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Painting the Elephant Bangle - Part 3

Welcome to Part 3 of the painting the elephant bangle project.  I can't believe it's already been a week since the last installment - where does the time go?  Good news; the elephants are about to make their first appearance!A link to Part 2 for anyone who hasn't seen it or who would like to go back and take another look:  Part 2Here's where we left off last week:Before we get to this latest update, I thought I'd share some information about forest elephants with you.  They are not as well known as their more familiar cousins the savannah or bush elephants, nor is much known about the forest elephant compared to their larger cousins.Wh... » Read More

Painting the Elephant Bangle - Part 2

Welcome to Part 2 of this blog series about painting an elephant bangle.  Here is a link to Painting the Elephant Bangle - Part 1 in case you missed it and would like to take a look. Just to refresh memories, this is where we left off last week with Part 1 - the bangle with some highlighting and shadows added: Moving on from there, I added more depth to the background to give a feeling for rain forest vegetation: Adding trees to the foreground in the form of trunks and branches: The trees with leaves - they were looking rather like skeletons above! I think it's beginning to look a bit like a rain forest now.Whil... » Read More

Rainy Days November Blog Carnival

It's time, once again, for the Jewelry Artisans Community monthly blog carnival.  This month our topic is Rainy Days.I love rainy days and we are having plenty of them here in Northern California.  This weekend, the forecasters say we're going to have record setting rain - like up to 10 inches over the next two days.  Whoa, that is a lot of rain!The reasons I love rain are many.  As long as there isn't too much of it at one time, it's good for the earth, the trees, the plants, the lakes and rivers and it's cleansing.  I like to watch it rain.  Bonus if there's lightning and thunder included!  The sound of the pitter patter of ... » Read More

Painting the Elephant Bangle - Part I

 It's been a while since I've blogged on a regular basis.  Life has thrown a few curves my way the last few months that knocked me flat, but I feel ready to start blogging again as it's something I enjoy doing.  While thinking about possible topics, I remembered that I've been meaning to blog about my elephant bangle.  Thought it would be fun to share my process from start to finish and here we go.This wood bangle is the perfect canvas:Here are some of my sketches.  I cut a piece of paper the same height and circumference of the bangle and sketched the elephants on it to be sure they'd fit:I taped the inside of the bangle with blue ... » Read More

Goodbye Summer, Hello Fall - September Blog Carnival

It's time for the Jewelry Artisan Community's monthly blog carnival and our topic for September is transitioning from summer to fall.Autumn is one of my favorite times of year.   Summer's heat gives way to crisp mornings, pleasantly warm afternoons and cool evenings.  The doors and windows are open to receive the wonderful breeze.  Sleep comes easily while snuggling under a blanket and breathing in the refreshing night air.The leaves have begun the transformation to their glorious fall colors of reds, oranges and yellows.  Migratory birds have begun their journey south to spend the winter in warmer climates.  The bounty of the ha... » Read More

Blog Carnival - My Stash

"My Stash" is the topic of the Jewelry Artisans Community August blog carnival.  After pondering which of my stashes to write about, I decided to focus on my stash of experimental twisted copper wire rings.A few months ago, while fiddling with wire, I got this hair brained idea of using my electric mixer to twist wire.  See, I was too lazy to go out to the garage in search of a drill and the mixer was right there!To my surprise, the mixer did a great job twisting the wire, but then I was left with the dilemma of what to do with the wire.  Specifically, what to do with the ends of the wire.  My friends over at Jewelry Artisans Community... » Read More

Blog Carnival - What's Inspiring Me Now?

The topic of this month's Jewelry Artisans Community blog carnival is "What's Inspiring Me Now?"Honestly, at the time the topic was decided, I was not inspired by anything and experiencing a dry spell.  Hate when that happens.Not long after that, I was sorting through old books and came across a book about braiding hair that showed many different braiding techniques.  Flipping through the photos, I was inspired to try braiding wire and decided to give it a go.I started with fine gauge wire and worked my way up thicker and thicker gauges as I got the hang of it.  Here is the end result and I'm quite happy with how it turned out:Now my head... » Read More

Blog Carnival - Mother's Day

This month's topic for the Jewelry Artisans Community blog carnival is Mother's Day.My feelings about this topic were ambivalent as my own mother passed away last summer after a shockingly short battle with cancer.  This is our family's first Mother's Day without her and it felt strange this morning realizing that there would be no Happy Mother's Day phone call being made today.After much thought, I decided that while I couldn't call her, I could honor her memory by participating in this month's blog carnival.My mother was a beautiful, vibrant and talented woman.  Artistic in so many ways, with a wonderful eye for color and form, whatever ta... » Read More

Blog Carnival - Nature

This month's blog carnival topic by the members of the Jewelry Artisans Community is "Nature".  No matter what their medium and that could be painting, sculpture, photography, fiber arts, paper arts or metalsmithing, to name a few, most artists will say that they are inspired by nature in one form or another.Given nature's bounty of colors, shapes and textures that is not a bit surprising.  Nature is an endless and rich source of inspiration.Let's take a look at a few examples of what I mean.Color provided by a stone:Shape - this time provided by a frog; this little guy spent all last summer living amongst the plants on my deck:And, inspired... » Read More

Blog Carnival - Spring Plans

The Jewelry Artisans Community has chosen "Spring Plans" as the topic for our March blog carnival topic.Spring has always been a time of renewal and starting fresh in my mind.  The always reliable daffodils show their cheery faces and the trees begin to swell with buds.  It's a time of optimism and looking forward to a new season.After giving quite a bit of thought about how to welcome Spring this year, I realized that painting little miniatures is one of my passions and I kind of lost my way last year due to some personal family issues.  I didn't feel like painting for a very long time and it's just in the last few months that I've felt ... » Read More

Drunk Beads

I recently participated in a critique of my Artfire studio as I wanted to find out what I'm doing right and which areas need improvement.  Gabi, of catfluff, who was giving the critique chose this listing of a purple and yellow necklace with hand painted wood beads and plum Czech druk beads to critique.One of Gabi's earliest comments was that at first she thought the title said "drunk beads" which got her to click on the item which is fine by me; I'll take a click any way I can get one.  Drunk beads, druk beads, sober beads - it makes no difference to me!  Plus, it made me laugh.Then she went on to say she had never heard of Czech druk be... » Read More

Beautiful Lampwork Beads and a Giveaway!

Vanessa Hearn, of Bead Up A Storm at Etsy, makes the most beautiful lampwork beads in her home studio in the Forest of Dean which is located in England where she lives with her husband and young son.  Her beads are colorful, iridescent and almost seem to glow from within.  The shapes and colors are amazing; I could stare at them for hours.Here are some examples of the gorgeous lampwork produced by Vanessa:Time and TideThe Dragon's Treasure - can you see the dragon's head in this stunning bead?Bluebird of Happiness - this one makes me smile; it's adorable!Vanessa or Ness as her friends call her is holding a giveaway.  Yes, you could be the... » Read More

Blog Carnival: Re-making an old piece

It's time for the monthly blog carnival from the jewelry artists at the Jewelry Artisans Community.  Each month we choose a topic and this month we're talking about ripping up old work and making it new again.The subject of this particular work is the beautiful Ceanothus Silk Moth.  Native from British Columbia to western Montana and through the west coast states, in California, it's found mostly west of the Sierras.  Habitat includes coastal areas, chaparral and conifer forests.  With a wing span of 5-6 inches, these are truly magnificent moths.The caterpillars feed on a variety of native California plants, the California lilac or Cea... » Read More

Crafting for Charity

I've found I like creating things to benefit good causes.  I like doing it more now that I've stopped thinking of it as a possible way to promote my business.  It just feels good and right.The thought that it's possible to create something that will benefit others and not benefit ourselves in any way is very empowering.  When we see horrific things happening on the news, we feel powerless and overwhelmed.  By creating something with our own hands to help, we're better able to acknowledge those feelings and respond in a positive way.  Over the years, I've donated my jewelry to various fund raising events and have been happy to do so.... » Read More

Artistic Growth - Part 4 and the Conclusion

For part 4 and the final installment of my blog series on artistic growth, I asked painter, Amy Elyse Neer, to share with us her take on how she's grown as an artist.  I've always been drawn to Amy's paintings - I love her use of light, shadow and color as well as the sense of whimsy found in Amy's work.  Little did I know, Amy had to overcome a significant obstacle in order to be able to pursue her passion for painting.  Here is Amy's story:* * * * *I was legally blind when I was born.  Four years of therapy and one surgery later I could see.  As soon as I could hold a crayon, I covered every scrap of paper with color; as soon as I... » Read More

Artistic Growth - Part 3 of a Series

For Part 3 of my series on artistic growth, jewelry artist, Jeanne of J3Jewelry shares her journey of growth with us.  Jeanne has not only grown in her craft, but in photographing her jewelry too.  Here's what Jeanne has to say on the subject:* * * * *My journey and my growth are far from over, but I feel like I’ve learned a lot in the almost 3 years that I’ve been doing this. All self taught, and when I see what people who have gone through formal training can produce, at times it makes me really wish I could put myself through school to learn the same skills in that type of setting. However, I am enjoying this self-taught... » Read More