Thursday, July 31, 2014

AJE component of the month

I'm so excited to be participating in the AJE July component of the month hop as a guest designer.
The hostess this month is Francesca Watson She sent us each one of her handmade glass cabochons. I received the loveliest blue iridescent (dichroic) cab.

Here is a photo of that cabochon. You can see the beautiful blues in the background with the hint of pinks , sea foam, gold and silver, in the dichroic mix of this bead. The colour shifts as one rotates the cab and it has flashes of iridescence .

The second photo shows the depth of metallic colour within this cab.
I knew that I had some other special glass beads in my stash, so I went hunting. I had a slew of Unicorn beads with similar character so I decided now was the time to stop hoarding saving them. I chose  3 yo-yo beads in clear glass with gold flashes of fire on the surface. Now yo-yo beads are interesting designs, they have no holes. The trick was HOW to combine them  and connect them to this focal.

Francesca gave us the option of having a un-drilled or drilled cab . I chose drilled, so my method of choice was to create a bail to secure this bead to my finished piece. Any old bail would not do.
Not only because this cab is special but it's also much thicker than most bails are designed for.
My solution was to create a wire bail with 18 gauge sterling wire. I decided to create a spiral at the front, feed the wire through to the back, make the bail and then tuck the tail behind the spiral.
I then had to figure out how to attach the yo-yo's (that's why they hadn't been used yet. ) I decided to use the same 18 ga wire and do a simple wrap around to secure them . You can see the path of the wire esp in the right hand bead. If the wire gets pulled it only gets tighter around the cores of the yo-yos. The three beads are connected with one piece of wire ending in a loop at each end.
the main focal with spiral bail and the three yo-yo beads above. 
I then added links made with cube beads  with the same gold fleck on the surface and Chinese crystals in a similar blue to the cab.

 I didn't want the necklace to become too busy with lots of wire wrapped links so I limited the number to be just enough to fit below the collarbone.
I didn't have any sterling chain that worked with this design so I used a mix of seed beads, e-beads,  bugle beads, and fringe beads in similar colours and character to create the remainder of the necklace.

 Rather than have the clasp at the back of the neck I decided to add it to the front where the links and the seed beads connected. I made a spiral embellished hook and eye clasp to add another scrolled element to the piece.; it looked ok but it was unbalanced visually so I made a matching spiral for the other side with 18 ga sterling wire. and connected it to the wire guard where the stringing wire joined onto the wire links. It adds a balancing element to the other side and hides the bare wire guard.

Of course one can't have a gorgeous necklace without marching earrings , well one can but one doesn't want a special piece with no companions. So I used up two more of the yo-yo's and glass cube and crystals to make a simple pair of earrings.

I am quite please with how this turned out and I think it would make a lovely bridal necklace with the crystals and the "something blue".
Here is the complete necklace including the seed-bead "chain"

I am so honoured that I was invited to play along this month . To see what the other guest designers and the AJE team made with their cabochons just click on the links below.

                                            Deb Fortin-  you are here.

Toltec Jewels -

Carol Briody -

The AJE Team

Caroline Dewison -

Susan Kennedy -

Melissa Meman -

Jenny Davies-Reazor -

and not least, our hostess and provider of the cabs for us all to play with  -

Francesca Watson-

Thanks for stopping by .  Hope you can come by again. 

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

My country blog hop

Oh Canada, my home and native land......
There is so much to love about Canada and being Canadian. I am a native of Canada's Capital city, Ottawa, Ontario.  Ontario is a vast province; from east to west it takes about two days to travel by car.
 Part of Ontario is comprised of the Canadian Shield , a HUGE rocky landmass. We are a mineral rich province as one could expect with all those rocks around.

We also have the most gorgeous Maple Trees that give us the best Maple Syrup in the world. In Spring these trees warm up, the sap runs, and we have tree growers who tap the sap and make syrup. Sugar shacks abound and one can visit them, watch maple syrup being made (by boiling the sap for hours and hours and hours in huge metal tanks).

Some fresh snow packed into a plate , pour on some warm sap and we enjoy the most delicious treat, maple syrup taffy on a stick. YUM.

In fall these same Maple trees turn the most amazing shades of red and orange, turning our forests into flaming beauty.

For my entry in this blog hop I've chosen to honour our maple leaf and highlight it with some of our local minerals/gemstones that are abundant in Ontario. I chose Sodalite, Garnet and Amethyst.

I made the pendant from Art Clay silver. It is fine silver .999 pure. It is a metal clay that one can make many different items with. I chose a simple rectangle and while the clay was wet I stamped two tiny maple leaves into it. After firing it becomes pure silver and with much polishing it gets really shiny. I patina'd the leaves with LOS and a tiny brush to keep the patina within the recessed leaf areas. This adds a bit of emphasis to the leaves as they are now a warm golden colour in contrast to the silver.

The stones are joined together with hand made silver wire links., Wire wrapping and wire work is my favourite technique for making jewellery. To keep it simple I finished the necklace with silver rolo chain which mimics the round loops of the wire wrapped connections. The whole piece is about 22 inches long.

To see other designs representing other countries stop by the host's blog Nanmade by Nan Smith. She is the hostess who set up this tour de pays hop. Thanks Nan for this great blog party.