Barbara’s Blog – BBD Art Jewelry

Ready, Set, Go!

Some of the best finds are in antique stores. I am always on the lookout for items I can repurpose and up-cycle!  Recently, I came across two small, very flat wooden cigar boxes that I’ve utilized as portable bead cases that I can toss in a bag at a moment’s notice.

Unlike standard-sized cigar boxes, these beautiful mahogany boxes measure less than one inch in height, eight inches in length, and five inches in width. Fitted with a velour beading mat, each box is a perfect size for holding a bobbin of thread, scissors, needles, ruler, and a twelve-color wheel bead organizer with room to spare!  

Do you like to play with color?

The power of color is amazing! How it is used determines what the eye sees. For example, these three geometric warped squares were woven using the same pattern graph design. Each was woven with the exact same palette of colors. What makes each warped square appear so different from its neighbor is that the colors have traded positions in the pattern design. To my eye, the light, bright colors really pop while the darker shades recede. Notice how the center colors stand out in the first two warped squares, while the ring of eight turquoise “flowers” in the third warped square command the eye’s attention. I love the “crazy quilt” effect of the pattern design, but varying the color juxtaposition really extends design possibilities!

Bead Soup…

I had not intended to start my warped square project with a confetti-like design. I had carefully drawn out a mosaic-like colored graph, selected six colors, poured them into their respective containers, and placed them in my travel tin. My mistake was leaving the travel tin on the table instead of packing it in my bag. All was fine until I heard a crash and the sound of beads hitting the floor! Jackson is the sort of cat who LOVES to nudge objects with his paw until they topple over the edge of any counter or tabletop. While my back was turned, he had jumped up on the table and wreaked havoc! There were just too many beads to sort so there I was on my hands and knees dabbing at Delicas with my index finger from the tile floor (thank goodness the area is not carpeted!) and sweeping up the rest with a whisk broom. Needless to say, Jackson did not score any points with me!

More Beads…

This order of Delica beads arrived several weeks ago, but I’ve been so busy playing with resin and making rings that I haven’t had gotten around to doing anything with them. The first step always is to remove them from the plastic containers in which they arrive as the rectangular containers take up too much space and the flip-tops open rather easily and leak beads creating a huge mess! I always transfer them into sturdy plastic jars and jot down the color name and numbers on the lids. The next step is finding space for them in my dedicated Delica bead storage drawer, which is presently almost filled to capacity! I’ve had a geometric warped square bracelet project in mind for some time…guess I’d better start playing with beads again!

Last Weekend…

I took a class taught by Richard Salley (great teacher BTW!!!) and learned to make the “Ketoh Bracelet”…typically a wrist guard worn by Navajo Indian archers to protect their forearms from the snap of their bowstrings when shooting arrows. It was a two-day workshop held at Shake Rag Alley Center for the Arts in Mineral Point, WI, but I was far enough along with the project that I could head home Sunday morning and finish it up in my studio.  Here are photos of my finished bracelet…

I scratch-textured the sterling pieces and used a matte red jasper for the focal cabochon and 5mm Garnet and 4mm Hematite cabochons for the accent stones on the side panels. The back panel is made of tooled leather. I have a stash of beautiful cabochons somewhere that would be perfect focal stones for another Ketoh bracelet…I’ll have to carve out time to explore and play with variations of this design!  I can also envision a tall sculptural center bezel holding a collection of small resin faux crystals! How wicked cool would that be!

I think this bold bracelet is beautiful!  And it goes so well with my latest collection of resin faux crystal rings!  I was wearing them all together (the Ketoh bracelet on one wrist, a heavy chain link bracelet on the other and two rings on each hand) when I went out to dinner this week.  A woman who also was wearing many rings, necklaces, and bracelets came up to me and exclaimed, “I thought I had some great jewelry, but Wow! That is some badass jewelry you’re wearing!”  I consider that quite a compliment!

You Asked For It!

There used to be a TV show back in the 1950’s called “You Asked For It”, but in this case I am referring to the tutorial I promised for making “Resin Faux Crystals and Druzy Cabochon”.  I’ve had several requests for a tutorial and it is now listed in my Etsy shop. This tutorial does not teach how to make rings or work with metal, but it will give you the foundation for creating beautiful faux crystal and Druzy components as well as directions for creating my glowing “Faux Volcano Crystal” shown at the far right in the photo of the tutorial below.

And here’s my latest piece…the “Faux Rainbow Druzy” Ring. I used copper, black, and blue glass shard pieces and ultra-fine glitter in bronze and midnight blue to make this 20mm cabochon. I am so loving this ring! 


I’ve seen it and even took an early morning bike ride downhill from Haleakala on one of my vacations to Maui. This latest resin ring so reminds me of a volcano glowing with shades of bright fire surrounded by red-hot embers! What gives it this magnificent glow?  I embedded a 27mm Swarovski Padparadscha crystal in the resin cabochon, which causes the depth of glow to change depending on lighting conditions. My “Faux Volcano Crystal” ring is huge! Measuring 35mm in diameter, it is more than a statement piece…it seems to have a life of its own! I love it!

Twin Peaks…

I’ve finished another!  This third in a series of resin faux crystal rings is titled “Faux Beryl Crystals Ring”. Measuring 25mm in height from the base and 30mm in width, the oblong ring sits at a 45 degree angle.  Hammer-textured and antique-finished, the bezel holds two faux crystals of varying height surrounded by “crystal” glass shards. I love making and wearing these bold, statement rings!

Before and After…

This ring started with just three pieces of silver…a bezel, backing, and ring shank. Having hammer-textured the silver, the bezel join was soldered and then all three pieces were soldered together in one step. This is the ring fresh out the pickling solution.

After a wire brush polish, forming the adjustable shank on a ring mandrel, dipping in a solution of liver of sulphur, giving a final polish, and adding a faux resin crystal and glass shards, here is the 
final product…my sterling silver and resin “Faux Peridot Crystal” Ring. The faux crystal stands 25mm above the base and the base is also 25mm wide. Quite the statement piece!


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!


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