Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Tuesday Treasuries

Treasuries are showcase lists of Etsy goodies from various shops. They are artfully put together by members of the Etsy community. As always, I am thrilled to have been included this week. Thank you!

Thanks Paula of DigitalDraft for another feature, this time in an atmospheric treasury, beautifully put together. I love the air of nostalgia in 'Travelling through Time and Space.' How wonderful to see my jasper and sterling silver necklace in the mix.

You can't go wrong with black and white. 'My Name is Black' was artistically put together by the owner of The Anatolian. Thank you for including my agate slice pendant in  this classy list.

Sunday, April 27, 2014

Irish Earrings Inspired by Lighthouse

Last month I posted photographs of beautiful lighthouses, mostly located in Dublin Bay. The Baily lighthouse in Howth is one of my favourites as it is near the cliff path that is just perfect for a decent walk.
The Bailey Lighthouse, Howth, view from lower Cliff path
After a recent walk from Howth village up the cliff path to the lighthouse, I was inspired to make a pair of green, Connemara marble earrings featuring emerald Swarovski crystals. They sold almost immediately and as a once-off design, I won't be making them exactly the same again.
Lighthouse earrings (sold)
 So I just had to go and make another pair based on the Lighthouse. Naturally, I used the same Irish stone and the deep emerald crystals, albeit in a completely different design, one that I have used once before, but also inspired by the view.
Connemara marble teardrop earrings, Emerald Lighthouses 
'Emerald Lighthouses' feature teardrop stones in mossy Connemara marble matched with emerald Swarovski crystal, accented with Bali silver spacers. The hooks are, as always, solid Sterling silver. I hope I have captured the essence of the Baily lighthouse and the surrounding landscape for whoever eventually wears these elegant, Irish earrings.

Friday, April 25, 2014

Under the Dandelion. Caught My Eye #27

Caught My Eye  is a series of blog posts showing scenes I found interesting, odd, curious or beautiful. I am artistic and therefore an observer but I am not a photographer by any description. So if you expect top quality photography I'm afraid you will be disappointed.  But please do enjoy a snap shot glimpse of the world through my creative eyes. 
Yesterday I was out walking along a canal bank scattered with white daisies and canary yellow dandelions. I took a notion to stick my camera under the petals and take a guesstimate as to what I was going to capture. I was hoping to get an insect's perspective.
This one came out more like a painting than a photograph, which is the exact opposite of what some very talented artists do. But I like the wispy effect created by the sunlight filtered through the petals.

Saturday, April 19, 2014

Eyeglass Chain Inspired by Irish landscapes

One of my favourite, Irish American ladies asked me to make an eyeglass chain inspired by the Irish landscape. Now, I was not going to get away with anything so simple as our famous greens, but the hopes and wishes were to incorporate 'the colour of dirt'. We just call it earth, clay or soil over here on the old sod.  'Dirt' in Ireland only refers to something unclean or icky. But as always, I knew exactly what she meant and did my best to get it right. It turned out to be a really fun challenge that has opened my eyes to further possibilities in design.

Ireland is a hyper-hued country with a rich and varied scenery. A quick search through my own photos taken on my hikes turned up plenty of visual fodder for the imagination. Above is Lough Dan in Wicklow and the peaty brown hills of Tick Nock, Dublin. Below are shots of the Upper Cliff path and the Rhododendron forest, both in Howth. 

The trouble is, tones that work so well in nature, don't always harmonise in jewellery. The real challenge was picking beads to reflect our colourful landscape that didn't clash in miniature. 

I eventually narrowed it down to a combination of colder greens, earthy browns and a vibrant, pinky purple. A few dots of black would help unite the colours neutrally.

Please forgive the quality of the photos, taken on an overcast day a bit too late in the afternoon. The dark green tubes with patchy white veining are tree agate. This cold shade of forest green contrasts very well with the purple-lined, glass beads. The small brown stones are jasper and I used tiny black glass to soften the contrast between earth with heather.

At the ends of the beaded strings I introduced just a hint of mustard tigerseye that would have overpowered the design had I used any more. Next to these sandy stones I chose moss agate cubes to complete the scheme.

I opted for oxidised silver chain and dark metal to tie the look together. Anything shinier would simply have jarred. This choice has lent a vintage look to the finished piece that just feels right to me.

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Latest Treasury Features

Treasuries are showcase lists of Etsy goodies from various shops. They are artfully put together by members of the Etsy community. As always, I am tickled pink to have been included in this one today. Thank you!

A big thanks to Paula of DigitalDraft for this really cool list, A Touch of Red . I love these unusual and interesting picks and am delighted to see my sea glass fairy in the mix.

The first weekend of every month I am duty bound to produce a treasury for the Etsy Ireland Team, shared 50-50 with another team and then I do a short feature on our guest team the following Thursday. 

This month I chose the Gardens of Etsy team as our guests for our Getting To  Know you spot and the cross team treasury is titled Country Garden. Hope it gives you the seed of an idea for something creative for your own green space.

Saturday, April 12, 2014

Inspirations, Pink Cherry Blossoms

I grew up on a quiet, Dublin, suburban crescent lined with alternating cherry blossom and apple blossoms trees. I used to love when they were in bloom, looking like giant pink and white candy flosses. When the petals were shed, the pavement became a carpet of marshmallows fit for a little princess like me to step on.
Cherry Blossoms in Dublin city
For a city, even the centre of Dublin is pretty green, and at this time of year, often rosy pink. I love that you can turn a corner and accidentally happen upon a row of blossom trees in full blush. Above is one of those surprisingly quiet streets off the main artery from the South into the city centre. I took this shot on my way home a week ago......

rose quartz and rhodonite earrings, Cherry Blossom

...and then I made these. I couldn't help myself!  Cherry Blossom earrings are made with delicate pink rose quartz and candy-hued rhodonite. I hope I've captured the essence of childhood summers in them.

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Tuesday Treasuries, Tickled Pink

Treasuries are showcase lists of Etsy goodies from various shops. They are artfully put together by members of the Etsy community. As always, I am tickled pink to have been included in this one today. Thank you!

I very nearly had no treasury features to show off this week.  Then this afternoon Lori, owner of Magnolia Alley in California, kindly included me in this sweet list 'Think Pink.' Well, thank you, I'm all a-blush to see my pink heart ornament (or rear view mirror charm) in there with all these cute items. I so want that watering can...and the Barbie shoes! 

Sunday, April 6, 2014

Interesting Sea Glass Finds

Living about an hour from the coast, I don't get to beach comb as often as I'd like. I've been out just once since last October but I picked up a few interesting pieces.
Sea glass  and sea pottery with pictures or letters on them are always fun finds. This piece must surely be from a sauce jar or perhaps a bottle. I wonder if it had a club sauce bottle top like the ones I found last year? (Click to see club sauce stoppers)
I also found a few pieces of blue sea pottery and a small specimen of cobalt blue glass. It is rare to find a big piece of frosted cobalt sea glass on a Dublin shore, although this glass was commonly used for medicine vials such as Milk of Magnesia bottles. I wonder was the glass a little thinner and more brittle and is this why? Anyone??

I also found this small piece of white frosted sea glass with the number 117 on it. I've a hunch it is the beginning of a batch code. There is also a pretty dot pattern on it. It may be from the base of a vessel.

Learn how to clean sea glass and sea pottery HERE
See my sea glass and sea pottery jewellery and ornaments HERE

Friday, April 4, 2014

D is for Druzy, Downton-esque and Design

We're at the Letter D in my ABC series (a not so comprehensive guide to jewellery materials, tools and techniques I use) D is for Druzy, Downton-esque and Design.
Druse crust on white quartz, own photo

Druse, or Druzy, is a natural crusty layer of crystal  formation  on  top of  the fracture surface of a rock.    It most commonly occurs on agate, malachite, quartz, chalcedony, or  turquoise. This pretty  piece  is white  quartz.    The   formation  of   tiny   crystals  occurs  when  ground water carrying dissolved silica gets forced into the porous gaps in a rock then cools rapidly. The  stone does not  glow   like it  appears  here  all the time, but does catch the light beautifully as you move it about.


Metaphysically, this stone is associated with banishment of negative thoughts, said to help you through worrisome or negative times. In Feng Shui is it believed to bring light and life into a dark corner.

This egg-shaped stone will make a beautiful piece of bridal jewellery or a pretty First Holy Communion gift, most likely a pendant. As yet I haven't decided how to approach the design but am leaning towards treating it like a piece of sea glass.

Irish Seaglass Pendant.  Pale Aqua Beach Glass. Dunehttps://www.etsy.com/ie/listing/151729295/sea-glass-necklace-irish-beach-glass?ref=shop_home_active_10Green Irish Seaglass Pendant. Olive Ocean

I have developed my own, light and free style of wire wrapping sea glass and sea pottery that shows off the beauty of the material while making a neat and pretty feature of the wire itself without too much fuss. Above are examples of my sea glass wrapping (the second pendant, Zest, is still available.) I'm pretty sure I can adapt my technique to show off the druse quite easily. In fact, the crusty nature of the rock will probably require less wire on the front to 'stick'.

D is also for Downton-esque...a made up term yes, but lovers of Downton  Abbey will know  what I mean. If you love the TV series as much as I do, you will probably also be madly in love with the early 20th century style and fashion. So far covering the period between the sinking of the Titanic in 1912 to post war twenties, we get to follow the changes in style from Edwardian through Art Deco and Great Gatsby-like glam. 
https://www.etsy.com/ie/listing/153625678/wedding-pearl-earrings-downton-abbey?ref=shop_home_active_4Long Black Earrings. Downton Abbey Edwardian Style. Onyx & Chain. Midnight in Dublinhttps://www.etsy.com/ie/listing/179597127/clear-quartz-crystal-earrings-vintage?ref=shop_home_active_2

I don't religiously copy the jewellery of the era but draw on it to inspire modern designs that capture the essence of the period. I am not a fan of diamonte, a 'D' not found in my glossary, preferring to garner a more subtle sparkle from gemstones and crystal. The above earrings left to right are 'Roaring Twenties' made with freshwater pearl and glass, 'Midnight in Dublin' with Onyx and chain and  'Ballroom' with clear quartz crystal with a hint of lacquered enamel.
'Cora' earrings are my current favourite. I used a combination of  rounds, bicones and cones to evoke the angles and geometry of the Art Deco (post Edwardian) movement.


Red gemstone fan necklace
is of course for Design. There are two entirely different ways in which I approach design. The first is the more usual, structured method, familiar to methodical artists. The second, is free style and organic.

Sometimes, particularly when combining gemstones and other beads, I will sketch a few ideas first before drawing the blueprint and laying out the components so I can see where I'm heading. Preliminary sketches are particularly useful with custom orders, where I must interpret someone else's wishes into something workable.

https://www.etsy.com/ie/listing/71814517/irish-jewelry-sea-glass-pendant-dark?ref=shop_home_active_2Irish Jewelry.  Blue Sea Glass Pendant.  Aqua Poolhttps://www.etsy.com/ie/listing/160803745/irish-sea-pottery-pendant-dazzling-blue?ref=shop_home_active_8

When it comes to wire wrapping sea glass and sea pottery I much prefer to let the shape, curves, dips and crests of the nugget dictate the way to go. I am often completely surprised by the end result so I find this method more fun.

This is where I drop the letter D. Back soon with the next in the series....
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Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Tuesday Treasuries, April 2014

Treasuries are showcase lists of Etsy goodies from various shops. They are artfully put together by members of the Etsy community. As always, I am grateful to have been included in a couple today. Thank you!!

Thank you Julia  of julwelry for this luxurious treasury celebrating crystal quartz. Delighted to have my earrings, 'Ballroom,' featured among this finery. You can learn about Rock Crystal aka Clear Quartz Crystal in this blog post.

This will put a Spring in your step! These gorgeous pinks were artfully put together by Elena of  FourSeasonsCreations. My coral butterfly fairy is delighted to be here!