Saturday, 17 September 2011

Mmmm soup's on!

Well, checking a few of the blog links showed that people seemed to have started posting already, so I guess I'm not going to worry about my timezone making me ahead of schedule. :) My partner is Terry from Starseed Jewelry (guess I better use the US spelling, since its her business name ;) ). Terry works in Polymer clay, which is a totally new medium for me. While I have seen some techniques that remind me of the look of some lampworking techniques, they are basically very different, and the charming rustic style of this bead soup in particular. Lori's goes to a lot of effort to pair us up, and one of her criteria is the aim to push us outside our comfort zone and in a different direction. The bead soup I received is quite a departure from what I usually work with, so it was an interesting challenge.
One of the suggested approaches for this exchange is to mix beads you already have with the Bead Soup you receive. At first glance, I didn't think that was likely to work for me. I didn't think the style of my own handmade glass beads was going to suit, and the Swarovski crystal and Bali Silver I normally use just didn't seem to 'speak to' the polymer clay beads I received. In search of inspiration, I rummaged through my jewellery cupboard (I think all crafters, and jewellery designers in particular are terrible hoarders) and looked for some materials that were a little more earthy, and had some interesting texture, that would work to the best advantage with Terri's beads. I stumbled across all kinds of things I didn't know I had.... elephants carved out of bone, copper spacer beads, chunky crystals and a range of small glass beads.
With all of that laid out before me, the next step was to work out what to string them on, and what sort of design I was going for. I have never worked with a clasp like that. I wanted to make a feature of it in the jewellery, and show off the beautiful colour and interesting texture, but I wasn't sure how to even attach them. I'm used to working with clasps with a loop and generally rely on softflex and silver crimps, but it looked like the toggle would need wire wrapping. I did consider fibre, and found some just the right colour, but the holes in some of the beads were not large enough.... Back to rummaging through my 'stash' and I discovered some brass wire, and my kit from a class in silver wire crochet from Glasstock in 2009. An idea started to emerge - I wanted something eclectic and textural, to match the variety of beads I was going to use. I had to google crochet to remind myself how to start off, but then it all came together. I crocheted 2 strands filled with beads, featuring Terri's focal front and centre, and twisted them together, wire wrapping the ends onto the funky clay toggle.
I was pleased with the result, and I hope you like it - it was a real challenge to move away from my 'norm' and do something different. The colour is a bit off in some of the pics, due to a fairly hurried photo shoot this afternoon, but hopefully you get the idea. Thanks Terri and Lori for the fun of this exchange - and the creative challenge!! I don't think I'll be temped away form glass any time soon though - I just love the high gloss finish and the smooth texture of glass.

Bead Soup Bead Party Teaser

The first set of beads that my exchange partner sent me arrived unexpectedly yesterday. Talk about coming down to the wire! I was beginning to think the 2nd set, which she kindly sent to replace the beads that seemed to have decided to take a vacation on the way down under, were going to arrive first...
The show and tell part of this little Blog party is supposed to start on the 17th. Well... it is the 17th here, but so I don't jump the gun, I'm just going to post a little teaser pic for now, and then go and hit the torch. I'll post the finished jewellery tonight, which will be almost the 17th, US time. :)
The pic above shows the beads I was sent, but doesn't have a pic of the polymer clay toggle that was included also. I didn't get a pic of the beads before I started putting them together, and for Terri didn't include the Toggle in the photo she sent me to...
Check out the other participants blogs over the next few weeks - there is a complete list here. And don't forget to pop back and see the finished piece later!

Wednesday, 14 September 2011

Tape Melbourne!

Yesterday, after a tiring but enjoyable day taking photos with a class full of year 10 students throughout Melbourne and St Kilda, I ended up back at Federation Square, where my husband had met me to attend a friend's exhibition opening. That morning, I had seen the exterior of a fascinating new art installation in Federation Square entitles 'Tape Melbourne', a huge, alien-esque sculpture suspended from the buildings, created entirely from packing tape. It looked fantastic from the outside, but on chatting with one of the creators, and the Project Manager, I learnt that they were hoping it would be declared safe enough to open to the public. Heading back with DH that afternoon, we were able to climb inside, after shedding shoes and anything sharp :). It was a lot of fun, an amazing experience to be inside. It gave when you moved, like a hammock - in fact, the narrow pathways grabbed you as you tried to crawl through. It was very comfortable, but made disconcerting squeaking noises when you moved - was that just the tape squeaking, or was it going to give way? It is transparent in parts, so it feels quite ephemeral, but its deceptively strong. It was a very interesting experience - so glad I was in there at the right time! Well worth checking out if you are in Melbourne!
The photos are from 3 sources - the interior shots were taken with my little canon 'point n shoot', the exterior shots are were taken with my DSLR Nikon D7000, and the night shots were downloaded from the Fed Square blog...

Sunday, 11 September 2011

Bead Soup off the boil

Unfortunately, due to the vagaries of international postage, my bead soup hasn't arrived yet. I will try and get some photos up of my most recent work so there is something for people to look at when they drop by for the big Blog Hop on the 17th..... fingers crossed, the beads will arrive by then and I can get something up. My partner and our exchange host have both offerred to send more, but I just know the original ones will arrive the day after they post something :). Keep your fingers crossed!