thanks Candie for hosting the Red Carpet Ready blog hop!!! 

Keep Creating,

Tuesday, February 16, 2016

African Trade Beads

My recent trip to the Tucson Gem & Mineral Show was quite eventful.  I spent some time in the African Village visiting with shop owners from around the globe.  I was focused on buying some African Trade Beads to include in my jewelry designs.  I was pleased with the quality and range of colors available.  

As you walk through the African Village you will find strands and strands of beads in various shapes and sizes.  All this can be a bit overwhelming but it’s worth taking your time and finding the right items for you.   
Trade beads formed an important factor in early trade networks between Europe and Africa.  The beads themselves were typically made in Italy, France, Germany, Bohemia (the Czech Republic) and the Netherlands and were used in trade in Africa.  The beads’ history dates to the 15th century when European trading ships arrived on the coasts of Africa bringing gold, ivory, glass beads and other commodities to this region.  The beads were uncommon in this region and were viewed as precious goods.  The beads were adopted and used as a symbol of status.
I find these beads very intriguing.  There is a certain amount of mystery surrounding these beads such as where the bead came from?  Who was the craftsman?  Are these truly one-of-a-kind or were they mass produced in bead trading houses?   Who designed the beads?  Some museums have information related to these special beads but normally when you speak to the importers they admit it’s hard to know exactly where they originated or how old they are.   
History tells us that in Bohemia glass makings were experts in their craft dating back to the 11th century.  There were famous glass costume jewelry makers in this region.  Think about the masterminds behind these precious collections.  These creative thinkers included alchemists and chemists who produced instructions for not only bead making but different types of glass production; buttons, lampwork beads, glass wares, etc.   

The vibrant colors are typical of African style.  The unique patterns and colors makes collecting these beads fun and interesting.  

This year I bought some African amber resin beads.  Don’t be fooled this is not the fossilized tree resin Amber.  These beads are made by mixing liquid resin with a hardener and color.   They come in a variety of shapes, sizes and prices.  I also picked up some vinyl beads, glass beads, seed beads and Christmas beads!!   

If you have an opportunity to visit an African trade bead vendor do so.  Ask questions and learn about the amazing journey some of these little beauties have made to get you!

Keep Creating,


Thursday, February 11, 2016

Feathers & Friends Bead Making Class with Heather Powers

I am an empty nester with an obsession for all things beading, art jewelry & jewelry making.  I recently took the Feather & Friends class offered by Heather Powers of HumbleBeads, Handcrafted Art Beads Inspired by Nature.  

If you aren’t familiar with Heather’s work I recommend you check her website.  She is a polymer clay artist who’s worked in the industry for many years.  She’s a published author, a teacher, a mentor and an inspiration to me and many of her followers.  If you haven’t yet delved into polymer clay bead making you’re in luck because Heather offers classes throughout the year. 

Taking this class was a refreshing experience for me helping me realize that creativity allows us to choose actions in response to what happens in life, to generate new elements in our lives.  There were several times I asked myself, are you really open to possibilities? I recognized that a part of me believed that my creativity can only move in small, shallow breaths: a couple hours here, a morning workshop there, or a trip to Bead Fest next year.  Or that it can only take certain shapes: a beaded necklace here and a pair of earrings there.  Wow what an eye opener!

I hit walls and jumped hurdles creating these wonderful little feathered friends.  I had to be patient with the clay and especially mindful of my mindset, my breathing, my feelings and my willingness to realize that this too was a process. I had to imagine that I could “make” this happen.  Finally I was able to see the flow of creativity running through me and the clay, simultaneously, it was an awe-inspiring experience.  I connected with other artists as we cheered each other on to keep modeling, discovering and transforming clay. 

When I signed up for the workshop I never thought that it would be as challenging as it was.  It was a great reminder that the simplest of challenges (manipulating clay) can make life VERY interesting. 

If you get a chance hop on over to Heather’s blog where you can find information on classes and books and other wonderfully inspiring ideas!

I especially like gemstones and try to include gemstones and crystals in most of my designs.  Next, using faux techniques to make beads that look like real gemstones!!  Stay tuned.

Keep Creating