Sunday, March 31, 2013

Colour Palette Design Challenge - Reveal Day

On March 1st, I put out a challenge to all jewelry designers to create a one-of-a-kind piece or collection using one of 3 colour palettes that you can see in the original post.

After much deliberation, I decided to use this one.

I love all the colour palettes but the final choice was solidified for me when I came across the beautiful lampwork focal bead that I purchased many years ago and never used. It had 3 of the 5 colours in it! Perfect.

Here is the piece that I created with it...

I used two strands of 1mm waxed cotton cord and knotted between the beads. A new technique I've been experimenting with lately.

Check out the creations of the other participants. I will add direct links once everyone has posted. I can't wait to see which colour palette everyone else selected.

Bonnie Coursolle (You are here)

Saturday, March 30, 2013

Focusing on Life - Week 13

A friend asked me this week if Sally was purposely trying to make these photo prompts more difficult every week. I'm beginning to think so. I must say that I did get a wee bit of satisfaction last week knowing that she was at a loss for words for her own prompt. *smile*

This week Sally has asked us to 'Have Faith'

Faith is to believe what you do not see; the reward of this faith is to see what you believe.
                                       ~ Augustine

Faith is used in so many different ways but you can't have faith, keep faith or be faith. Faith is not passive, it's an action word. It's defined as believing or trusting. 

Belief can stand without faith, but faith contains belief. It is an action which continues to happen because we're confident that the belief is true. 

Faith is not merely a mental conviction. Faith, in order to be valid, must act.

Prayer is an act of personal dialogue with the Divine, whether you call that entity Jehovah, Allah, God or even if you have no name. Prayer is the way to renewal and a spiritual life. Prayer brings strength, refreshment and joy. Prayer lifts us up from our isolation to a concious, loving communion with the Divine. Prayer is a spiritual breathing of the soul.

An ancient theologian once said, "When I prayed I was new, but when I stopped praying I became old."

Sunday, March 24, 2013

Designs Evolve Over Time

I was spending some time organizing the bead stash/hoard in my work room today, when I came across one of the original sets of Goddess prayer beads I made in 2010. 

Looking at them now, I can see how my design and construction methods have changed since then. Even the materials used and the bead sizes are different.

Let's compare...

Goddess Prayer Beads, 2010

In 2010, I was using 8mm Czech glass beads with 10/0 clear spacers. There were 13 white (Maiden), 13 red (Mother) and 13 black (Crone) beads. That number represents the number of full moons in a year. The prayer bead sets were circular with a silver-tone bead hiding the knot. The stringing material I used was C-Lon a nylon cord suggested to me by the nice lady at the bead shop.

Goddess Prayer Beads, 2013

In 2013, I'm using 10mm gemstone beads (white jade, red jasper and black onyx), 13 of each colour as before, with 6/0 clear spacer beads. I'm still using the C-Lon cord to string them. I'm making the prayer beads with a drop of three beads (one in each colour) and pendant from the main circle. The knot is hidden in the metal bead.

Pocket-Size Goddess Prayer Beads, 2013

I'm even making pocket size sets of the Goddess prayer beads now for those who want something smaller to carry with them wherever they go. There are 6 beads in each colour (10mm gemstone beads), with just a pendant drop. The number was arbitrary in this case and chosen strictly because the proportions looked right.

Goddess Prayer Beads, Two Versions

So, our designs do evolve over time. Some of that has to do with skill level but a lot of other factors are involved. Different perspectives, new experiences, acquired knowledge and personal preferences change over time and our art reflects it. 

Saturday, March 23, 2013

Focusing on Life - Week 12

Sally is determined to really challenge those of us participating in this year long project. Week 12 was no exception.

Observe the Curve

This week take a moment to focus on all the different kinds of curves that surround you every day.

As I was driving to and from work this week, I was trying to be a bit more observant as I made my way along. One thing that struck me was the buildings I passed. The houses, factories and other structures made by man are very ordered, consisting basically of straight lines and angles; everything perfectly matching up to create a uniform image.

However, those things made by Mother Nature are free-form, curved and full of amazing stories.  Take the tale that this tree could tell if it could talk. What series of events caused it to grow in such an unusual fashion? Why did the limbs branch out and curve up like they did?

Natural forms have their own flow, something very difficult to capture in a man-made structure. Aristotle said, “In all things of nature there is something of the marvelous.” How very true!

I was so glad that they were able to preserve this tree when they built the train station and parking lot here. It’s a testament to its beauty, with all its curves, that the architect and construction crew took great pains to work around it.

“May your trails be crooked, winding, lonesome, dangerous, leading to the most amazing view.” — Edward Abbey

Monday, March 18, 2013

Colour Palette Blog Hop - March 31st

The following people have signed up for the Colour Palette Design Challenge & Blog Hop...

Alicia Marinache
Leah Curtis
Cheryl Dunham
Andrea Trank
Shai Williams

Participants will choose one of three colour palettes below to create a unique one-of-a-kind jewelry design.

It's not too late to sign up if you'd like to participate. Contact me directly before Saturday, March 23rd.

Saturday, March 16, 2013

Focusing on Life - Week 11

Another difficult photo prompt from Sally this week...Endless Possibilities.

“This week pay attention to your surroundings and your daily activities and show us what holds endless possibilities for you.”

I did have a few ideas. I could photograph a pile of fabric beside my sewing machine to represent the endless possibilities of what I could, quilts, cat toys, costumes.

Or I could photograph my jewelry making tools & supplies with tons of beads to represent all the things that I could create with them...earrings, bracelets, necklaces, prayer beads.

Then it occurred to me that each new day presents us with ‘endless possibilities’. And that is significantly influenced by choices, the ones we make for ourselves and others, or the ones that others make around us. And what about the butterfly effect where, theoretically, the fluttering of a butterfly’s wings in one country can cause a hurricane on the other side the world.

Take for example, that fateful day in November 2009 when I was called into my supervisors’ office and told that I was being laid off from the IT company where I'd been employed for 3 years. I was devastated but that one event put me on the path to new and wonderful possibilities.

I chose not to sit at home and sulk for weeks on end.  Within three days, I was at an employment centre and registered for a back-to-work program beginning in January 2010. Someone had dropped out that very day, opening up a spot. Otherwise, I would have had to wait another six weeks for the next session to begin.

For our final ‘project’, we had to select an ad from the paper for a position that we thought we qualified for, compose a cover letter, customize our new resume and apply for the job. I GOT THE JOB! And I’m still working there today.

It’s a shipping supplies company and I'm in customer service. One day a fellow came in looking for reclosable bags for his product.  I chose to ask him what his company manufactured. I discovered that he made pewter pendants, keychains and pins. I could have left it at that but I chose to ask him if he’d ever made cloak clasps. A lot of people were asking me for them at events we attended.

Celtic Cats Cloak Clasp
He’d never heard of cloak clasps but we arranged to meet later that week to discuss the possibility of collaborating on this. To make a long story short (oops, too late), he now makes pewter cloak clasps, several different designs, and sells them exclusively through my company, Jasper Moon. And, I’m selling a lot of his pewter pendants too.

But I would never have met him in a million years if I had not lost my old job and made the series of choices that I did after that. Ironically enough, six months later, that IT company went out of business and the people who were left there never received all the money that was owed to them. It turned out to be a lucky break for me to get out of there when I did.

So, to conclude...I try to look at each new day as being full of 'endless possibilities'. When I leave my driveway in the morning, which direction will I go? Left or right, I can still end up at the same physical location but what opportunities or possibilities will I encounter one way that I wouldn’t if I went the other? Isn’t life grand, full of excitement and 'endless possibilities'?

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

In A Safe Place

How frustrating!! Has this ever happened to you? You purchase something at the store. When you get home you put it ‘in a safe place’ so you will be able to access it when you want it. Then, you immediately proceed to FORGET where that safe place is.

The time comes that you want to use this item and it is nowhere to be found! You look high and low in all the ‘logical’ places you might have stashed it. The thing seems to have grown legs and run away!

As annoying as this is, I know that when I stop thinking about it and looking for it, it will magically appear in the most obvious of places. The location is so obvious that I can’t even think of it right now. *smile*

It’s abundantly clear to me, if it wasn’t before, that I have to organize my craft supplies all in one area of the house. The ‘system’ I’m currently using is not working. *big sigh*

Saturday, March 9, 2013

Focusing on Life - Week 10

Here is this week’s photo prompt from Sally...

Are you all wrapped up in warmth or are you diving into a dessert that is all wrapped up in yummy goodness? You have a prompt that has many different meanings, grab the camera and show us how you are interpreting "all wrapped up"!

I have to admit that I’ve had more difficulty with this prompt than any of the others so far. I was drawing a complete blank. I ended up discussing it with a friend who helped me through the thought process. Of all the things we talked about, the one that stayed with me was ‘my quilt’.

My mother and I went to a workshop years ago, many more years than I can remember, to learn how to make a Trip Around The World quilt in a day. The instructor was fabulous and we all did have a quilt top completed that day and some even had the whole thing finished before going home.

The reason they worked up so quickly is that we were not actually hand quilting them, simply tying them where the seams meet at the corners of the 6” squares. We were all pretty pleased with ourselves at the end of the day. The only thing I had left to do on mine was to finish off the outer edge and the binding.

Well, other tasks and obligations kept me from working it at home. Eventually, it ended up packed away in the back of the linen closet, virtually forgotten. Until the day that I finally decided, many years later, that I needed to sort through all the stuff in my house and downsize a bit.

A new friend who does a lot of quilting offered to help me finish it off.  I took it over to her place one day and she stretched it out on her quilt frame. I think that is part of the reason I never did it before, I simply did not have the room at my house to do the job.

We spent several days working together on it, chatting and getting to know each other. I really enjoyed the process and was excited to finally be getting it done. Here it is on the frame, being hand quilted along the outside border.

That quilt now resides on my bed and keeps me all wrapped up in warmth every night as I sleep. The bright colours greet me every morning. I love this quilt!

You can see the finished binding and some of the hand stitching in the photo above. I'd like to make another quilt one day, completely quilting it by hand. I've been collecting fabric scraps and remnants for years. It will be spectacular, a labour of love. *smile*

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Goddess Pendants by Louise Ingram

I have been carrying these beautiful goddess beads as a regular item for several years now. I have a new collection for this season, now on its way to me via Canada Post. I’m so excited to be able to showcase them at the events we attend once again.

At first, I did not think that I would have any to offer this year. Louise had been busy with other projects and obligations and had not been spending time with her torch and glass in the last several months.

She recently posted photos of the goddess beads she still had for sale on the newsfeed of a Facebook pagan page, and the positive response was so overwhelmingly large that she was enticed back to her studio. I immediately contacted her to remind her that I was still definitely interested in purchasing the small goddess beads to sell.

Since spring is Louise’s favourite time of year, she decided to have a giveaway on her website to celebrate the coming season. Enter to win!

Left to Right: 1st, 2nd & 3rd Prizes

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

The Design Worked on Paper

Yes, I had it all planned out on paper. I was feeling quite confident that the design would work perfectly in reality.

It did not. Has that ever happened to you? After spending time (hours, days, weeks) pre-planning a special project, accounting for all the pitfalls, drawing a draft on paper, etc...the ‘thing’ just doesn’t work.

What do you do? Give up and toss it into the trash? Throw it across the room in frustration? Alter your design or expectation? Scream? Cry?

I’ve done all of the above at different times in my crafting history.

What went wrong in the first place? Did I over-estimate my skill level? Were miscalculations made during the planning stage? Are the materials not appropriate for the design? Am I stupid?

Such a frustrating situation has happened to me this week. I finished a tablet weaving project, my first single diamond shape pattern trim. I was feeling pretty proud of my accomplishment. Look how clever I am! (Patting myself on the back)

I thought I had all the variables figured out now. I decided to try a multi-diamond design next. I warped up the loom again after carefully mapping out the design on graph paper. No problem, this would work fine.

That was an incorrect assumption. I simply have not been able to get it to come out like it does on paper. After several failed attempts, only making it worse, I’ve set it aside for now. I’ll tackle it again in a week or two when my frustration level subsides a bit. *smile*

Maybe I should have accepted the variation that was evolving instead of trying to ‘fix’ it. Hindsight is 20/20, isn’t it? 

Saturday, March 2, 2013

Focusing on Life - Week 9

This week’s photo prompt...

“Let's open some doors to see what awaits us on the other side. You have arrived at the door for a reason, open it up and step in!”

I’ll admit that is one really baffled me. And with the weather so bad here this week, I was unable to go out exploring for inspiration. It turns out that inspiration was right outside my front door. It may not be exactly what Sally had in mind with this prompt but it is what ‘came’ to me.

The door to this little house is not pretty. There are no fancy architectural features or elaborate antique hardware. It’s an odd shape, rather jagged in appearance.

It wasn’t always like this. When I had a friend construct this little house for me it was intended for birds. I made sure to ask him to cut a small round door that would only allow tiny birds in and for the first couple of years the chickadees resided in it.

But one winter, a little chipmunk decided that it might be the perfect place to hibernate. The only problem was that he could not fit through the small door. What was he to do? He had to make changes before he could get in.

With a bit of ingenuity, a lot hard work and a good set of teeth that door was opened for him. And inside he found comfort and warmth that winter. Of course, the birds never went near the place again.

So the moral of the story is this...Even though a door looks inaccessible to you at first, don't get discouraged. You can get inside with persistence and determination. That which had not been available to you, can open up for you. If you sit back and do nothing, you are left out in the cold.

Friday, March 1, 2013

Colour Palette Design Challenge & Blog Hop

It’s time to chase away the last of the winter blues with a new design challenge & blog hop. The colour palettes that I have been creating in PhotoShop will now provide inspiration for new jewelry designs.

Below you will find three different palettes to spark your imagination. Create a unique, one-of-a-kind piece or a whole collection from the colour selection of your choice. The options are quite diverse. Have fun!

The blog hop will be on March 31st. Send me an e-mail with your name and a link to your blog if you would like to participate.