Thursday 15 December 2016

Art Bead Scene 6th Annual Ornament Blog Hop

When I first read about this year’s version of the Art Bead Scene Ornament Blog Hop I was so excited. I’ve been wanting to try my hand at making ornaments for a while now.

My original plan was to use polymer clay to make something new and different to my usual direction. Not only were the polymer gods not in a mood to participate but November and December turned out to be my busiest yet. After scrapping several batches of polymer clay I had to put the idea aside and put my focus to my final shows of the year.

This week I decided to try again. Since I am on vacation from my bill paying job I had more time to play, including spending lots of time on Pinterest. I found many posts about an air dry clay made of corn starch, baking soda and water. I used the recipe from this pin and was letting it air dry.  It was taking too long to dry and today I ended up following the baking instructions from this post.

I had visions of pretty painted ornaments with impressed images highlighted by paint. Things didn’t turn out the way I anticipated, though they do look better in person than in the photo below.

I decided I didn’t like the use of the different coloured paint and went for silver and gold in the next batch, using a dry brush technique. I went a little heavy with the silver paint, mainly because it was so light and hard to see.

I was happier with the way this batch turned out but decided to try one last variation. Skipping the impressions I went to plain ornament shapes and stamped different images on them. These turned out to be my favourites.

I did try a dry brush on the two top ornaments but quickly decided I didn’t care for it and left the rest white. You can really see how white the “clay” mix is. The bottom left ornament had to be painted over and redone because I originally stamped the bird upside down. He did look quite strange that way.

First I need to buy narrow ribbon to hang them with then all of these ornaments will be gifts for some young friends. I hope they forgive my mistakes and enjoy them for what they are.

Please visit the blog reveal to see what everyone else made

Thanks for stopping by and have a great day

Thursday 20 October 2016

Weather - We’re All Ears September Challenge

For the EarringsEveryday October edition of the monthly We’re All Ears challenge, Erin Prais-Hintz selected weather ... wind patterns, cloud formations, precipitation... whatever we would like to represent!

I remember studying all about weather when I was a child and being fascinated by clouds. I used to know all the different types, what causes them, what conditions were needed to sustain them, how gentle or fierce they could be. Memories came flooding back when I was reading the challenge blog so of course I chose to focus on clouds

This painting by American landscape painter Albert Bierstadt shows a fierce rainstorm about to start and was the kickoff to my design. I did find it a little too dark and chose to work with the lighter elements of the clouds

Storm in the Rocky Mountains by Albert Bierstadt

I couldn’t quite find the right beads, shapes or colours, to make my vision come to life and decided it was time to take out the polymer clay again and play. I made a free form mixture of a light blue, deep navy and pale creamy pearl colour and made these sets

The Storm Above Earrings

The studs at the top are silver plated and the drops up front are gunmetal. It took a bit of work to get a decent rounded shape and remove fingerprints and clay from the sides and backs but it’s all practice right?

The Storm Above Earrings

I tried to get the look of sky in flux, with churning clouds and bits of blue sky peaking through. Some much needed touch ups to remove divots will happen this weekend.

The Storm Above Earrings

Although I tried to keep a close eye, there were hot spots in my toaster oven and I didn’t take the tray out quickly enough. I wasn’t quite expecting the temperature to be so uneven. Some of the darkened beads were at the back on one side and some near the middle of the oven. I may leave the colours as is but haven't decided yet. They do bring out the stormy look more.

I had enough clay left to make 2 pendants too. Here’s one final photo, a group shot

Please visit the blog reveal to see what everyone else made

Thanks for stopping by and have a great day

Friday 30 September 2016

Art Bead Scene September Challenge

The Art Bead Scene team challenge is usually one of my favourite challenges. This year they have been really stretching the inspiration boundaries, with many avant garde inspiration pieces. They did it again for September, with this 1907 oil painting by Paula Modersohn-Becker titled Old Woman from the Poorhouse in the Garden with Glass Ball and Poppies. Sadly she passed away the same year

"Old Woman from the Poorhouse in the Garden with Glass Ball and Poppies" By Paula Modersohn-Becker, 1907
Though there are many colours in the artwork I was attracted to the red, the cheerful pop of the poppies and the muted red of the jacket and flower on her hat

These earrings have the happy colour of the poppies along with the muted background and skin tones of the painting. The textured arrowheads, with a lovely aged colour are copper clay, made by Kristi Bowman. The red glass beads in the centre are Lampwork headpins from Samantha Capeling of  VenusGlass Art. I used the copper wire of the headpin to attach it to the copper arrowhead and make the loop for the copper leverback ear wire

Red Sonja Earrings

Then I went deep into the back recesses of my Lampwork glass stash and dug out this set of Lampwork beads. These are some of the first art beads I ever bought. Unfortunately I never knew the artist who created these. At that time, the shop I purchased them at only used initials on their consignment inventory. Since then they are happy to more actively promote the artists they support 

The beads have the more muted red found in the painting, along with deep black, thicker stringer lines, squiggles and dots that somehow made me think of the flowers in the artwork. I wire wrapped the small matching beads to the sterling silver chain of the necklace and made my own bail, with the help of bead caps, all in sterling silver. The focal bead is double sided which I especially love

Dark Queen Pendant

Here’s the reverse of the pendant focal

Reverse Side, Dark Queen Pendant

Please visit the blog reveal to see what everyone else made

Thanks for stopping by and have a great day

Thursday 29 September 2016

Trees! Art Jewelry Elements Autumn Challenge

The Art Jewelry Elements team has issued a new challenge for September, around the beautiful trees of the planet. They invited everyone to participate again this month, and also had a giveaway for 2 participants to use art beads designed just for the challenge. I did not win but that's fine because I have lots of pretty art beads that channel the theme

This image of a cottonwood tree full of fall colours fit both my love of the season and the pieces I made

Cottonwood Tree in Autumn

Digging through my lovely stash of art beads I found myself drawn to pieces that reminded me of the fall season we are living in here. I found several beads that fit and in the end limited myself to 3 designs

First up is this sweet pair of earrings, with ceramic charms by Nancy Adams of Round Rabbit, glass rounds and gold plated wires. The bright orange maple leaves are my favourite fall leaves. The colours of the beads and charms were lined up to give an ombre look, a fading to fall effect. Nancy decided to focus her creative energies in a new direction and is not making art beads anymore. I have a few more of her creations squirreled away for now

Fallin’ Earrings

The next item I made is this pendant with a charm and bead by Heather Powers of HumbleBeads. Heather creates beautiful beads, charms and pendants in polymer clay like the lovely pieces here. I used gold plated wire to link the charm and bead, and attached a gold plated jump ring for the bail. The cord is made up of 3 different colours of waxed linen, picked to match the beads, and closes with a gold plated lobster clasp and ring

Golden Time Pendant

The last piece I made is this sweet pendant with art beads from Lesley Watt of Thea Elements and a large leaf frond from Round Rabbit. The round green apple coloured bead and tiny leaf are ceramic, and both come from Lesley’s talented hands. I thought they paired so well with the large ceramic leaf frond from Round Rabbit. The background of the large leaf matches the colouring of the tiny leaf almost exactly. The round bead has pale shading that coordinates with the lighter foreground colour of Nancy’s leaf. I maintained the earthy aspect of the pendant with twisted vintage bronze wire then couldn’t decide what to string it on. For now it’s hanging from a simple waxed cotton cord.

M’Cintosh Pendant

Please visit all the participants listed below to see what everyone else made

Thanks for stopping by and have a great day.

AJE Team

Guest Participants
Mona Arnott            (you are here)

Friday 16 September 2016

We’re All Ears Challenge - September

For the Earrings Everyday September edition of the monthly We’re All Ears challenge, Erin Prais-Hintz selected cities and city skyscrapers as the inspiration.

Photocredit: Brandon Moore, Chicago, Unsplash

I was inspired most by this photo with its city nights, city lights vibe and happened to have the perfect copper rectangle bars with rhinestone cabs in gold and copper

Two of these bars, one upside down to the other, were used to achieve the symmetry I was craving.

City Nights City Lights Earrings

Copper wire holds the rectangles to the ear wires and make up the bail for the Swarovski Crystal hearts. The hearts are a complementary Golden Shadow colour. On both top and bottom wires some clear glass beads help make the golden colour stand out even more. Using the copper wire I could not get the hearts attached to the rectangles and keep a balanced look and ended up using small chains made from jump rings instead.

City Nights City Lights Earrings

I’m working on a matching necklace, and possibly a bracelet but they are not nearly ready yet. I’ll write about them when done. I’m bringing everything to a show this weekend and will post them in Etsy if they don’t sell first.

Please go to the Earrings Everyday blog reveal to see what everyone else made

Thanks for stopping by and have a great day.

Wednesday 14 September 2016

Colour Palette Challenge - Caribbean!

The team at Love My Art Jewelry doesn’t usually issue challenges to artists and artisans but Sherri Stokey has issued a few lately. The latest challenge is inspired by the colours of the Caribbean waters.

 What is extra special about this challenge is that it’s not limited to jewellery. As Sherri states, the rules are simple: “Make something inspired by the photo (below).  It can be anything - a painting, jewelry (of course), a scarf, a hand painted pair of shoes (wouldn't that be cool!?) - as long as it's made by you.”

I chose to stick with jewellery and made this bracelet with the challenge colours, blues (cyan, aqua, Caribbean blue, teal), lime green (chartreuse) and a dash of white.

Caribbean Bracelet
The 3 dot sliders were the starting point. The deep Caribbean blue colour of the glass kicked everything off. I added pretty blue/green tri beads, aqua colour seed beads that are lined with lime green and some tiny white seed beads (that are really hard to see in this first photo. Sticking to the silver in the sliders I added silver plated clasp and findings but used an on colour green beading wire instead of the usual silver wire.

Caribbean Bracelet

You can see those tiny white seed beads better in this second photo. I’m working on matching earrings but, keeping it real here, they are not nearly ready yet. I’ll write about them when done. I’m bringing the bracelet and earrings (hopefully) to a show this weekend and will post them in Etsy if they don’t go.

To see what everyone else made go to the Love My Art Jewelry reveal blog.

Thanks for stopping by and have a great day.

Tuesday 6 September 2016

More Inspiration from Campfires

When I was getting ready for the Earrings Everyday Challenge I was working on two pairs of earrings. The first pair are the ones I blogged about during the reveal. The second pair were not working the way I wanted so they didn’t get included in the challenge update.

Photo Credit Luke Porter, Unsplash

I finally figured out why I wasn’t satisfied with them: I kept trying to add too much. Not only were they too heavy but because the beads I used were all handmade they weren’t perfectly balanced and the earrings were lopsided. Art bead fans know they are often created with that distinctive not quite perfectly uniform shape that only handmade beads can pull off successfully and sometimes it just doesn’t quite work with the intended design

Hive and Honey Earrings
The pretty red beehive shaped lampwork beads were made by Davinia Designs. I won them in a bead destash auction by Linda Landig. The crusty gold rustic lampwork discs are from SueBeads, one of my favourite lampwork bead makers. I added some seed beads in matching colours, copper spacers, gunmetal wire and ear wires.

These earrings take their colours from the flames of a roaring fire, the stage in the campfire where the red flame intermingles with orange and yellow small flames, just kissing the burning wood. I should point out that the colour of the glass beads is much deeper and richer in real life. I will conquer those photo issues one day (soon I hope)

Thanks for stopping by and have a great day.

Wednesday 31 August 2016

Art Bead Scene August Challenge

The Art Bead Scene team issues a monthly challenge to use an art bead, described by the group as a bead, charm, button or finding made by an independent artist. Art beads are the vision and handiwork of an individual artist. The monthly challenge is based on an inspirational theme and this month the theme is built around this scene created in 1938 by Paul Klee.

Oil and coloured paste on paper on jute; original frame strips 100 x 70 cm

It has been described as having “a contrast between the hard black bar strokes that represent the branches and the bright colour tonality of the spaces between them. The work therefore includes spring and winter, death and blossoming in equal measure.”

I took my inspiration from the colours of summer fading into fall. The necklace I created features a marvelous polymer clay feather, hand carved and painted by Staci Louise Smith. This large 83 x 33 x 6 mm bead is double sided making it versatile. It can be worn with the simpler feather side out, like this

Feathered Waves

Or with the more elaborate scene of waves and stars on the reverse. The bead looks like it was made in the sgraffito method, characterized as a form of decoration made by scratching through a surface to reveal a lower layer of a contrasting color, typically done in plaster or stucco on walls, or in slip on ceramics before firing. (Thank you Google for the description)

Feathered Waves

As you can tell the hole in the bead is lower down the sides than would normally be expected. It gives the bead a fun pendulum effect. I used drop seed beads in a lovely blue iris colour to frame the bead. The neck cord is made up of 3 different colours of seed beads that complement the art bead and setting, and bring in more colours from the artwork.

The seed beads, strung on beading wire, are different sizes bringing a textural feel to the cord. I finished off the necklace with silver plated bail, toggle clasp and findings.

Same as my last 2 posts, as soon as I have some good photos I will post the necklace in my shop. (At least this time I’m starting with better photos)

Please check out the Art Bead Scene links here to visit all the other participants.

Thanks for stopping by and have a great day.

Tuesday 30 August 2016

Art Jewelry Elements, Art Headpins Challenge

At the end of July the AJE team issued an open challenge to create with art headpins. If you are familiar with the Art Jewelry Elements blog you know their challenges are usually built around a component of the month.

For this month an open challenge was issued to create your own art headpin or use them in any creation. Jewelry is not required.

I chose to use Lampwork glass headpins created by Samantha Capeling of Venus Art Glass, located in the UK. I forgot to take a photo of the exact headpins that I used but they were from this batch.

Lampwork Glass Headpins by Samantha Capeling

I stuck with earrings for my creations. The first pair used pale teal coloured headpins. I chose to match them to some lovely Peacock coloured pearls with big holes and took advantage of those large holes to feed the rustic copper wire back through and wrap around just below the pearls, a lot harder than I expected. I also had a hard time photographing these earrings because of the shine coming from the headpins and pearls. Sterling silver ear wires darkened with liver of sulphur finish off the earrings.

Pearled Drops

For the next pair I used some lavender headpins and paired them with darker purple rondelles with silver dots, also created by Samantha. I learned my lesson from the first pair and chose to wrap the extra wire around the rondelles and just below them. Some silver spacers were used to continue the silver tone and I used some more sterling silver ear wires with patina. These earrings have a mixed metal vibe going for them and were a little easier to photograph.


Though they look like they are different lengths in the above photo, this second pair are the same length. I just need to straighten one out a bit. Once I get that taken care of and get better photos again (it’s been a struggle lately) these will go into my shop.

Come see what everyone else has made by clicking the links below.


Mona Arnott (You are here)

AJE Team Members:

Thanks for stopping by and have a great day.

Friday 19 August 2016

We’re All Ears August Challenge

August, the month for vacations, for outdoors, for away time, for camping and for campfires. The inspiration for this month’s Earrings Everyday Challenge is campfires, all types in all their glory. One of the inspiration photos:

Photo Credit Luke Porter, Unsplash

The idea of interpreting a campfire in earrings intrigued me. I wasn’t sure if I’d be able to do it but decided to try and participate this month. I used the colours of the flames as a starting point for this pair:


Digging through my art beads I found the porcelain flowers in antiqued colours, created by Cheryl Irwin. They reminded me of the colour of embers as they begin to fade out, which triggered the idea to bring in the charcoal remnants of a campfire into the design. I used black wood beads separated by antiqued brass spacers to do so. These beads are not perfectly square, instead being irregular in shape just like charcoal. Gunmetal was used for the leverbacks and wires. The finishing touch are the seed beads in shades of ash, burnt wood and sparks that are wound above the wood squares.

Sparkzzz Earrings

I noticed a tiny wire that needs tucking in. Once I get that taken care of and get better photos these will go into my shop.

Please click here to see what everyone else has made too.

Thanks for stopping by and have a great day.