Oldies but Goodies - Winter White

There's a window behind my bed, and I just have to turn my head a little and I can see the sky. I love watching the moon wander across the night sky, sometimes in the middle of the night if I wake up. Last night, however, we had a new moon. Instead I saw fat snowflakes coming down. When I got up to have a look at the street, I saw they had already settled on the roofs, the cars, and the ground. Although I'm not a fan of snow - to put it nicely - it looked peaceful. No one was out there, it was completely quiet, and only here and there I could see a light from a window in the neighborhood.
This morning I didn't wake up from the scratching of shovels on the ground, so I knew it had to have stopped snowing, and indeed the snow had gone as if it had only been a dream.

After a break the Jewelry Artisans Community Oldies but Goodies Challenge is back in this new year now, this week with the topic Winter White. Enjoy.

1 and 4 Cat's Wire
2 and 5 RioRita
3 and 6 MC Stoneworks


What to do if ...

... your mojo has been taking a long break?
... you hurt something?
... you just don't find the time?
... you can't seem to get things right?
... life is getting in the way of your creative ventures?

It's coincidence that this is part of the Jewelry Artisans Community blog carnival now in December - after not having one in months -  but maybe it's also actually not a bad idea to think about this at the end of the year.

I have started making jewelry and more in late 2008, and of course I took my timeouts over the years. I can't remember a time, however, when it felt so difficult to make something. There's the arthrosis in my thumb joint and other health problems and pains, and they seem to take their toll on me more than they used to. I don't want to whine, but the days of working on something almost obsessively, hours and hours, are definitely over!

Since a few months ago it kept happening that I started making something and messed it up. I'm not saying that was completely new to me, and it didn't happen all the time, but it was in that extent, and I noticed it began messing with my mojo, too. There hadn't been a time when I hadn't felt the urge to fiddle with something, now I could go days without touching any wire or beads, as if that kind of creativity had simply left me.
It may sound ridiculous to you, but it left me kind of uneasy and restless. I had not known it could have such an effect on me.

What else was there to do?
Since I started working with wire and beads, reading had mostly been banned to my commuting and the tub both of which ruled out heavy books or even books that needed concentrated reading. After having been an avid reader since early childhood it now felt almost strange to sit down and "just" read. I don't know if it was that restlessness in the back of my head telling me I should be working on something instead, but I really needed some time to get back into reading.

Then of course there was the computer. Can you imagine for how long you can click back and forth between bookmarks without actually doing something, follow links about artisans who don't seem to have a creative block, play nomogram computer games and try to avoid thinking about how time is running through your fingers senselessly? Now that was definitely something that had to stop, even Ponder got tired of keeping me company on my desk!
I even started doodling hoping it would allow my mind to run freely and find some kind of direction in the process.

Finally I followed my own advice about creative block from another blog carnival some time ago. I made something I didn't have to think about that much because my design was already there, but which left enough room for playing with details to still satisfy the creative urge. Usually that means one of my signature miniature baskets which I can then fill with whatever comes to mind at that moment.
Lately, however, I have been playing with several octopuses, bigger and smaller ones, even some hugging lampwork sharks. Tentacles are a great way to let things flow!

Click to see the details better ...

I can do wire only so often at the moment, though, because it's hard on my thumb joint, and yet I had one of thoses phases when I wasn't drawn to beads, either.
Christmas brought me back to my big bauble stash and also reminded me of an almost forgotten stash of spike beads, so it was time to get out my crochet hook again after some time and do some wire knitting.

And two little snowmen baubles gave me the opportunity to deal with my infamous "glue trauma" and to do a bit of Herringbone beading.

I still wanted to bead loom some gifts before Christmas, too. There's still that little WIP that doesn't want to cooperate with me all the way (honestly, why is that frame "suddenly" bigger or rather the WIP smaller?).

You know, maybe it's okay to see what else there is beside making jewelry. Maybe I don't have to fiddle all the time. Maybe all of me will profit from some change every, now and then - going back to old hobbies, taking some time to pick up things I haven't picked up for a while ... there is still that cardigan I didn't finish because I wasn't sure about the measurements of the front parts anymore ... maybe this is just a lesson for me to not obsess about something or I will mess it up. Huh. Quite the lesson shortly before a new year will be upon us ;-)

You want to know what other JAC members have to say?
Check it out here!

Jewelry Art by Dawn


Oldies but Goodies - Lions and tigers and bears, oh my!

The inspiration for this week's Jewelry Artisans Community Oldies but Goodies Challenge is of course a quote from the classic movie The Wizard of Oz.
As you may remember our rules for the challenge are not too strict, so instead of a tiger we were also allowed to show tiger's eye. Actually it makes me wonder why I have never made anything tiger inspired given the fact that I love those animals so much?

And here's my little collage for today. We got fierce, sparkly, adorable, cute and beautiful. Pick your own favorites! :-)

1 and 4 Jewelry Art by Dawn
2 and 6 and 8 Cat's Wire
3 and 5 and 7 MC Stoneworks


Tackle that stash - Viking knit and magnesite necklace

In March 2013 I made my first attempt at Viking knit. It was a tiny Barbie necklace and I haven't been coming back to this technique ever since.
Now, having been somewhat frustrated and uncreative lately (for reasons I'll get to end of this month), I had been looking for something that was within my possibilities and came back to Viking knit.

I made two ropes using 24 and 26 gauge copper wire, more for practise than to actually use them. I pulled them through my draw plate and found they were too long for bracelets and too short for necklaces. Not only had I been pretty clueless about how much the draw plate would change the length, I admit I had also not been patient enough to add more wire before knowing how the ropes would come out.

In the last few weeks I have been wasting wire by throwing out some WIPs rather than unwinding little knots and loops (I'll save you the accompanying curse words). I was not ready to throw out the Viking knit ropes as well.
So it was a good thing I remembered my stash of magnesite beads in all kinds of shapes, natural ones and dyed red ones which might like look good with the copper.
I think it did work out quite nicely, now I just have to come up with something for the second rope. Who knows, maybe this is going to give my creativity a little boost?

P.S. I almost forgot to thank Katrina Lum for her tutorial about the endcaps (which I made in different sizes to enhance the asymmetric look, by the way)!


Oldies but Goodies - Romantic

Okay, so I'm romantic. Shoot me. I do have my favorite movie or TV kisses, I like the idea of going for a walk in the shine of a full moon (my ex still owes me one of those from 30 years ago, and hey, don't offer something if you are not ready to deliver! ;-)), I have been known to re-read romantic scenes in a book, and yes, maybe I have even shed one or the other tear over a happy love story.

Of course this was just a more or less clever introduction for today's Jewelry Artisans Community Oldies but Goodies Challenge which has the topic "Romantic".
No need to shed tears over the pictures, by the way, but maybe they make you smile.

1 and 10 Jewelry Art by Dawn
2 and 8 MC Stoneworks
3 and 7 RioRita
4 and 6 Cat's Wire
5 and 9 VMCdesigns


Oldies but Goodies - Red and black

Red and black is a color combination that will likely never go out of style - and it's definitely one of my favorites.
You can encounter it in all kinds of places.
Nature for example, just think of certain snakes, frogs, and spiders whose red and black can be a warning sign.
Think of gothic fashion. I never really thought about it, but is the black standing for the night and red for the blood?

Depending on the kind of red you use you can also achieve different looks. You can accent black with just a bit of bright red. You can tone down red with some black. Or how about teaming up black and a very dark rich red instead of a bright one?

Whatever your favorite black and red combination is, maybe you will find it in the pictures I chose from this week's Jewelry Artisans Community Oldies but Goodies Challenge.

1 and 9 RioRita
2 and 6 VMCdesigns
3 and 7 Cat's Wire
4 and 10 MC Stoneworks
5 and 8 Jewelry Art by Dawn


Oldies but Goodies - Pendants

I don't think I have to say much about this week's Jewelry Artisans Community Oldies but Goodies Challenge (which suits me as I have been struggling with an annoying head cold that leaves me quite unmotivated at the moment). The pictures will speak for themselves in a variety of designs, and I hope you'll enjoy them.

1 and 3 Cat's Wire
2 and 10 MC Stoneworks
4 and 7 VMCdesigns
5 and 9 RioRita
6 and 8 Jewelry Art by Dawn