Thursday, October 30, 2014

Midnight Magic Blog Hop Challenge

This month's theme for the Blog Hop Challenge is "Midnight Magic." The blog hop is hosted by Andrew Thornton, Creative Director of Allegory Gallery. Each month a new design kit is assembled containing bead mixes and a Mystery Component designed by Andrew. The Midnight Magic kit contained the following items:

After I carefully placed all the goodies on my bead mat...

...okay I admit to being a messy beader!!!

I started with the Mystery Component, the polymer clay star seen in the upper right corner of the above photo. I decided to make a knotted necklace with the waxed Irish linen provided in the kit and some of the metallic beads and amber glass beads. I actually busted out and dusted off my pearl knotter for this piece.

My next design used some black chain and various components from the kit. I chose and asymmetrical lay out and simple loops to attach to the chain. I made it clasp-free so it slips on easily.
After surveying the kit, I decided to make a herringbone-style bracelet with the hex beads, orange fire-polished beads and black charlottes. The Herringbone technique is based on stacks of beads and this variation is a fun way to use similar-sized beads.

Next, I made a pair of "Claws and Scales Dragon" earrings from the black claw-shaped beads and scale sequins.

Finally, I had to use the black porcelain skull, so I made a Freeform Peyote necklace and balanced the skull from the center.

That is all I have for this Blog Hop Challenge. I will post the other participants shortly, so that you can hop from blog to blog. Enjoy!



Thursday, October 23, 2014

"Royal Feathers" Blog Hop Challenge

Greetings fellow 'Hoppers' and all that have stopped by to check out the designs from Andrew Thornton's Blog Hop Challenge. Andrew is the Creative Director of Allegory Gallery in Ligonier, PA. He is also a published designer and teaches at workshops. Andrew has set up the Blog Hop Challenge by picking a design theme then creating kits with a variety of beads and components, including a "mystery component" made by Andrew himself, and then offering the limited edition kits to participants. Each person's design(s) are based on what they envisioned after viewing the kit contents. The possibilities are endless, so enjoy "hopping" from blog to blog, viewing, enjoying and commenting on the contributions. To find the other bloggers participating in this hop, scroll down to the end of my blog post and you will find a list of clickable links that will take you on your adventure.

This is my second Blog Hop Challenge that I have participated in this year. I really enjoy the creative kick in the pants that a design challenge offers without the pressure of a competition. For this challenge, I really bounced out of my comfort zone. I am relatively new to Freeform Peyote and am totally new at macramé, but I chose both techniques to represent my creative inspiration from this kit. The colors were deep and truly regal, so without further ado, here are my contributions:

First up is a three-strand, asymmetric boho-chic-style bracelet. I was going to use the beautiful, purple Irish waxed linen, but it went missing from my bead mat (looks sideways at three "innocent-looking" Labrador retrievers). With the cord out of the equation, I used bead stringing wire. I loved the mix of greens, purples, golds and blues. I actually haven't done much basic bead stringing in a while, so it was a refreshing change of pace for me!

Next, I decided to "go big or go home" when it came to accessorizing with earrings. Each one uses beads from the kit and I used simple loops, wrapped loops or briolette wraps to link the dangles together. I used a couple of leaf-shaped sequins paired with pretty, iridescent Czech glass drops in one design. All coordinate in a mix-'n'-match fashion with the triple-strand bracelet.
I seriously stepped out of my comfort zone and way out of my bag of tricks for the next design. I actually needed to consult an expert in the field of micro-macramé aka "friendship bracelets": my 12-year old daughter Ariana! She showed me the weave known as Chinese Staircase to make the chains for the necklace design. I used the "mystery component," the polymer clay medallion, as a dangle suspended from the large ring. I added beads along the cords as I especially loved the banana leaf covered bamboo rounds. I really didn't know what to do with all the cord ends so I attached beads to the ends and just left them to dangle either in the front or down the back.
The final pieces were also a bit of a stroll out of my comfort zone, but the more I make with this technique, the more I love it. I used Freeform Peyote to make a dazzling bracelet and coordinating earring set. The bracelet was woven lengthwise and incorporated the bead soup that Andrew put together for this challenge. I used a few sequins to give vertical dimension to the design. The clasp is a loop and Czech glass rondelle closure. It is lacey and airy and as vivid as a peacock display!
The earrings, while embracing the Freeform Peyote technique, are actually fairly mirror-images of each other. I'm just not ready to depart from some sort of beading imperative that calls for balance/symmetry when it comes to earrings.  

So, those are my contributions to this month's Royal Feathers Blog Hop Challenge! Use the list below to travel to other participant's blogs and look at their designs: