I've always enjoyed these contests because they detail exactly how versatile a single set of instructions can be, and how easily (or not, as the case sometimes is with creative endeavors) these steps can be utilized in one-of-a-kind design. And the difficulty or ease are always (I hope) well-rewarded with truly amazing work that each and every one of these entrants can be proud of. The above picture is my finished design...my vision behind the provided instruction, and the gallery of entries can be found here, for the perusal of entrants or casual observers alike, to see for yourself just how unique each entry is.
If you submitted an entry, but do not see it listed in the gallery, please email me at email@example.com with your entry as soon as possible, and it will be added immediately upon receipt.
The gallery of entries will be available for viewing… well… indefinitely or, at the very least, until Pinterest falls into the dark abyss of the internet, at which point the images will (hopefully) be moved to another file sharing system.
The gallery of entries will be available for VOTING, however, through April 15, 2017. Voting is open only to those who participated in the contest. To vote:
A note to non-participating viewers and commentators…. please reserve the term “VOTED” for participants only, to avoid confusion during the judging process, but do feel free to comment as a show of appreciation for the beautiful work submitted. These entries are worthy of the recognition they receive and then some.
On April 16, votes will be tallied and the “Group Favorite” (most voted by participants) will win my completed version of this project and any ten tutorials of their choice. In the case of a tie, I will place the deciding vote.
Also, a “Judged Favorite”, chosen by a panel of four jewelry artists and three “consumers” (who are not participating in the contest), will also receive any ten tutorials of their choice.
Every contestant should receive the finished version of this tutorial as a thank you for his or her participation, within 24-48 hours. If you have not received the tutorial by that time, or have trouble accessing the file, please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org
Thank you all so much!
Now I know this may be a little woo-woo for some, but it's a subject near and dear to my heart. Being the analytical sort that I'm sometimes prone to be, the idea that stones might have metaphysical properties has had me somewhat... enamored. There's a beauty in the mysticism and power of nature, that we are, despite our preoccupations and cell phones and technology, just a small part of a wonderful tapestry of energy, for lack of a better word.
For the sake of argument (and because it's fun), let's just assume stones have this special ability to affect our physical, emotional and mental capacities, to access within us a little untapped potential and bring a little joy to an otherwise hectic and fevered life. I mean, really now...... how is this a bad thing?
As a jewelry artist, gemstones play a vital role in the work I do and the pieces I create.... how I create, I'd even say. I get to be unapologetic with my habit of assigning personality to the shapes my wire form, so much so that, of late, I've taken to naming my creations: the "Goddess Gaia" pendant, for instance, or the "Shakti" pendant. And these creations become an extension of my own energy or vibration, or whatever esoteric word you might like to ascribe to the creation process.
I've had, since my childhood, a propensity to fidget. I tap my foot, rub the hem of my shirt between my fingers, move the hair from my face fifteen times an hour. Perhaps this is a symptom of my life-long battle with anxiety, or perhaps (if I dare get a little spiritual here) it might be the symptom of a disconnect with the energy of earth.
Follow me here.
Have you ever, even once, perhaps in your youth, owned what many have coined "worry stones"? Those smooth, palm-sized gemological miracles with that glorious little divot perfect for our fidgeting thumbs? I had a whole collection of them. Still do in fact. And, over the years, I've discovered that which stone I choose to soothe my fidgets is entirely dependent on my mood, or the circumstances for my anxiety.
When I am sad, for instance, the warmth of citrine is my stone of choice. When I'm anxious, hematite grounds me. When I'm distracted, black tourmaline sings to my creative soul. And, when I ache for a little self-love, amethyst answers the call.
Whether or not these properties or uses meet any social "standard" among the metaphysical community is far less important to me than the very organic ways in which these stones find me when most needed.
I think there's a beauty to that. To the natural pull we feel to stones, whether we associate that pull with any ethereal, indefinable energy or not. If it pleases us, gives us peace, allows us to smile when we otherwise might have reason to frown, I'd say their purposes in our lives are well met.
Tell me, do you have a stone that calls to you when you are sad or anxious? Do you find yourself naturally gravitating towards the peaceful pull of rose quartz or the transforming allure of malachite? I'd love to hear about your experiences with your favorite stones. Leave them in the comments below!
And until next time, my gems, happy weaving!
Drawing Inspiration From The Home
Inspiration. It literally comes in all shapes and sizes. And sometimes, no matter how prolific and limitless inspiration is, it can sometimes elude us. I am as much a victim of the fickle nature of creativity as the next person and have, I admit, taken to some drastic measures to inspire my work.
That wide-eyed pair sits on a shelf in my living room ....eyeballs me with its blank stare... practically daring me to be inspired by it. I mean, really now, owls are never not adorable, am I right?
So let me extend to you a challenge, of sorts. Look around the room you're sitting in right now. Take in the art on your walls, the family photos in frames, the knick-knacks and baubles on shelves and tables. Keep looking until your eyes naturally settle on one thing. Just one.
Now.... with that in mind, go create.
And when you're done, come back here and let me know how it goes. Leave me a link to your creation in the comments below. If you're inclined, write your own blog post about the process. I'd love to hear all about it!
Back then, we were a single-income household and I was desperate for a time-sucking, mind-numbing hobby that could distract me from the pile of bills and empty cupboard. It was real life. It was struggle. There are many who will, unfortunately, understand that reality. So, in my desperation.... and it was desperation... to put my mind on things of comfort and ease and simplicity, I discovered jewelry making. Initially, I was so wrapped up (no pun intended) in what I was seeing others do while I researched techniques and styles and aesthetics of the current trends, that I failed to see how I could affordably translate those styles and trends to jewelry. But let's be real. I didn't need a $50 larimar cabochon and 14k gold wire. I didn't need torches or tumblers or dapping sets (I'm still not quite sure how to use those things). I just needed a $2 strand of freshwater pearls from Michael's Arts & Crafts, and a pile of recycled electrical wire. And, ahem, the pliers I'd confiscated from my husband's tool box.
So yeah. Beads.
Glorious beautiful beads. The local craft store was awash with them. And they were pretty and sparkled and, despite a relatively low price tag, allowed me ample opportunity to test the waters of this new creative endeavor.... and, along the way, offer my anxiety a little reprieve. $2 bought me 16 beads. 16 awesome opportunities to create. And yes, even $2was sometimes a stretch for our budget, so I learned to allow the wire (mostly free and fairly prevalent) to represent my vision and used the beads to accent that vision.
And to this day, I am an advocate for the use of beads in wire and metal work. I was recently offered a spread in an un-named prolific magazine on the condition the work submitted utilized no beads. "Beads", they said "are not representative of the quality of our aesthetic".
Well, okay then.
Needless to say, I declined their offer. Because I love beads. Beads were my gateway drug. They were the snowball before the avalanche. They were the tiny balls of beauty in a life that once couldn't afford much else.
So to those who say beads are not for "artists", I say who are you to define for me what art is? Art is a salve for the soul. And for every strand of beads, I had a palm full of remedies.
Use your beads, my friends. Go and create.
And, that productivity has also paved the way to the next long-awaited "Finish It!" Tutorial Design Contest, which was originally slated for last September but, you know... life and all that jazz. However, where there is a will, there is wire! And the contest is now live!
I've also been highly addicted to a new design aesthetic I call "chaos" wraps. I know the word is not entirely original. It's been used to describe all sorts of varieties of wire wrapping beauties in the community. For me, however, I settled on the name for this reason:
So, I've revisited my love for beads while creating a little chaos. Beads. Now there's a subject I can talk about in depth. Maybe I will.
And happy weaving!
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