Barbara’s Blog – BBD Art Jewelry

A Productive Week Thus Far…

Can you tell that I’m having fun?  All beading and polymer clay projects have taken a backseat to resin for the moment.  I’m still exploring faux crystals made of resin and have just finished making a simple emerald-green resin faux crystal bracelet charm.  The faux crystal dangles from a handmade hammer-textured bail made of sterling silver. I like the medieval look and feel of this piece! I have a ring in the works and will post photos of the process and finished product in my next blog. Stay tuned!


Druse, Drusy, Druzy…

Whichever way you choose to spell it, I find Druzy to be dazzling! If you haven’t a clue of what I’m referring to it is a coating of fine crystals that appear on a fractured rock or within a geode.  The crystals sparkle and glisten, especially if they have been treated by electro-coating, which gives them a shimmering iridescent quality.  When incorporated in jewelry a Druzy seems to add a feeling of magic! The first photo shows a collection of natural Druzy Agate and Quartz stones that I have collected.  The second photo shows a brooch in which I used a Druzy as a focal accent.

The third photo shows the fruits of this past week’s labor. I’ve been experimenting with resin and I made this collection of colorful faux Druzy stones that will be fun to use in my metal work as cabochons set in silver bezels and as focal cabochons on bead-embroidered pieces!

This Past Week…

I’ve been playing with resin. These faux resin crystals don’t look like much just out of the mold, but after I clean them up and buff them on my JoolTool they’ll be really beautiful! I have many uses for them in my work…employing them as focal stones in bead embroidered pieces as well as pendants and earring components set in silver bezels. But what I truly feel like making right now are a collection of big, bold, beautiful rings…statement pieces that will be great fun to wear!

I’ve just finished this ring set with a pale rust resin faux crystal and I so love wearing it! One attribute of using resin instead of natural stone is that I don’t have to worry if I drop the ring or accidentally hit the faux crystal against a surface that would ordinarily break or shatter a natural stone! That’s a huge plus for someone who seems to always be dropping and bumping into things! I also love the fact that I can create faux crystals in any color I wish with the addition of alcohol inks. Ultra-fine glitter and glass shards can also be added to the resin to obtain an opal-like effect. I’m just beginning to experiment and will be working on faux druzy-like stones next week. I have a tutorial in the works too! There will certainly be good times and a lot of play in the studio in the coming weeks!

Faux Amber, Coral, and Turquoise Revisited…

I spent time this past week replenishing the polymer clay faux amber, coral, and turquoise beads that are included in my “Tibetan Inspired Beaded Rope Necklace” kit. After finishing my task I decided to play with several different shapes…I made turquoise nuggets, chunky coral beads, several amber donuts, and a long amber spindle to name a few. Then I decided that it would be nice to have a really wide amber cuff to compliment my summer wardrobe! I embedded some teeny coral and turquoise nuggets, a fine silver metal clay ammonite, and decorative dots of sterling silver as well. I love this cuff and am so pleased with the fit…measuring 2″ in width, it is very comfortable to wear! The clay I prefer using? Premo! Sculpey™. It is the perfect material for a cuff because it has some pliability and great memory. I can easily slip the cuff onto my wrist because the opening “gives” easily and then returns to its original position. The clay also comes in an extensive array of colors that can easily be blended into custom colors. When I find time, I’m going to make a wide faux coral cuff and perhaps I’ll even mix up some faux jade and ivory!

Lucky Me!

Richard Salley is teaching the Ketoh Bracelet (shown above) workshop in Mineral Point , Wisconsin at Shake Rag Alley Center for the Arts on July 22-23 and I’ve signed up for his class! This piece is drop-dead gorgeous and all the materials including the large turquoise stone are included in the kit fee.  All I have to do is show up with a few hammers and jewelry-making tools and enjoy two days of creating!  I took a class from Richard at Bead&Button several years ago…he’s a great teacher and I learned how to forge some really nifty stamping tools in that class. If you live within driving distance to Mineral Point and love jewelry, you really should consider signing up for this class!  But hurry because his classes fill up really fast!  Incidentally, Mineral Point is a charming little town with several art galleries and great restaurants. In fact, my husband is joining me and will visit the galleries and shops while I’m in class…win-win!

As Usual…

What I liked best about the Bead & Button Show was a class taught by Susan Lenart Kazmer! Over the past years I’ve taken several of her classes and they always inspire me to get back in the studio and work with metal and resin! “Resin, Relics, and Ancient Artifacts: Casting Resin” is the class I took last week. It was only three hours in length so there wasn’t enough time to complete a piece, but we explored mold-making and I left class with several molds and two cast resin components. Although I have been working with resin off and on for several years, I learned tips and tricks and discovered endless possibilities for making unique art forms by applying paint, mixing in alcohol inks, and altering the finished resin casting with carving!  Upon arriving back in my studio, I couldn’t resist the temptation to get out my Ice Resin®, molding compound, inks and dyes, paints, accent powders, and ephemera and start to play! I love the large urchin and stone castings.  These measure over 2″ in diameter and will be wonderful focal pieces used in pendants and/or brooches! The upper left and lower right components in the above photo measure a little over 1″ in diameter and have been accented with inks and paint. The center component contains a 27mm Swarovski Crystal…the photo doesn’t show the depth and brilliance, but it truly looks like an orange opal! The lower left and upper center components are faux quartz crystals. I plan to use them as focal “stones” in rings!  And what did I do with the resin heart-shaped component I brought home from class?
I used it as a focal in this pendant! My mixed-media “Talisman” Pendant is composed of polymer clay (twig and serpents), fine silver and bronze metal clay components, sterling silver wire, carnelian, green jasper, and resin! 

I’m Back…

It was a whirlwind trip to the Bead&Button Show…a four hour drive to Milwaukee on Thursday and a repeat back home on Friday.  I solely went to just do some floor show shopping and to take a class with Susan Lenart Kazmer (more about the class in my next post!).  Attendance at last year’s show was down considerably…this year attendance was down even more.  Several years ago there were well over 500 vendors at the show, but this year it seemed there were about half that amount. Sadly, many of the vendors who have really unique and interesting wares to sell were absent. In the past attendees were tripping over each other and sometimes one couldn’t even get close enough to see what a vendor was selling!  No problem this year…you could have thrown a bowling down an aisle and not a single person would have to jump out of the way!  Granted, I was only there for two days so I hope traffic picked up over the weekend when the show is open to the public.  Below is my stash from the floor show…very little compared to what I brought home from previous shows.

Here are a few highlights from the Bead Dreams display on the floor show…

This colorful bead-embroidered neckpiece was created by Sherry Serafini.

“The Beauty in the Bees” neckpiece below won Best in Show for Tatiana Fitzpatrick.

Below is Amy Johnson’s “Secret Garden” bead-embroidered neckpiece.

One can only imagine the hours that went into the creation of these pieces.  

And can you believe the crystal-studded Porsche shown below!

I’ll post a show and tell about my class with Susan Lenart Kazmer later!

Goin’ Shoppin’….

My contest entries have just been returned and thanks to Fire Mountain Gems & Beads and a $150 gift certificate (the silver medal award for the bracelet I entered in the 2017 Metal Jewelry Contest), I’ll be doing a bit of online shopping! Over the past few months I’ve been perusing the FMG catalog online and putting goodies in my shopping basket…I’ll continue to do so until I return home from the Bead and Button show, which is being held next week. Prudence tells me to wait and see what I find there before placing an order because I always come back to the studio with various treasures I’ve found at the show. Aside from beads, I keep an eye out for beautiful tools and new equipment that I feel is a “must have”! I’m fairly well stocked on most of the materials I use in my work so whatever I purchase at the show will be something rather unique and/or special that I can’t find online. Many vendors offer “Show Specials” with lower pricing and of course, being able to hand-select pearls and gemstones is always preferable to ordering and having someone in a warehouse choose for you. Gary Wilson always has his gorgeous gemstones at the show and since he doesn’t have an online shop, this is my chance to find some unique Drusies and other stones. Undoubtedly my next post will be a “show and tell” of my purchases and a report on the class I’m taking with Susan Lenart Kazmer. Best of all, I always return from the show with my creative juices flowing and great ideas for new works!

A New Tutorial!

I’ve received so many inquiries from fellow polymer clay enthusiasts who love my “Matisse Inspired Cutouts” Earrings  as to whether a tutorial for making them is available and here it is! The tutorial contains over twenty full-color process photos and step-by-step instructions for making the polymer clay components as well as creating drop earwires and hoops from stock sterling silver wire…you’ll never have to buy commercially made earwires again!  I love Art Jewelry and consider each earrings a wearable mini-sculpture! 

For those of you who don’t work with polymer clay but love the “Matisse Inspired Cutouts” earrings, I presently have thirty-four one-of-a-kind earrings listed in my Etsy shop. Although the earrings are asymmetrical, the colors and themed of the components coordinate beautifully! Each earring is priced individually so you can mix and match to your heart’s desire!

Subscribe to Blog via Email

Type your email address in the box below and click on the subscribe button underneath to receive an email with my blog every time I post...usually once or twice a week!