Sunday, 30 November 2014

AJE Component of the month - November

Good morning :) It’s component of the month reveal time again, and this month we got another gorgeous handmade component to design with. 

This time, it’s Kristen Stevens turn, and she gave us all a pair of cute little beaded rings. She makes the most amazing designs with the smallest beads, you can check out her shop here.

Yes, I forgot the photo, but I had 2 pairs! Hahaaaa!! So here’s what they look like, but for my design I used another colour…

Aren't they lovely? Originally, I was going to make a pair of earrings, after playing around with them, I thought they looked great as the centrepiece of some antique bronze rings I picked up from The Bead Shop Liverpool.

I tried to suspend them in the centre with copper wire… I knew exactly what I wanted them to look like, and it would have looked lovely, but it just wouldn’t work… after 4 attempts I gave up. Then it struck me, when I started out I used to make dreamcatchers. I grabbed some thin leather and wrapped the design in the centre and tied it off when there was a hole large enough to hold the beaded ring. I stitched the ring on to the leather. I added silver feathers with green seeds and brass cubes. The design isn’t particularly heavy, but I thought they would be too big for earrings, so I strung it as a pendant with flat leather. I’m not sure if this is still a work in progress, it looks to me as though it could do with a little more, maybe some leather tassels or something, I will keep thinking!

Thank you to Kristen for her brilliant component, it’s been great fun to revisit some old ideas!

To see what Kristen and the rest of the AJE Team have made, follow the links…

Cindy Martin Shaw
Shai Williams
Karen Martinez

Linda Landig
Caroline Dewison << You are here.
Francesca Watson
Jenny Davies-Reazor
Lindsay Starr
Jennifer Cameron

Tuesday, 25 November 2014

Beads Of Courage Charm Swap

For those of you who were here last year, it's time for the Beads of Courage Art Charm Exchange and Auction again! Yay!

For those of you who weren't here's what it's all about...

The exchange is run by Jennifer Cameron (Glass Addictions) and each year a new theme is set. Each participant makes 11 charms and sends them to Jennifer who then sends us 9 different ones back, plus one of our own. The 11th charm is put in to auction to raise money for the Beads of Courage program.

Beads of Courage is a fantastic charity providing support for children and their families dealing with serious illness.

The Program is a resilience-based intervention designed to support and strengthen children and families coping with serious illness. Through the program children tell their story using colorful beads as meaningful symbols of courage that commemorate milestones they have achieved along their unique treatment path. 

Last year we raised just over $1500 from the sale of the extra charms, and I've got everything crossed that we can match if not beat that fantastic amount!

So, back to the charm swap... this year, the theme chosen was 'Soar'. I thought long and hard about what I'd create for my charm. Try as I might to come up with something different, the idea I kept coming back to was a bird on the wing, soaring high in the clouds. 

Here is my charm...

It's made from one of my lamp work beads and finished with silver plated wire, heart charm and jump ring.

There should have been a picture of more of them, but being so excited that I'd finished in time, I packed them up and sent them off before I remembered! You'll just have to join in the blog hop to see all of the different colours ;)

In return, I received beautiful charms from 9 other artists taking part.

In no particular order...

An amazingly detailed ceramic feather charm from Terri Del Signore...

A beautiful sparkly embroidered dragonfly charm with a heart from Chris Eisenberg...

Cute polymer angel wings from Cory Tompkins...

A gorgeous blue ceramic bird soaring over a little cloud from Michelle McCarthy...

A wonderful ceramic Dragonfly charm from Jenny Davies-Reazor...

A really sweet birdy and nest in polymer clay from Nan Smith...

I was lucky enough to receive 2 charms from Toltec Jewels, one with a lampwork disc and copper dangles, and one in tiny chainmaille with flying birds, both gorgeous! ...

A cute sparkly polymer flying heart charm from Andrea Glick...

And finally, an amazingly detailed polymer clay bead from Monique Urquhart.

I'm thrilled with everything I received and want to say a big thank you to everyone, they're all beautiful :) And an extra big thank you to Jennifer for all her hard work and organising! 

If you'd like to join in with the fun and get your hands on mine, or any one else's charm, Jennifer is running a charity auction for the extras we made. I hope you will come over and bid high... it's for a fantastic cause!

Link to the auctions...

And to see what everyone else made and received, join us in the blog hop! Just follow the links...

2014 Art Charm Exchange Participants

Jennifer Cameron:
Alenka Obid:
Alicia Marinache:
Andrea Glick:
Caroline Dewison: << You are Here :)
Cassi Paslick:
Cate van Alphen:
Cheri Reed:
Chris Eisenberg:
Cory Tompkins:
Elisabeth Auld:
Genevieve Gabbert:
Jami Shipp:
Jenny Davies-Reazor:
Jill Bradley:
Kim Dworak:
Lee Koopman:
Lennis Carrier:
Lesley Watt:
Mallory Hoffman:
Melissa Trudinger:
Michelle McCarthy:
Monique Urquhart:
Moriah Betterly:
Nancy Dale:
Nancy Smith:
Niky Sayers: 
Perri Jackson:
Renetha Stanziano:
Shai Williams:
Sheila Prosterman:
Susan Delaney:
Susan Kennedy:
Terri DelSignore:
Toltec Jewels:
Vanessa Gilkes:

Saturday, 1 November 2014

AJE Component of the month - October

Good morning and thanks for stopping by! I've been even more quiet than usual recently as I've been getting the power plugged in to my studio. I'm pleased to say it's all done now and I can see what I'm doing... hooray!  Normal bad blog posting will resume shortly!

This months Component of the month was supplied by Karen Totten of Starry Road Studios. A wonderful spiral fossil disc. I was thrilled to receive the blue/green disc just left of centre.

It sat on my desk for quite a while, I couldn't decide what to make with it. My first thought was to create a bracelet with other large disc components, but there was nothing quite right in my stash. Then out of the blue, some Canadian friends were in the UK and came for a visit. They brought me a gift of some jade beads which were perfect!

I know Karen loves tribal designs, so I wanted to try my hand at something along those lines. I took some copper, bashed and patinated it, then went crazy with my new vintaj hole making tool (it's amazing, everyone should have one... much easier than messing about drilling!)

I originally wanted to connect the component to the back piece with copper wire, but failed miserably, it just wouldn't bend properly... so the disc was lashed on with thin leather.

I quite like how it turned out!

Below the component I added some czech tile beads and bronze coated crystal points wrapped with copper wire.

And added the graduated Jade stones for the necklace.

I didn't manage to patinate the copper below, and I think I might darken the leather a little too, but it's very nearly what I was hoping to achieve.

Thanks to Karen for her wonderful component, I've had great fun designing around it!

And to see what the rest of the team and guests did with theirs... follow the links...

Monthly Winners

AJE Blog Team

Tuesday, 30 September 2014

AJE Component of the month - September

Here I am again a month later, having not blogged even once since the last COM. The days are flying by and all of a sudden it's Autumn.

This month, we got beautiful components from Kristi Bowman-Gruel.

They are all copper metal clay, the top row using the new white copper clay. My component was a surprise and I was thrilled to receive one of the new white pieces.

I spent a good while looking at it and had multiple ideas of what to do with it. My first thought was that it looked like it belonged on the end of a piece of leather, but after holding it on my wrist, the curve looked great going over my hand. I played around for a while with chain to try and work out how to hold it in the position I wanted, then decided it needed some colour.

It looked stunning with the deep garnet red beads I pulled out of my stash, but unfortunately, they have tiny holes and wouldn't fit the wire, so I chose some deep red and gold Czech glass and made connectors. I made large copper jump rings to hold the chain and used the connectors at each join. 

After quite a lot of alterations to get everything to hang on the right place, here is my final design...

It was really hard to try and take a photo of me wearing it (you will have to imagine it being worn by a beautiful model rather than someone with man hands!) 

It's really light and comfortable to wear, and I love the look of it draped across your hand, it makes me think of medieval knights and ladies... I think reading Game of Thrones is rubbing off on me!

Thank you to Kristi for a great component, it's really unusual and has been great fun to use!

If you'd like to visit Kristi and see more of her work, you can find her shop here

And to see what the rest of the team has done, follow the links!

Thanks for reading :)


Sunday, 31 August 2014

AJE Component of the month - August

This month it's team member Rebekah's turn to provide us all with a component for designing. And what a beautiful one she sent! Rebekah makes amazing polymer beads... her sleepy critters are world famous, but that's not all she makes. This month we were treated to either a large single, or smaller pair of hand painted leather feather charms.

I chose a pair of purple feathers that were labelled as earring charms, but as soon as I saw them I knew they would be perfect alongside one of my porcelain dreamcatcher beads.

The feathers were wrapped with copper wire and some antique Czech beads and used as dangles below my dreamcatcher charm. I also added a small bronze heart from TheaElements.

For the necklace part of the design, I chose some ceramic beads I made ages ago, but never used as I really liked them so they went in my stash. The colours gave it just the feel I wanted for the design. In between those were more Czech seeds, a chunk of amethyst and a chunk of citrine. The ceramic bead on the right is part of a Lotus set by Gaea.

To attach the leather, I chose a ceramic oak leaf from TheaElements with a glass donut on the opposite side for the closure. I was going to attach some sort of clasp, but I really like the look of the leather just tied to the glass!

Thank you to Rebekah for a beautiful component, and if you'd like to see more of her work, you can visit her shop here... Tree Wings Studio

If you'd like to see what everyone else chose and made... follow the links :)

Guest Artists

The AJE Team
Jenny Davies-Reazor -
Francesca Watson -

Thursday, 31 July 2014

AJE Component of the Month - July

Another month has flown by and it's COM reveal day!

Things are getting slightly more organised in the new studio and I'm enjoying getting back to making.

This month, we were treated to a beautiful dichroic glass cabochon from Francesca Watson.

Just look at all of those beauties! There's something about dichroic glass that really gets me so I jumped at the chance to play.

Francesca works in a range of mediums and her work is stunning... check it out here

This is the cab I chose... I remembered to take a picture!!!!

So I got to work on sketching out some ideas. The cab is larger than anything I have worked with before, and everything I came up with as a pendant design seemed too big. So I decided to make a brooch. I cut some porcelain flowers and fired them unglazed, made some silver headpins and dug out my box of seed beads.

I glued the cab on to some stiff stuff and bezelled around it with size 11 & 15 seeds in green.

Once the beadwork was finished, I put the flowers on the headpins, folded the tops so that they were secure and formed a loop on the opposite end for securing them to the brooch. They were sewn in and a brooch fitting glued on. The back was finished with some ultra suede.

I've had great fun working with my cab and would like to say a big thank you to Francesca for her beautiful component!

If you'd like to see what the rest of the team and guests have made... follow the links :)

Guest Designers
Carol Briody -
The AJE Team
Caroline Dewison -
Susan Kennedy -
Melissa Meman -
Jenny Davies-Reazor -
Francesca Watson -

Thursday, 3 July 2014

AJE Component of the Month - June

Here we are again, another month has flown by. I've not had much time for making recently as we're doing a lot of work around the house and garden, which means most of my supplies have been put in to storage.

This month, I managed to retrieve a few bits and bobs to create something with my beautiful Art Jewelry Elements COM from Linda Landig.

Linda has recently jumped in to the addictive world of ceramics and produced her first clay components. As well as her ceramics, Linda also creates beautiful jewellery and you can find her work here - LindaLandigJewelry

Here are some of the components we chose from...

I picked this beautiful rose pink and blue floral pendant to design with. (I'm not explaining myself for forgetting to photograph them before I start any more... you're probably used to it by now!)

I was limited to what I could get to to create my design, but I found seed beads, Czech glass and crimp wire and put them together to create a simple but pretty necklace.

The leaves and flowers fell together on my mat and I loved how they looked, so started with that as the base for the design.

The beaded berries are made from magatama drops and seed beads.

I would have preferred an antique bronze clasp on the necklace, and bronze wire for the pendant (which I will swap over when I get my supplies back) But for now it has a brushed steel toggle and silver wire.

I'd like to say a great big thank you to Linda for her beautiful component, I've had great fun designing with it, and I've also found that limiting yourself can be a good exercise!

If you'd like to see what the rest of the team received and what they created, click on the links...

AJE Members

Saturday, 31 May 2014

AJE Component of the month reveal - May

Another month and another COM reveal is ready.. it's going to be Christmas at this rate!

This month we were treated to a choice of beautiful components from Sue Kennedy of SueBeads

We could pick a glass cabochon...

Or a pretty set of glass chicklet beads...

I went for a cabochon in a stunning brown caramel glass with a tint of purple. Of course I forgot to take a photograph as I do every month!

When I picked it, I imagined it set in copper with etching, something in purple to bring out the hints of colour in the glass and a rolled bail.

I tried a different technique for resist on this piece. I use stop out fluid quite often for painting designs on to copper, but with this piece I tried stamping the design on. It's not quite as sharp as using vinyl resist, but I like the grainy effect it's given this pattern.

I took some sheet copper and etched it on both sides. That way, when the bail at the top was rolled around, the etching would show.

And the reverse would be patterned as well

The cabochon was set along with an amethyst, and it was strung on to leather with copper beads.

I used the clasp I had left over from Lesley's COM last month to finish it. 

I had loads of fun designing this, and it was great to get back to some metal working. Thanks to Susan for the wonderfully inspiring component!

If you'd like to see what the rest of the AJE team and some special guests created with their components... follow the links!


AJE Members

Saturday, 24 May 2014

The Bead Shop Liverpool

I've been a bit quiet recently, things are getting manic here. We're doing lots of reorganising at home, which is seriously getting in the way of my making! But as part of that reorganising, I will be getting my very own studio... I'm very excited, but more about that in another post!

So shop updates won't be very regular for the next few months while I get things sorted. But if my shop's looking a little empty, and you still need a fix, you can get some blueberribeads from the Bead Shop Liverpool.

It's a great little shop on Smithdown road in Liverpool, where Vicky offers beautiful beads, findings, and tools as well as classes and lots of inspiration. I've been in there for a while now, but I thought I'd take you for a look round.

Here it is from the front. I love the architecture in Liverpool, the lines of Victorian buildings curve to the modern roads, but the actual road is much older, being mentioned in the Doomsday book in 1086. It also meets up with the famous Penny Lane junction as sung about by The Beatles!

Once inside, there's a little treasure trove of beads and other jewellery related goodies...

Seed Beads & Pearls in every colour

My little corner of ceramics

An amazing range of Czech Glass


Findings, wire & TheaElements Bronze


And beautiful pieces of beaded jewellery. This is Vicky's 1st place winning necklace from the British Bead Awards 2013.

And her entry to the Battle of the Beadsmith 2013. 

You can come in to the shop and learn how to make beautiful pieces like this yourself! I got my first and only lesson in here from Vicky, learning how to do bead embroidery. She's a great teacher, unfortunately though, I just don't have the patience (or the eyesight) for those annoying little seeds!

And of course you can't leave without doing a little shopping... this is my small haul from the Czech glass pick and mix... it's terrible, like sweeties!!!

Vicky's also set up a shop website, so nearly everything in the shop is available online, including some of my ceramics!

Just follow the link...

If you're planning on doing some shopping online, she has a 10% discount running for the bank holiday weekend. The offer will end at 11.59pm Monday night... just use the code - bankholiday