Thursday, June 30, 2011

Christmas in July Sale on Artfire

I am having a Christmas in July Sale in my Artfire Studio.  Everything is 15% off for the entire month of July!  Take a look.  Maybe you will find something you love.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

The Bright Colors of Summer Inspire New Designs

Each season offers its own pallet of colors inspired by the world around us.  Autumn offers the bronzes, reds, yellows, and jewel tones of the forests.  Winter neutrals of whites, blacks, grays, and  browns reflect the muted, snowy landscape of that season (except for the holidays with their burst of bright, cheery color).  Then there is spring with its budding greens and pastels; colors just beginning to awaken.  But summer -- glorious summer -- offers the bright and bursting colors of a world that is filled with blooming flowers, lush green foliage, sunny skies and many-shaded blue waters.

As the shades of summer begin to dominate my landscape, I find ideas for summer-colored jewelry running through my head.  I look at a brilliant pot of flowers on someone's porch and immediately start to imagine how I could work those colors into a necklace or earrings.  Recently, I saw a ball of variegated crochet cotton in my stash that I had completely forgotten about.  It had gorgeous, bright summer colors and I immediately saw an opportunity to start acting on my "summer inspirations".  I began with a strand of beaded, crocheted flowers -- letting the colors of the thread dictate my bead choices and the colors to be incorporated in the other strands of the necklace.  I wanted both vibrant color and interesting texture.  The result was my Gypsy Rose Wire, Fiber and Bead Necklace.

The "hot" colors for summer clothes this year seem to be coral/orange, bright yellowy lime greens, and purples.  After making it, I realized that the Gypsy Rose necklace features all of these colors.

In the summer, even neutral shades, like black, are accented with bright colors.  I love the way aqua and lime look against black, and so decided to try my hand at another necklace featuring those colors.  I wanted the necklace to have an airy, summer quality, too.  So, I decided to work in some organza ribbon, to give it a translucent look and light texture.  The result is this Black, Turquoise and Lime Beaded Wire, Ribbon, and Thread Necklace.

Next on my list of summer "inspirations" -- time to try a different medium.  I want to create a summer bag.  Haven't made any non-jewelry accessories in a while, and there are some gorgeous, summery fibers and fabrics out there to create with.   Let the fun begin ...

Friday, June 3, 2011

Custom Orders - Creating to Meet a Need

The 4th Edition of the American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language provides the following definition of "customize":  "To make or alter to individual or personal specifications." 

Recently, a friend, Chris, whose son is about to get married, approached me and asked if I could create some jewelry that would match her "mother-of-the-groom" ensemble.  This task involved "customizing" a set of jewelry based on a necklace that I had previously created.

Chris' dress was made from a beautiful silk brocade fabric.  The basic color was turquoise, worked with a light metallic gold design.  She had been having difficulty finding something that matched because most of the the jewelry she saw in the stores featuring turquoise or aqua colored stones, also used silver, rather than gold, settings.

I was excited to take on the project and had Chris come to my home, bringing the dress, shoes, hand bag and shawl she planned to wear for the wedding.  We spent some time looking at various necklaces in my inventory and she tried on a few with the dress and shawl.  When she tried on the the Silver Dew Drops Necklace,

it was clear that this was the perfect style for the dress, which had a rounded, somewhat deep scoop neckline.  However, the necklace needed to be a bit longer and the drops perhaps just a bit larger to fill in the neckline area on her dress in the manner she wished.  Obviously, the colors also needed to be changed.  Chris wanted earrings and a bracelet to match the necklace.  I took Chris' wrist measurement and measured to determine the appropriate necklace length.

Then, I went shopping.  With a sample of the fabric, I visited a few area shops to find the perfect combination of threads and beads to match the dress and create the style Chris was looking for.  I found a variety of glass beads in shades of turquoise, from the tiniest seed beads, to crystals, to bugle beads, and more, to use for the drops.  Here and there I also randomly sprinkled a few tiny gold seed beads.  The thread I chose was a thin machine embroidery thread in light gold (regular gold was just to yellow compared to the shade in the dress).

It was a joy to create the pieces -- first the necklace, and then totally new designs for the earrings and bracelet so that they would compliment the necklace.  Chris wanted earrings that would "dangle", but not too long and for the bracelet, she was looking for something that would match the style of the other pieces, but nothing too heavy.  Here are photos of the completed necklace, bracelet and earrings:

I was very happy with the way the set turned out and Chris was, too.  Can't wait to see photos of the wedding and Chris in her complete ensemble.  If possible, I will post one of them here.

If you would like to see more photos, go to my Flickr Photostream and look at the photos labeled "Custom Gold and Turquoise Set".