Sunday, July 31, 2011

Creation of a Tree of Life Forest

I described in an earlier post, my Biblical tree of life pendant necklace, inspired by a passage in the book of Revelation.  Since then, I have created over a dozen more trees of life pendants.  I decided to create a post about them, because a few days ago, one of my co workers referred to them as my “signature item”.

My various trees of life are definitely among some of my favorite handcrafted pieces.  I first saw the pattern for them in a Beadstyle magazine and wanted to give it a try.  After examining the pattern though, I thought that the 3mm rondelle crystals used in it gave the tree kind of a “shrunken” look.  So, I substituted 4mm round Swarovski crystals to serve as the main decoration. 

At first, the seasons inspired me in creating my trees.  For spring, I used lavender and tanzanite crystals to represent blooming purple flowers, while I utilized emerald and fern green crystals for the lush summer foliage.  Indian red and smoked topaz crystals served as the bold changing colors of autumn and for winter, I used white opal crystals for snow covered branches, with blue zircon crystals as the ice at the tip of it.  Here are some examples of my spring and autumn trees.

Then, I decided to expand my little forest by creating a wide variety of fruit trees!  So far, I’ve created apple, blueberry, lemon, orange, plum, and grapefruit trees.  My favorite of these has to be the lemon tree as you can see, the yellow is brilliant.

I’m always looking for ideas for new trees and so far, I’ve thought of nut, blackberry, cherry and coconut trees.  You will see these new additions to my little forest in the near future!

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Metamorphosis of an Idea into a Beautiful Butterfly Necklace

It all started with a forgotten pendant.  I had purchased a beautiful aquamarine butterfly pendant from Michaels, when I first became seriously interested in making jewelry in 2009.  However, I could never really find a use for it, especially since I had to make a handmade bail for it, which was beyond my skill level at the time. 

A couple weeks ago, I had resigned myself to the task of sorting and organizing my beading supplies.  I stumbled across this pendant again and I suddenly had the thought-wouldn’t it be neat to see this butterfly resting on a flower? 

With that thought in my head, I decided to create a cluster pendant with colors to resemble the petals of a beautiful flower.  First though, I formed a handcrafted bail out of sterling silver with a topaz Swarovski crystal to represent the middle of the flower.  Then, using padparadscha and rose water opal Swarovski crystals for the pink petals, I wire wrapped them to jump rings, with the butterfly pendant dangling down from it.  Here’s a picture of the actual pendant:

For the actual necklace, I wanted the strands to imitate the lush green of flower stems and leaves.  I created several wire wrapped links using Swarovski crystals in various shades of green (Pacific opal, chrysolite opal and fern green).  In addition, I used small portions of sterling silver cable chain to connect the pieces as shown below:

I love how the necklace turned out and I hope to create more beautiful pieces reflecting God's creation in the near future!

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Beaded Snowflake Ornanments

For those of you, who want a break from hot weather or just can’t wait for the holiday season, here’s a few samples of beaded snowflakes ornaments I’ve made over the past couple of weeks!

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Behind the Scenes: Capturing Lovely Jewelry on Film (Or on a Memory Card)

Photographs have always appealed to me in their ability to forever preserve a beautiful scene, person or object.  For many years, I have enjoyed participating in the field of photography as an amateur. 

Then I started taking pictures of my jewelry for my small business.

I will honestly say that photographing my jewelry is, by far, the most frustrating part of operating my small business.  I cannot even begin to count the times I have resisted the urge to throw my camera against a wall, due to weather conditions, blurry photos, jewelry pieces not staying in position, etc. However, my personal “favorite” has to be the time when my photo lens jammed and the camera wouldn’t take a photo, just after I had positioned a necklace which had finally stayed draped on a vase after ten tries to get it to stay into place.

Fortunately though, technology has been a blessing, in that I can just take another picture, without worries of wasting film.  I have a Canon PowerShot, which has several helpful settings, including macro mode, which allows you to take photos of small objects in great detail. 

For outside shots, I set up a mini studio behind my apartment building.  I spread a white towel over the cellar door and take photos, if the weather decides to cooperate. 

However, I don’t have to depend on nature to take good photos though.  For Christmas, my parents gave me a portable light studio, complete with lights and a tripod.  The thin walls diffuse the light, greatly reducing shadows and really help the photos look more professional.

Despite the headaches of photographing my jewelry, I will say that getting that perfect photo does make the whole tedious process rewarding and is a very effective means of promoting my jewelry!

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Behind the Scenes: Exclusive Peek at a Jewelry Workspace

When one imagines a craftsman’s (or craftswoman in my case) work place, I’m sure they think of a sunny spacious room, with soothing music in the background to create a comfortable work environment.  Shelves of craft supplies line the walls with a large work bench in the middle of the room, ready to create dozens of masterpieces.

Sounds great huh?  Well, this lovely image is the complete opposite of my current jewelry workspace.  With the constant blaring of my neighbor’s rap music and their shouts in addition to a beat up coffee table, the uniqueness and personality of my little “studio” cannot be denied.

In all seriousness, I really do like my current workspace, humble in nature as it might be.  I wanted to give a brief “behind the scenes” look at it for this blog.

Here’s a wide shot of it:

I usually sit over here to work on a piece of jewelry.  As you can see I have my pliers at the ready, with my current project laid out on the bead board:

This stand is actually a bamboo serving tray that my mom didn’t want.  I use it to store various supplies, including Swarovski crystals, tools, a steel block for hammering wire and of course my little hedgehog friend. 

Finally, here’s a bookshelf, where I store jewelry catalogs, books, my small business information, patterns, and sketches of my jewelry pieces.

Hope you enjoyed the tour!

Coming up: the painful process of capturing jewelry on film.