Saturday, October 31, 2015

Raven Reveal

The time is here... the Reveal for the Raven-themed creations everyone has been working on - if you missed the original post for this you can find out more here. I have to admit this has been a rather chaotic month for me and I barely got this list together - thanks to the help of my fellow-teammates at Art Jewelry Elements.

An Illustration from Raven Steals the Sun, Moon and Stars, by Bill Reid;
more of Bill Reid's art can be viewed at The Raven's Call.
Here's the blog roll - enjoy!

Art Jewelry Elements Team:
Lesley Watt
Jenny Davies-Reazor
Phantasm Creations
Caroline Dewison
Linda Landig
Niky Sayers
Jennifer Cameron

Our Guest Bloggers:
Linda Newnham
Michelle McEnroe
Sarajo Wentling
The Copper Cat
The Paisley Lizard
An Ordinary Miracle Day

Friday, October 30, 2015

Steampunk Carnivale - an Experiment in Show Vending

I don't do shows.  Well, at least not in several years - the few I've done in the past have been less than successful.  While I am always happy to sell my work, finding the right demographic for beadwork is difficult...and frankly, I'd rather be beading than just about anything else.  That being said, awhile back I had decided that the next show I would have a table at needed to fit a few requirements -

  • be within a few hours drive of home
  • relatively inexpensive fees
  • be a show I've attended in the past
  • have friends also vending, preferably sharing a table
  • time to make non-beadwork jewelry - something able to sell in the $10-$50 price point
SO...this year my friend Mel, a couple of her artist friends, and I decided to split a 10x20 space at the Knoxville Steampunk Carnivale.  I actually (briefly) met Mel at last year's show while she was vending her leather and ceramic wares.  We didn't become friends until earlier this year, and shortly after that we were talking about some sort of joint table at this year's show.  

This show seemed to meet all of my above criteria, and also had the bonus of being an event I would have attended anyway.  It is so much fun to get all decked out in steampunk regalia...and have a scruffy little town like Knoxville turn out so many other awesome steampunkers.  Since we lived in Knoxville for 3 years, we have many friends in the cosplay/arts/crafts/lLARP/maker communities - a homecoming and reunion all in one!
Alice in Wonderland theme necklaces
Circus acrobat necklaces
Escutcheon necklaces
I had fun coming up with some new merchandise for this show, especially these necklaces - incorporating laser cut wood and paper components from PorkChopShow.  I've had these for several years, waiting for the opportunity to make a bunch jewelry with them.  It was also nice to break out my under-used dremel, and do some drilling.  
I also made a slew of leather and silk cuff bracelets, embellished with metal, mica, lace, and a few other random things.  I discovered while making these, not only can my little domestic machine tackle more leather than I had expected...but also that my metal hole punch works on multiple layers of leather and fabric...and on mica!!!
For the new work, I had to come up with some new displays.  I used my trusty wire crate shelving panels to make two flat stands that I covered in fabric - I used these for the wood necklaces. Driftwood from my friend Steve became the perfect thing to drape and wrap the leather bracelets around. 
For my beadwork, I used a mixture of white ceramic decor, and driftwood necklace busts (also made by my friend Steve).  I like the mixture of refined/organic/architectural/human - it seems to fit my work well.  Also, my pieces have a tendency to not only overwhelm the normal cardboard necklace display busts...but also topple them.  With displays like this, I know that my work will stay safely where it's placed.  
I displayed earrings on little cardstock mason jars - hanging from a weird metal drum-shaped side table.  The slots in the sides were the perfect width for lining up lots of earrings.  Next time though...I need to affix a lazy susan to the bottom...everyone wanted to rotate the earring rack!  
An almost panoramic shot of our whole set up - with Mel and her leatherwork on the left, my jewelry on the far right.  The room in the middle was for the last member of our group, Constance, who brought her prints and paintings.  At first I was worried that we wouldn't look cohesive, because our table coverings were all different colors and materials.  But between Mel's leather merchandise, Constance and I working in similar colors, and the leather covering the rest of the tables, some how it managed to work!  ***unexpected bonus of leather table covers...being able to tape your breakable displays down***
How could you not enjoy a show with these characters meandering around, enjoying the music, and fondling your work?  I had so much fun all day long - chatting with old friends, making new ones, hanging out, talking about my work, walking around and talking with other artists and vendors about their work.  I still need to work on my introversion...but overall, I managed ok.  
Our 4th booth-mate Jamie and I, having a good ol' time!
So, by now you're wondering how I did, right?  We will just say, I made more $ than I have at any other show to date.  I was not expecting to sell any of the beadwork pieces, but I did alright with the wood necklaces, and also sold a pair of earrings and a cuff bracelet.  The event was hugely under attended from last year, with fewer vendors, food trucks, and one of the major attractions pulling out.  The show was very poorly managed and under advertised...that alone would dissuade me from vending again.  But from a "fun" standpoint?  I had a blast - 100% success!

Thursday, October 29, 2015

November Component of The Month

There is no greater inspiration than nature, and this month’s component is inspired by lichens. I love to walk in the local woods, finding these little treasures on the bark of the trees. They make me think of tiny little worlds.


The components are made from earthenware clay and have been coloured with a combination of my own recipe glazes. I love how they came out, matt with a crusty finish.

There is a choice of a cabochon or a pendant.

Lichen cabochons

Lichen pendants

Want to play along? Here are the rules…

  • I will giveaway 1 lichen cab or pendant (chosen at random) to each of the 2 winners selected randomly from those who leave a comment below this post. Your comment MUST include your EMAIL AND BLOG address so we can contact you should you win.
  • Please — only leave a comment if you can commit to creating a finished piece and blogging about it on the reveal date.
  • The names of the 2 winners will be announced on Sunday, November 1st, 2015.
  • This giveaway is open to UK and international countries, but please be aware that these will be posted from the UK and international addresses will have longer postage times… sometimes up to 3 weeks.
  • The blog reveal will take place on Thursday 26th November, 2015. 

Good luck!

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

The Phaedra© Craze!

After a month hiatus from AJE, I'm back!  While I was gone, I spent a lot of time exploring chainmaille.  One of the things I'm having a LOT of fun with right now is the Phaedra© tutorial.  The Phaedra© was created by Karen Snyder and it's a gorgeous design!
Photo by Karen Snyder
A sparkling crystal rivoli is the centerpiece of this chainmaille unit.

Photo by Karen Snyder
Karen has designed the tutorial to accommodate several different sizes of rivoli crystals making this perfect for earrings, pendants and components.

I purchased the tutorial from C&T Designs but it can also be purchased directly through Karen's website.  C&T carries ring packs in Argentium, silver-fill and Niobium. You can also buy bulk bright and/or anodized aluminum (which is what I did). Swarovski rivolis need to be purchased through other sites (FusionBeads and Beadware IL are a great sources for them). 

The tutorial contains a complete list of materials, lots of step-by-step photos and excellent instructions.  
10.5mm Fail and Success 
I tried the 10.5mm rivoli first.  The first attempt I came close but had a fail right at the very end.  I'm not really sure what happened but I went in for a second try and was successful! 

12mm Fail and Success 
After completing the 10.5mm I decided to try the 12mm.  The 12mm requires an extra section and was definitely a challenge.  You can see my fail on the right of the photo.  It's a bit of a tight squeeze at the end with the final unit but with the right pliers (Xuron bent nose) and some patience I made it happen!  

Completed Phaedras
I'm currently waiting on an order of rings so I can try making earrings with the 8mm rivolis.  Apparently I forgot to order 1 particular size (oops)!  

Phaedra© with Square Rings.  Photo by Karen Snyder.
I can't recommend this tutorial enough.  If you have some basic chainmaille experience you can make them.

If you decide to join the Phaedra© craze you should check out Facebook groups Chain Maille and ChainMaille Jewelry & More.  Lots of people are showing off their finished components AND the jewelry they are creating with them. 

Happy Beading!

Monday, October 26, 2015

Celtic Ravens - Myth and Magic

Raven Fey by Brigid Ashwood. Available as prints, totes, journals... 

There's a chill in the air. Mother Nature has freely splashed the colors of gold, pumpkin orange, deep red on the foliage. Costumes are being assembled with humor and fright. Its that time of year! Halloween? And October - time for the ravens to take the lead role as the theme this month.

For out AJE theme challenges - we invite you all to join us and create jewelry or art in other mediums, with ravens as the theme. Raven beads? Raven jewelry? yes and yes. Please see Karen's original post with all the details on how to participate. 

As I prepare for FaerieCon - I realized I have many artist friends/colleagues that love corvids (Corvus corax - common raven) I decided to share art with you today for inspiration - and knowing me - a little mythology thrown in... 

Meredith Dillmanis an artist and illustrator originally from Minnesota. She now lives in Wisconsin. She is known for her colorful watercolors which blend Art Nouveau, fantasy and Asian influences. She enjoys painting fairies, woodland creatures and other fantasy and medieval themes and has been drawing such since childhood. She is inspired by Pre-Raphaelite artists, Japanese comics, and turn-of-the-century book illustration.
Diverse raven offerings from Meredith: "Throne of Ravens" & "Raven's Treasure" 

Stephanie Lostimolo - "I suppose I've always been a "creator." I think we all are, but most people are forced to (or choose to) abandon their creativity in order to "fit in" or "get a real job." Sometimes I make books, other times I build worlds, still other times I fashion things out of horns, bones, and some modern materials like resin and polymer clay. I double as a graphic designer for many book projects, websites, and special events."

Clockwise from top left: "Fire in the Belly", "Raven Talisman of Protection", "Generations" and "Rosemary is for Remembrance". 

  • Ravens have appeared in myth from Ancient Greece/Rome to modern day Native American belief systems. While Karen shared more Native American inspirations in her original post - I am drawn to the Celtic mythos and to a lesser degree the Norse as well. 
  • Ancient Greece - ravens served as messengers to the gods, were considered lucky, and especially searched to Apollo, in his role as god of prophesy. 
  • In the Norse world, Odin the father deity was accompanied by two ravens, names Huginn (Thought) and Muninn (Memory). Each day the ravens fly out from Hliðskjálf and bring Odin news from Midgard. Odin was associated with knowledge, healing and runes among many other things. 
  • The myth of Bran and Branwen is a complex tale that links ravens to the Tower of London and the present day. The original tale is from the Welsh Mabinogion. 
  • In Celtic and Irish myth ravens are often associated with the Goddesses the Morrigan, Macha, Badb. Warrior goddesses all there then becomes and association with ravens and the battlefield, the slain. ( Ravens are omnivorous, but will feed on carrion) This trifold goddess is described below. 
    • Badb - an Irish warrior goddess known as the "Battle Crow". She is known to cause fear and confusion among soldiers to move the tide of battle to her favoured side. Badb may also appear prior to a battle to foreshadow the extent of the carnage to come, or to predict the death of a notable person. She would sometimes do this through wailing cries, leading to comparisons with the bean-sídhe (banshee).
    • Macha - warrior and goddess of sovereignty. Also associated with horses. 
    • Morrigan - also a warrior goddess, associated with strength and the cycles of life death & birth. 
Jane Star WeilsAncient cultures, myth and magick are the basic core elements that inspire my artwork. Fascinated with symbolic mythology, I try to weave a bit of symbolism into every painting.
I want to create artwork that draws the viewer in, unfolding and revealing it's meaning slowly.
Color is also extremely important to me. Exploring it's richness, the way light creates and interacts with it, and how even the darkest shadow has an unexpected depth to it. My medium is a combination of watercolor and colored pencil. I build up many layers with these two mediums and quite often will ad gouache or ink.

Jane Star Weils brings us: "Branwen ( white raven)", Celtic Raven", and "The Morrigan"

Brigid Ashwood - " Art. Words. Design. - I am an artist who paints steampunk bugs, clockwork dolls, fairy tales, magick and myth. I also write stories... My technique is well rooted in traditional mediums such as oil paint and silverpoint. But I also work in the luminous tones of the digital palette; merging the labored craft of portraiture with the flexibility of modern mediums." ( See her ravens that open this post)

Brigid shared a few images with me of an upcoming project. Her Morrigan concept drawing is shown below with its initial sculpt. Brigid has licensed designs and is working with Pacfic Trading to see these goddesses come to life in detail and color. The second picture here is the first completed sculpt! I love it, and think it maintained Brigid's original detail, palette and symbolism. (Releasing soon. Sign up for her mailing list for details. )
Concept drawing and sculpt preview of B. Ashwood's Morrigan

The Morrigan by Brigid Ashwood. 
I do hope you will join is for the Raven theme challenge this month at AJE. There is still time. (Details here.) I personally just had an insane idea for a bead embroidered piece while looking at these artworks. Gotta go sketch... 

Artists featured in this post retain all copyright; images used with permission. For more information: 

Meredith Dillman's website and store
Stephanie Lostimolo website and Etsy  store
Jane Star Weils website and Etsy
Brigid Ashwood website and store

Friday, October 23, 2015

Do you want to learn beadweaving?

Some of my teammates have recently begun trying there hand at bead embroidery.  I am so impressed with what they are learning and in fact they are taking it to a level I have not yet reached which does make me kind of envious.  However each time it comes to actually beadweaving they are left feeling a bit like this....

How many of you have picked up a magazine and looked at the diagrams and thought you were looking at some sort of alien script?  I have heard so many times from those who look at beadweaving in awe that they could never do it.  Either they are afraid of the tiny little treasures or they are just plain stumped.  I myself felt that way when I first saw it.

I am more of a visual learner.  Meaning I like to see the needle actually go through the beads how they are supposed to instead of reading things like, pass through the starting bead or step up through bead A.  I love tutorials that have images of the actual beading.

Maybe you are not ready to purchase a tutorial or you need more than just pictures.  Well I am going to reintroduce you to........YouTube.

Yes there are hundreds of videos out there to show you all you need to know.  Really I am not kidding!  I am going to tell you about 2 of my favorite channels.

First up is Jill Wiseman Designs.

Jill is one of those designers that gets excited about bringing new beaders into the craft.  So much so that she has videos on many of the basic stitches.  She also uses terms like "sticky uppy bead" that really explain where you are going.  She also has free project videos for those stitches and more when you feel you are ready.  Sometimes when I am not sure how to start a stitch I will refer back to her videos for a refresher.  You may need to give yourself a few watches to feel comfortable but I know you will love learning from her.

Now sometimes you just need a boost to get your mojo going or you need to get a jump on using the new beads out there then I have another site for you to check out.

Potomac Bead Company has a YouTube channel that is chock full of projects using the latest beads out there and especially their exclusive RounDuo beads.  Which if you haven't heard of them you need to check them out.  I have done a few of the projects and I really enjoy them.

Let me know what you think and if you have done any of the projects.

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

How I Keep My Sanity and Get Stuff Done

Bullet Journal cover with bandolier

I originally had a different post planned for today, but I really felt the need to share this particular post I wrote back in June on my personal blog. Why? Because I had gotten away from this habit when we left for our 3 week trip to western Europe the end of July and my productivity and sanity have been suffering since we returned. I started back up a week ago, have been very disciplined about it, and productivity has been over the top awesome since. Sanity....well....that's always questionable. And if my system could help others, then it would be selfish of me to keep it all to myself.

I have occasional bouts of Planner Obsessive Disorder (POD). Ok, so I actually JUST made up POD when I typed that sentence, but I'm pretty sure it's a thing based on the number of hours I've spent reading other people's blog posts, watching their you tube videos, looking at their images on Pinterest boards, and the sheer VOLUME of different planners you can buy or tutorials to follow to make your own "perfect planner."

I'm here to break the news to you. There is no such thing as a "perfect planner." Sorry. Please don't hate me for bursting your bubble.

Up until I started taking college classes, I had the almost perfect system for my family. I had even trained my husband to look at and USE Google Calendar (that was a miracle and sanity saver right there!) This giant wall week at a glance calendar combined with Google calendar, and we were set.

Vinyl wall calendar

I would make notes of things to do in the extra rectangle, or use it to remind us what was coming on Monday.

But things first started coming apart at the seams when we got a lake house. Now I suddenly had TWO household to do lists and NEITHER of them were getting accomplished. I have a whole list of reasons why, but that would be far too tedious for any of us to endure.

When I started taking college classes nearly a year ago, those seams were ripped wide open. Again, I won't go into why. Tedious. But I'm sure most of you have enough experience in running a household with a crazy schedule, plus a home, plus a business, to get an idea of how addled my poor brain was getting. And trying to keep track via an app on my phone was NOT working at all.

Then I discovered the bullet journal system by accident the end of March or beginning of April. I wasn't even looking for a solution at that point.

And while I loved the simplicity of this concept and that everything could be kept in one place, it was NOT going to work for me. One month at a time? hahahahahahaha! Don't make me laugh.

Knowing that there are some pretty creative people on the internet, I started googling bullet journal ideas. The #1 idea: add a full monthly calendar in the front. Some people drew them. If I had to draw each monthly calendar, I would never get past one month.

Bullet journal month at a glance spread

I printed my monthly calendars from a blog, reducing the size to fit the Piccadilly journal I bought clearanced at Barnes and Noble. I don't remember where I found the calendar. But it was free. Then I cut them out and taped them to the book.

I was super gung-ho first starting out. For like 2 days. Then it fizzled. Sigh. I needed more space in my monthly calendar to fit my long term school assignments and regular household stuff. I mean, look at how full April was! April was a slow month compared to May...Plus you have to be dedicated to write out each day. I wasn't.

Then my total freaking out about a bunch of stuff that needed to get done at 2 different households, plus dealing with kids and their "stuff" a few weeks ago and being afraid of forgetting something, I was starting a "to do" list that I knew I would lose or forget about or something.

I went down the planner rabbit hole. Again. I looked at Erin Condren, Plum Papers, etc. I read reviews. I looked at Pinterest. I looked at all the Bullet Journal stuff. Again. But every single system was missing something. Also, I am intimidated by cute or by complicated. Those people posting on Pinterest and blogs about their planners? They have these super complex symbol and color system. They use stickers. They have accessories. These things are really cute, but do they actually keep up with all that complexity for more than a few days? I would lose my ever loving mind, and it's already on thin ice.

I also read blog posts and articles on organizing your life. Some of them just made me laugh because do people actually plan their entire week out minute by minute? I never shop for an entire week of groceries or plan an entire week of meals because:

#1-usually a friend/neighbor invites us over last minute to share a meal.

#2-usually we invite a friend/neighbor over to share a meal, increasing the number of people we need to feed or

#3-we eat out unexpectedly.

We live a rich life full of people and experiences and work and love and learning. Sometimes we don't even know if we're spending the night in the city or at the lake. We don't know if my husband will make it home before midnight. Dinner time is anywhere from 5pm-11pm depending on what we have going on. We change plans last second. It drives our children completely batty. Even after living it for 17 and 14 years. I personally love it.

Inside front cover with  a message saying "If you find me, I am missed very much!' and my name and cell phone number

Ok. Fine. I made a mental list of what I wanted a planner to have: a daily to do list, a way to keep track of those to do's when they don't get done, a monthly calendar, a place to take notes, a place to journal, a way to keep track of long term assignments and projects, and more.

So I revisited the bullet journal and asked myself what I was missing and what I can do to overcome this issue.

Starting to build the index - I've added several more categories since taking this photo...including an entire page about a certain child getting a Typhoid vaccine before his trip to Costa Rica, which is probably one of the stranger entries...

What I decided I needed was spread at the beginning of each week was a "week at a glance" on one side, and a running "to do" list on the other side. Then each day, I pick 2-5 things from the running weekly to do list to attend to.

Bullet journal week at a glance example

With week at a glance, I can also add notes to work on long term projects and remind myself about due dates. In addition, I decided to stop adding EVERYTHING to my monthly calender. Rather, I will only add the things which are scheduled really far out, like doctor appointments, vacations, etc so that I will have room to add my assignments to the monthly calendar.

The problem with using Google for assignments is that I can't see at a glance that something is coming up without going through each individual day. Also, then my husband also gets notifications about my assignments, which would probably by kind of annoying (although he would never say it, just think it).

I also love that now I have a place to keep the every day random ephemera that I think I'd like to save, but end up throwing out because it just takes up space.

Example of saving ticket stubs and other ephemera in bullet journal

Every morning I sit down with my journal to make my list for the day. I check the previous day and see what didn't get done that needs to be dealt with. On Sunday evening I do my week at a glance spread and check to see what didn't get accomplished from the previous week.

I keep it with me in my handbag and journal or add to the lists while waiting (I do a LOT of waiting for kids or at appointments). In fact, my index has gotten much fuller with various home improvement projects I'm planning and doodle ideas for a floor plan of a home if we ever decide to downsize to a smaller place (which I would love to do now). I keep a small roll of washi tape in my handbag as well so I can tape in business cards, tickets, or other important papers.

Like I mentioned before, I could never handle something complicated, so I just use a bandolier from Clever Hands stretched only over the cover because I find it super annoying to have to keep taking the bandolier off and back on to write in it and keep a single pen in it. I might add another color or something later, but for now, simple means I will be consistent.

An excuse to go to the craft store! Buy simple to implement accessories for a bullet journal

The only thing I do to make it look "pretty" is to use washi tape to tape things in. And that's mostly function too because if I have to glue something in, it isn't going to happen. So I bought a few rolls of washi tape that I keep in strategic places where I am most likely to be working on my bullet journal: handbag, junk drawer in kitchen, nightstand, and desk.

I got some cute paper clips so I can strategically place them so I can easily find the current month and the current week. I use the ribbon built into the Piccadilly journal as the bookmark for the current day.

And I taped an envelope into the back of the journal in case there's something I wanted to save, but didn't have a roll of tape handy.

When Linda Landig discovered I was writing a blog post about bullet journaling, she said the bullet journal is what helped keep her on track for her daughter's wedding and is the best (and only system) she has managed to use consistently and effectively to keep her organized. Another thing she has set up in her bullet journal is a social media checklist so she knows what she has shared and where.

One of the great benefits I have found for the bullet journal is that it frees your mind from all the junk you can't forget, but probably will. Now that you no longer have to struggle to remember this stuff, you can use more brain power and energy on creative pursuits.

I did end up ordering a Plum Paper student planner for my daughter after we spent time looking for her perfect planner. I think it will work great for her. And you can customize the planner with add-ons. We added a couple pages of to-do list pages dispersed to each month.

So, that's it. My system in a nutshell. Do you use a planner? We would love to hear about it and why it works for you.

Monday, October 19, 2015

Beading Beyond Jewellery

Regular readers may remember from my last post that I acquired an addiction for bead embroidery on my recent trip to the USA and since my return I've been getting lots of practice on Jewellery pieces. But after a while I began to think that there was maybe more I could do with art beads and seed beads (in fact any beads) beyond jewellery and so I started to play around with some other mediums.

Now of course I know this is not an original idea and there are people out there using beads and embroidery to create stunning works of art such as the hugely talented Michelle Carragher who works on costumes for film and television including costume extravaganza - Game of Thrones.

House of Stokeworth Sigil - image © MCE/HBO 2015
If you don't know Michelle I would highly recommend taking some time out to visit her web site and take a look at her exquisite work.

Michelle Carragher Embroidery
Needless to say my attempts don't come close to Michelle's work but I've had great fun doing something completely different and stretching my creative muscles. I started off with one of Jenny Davies-Reazors pretty crow cabochons and after bezeling that decided to let loose and freestyle with a selection of beads. I could have gone on forever with this but eventually started to think OK - what am I going to do with it now..?

Felting is another new addiction of mine so I decided to try combining the two, finally mounting the piece in a shadow box frame that I stained to match and backed with some hand made paper. Not too shabby for a first attempt froI thought.

Another Cabochon of Jenny's inspired me to make this little wall hanging of a harvest goddess. I was desperate to use some of the dyed curly sheep's locks I'd bought at Sarafina Fiber Art and they worked really well for her wild windswept hair.  I used Czech glass leaves and flowers, seed beads and embroidery to embellish the piece and now I just have to work out how to mount it but, as I've decided to do a series of season goddesses that will probably happen once they're all completed.

Harvest Goddess by Lesley Watt
These pieces are all quite small and I really like working in this format. I have a number of art beads in my stash that I've never managed to create jewellery with because they too big for my design style but these have proved to work really well as miniature wall art. This abstract needle felted piece is designed around a large polymer pendant by Roberta Warshaw and is bezeled and embellished with seed beads.

Setting Seed by Lesley Watt
My favourite to date is this mixed media piece which includes my first attempt at wet felting - great fun and much more to come! I picked up the cabochon at Lisa Peter's Russ's  booth at Bead Fest and it immediately made me think of a moon. This is also a very large piece and I was doubtful I would create jewellery around it so I bought it with the specific intention of trying something different with it and I'm so pleased that it came out just the way it was in my head. The hare is made of polymer clay which I drilled tiny holes in and attached to the felt with seed beads. More curly wool locks and more beads add the finishing touches.

Chasing the Moon by Lesley Watt
I bezeled this lovely ammonite cabochon by Susan Kennedy with no real idea what I was going to do with it - I've found bezeling is something I can do whilst watching (or at least listening to) TV in the evening so I tend to get through a lot this way!

I just happened to have put some old woollens in a hot wash to turn them into felt and when this one came out was a perfect match for the cab. It's a really nice thick felt so I decided to try out a purse with Sue's cab as a focal with seed bead embellishments... it's a work in progress but it's coming along nicely.
My team mate Jenny has been using beads in her mixed media art for a good while now and has been a huge source of inspiration for me on this journey. When I stayed with her in the summer this piece was a wall hanging was a work in progress -  finished it's just stunning and I'm very proud to have one of my moon gazing hares at it's heart.

Beaded Wall hanging by Jenny Davies-Reazor
This felted setting for one of my hare totems has such as lovely ethereal quality...

Mixed media wall hanging by Jenny Davies-Reazor
I was honoured to have my fox totem in this shadow box piece which is currently being exhibited at a show at the Newark Arts Alliance in Delaware.

Mixed media wall hanging by Jenny Davies-Reazor
Do a quick search of Pinterest and you'll find plenty of other artists who work beads into their art - here are just a few I found...

This beautiful shrine by Larkin Jean Van Horn incorporates a porcelain owl cabochon by Laura Mears and hand stitched beads.

I Went to the Woods by Larkin  Jean Van Horn

I love the way these vintage bottles by Zinnia's Art have been embellished with all sorts of mixed media and ephemera including beads...

 Zinnia's Art
Embellished Bottles byZinnia's Art
A beautifully beaded dragon mosaic by Hobbymix.

Totem bag featuring another Laura Mears cabochon and seed bead embellishment.

Totem Bag featuring a Laura Mears Cabochon

And finally s Day of the Dead shadow box shrine from Mixed Media Artistry with porcelain skulls by Laura Mears.

Day of the Dead shadow box shrine by Mixed Media Artistry

I'm looking forward to seeing where this takes me and will keep you posted on my progress and if you use beads in creative ways other than jewellery - we'd love to know so please do share.

THEA elements