Thursday, June 28, 2012

Design This – Bridesmaids’ Bracelets

Last year when a customer of mine was picking up her custom jewelry set, we got to talking about her daughter’s upcoming wedding. It was coming together as an outdoor summer wedding. I asked if the jewelry had been decided on yet and if not did she have any idea what style, colors or types of jewelry were being looked for. She said that her daughter already had her jewelry taken care of but the bridesmaids’ details had not been worked out yet. I pulled out a strand of pretty, shell leaf beads that I thought would go well with an outdoor wedding, pearls and whatever the wedding colors were going to be. My customer liked them and I suggested that if her daughter liked the necklace and earrings that I had made, that perhaps she would like to come over and look at materials that I had on hand to see if we could work up a design that she would be pleased with.

After being told that a brainstorming session would be welcomed by her daughter and that the materials for the bridesmaids’ bracelets should incorporate clover green, some sparkles, some nature components such as the beads that my customer had seen previously, some pearls and possibly some chain work as I had used in a section of her necklace, mother and daughter came over to look through the materials that I pulled together and examples of some jewelry that I had in stock that I thought might serve as inspiration. After looking over the jewelry and materials, an idea for the bracelets began to take shape. The bride to be liked the idea of a double stranded twisted bracelet for each bridesmaid. She wondered about incorporating “something blue” in the bracelets with another crystal color that complemented her tanzanite ring. Luck was with us and I had what she was looking for. She picked crystals in clover, golden beige and the tanzanite match for one strand and pearls, a pressed glass Czech leaf bead similar but more dainty than the beads I had originally shown her mom and an antiqued gold plated chain for the other strand. She wanted the bracelets to close with a toggle clasp. I was going to have to locate antiqued gold plated toggles to go with the chain that she had picked. We had time though, so I searched.

First I searched at a couple of traveling jewelry markets when they were in town. I could only find shiny gold plated or gold filled, no antiqued gold findings. Then I turned to an online supplier that I had purchased from previously. They had so many choices in a variety of styles that I wanted input from the bride to be to see if she had a preference. We finally settled on a dainty toggle with a leaf motif to complement the Czech glass leaf beads. Once these were ordered the only thing I still needed to know was sizing for the bracelets. After a bit of discussion back and forth, we decided to make two of them the same size with one a little longer.

Now it was time to sit down at my beading board and compose a design from the chosen materials that would look essentially the same in both lengths and put everything together. The twisted design allows for a bit of flexibility in sizing. While there is some twist already incorporated into the bracelets, it is possible to twist them a bit more, shortening them slightly before clasping them. I was very pleased to hear from the bride after the wedding that all three bracelets fit perfectly.

While this design came together through a couple of face to face meetings, it is not necessary to do so for me to design a custom piece for your needs. You can find several other “Design This” posts, using the "search this blog" widget, that describe my custom design process at a distance. Whether near of far, I’d be happy to discuss your custom design needs with you.

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Sounds of Summer

Today is the first full day of summer, astronomically speaking. The official start of summer this year for the northern hemisphere was 6:09 pm CDT. Yes, many of us have felt summer temperatures for a while, have been enjoying the summer break from school, have been swimming and picnicking and experiencing many other things that go hand in hand with summer, but now it is official.

What sounds do you associate with summertime? The one that comes to my mind first is the sound of cicadas. On a hot summer evening you may hear the sound of the male cicada singing. I have not heard one yet this year but I did see evidence that adults must be out and about already in Austin, TX. I was at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center a couple of weeks ago and snapped these shots of discarded exoskeletons from when the cicada nymphs molted a final time and became adults.

After the male cicada attracts a female with his song, the female will lay clusters of eggs in small branches or twigs. When the eggs hatch, the nymphs fall to the ground and borrow into it seeking out the juices of tree roots. They will molt several times before emerging for one final molt as they become adults sometime from April through July depending on the species and location. This life cycle takes between 2 and 17 years and depends on the species of cicada. While the nymphs feed on the sap of tree roots and the adults may suck on the juices in tender twigs, “Texas species are not considered to be plant pests,” according to Texas A&M.

I will be listening for cicadas again this year. I find their singing to be soothing as it brings me back to lazy summer evenings and invites me to slow down and take in the sights and sounds around me. Whether it is this sound, the sound of fireworks, the sound of baseball games or whatever says summer to you, I hope you hear it and enjoy your summer.

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Photo or Painting?

I have heard that question about my prints a number of times. My artwork starts out as a photograph that I have taken and then is digitally altered to resemble a number of artistic methods and styles such as sketches and paintings from classic to pop art to abstract. The end result is photographic art that can confuse the mind and leave you wondering if it is a photo or a painting or even, how could that have started out as a photo in the first place?

Other styles of art that can confuse the mind are hyperrealism and photorealism. I am always amazed at painters that produce a work of art that looks like a photo. I recently came across one such painter, Jason de Graff. Some people refer to his works as hyperrealism and some as photorealism; I say they are totally amazing. Some of his work would make you swear that you were looking at a photo whereas some have just a bit of another quality to leave you scratching your head and trying to decide, without really being able to pin down exactly what makes you question whether it is a photo or a painting.

I have included an image of one of my photographic art pieces as well as an image of one of Jason’s paintings. Can you guess which is which? When you think you know, click on an image and you will be taken to the artist’s gallery.

How did you do? I’d like to encourage you to browse both galleries to see other examples of hyperrealism/photorealism and photographic art.

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Thanks for the Treasuries - May 2012

Three different Etsians let me know that they had featured one or more of my items in a treasury during May. Six May Etsy treasuries, that treasury makers let me know about, included one of my items. You can see a collage below of my items from EDCCollective and EclecticSkeptic and that were featured during May. (Click on the collage to see a larger view.)

I really appreciate being featured by the treasury makers. To thank them, I have listed below (in alphabetical order) links to the 3 Etsy sellers that let me know that they featured at least one of my items, as well as an item from their shop that I like.

Enjoy window shopping and please click on the shop links of anything that catches your eye.

Corkycrafts' unique wine cork wreathes and cork crafts make the perfect gift for the wine lover.

Fun mirrors, keychains, magnets and buttons can be found here.

Find fabric supplies such as quilt squares and yoyos in addition to lovely handmade purses, placemats and more.