Monday 28 September 2015

Art Bead Scene September Inspiration Challenge

The Art Bead Scene hosts an inspiration challenge every month. Participants must use an art bead in their design. The inspiration for September is an oil painting on canvas by Vanessa Bell, View of the Pond at Charleston, East Sussex.

View of the Pond at Charleston, East Sussex
by Vanessa Bell, c.1919
Oil on canvas, 79.8 x 84 cm
Collection: Museums Sheffield

In 1906, when Bell started to think of herself as an artist, she formed the Friday Club, in order to create a place in London that was more favourable to painting. Vanessa Bell is one of the most celebrated painters of the Bloomsbury group. She exhibited in London and Paris during her lifetime, and has been praised for innovative works during her early maturity and for her contributions to design. (Reference: Wikipedia)

I chose to use the colours of the artwork as my inspiration.

First up are these sweet little earrings, made with Lampwork flowers that I received recently. Unfortunately I forgot to mark the bag that I placed them in. I think they came from Susan Kennedy of SueBeads. I paired them with glass leaves that matched the green dots at the tips of the flower petals. I also used complementary seed beads and matched waxed linen to the colour of the flower petals and the leaves. The earrings hang from sterling silver ear wires.

Flowers by the Pond (Sold)

The predominant shades of green, and the trees and bushes in the paining, inspired this pendant. The ceramic leaf and the green and brown beads are from Leslie Watt of Thea Elements, and the blue ceramic rounds are from Gaea Cannaday. I used cotton cord to tie the pendant together and hung everything from a brass box chain, with a lobster claw clasp.

Near the Pond

Please check out what everyone else has made too, starting September 30th.

Thanks for stopping by and have a great day.

Monday 21 September 2015

Photography Woes

Like many jewellery artisans I have struggled with taking good photos of the pieces I make. There’s lots of advice online and much of it is good. I find though there are still some things I struggle with, good lighting, staging, and composition for example.

Over time I have been slowly developing my style and preferences for photos. I feel I have finally gotten to a point where I am satisfied with photos taken outdoors, and with the staging and props aspect.

Here are some before and after shots, with details of the differences:

Before – Spirit Waters Necklace

After – Spirit Waters Necklace

The before photo was taken indoors, in my handmade light box. My biggest problem is that I don’t have the correct bulbs. I even went out and bought a special bulb designed to mimic natural light. Only problem is, I purchased on in the warm light spectrum. It’s way too yellow.

The after photo was taken outdoors, on top of tile for our barbecue “kitchen”. The beautiful, true colours of the necklace can finally be seen.

This is the barbecue kitchen I mentioned:

Before – Floating Above Earrings

After – Floating Above Earrings

Again, the before photo was taken indoors in my light box. In the after photo, also taken outdoors like the necklace, the earrings were hung from the side of a hurricane lantern we’ve had for years, this one:

The lantern has aged and rusted a bit since the earring photo was taken, but it still makes a great background prop

Before – Flying Free Earrings

After – Flying Free Earrings

The before photo is one of my first attempts to improve my photography. It was taken outdoors. I used a special sewing pattern “paper”, a type of cloth made of fibres that cross in random directions and are fused together. The underlying surface shows through the loose weave and distracts from the earrings.

The after photo of the earrings was not cropped tight to give a perspective of size. The 3 inch long earrings are sitting on some pieces of slate from a broken roof tile. This perspective doesn’t quite work for these earrings and later on I figured out how to hang the earrings from the larger bottom piece and get it to stand.

And the final set of photos:

Before – Framed Splendour Necklace

After 1 – Framed Splendour Necklace

After 2 – Framed Splendour Necklace

The before photo of this necklace was taken in the days before I had a light box. Considering there was no proper lighting it’s surprising how well the photo came out.

The props for both of the after photos were just purchased on Saturday at an outdoor antique market about an hour away from home.

After photo number 1 uses an antique wood heating grate, which is apparently the type originally used for in floor ventilation openings. I was told that the grate would be placed into an opening in the floor just above a wood stove. Heat from the stove would rise to the upper floor through the opening. I took this photo wide in order to show off the grate itself.

After photo 2 is one of the first photos taken with my new to me bust of a young goddess or handmaiden. I’m not sure which she would be or even how old she is. I was so excited to find her I forgot to ask. Truth be told I don’t think she’s all that old. The status is extremely light and has been repainted to give a slightly worn appearance but the coat of paint is much too smooth for an antique or vintage item. She’s a little smaller than what I would prefer but I’m happy with her.

Except for the counter tile I’ll be able to use all the props indoors when the Ontario weather changes. Now I just have to find the right lights.

Friday 18 September 2015

We’re All Ears September Challenge

Every month the Earrings Everyday blog hosts a design challenge based on a theme. This month the challenge was based on a Japanese performance art and dance troupe Enra.

Erin Prais-Hintz provided a video of a piece called “Torque starter” for inspiration. The video can be seen here. (I haven’t mastered the art of adding a video to my blog).

I watched the video several times and, each time, found myself captivated. I was drawn to different sections of the performance, thinking do I have the right pieces and/or beads to interpret that?

Finally, I found the perfect fit for this portion of the performance, occurring about 20 seconds into the video:

Screen Capture from the video of “Torque starter” by Enra
 I had acquired some steel stampings from HighArt Destash on Facebook. These are not steel that’s been riveted and cut into that shape, rather are literally stamped out. They were originally curved and it’s thought they were meant for shoe bows. A little grungy when I first received them, I cleaned them up with a file and gently flattened them.

Torque Earrings

The “dots” on the stampings reminded me of the flashing “sparks” in that section of the video. Though the video is black and white I saw flashes of blue throughout and decided to use faceted blue Goldstone beads plus gunmetal jump rings and ear wires, and black wire to attach everything together. I’m rather pleased with how they came together.

I explored online to find more information on the troupe. Maybe it’s because they’re based in Japan but I found it hard to find a website. I did however find many videos online and watched a few.

One in particular, titled “Primitive” caught my attention.

Again, it was a particular section that caught my attention.

Screen capture from the video “Primitive” by Enra

The strong bars reminded me of some silver plated pieces with black resin ovals with a very oriental influence that I have, giving an old fashioned photo negative effect. I decided to add some faceted black Onyx beads that I attached with gunmetal chain, wires and head pins.

Primordia Earrings

The onyx beads bring in the influence of the ball from the inspiration video along with emphasizing the vertical aspect of the screen capture.

Please check out what everyone else has made too.
Thanks for stopping by and have a great day.

Tuesday 8 September 2015

Art Inspiration Journaling

I’ve read about the concept of maintaining an art inspiration journal many times.  My first exposure was this blog post that I found way back in 2012.

My very first post was a record of the date I started my art journal.

My intention was to post or paste in something every day, an existing piece, a quote, image, scene, little piece of “something”, whatever triggered a glimmer of inspiring thought or thread of “maybe I can…”

I even designed a cover and used up a bunch of flat back plastic rhinestones to jazz up the cover.

That lasted about 2 weeks before I got busy with something, probably tax season. The book was put aside, then ended up being buried in a pile of papers. Did I ever tell you how good I am at making piles of paper that need to be “dealt with”?

Though I did eventually locate it again in one of my cleanup whirlwinds I kept looking at it with a guilty feeling, thinking I should be doing this, capturing my thoughts and design ideas. After all I had lost track of so many over time.

I decided last week it was time to try again. Finally. This time though, I’m doing things differently. I’m not expecting to write or draw every day, am relying less on other artists designs as a takeoff point, allowing my creative spark to follow a flow that has evolved over the last couple of years.

So, here’s my “new” first post as well as a peak at the write up for the first set of designs.

Have you or do you now have a journal of ideas or inspiration? How do you keep it fresh and relevant? I have a feeling this will continue to be the hardest part.

Wish me luck.

Tuesday 1 September 2015

Art Bead Scene August Inspiration Challenge

The challenge inspiration for August was this gorgeous textile that captures a ceremonial sandpainting. Created by Hosteen Clah, a Navajo weaver and singer (Medicine Man), it depicts a Navajo Nightway ceremony, a very powerful and sacred centre of their universe.

Summer Thunder by Hosteen Klah, Weaving, Wool

This month’s challenge pushed me, just like the We’re All Ears challenge earlier in the month. I spent a lot of time looking at the inspiration photo, identifying the details, noting the details and colours. In the end I identified 3 themes and colourways.

The first one I chose, but the last to be made, is based on the purple found in the stripes, the branches and in the dancers. The set of branches, lower left and upper right, reminded me of flowers reaching outward. This is the same feeling I got from the middle of this polymer clay pendant from Staci Louise Smith.

I had trouble with my photography but there is a strong purple presence around the outside of the pendant, which I carried into the necklace with matte Czech glass beads. There’s also a hint of pink, both in the upper middle of the weaving and in the pendant. I used pink dyed wood beads from Linda Landig’s destash to bring this colour out and added light wood beads, also from Linda, along with deep mahogany round rudrashka seeds. Waxed linen in two colours and a bronze toggle clasp bring everything together.

Spirit Flower Necklace

I also made 2 pairs of earrings based on the inspiration. Both use leather focals from Melinda Orr, ceramic rounds from Gaea Cannaday and waxed linen from Lorelei Eurto’s Jewelry Accord store.

The leather in the first pair is embossed and dyed a rich brick colour that matches the weaving. Paired with ceramic beads in a pale Granny Smith apple green and waxed linen in a similar colour, a riff off of the chairs in the weaving. The dangle from gold plated links and ear wires

Floating Above Earrings

The leather rounds in the second pair have a pinwheel kind of pattern and are dyed in a deep green, similar to the stripes in the inspiration. The edges are coated with sparkly gold glitter. I pulled the purple out again with the ceramic rounds. The waxed linen matches the background of the leather rounds. Copper jump rings and ear wires finish off this pair.

Night Way Earrings

Please check out what everyone else has made too.

Thanks for stopping by and have a great day.