Light-Hearted Blue

teal waves earrings 430x415 - Light-Hearted BlueThe primary reason for blue being such a favorite is its ability to sooth our spirits. Blue is the color of peace and contentment as well as reliability and security. Those are things we all need to feel on a regular basis. So designs that include blue will give off those kinds of feelings.

I thought this simple pair of earrings by Warren and Robbin of Bali did that in spades. The sky-blue background of the drop part has rippling lines much like you would see on a peaceful body of water and what is more peaceful than sitting by a rippling pool or pond filled with the reflection of a blue sky?

I find the white sections above interesting in that the wobbly circles are energetic but reserved on their steady canvas of white. That little tick up in energy contrasts the bottom half just enough to emphasize its peacefulness plus the circles feel like they are floating, maybe on water, bringing that peaceful water idea full circle.

Robbin and Warren don’t always work in polymer but their designs are always interesting to process. Find more of their work in both natural materials and polymer on their  Flickr photostream and on their website.

 

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Brilliant Color

Dio featehrs earrings cropInternet is rather spotty here in the south of France but other than reaching out to you wonderful people (and my sweetie, of course) I can’t say I am missing it all that much. I had previously picked out a few pieces to get you through the week, although I didn’t have a specific theme, just the thought of the potentially lovely color I might see here drew me to these pieces. And I certainly have seen beautiful colors from the doors and shutters on the homes in this little village to the wildflowers that fill out the fields on the side of the roads we’ve wandered down.

So, going with that simple theme, I have this older piece by Irina Oano Diacenco. It was posted in 2011 but the contrasting purple and yellow are timeless and is further helped by the rough texture that makes the colors jump and glow as they skip over the lines together.

Although Irina doesn’t seem to have anything recent online (mind you my searching was limited as my internet goes in and out here), you can catch more beautiful color combinations and textures on the blog she used to keep here.

Inspirational Challenge of the Day: Pick two highly contrasting colors and create a piece based around how those colors make you feel.

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Polished Consideration

Noelia Contreras C063Who doesn’t enjoy a flawless finish? A smooth and highly polished finish in polymer is particularly attractive and those of us who have tried to reach this pinnacle of skill are awed by it. I’ve seen quite a bit of nicely polished finishes lately including this beautiful set by Noelia Contreras.

This is a simple, fun, and colorful design that could hold its own without the finish, but the high polish takes it up a level, making it particularly eye catching.  The blacks look blacker and the colors appear brighter because of the clean reflection of light. This kind of finish takes a little longer than a basic sand-and-buff and is sleeker and classier than a varnish short cut, but the results are so worth it.

These polished finishes are common in Noelia’s work, as is her very particular attention to all the details of a piece. Take a few minutes to admire her skill on her Flickr pages and in her shop.

 

 

Inspirational Challenge of the Day: In your next piece, or with a piece you have already created but could benefit from a bit more attention, practice your flawless finishes. This will mean different things for different people as not every piece should be polished or flawless. The idea is that your piece is carefully and skillfully finished off in a fashion that matches the type of work it is. If you are going for smooth, take the time to polish it to the best of your ability. If it is rough or layered, be particular about the cuts you make, the backs, and the edges.

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Lines that Lead to Contrast

LelandJewelryMod earringsLines are largely directional elements. We see a line and our eyes run along its path to see where it will go or where it has been. Combining lines that go in various directions will have us glancing over and back, jumping from one to the other as we try to follow them all. Our busy eyes are what make us feel that the lines are energetic. Energy can be good if that is what you are after, but unless you want to leave the viewer feeling ungrounded, you might want to have a place the eye can rest.

In this set of earrings by Lela Todua, you get that moment of rest in the strip of textured clay down the center. You also get this kind of mirror image of the criss-cross lines on one side being mimicked by the lines of changing color in the mokume gane surface on the other. Although not really the same kind of lines, the type of patterning and direction of lines are close enough that our minds see a likeness. It helps ground the two otherwise contrasting halves in a subtle relationship alongside their physical kinship being the same mirrored shapes connected to the same long central bar. The result is that our eye jumps from side to side, with a quiet moment we can take in between on that dividing bar. The dividing bar is actually a line as well, but she adds these simple dots at the end that keep our eye from sliding off and so our glance returns to trying to take in the broader surfaces. It gives us a sense of a full and complex composition in a small amount of space.

Lines and contrast seem to be the staple of Lela’s work as you can see by what she has to offer in her well stocked Etsy shop.

Inspirational Challenge of the Day: Find various styles of lines in everyday or natural items and find two that you see any kind of relationship between. Use these as inspiration for creating contrasting textures for a new piece. Alternately, create multiple textures with lines in a preferred set of materials and techniques, ones that develop random patterns (mokume, marbling, scratches, splashes of paint or ink, etc.), then find patches of texture that work together because of a suggested relationship your eye finds. Create a piece from them.

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A Glimmer of Hope. And Jewelry Furniture.

Donna GreenbergLast month was a very long month. So much was going on only now can I see the light at the end of the tunnel, a glimmer of hope, a spark of optimism that all of our special projects will be wrapping up. So in honor of those glimmers and lights, how about a few slightly blingy things this week?

We’ll start with some new Donna Greenberg earrings. Seeing a new piece of hers always brightens my day. And I do love those cool jewel tone shimmers. These are not overly complicated but I am very much for simplicity right now. The shiny side kind of hangs out there like a beacon of some kind.

But I also wanted to share this because look … she made her own stand, or jewelry show furniture, as she calls it. How fun and fabulous is that?

See what else Donna has been up to on her Facebook page, where I found these, and her website.

 

Inspirational Challenge of the Day: Create your own style of displays for your work, something completely different from what Donna made. Displays can be artistic, but be careful with heavy patterns and colors brighter than your work. You want your work to stand out, not your stands. Search online for DIY display ideas to help you out. These kinds of projects are prefect for dipping into your scrap bin. You can paint or powder mud colored clay displays to bring them back to life.

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Subdued Passion

kejka sperky SadaI know it will be hard to top Monday’s piece. The energy in that sculpture was unreal. But intensity of that kind is not the only thing that visually defines passion. How about that low but long burning fire many of us have? It may be a passion for art or for our family or friends. It might be how we feel getting out in nature or the desire for adventure. It is not crazy but it is always there and that kind of passion, that persistent, ever present emotion, is sustaining and keeps us focused on the things that are good in our lives and good for ourselves.

So, to represent that slow burning passion, I picked this mellow yet fiery caned earring and pendant set. There is not the chaos of movement we saw Monday but you can still feel the energy. The Czech Republic’s Kejka creates the energy through both the purely warm color palette and the tapered but parallel and highly directional lines. The gradation from dark on the outside to light in the middle on the pendant also gives it a glow.

Kejka made a series of these flame-like canes in various colors. Take a look at the purple and blue one as well on her Facebook page.

 

Inspirational Challenge of the Day: Create or sketch in a completely warm color palette. That means from reds to oranges to yellows. Try either creating a subdued feel with your design for these highly energetic colors or see how insanely energetic you can make it.

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Variation Within

FordFolano Polymer earringsIn Monday’s blog post, we looked at how changing up a few elements in a design can change the entire feel of a piece. Variation from one similar piece to the next can push your creativity, but if you want something that challenges you even more, try variation in every element of a single piece of art you create.

That is what Ford and Forlano did here, with each bead different from every other one in the set. Because every piece has a common design element–that being an elongated bulls-eye–we see them as belonging together despite the fact that there are no two slices alike in one earring and they are not even arranged the same between the pair. The wide variation in color and size of the bulls-eye center achieves cohesiveness through its constant variety as well as the common shape.

Perhaps Ford and Forlano successfully control variation so well because they themselves are a mix, being two people living in two different states but collaborating to create their art. Each has their own strengths and interests, and they combine their efforts, skills, knowledge, and interests to create beautiful and intriguing pieces. You can see their most recent projects, as well as learn more about what they do and how they do it, by visiting their website.

Inspirational Challenge of the Day: Sketch or create a piece from new or already created components where every element is different except for one aspect. Remember that one common thing can be any design element–size, shape, color, texture, motif, etc.

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Fall into Autumn Colors

674d984339ad86f48452af95f498dba4Well, it’s finally cooling down here in California, where I’ve been bouncing around the last several weeks, and I realized that I haven’t seen any Fall-like scenes yet. In Colorado, of course, we have some wonderfully dramatic color changes in our mountains and trees, but I’ve missed that. So, mid-season and a bit past-peek for Fall colors in much of the country, I want to delve into some of the richness a Fall palette provides.

This set of earrings is a classic example of the deep greens, rich rust reds, and brilliant yellows nature shows off this time of year. I found these on Livemaster.ru in the shop that the Google translator says belongs to Nina Kotlyarevich (I don’t trust the translators, especially when it comes to putting an English version of a name up, but the address on the photo goes to Nina’s shop so we’ll assume it’s close).

Such patience she must have to apply such tiny detail using those thin snakes of clay and little dots. The resulting texture is lovely and takes the simple autumn leaf design several steps beyond the norm.

The dense texture with thin clay snakes is something Nina looks to have done a bit of. She has some amazing pieces in her shop right now including an ancient ivory looking box with swirling and finely dotted detail that will make you hunger for a closer look. Which you should do.

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Reinterpret a Flower

il_570xN.490547265_sfa6I was really going to try and avoid flowers this week, not because they aren’t wonderful and lovely, but because we already have such a love affair with them in this community. I figured we’ve seen quite a bit, and it would be more useful to find other subjects. But then there were these. I have had these earrings in my little chest of goodies to share for a while, but it took until this theme for me to figure out why I think they are so well done. I think it’s the fact that the creator, Deb Cooper, made the whole earring a flower with stalk included, rather than just adding flowers to a circle of clay. Sometimes it’s just the very simplest of adjustments that takes something from nice to fantastic, from interesting to amazing.

All the choices here were the right choices: the translucent clay to catch the light and show variation in the colors, the colors themselves, leaving the flower with very organically ruffled petals and not spoiling it with any other additions. These actually got me to stop and consider what you could do to make a gauge earring from real flowers. But these would certainly last longer.

You can find Deb’s wide array of cleverly decorated gauge earrings on Etsy and on her Deviant art page.

 

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