My craft fairs are all done for the year, the final shipping deadline for orders is nearly here (December 14th) and I’m starting to pack things up, tidy things away and wind down production.
This tidying process is very cathartic for me, it allows me to create a very symbolic end to the year so, when I come back from vacation in January, I really feel like I’m making a fresh start to my year. As I go my mind is ticking over, automatically reviewing the year and filing away the lessons I have learnt.
I wanted to share with you this quote, which really represents my year and the development of my business. I try to keep this in mind all the time and will be reminding myself of it frequently in the new year.
The picture was taken on my honeymoon in Peru at Ollantaytambo Inca Ruins
Is there a quote which really sums up your 2012?
I guess you already know I like gemstones – I use them in a few of my pieces, always real gemstones, never imitation ones or even lampworked glass or Swarovski crystal, pretty though they are. I also try to source stones which haven’t been dyed, only natural or heat treated to enhance the natural colour rather than changing it completely.
I find the natural variances in stones so inspiring, and that’s why I can’t help but continue to collect beads even though I hardly use them in my work. If you’ve never really looked closely at gemstones before, you’ve probably never noticed just how different, and beautiful, they can be so I want to share a few of my favourites!
Stones like Carnelian and Amethyst are easily found in their translucent forms and I like the slightly cloudy look much more than completely transparent stones like quartz or peridot. They really seem to glow when the light shines through them!
Garnet, Carnelian and Amethyst
Completely opaque stones hold a very different, but equal, place in my heart. I love how they retain their rocky look and often have lines and variations of colour in them. I know they are perceived as being much less valuable because the opaque form is much more common but you can often find a much bigger range of colours as well.
Sodalite, Honey Jade and Amazonite
Some stones are translucent in a different way – they look like a perfectly transparent stone was smashed into tiny pieces and stuck back together again. For a fine jewelry, these cracks would be considered flaws and the stone would be considered inferior but I like the way they give the stone a sparkly look.
Citrine and Aventurine
Gemstones can also come with some special finishes, like the shimmery look of Moonstone and Opal or the banded cat’s eyes effects of Tiger’s Eye and Labradorite. These give the stone such a hidden depth and surprise appeal when light shines on them.
As you know I’ve been working on sorting my items in collections and designing new pieces for each line which are much more focused on the inspirations behind it.
During this process I discovered something strange. I found myself being drawn back to a few of my old, retired pieces and particularly to the concepts which inspired them.
I’m talking about the pieces I made before I discovered that I could cut sheet metal without a saw… even before I learned how to solder. The pieces that were all focused on simple and elegant lines that could be made with copper wire.
At the time I was restricted to shapes that I could make by joining each piece of wire together with wire wrapping but I still managed to produce some beautiful pieces. When I moved on to sheet I largely dropped all those designs, viewing them as part of the learning curve and beneath me now.
But I actually really love the elegant simplicity achieved when you combine just the right curves in just the right proportion and shape, and I’ve begun to realise these serendipitous shapes can’t be forced. Just like taking photos, you must try many in order to hit on one or two good ones.
So the design above is one that I will be bringing back out of retirement (with an updated look) and I have a couple of new ones sketched out as well. I’ll also be keeping such designs in mind as I finish planning out the rest of my collection for the end of 2012.
Do you prefer the wire shapes or the sheet metal shapes?
I started sharing my new collections and inspirations behind them a while ago with this post about the Emberseeds Collection. Since then I’ve been working on gathering the images to represent my other collections and some are easier than others so I’ll be sharing them with you as and when I feel they’re ready.
Today I’ve got the Sundrops Collection for you. This is my oldest collection and I started making it long before I was even aware of what was inspiring it in my subconscious.
The Sundrops Collection evokes feelings of warm, lazy summer days spent during childhood, when summer was for doing what you liked when you wanted.
Whether those days were spent at the beach or in a park, the emotions and memories remain the same – of being warm and happy with not a care in the world
The collection has the least colour of all my collections, featuring only bare or flame-patinated copper and the occasional splash of bright yellow.
You can see more of the inspiration behind this collection on my Pinterest board – ‘Sundrops’. What do you think of the Sundrops Collection? Which do you prefer so far?
Of course, it did take longer than expected to sort out my computer but it’s all done now and I should be back to my regular posting schedule
Autumn never really reaches San Francisco; the small temperature range tends to confuse the trees. Most stay green all year but the rest drop their leaves without changing colour. However, in the Sunset it feels like it’s already winter so I’m feeling inspired by warm images!
This was actually taken in summer – these trees have red leaves all year round but it feels like autumn If you like it, let me know and I’ll add it to my Society6 store.
I promised you photos, so here are photos. I had a really hard time choosing just a few to share with you because I took so many, and of a really wide variety of things.
I have never been anywhere that had such an abundance of varied life…
… and yet, simultaneously such a dearth of it!
We saw semi-overgrown lava fields…
… and a volcano crater!
Isn’t this an awesome tree!?
We took a 3 mile hike, in the midday sun, along the coast to reach this green-sand beach. The ‘green’ sand wasn’t too impressive but the whole setting was definitely worth the walk.
We also went to a lua’u and had traditionally-cooked kalua pig – yummy!
I took so many more pictures than this and they’ll be cropping up in future posts because quite a few of them are directly inspiring various collections.
Have you been to Hawai’i? Did you find it as inspiring as me? Would you love to go? Let me know
I mentioned the Bead Soup Blog Party, I’m involved in at the moment, a few times. There are actually so many people involved that there are 3 separate dates for the reveal of the items made! I’m in the last one (on the 25th August) and the other 2 have already been so I’ve been eyeing up all the creations made by the other participants.
There are some stunning pieces and an amazing collection of talent among the participants, it’s impossible not to be inspired by it all!
You can see a nice summary of all the creations here:
But I wanted to share a few of my favourites here as well
By A W Jewelry and Beadwork
Of course I love the tones in this, and its simplicity
From Jenni’s Beads
I love the use of antiqued copper here, too but also the way the links are chunky, hammered pieces that make a statement, rather than just a chain.
From Saturday Sequins
I thought this piece was so unusual but also such a lovely colour combination.
My bead soup piece is all finished a photographed but you’ll have to wait until 00:01 EDT on the 25th August to see it!
I’m not a natural multi-tasker. In fact, even simple tasks that most people manage to combine, such as watching TV or chatting via typed conversation, I feel the need to devote my full attention to.
With this in mind, it should come as no surprise when I tell you that I haven’t been making any jewelry over the past week because I’ve been packing instead. So when I sat down to write this post I wasn’t sure how to talk about my inspirations, given that I haven’t been making anything.
It slowly dawned on me that one task, that I am excellent at combining with others, is thinking. In fact I’m almost constantly thinking, and usually about jewelry and my business and related topics. So this time away from ‘work’ is actually giving my brain a fantastic opportunity to mull everything over, assess all my options and opportunities, put together a mental ‘to do’ list for when I get back and really work out where to prioritise my time. Of course, I can’t help but be thinking about new inspirations and designs as well.
So I suppose what I’m being inspired by today and last week is reflection – the time to allow all the inspiration and stimuli that I’ve collected over the last few months or even years to slowly sink in and reshuffle and allow new thoughts to rise to the surface.
Reflections – taken in Yosemite National Park, June 2011
Thus far I have just shown you my general inspirations – images which I’m drawn to in some way which therefore have some influence over the jewelry I create.
Today I want to share something a little different.
My jewelry is divided into collections and, last week, I spent some time really exploring the inspirations behind and basis for each of those collections. I was really pleased with the process, and feel like it will help me so much when it comes to naming and describing pieces and developing new ideas.
So I’d like to share with you a more in-depth look at my collections and their inspirations, starting today with a new collection – Emberseeds.
The Emberseeds Collection is based around the decay of man-made, industrial constructions, specifically 2 key aspects: The corrosion of metal and wood to produce fascinating colours and textures, and the steady reclamation of unkempt structures by plant life.
I started my exploration of this theme on Pinterest (of course!) and was amazed by the wealth of images I was able to find!
Over the weekend I took my camera out around San Francisco (along the Embarcadero) to see what inspiration I could find nearer to home. I found lots of decrepit structures but maybe should have been less surprised by the lack of encroaching plant life.
The ‘Emberseeds’ name obviously stems heavily from the ‘Embergrass’ name but I felt it was the perfect fit for this collection. Heat and fire is used in metal production and to speed corrosion and tarnish but ‘embers’ also refers to a fire which is slowly dying down, representing the decay of industry. ‘Seeds’ are the start of the new plant life which will take over and flourish in its place.
The Emberseeds Collection is centered around geometric, industrial shapes and features a lot of strong textures and patinas.
Next week I’ll have another collection to share with you
Last week I posted about my involvement in this season’s Bead Soup Blog Party and I shared the soup I sent to my partner, Christina.
Today I want to share the soup she sent me!
It arrived in an awesome metallic blue bubble mailer and inside were 2 cute packages, in these pretty drawstring bags, and a note.
I opened the little pouches and then had to restrain myself from spreading them out, mixing them up and starting to play. It’s such a beautiful soup, I wanted to dive in straight away but the light was too bad to take any good pictures so I had to keep it intact until daylight!
I can’t believe how ‘me’ the soup is! Turquoise, in all shades of mint and sea-foam through teal, is my absolute favourite colour and I gravitate to colour palettes with just one colour combined with neutrals! I also love the natural, raw look *and* mixing it with a little sparkle for a rustic/glitzy contrast. Oh, and those enameled headpins… did I already mention my current enamel crush!?
I had to get a closer picture of the focal bead so you can see the way it combines the brown with the teal and loads of texture and interest.
And I couldn’t resist getting some arty close-up of some of the beads with the sun shining through them!
What do you think of my bead soup?