Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Class 'n' stuff.

So, Chinese class was pretty small tonight. I'm not sure if a lot of people just happened to not show up, or if they all decided it was a rough class and quit. Most of the cool people were still there, though, so it's all good. We had our second test and other than not remembering the character for the name Yu, I think I aced it. And even though I knew most of the words in the chapter that we started tonight, I learned some new things about grammar, which was great.

One thing that I like about class is being able to see what other people are wearing. Lets face it, most of my socializing is with gamers, and most of them wear shorts and t-shirts, which is fine, but not very inspiring. My Chinese teacher, though, has a very good sense of style. Her outfits are always well put-together and the colors and styles that she picks are good for her complexion and build. My classmates have a pretty wide variety of fashions, and tattoos, too, so there's always something visually interesting to look at. I just hope they don't think I'm staring at them for weird reasons!

At this point, I'm trying to decide whether I want to work on jewelry right now, or write some, or just goof off and play video games. I had a very busy day, with homework and housework and class, and now I'm ready to relax.

Dark Lady of the Depths

Here's the one necklace that I managed to make last week, Dark Lady of the Depths. I really love how she turned out. She looks even better against a black background, but doesn't photograph well that way.

There are a couple of elements at play in this necklace. One was my desire to make a Goth mermaid necklace. Something about the focal bead seemed rather Gothic, and I don't know if it's the dark pewter, or the aloof expression on her face. I'm very happy with how I achieved a darkly elegant look without using much pure black.

The other element is the silver teardrop pearls. I acquired them some time back. They were part of a traveling bead box that was making the rounds of members of my bead forum. I want to say that they were added by my late friend Helen from FL (not to be confused with my local friend Helen, who is thankfully still very much alive. Apparently people named Helen have a tendency to be awesome. Keep this in mind when naming your daughters!), but I can't be sure of that. Anyway, I liked the color and smooth shape, so I kept them for my own. I've tried to use them in several projects since, and they never quite fit. The shape didn't line up with the beads I wanted them next to, or the shade of grey wasn't quite right. I grew very frustrated, because they were beautiful and I wanted to use them. After my most recent failure to work them into a project, I thought about these blackish Swarovski pearls, and how pretty they'd look with the stubborn drops. When I brought home the mermaid, that settled it. They had to all be together. I added the shadow crystal Swarovski bicones and black mother of pearl chips for extra interest. The result is a very harmonious blend of silvers and black.

I'm over halfway done with a woven necklace that utilizes another Green Girl bead, and I also have plans for a necklace with a cool faux jade vintage glass cab that I picked up in NY. Plus I've been working on my book, and tonight I danced for the first time in a while. It feels good to be doing all of these fun, creative things. Of course, I should have been doing my homework.... I guess I know what tomorrow holds for me!

Friday, September 21, 2007

Class and things.

Tuesday through Thursday is turning into a rough time for me! Chinese class itself is very easy right now; I already know all the words and grammar rules that we're learning, so it's just a matter of practicing how to say and write them properly. Honestly, I get pretty bored in class. But there's so much homework! I feel sorry for anyone who has made this class part of a full workload. The homework isn't even that difficult, it's just very time-consuming to write all those characters. As such, a good chunk of my daytime on Weds and Thurs is spent doing the homework that was assigned Tuesday night. It doesn't help that we have a game on Wednesday nights, which really can't be moved because everyone already planned their work and class schedules around it (yes, it's that good).

In other news, I had a lot of fun on Talk Like A Pirate Day. I indulged in a little pirate speak, and cobbled together a makeshift pirate costume, which of course involved a lot of jewelry. I really do enjoy any excuse to dress up in a costume. Was it just me, or was there less of a big deal made about Talk Like A Pirate Day this year than there was last year? Are most people pirated out after three Pirates of the Carribean movies? Is the trend slowly dying out? Are the ninjas winning?

On the bead front, I've only made one necklace this week. I got distracted by aforementioned homework, and working on my book. I think I'll spend some time in the beadroom this weekend, looking for new inspiration.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

What I made for myself.

Image: Lady Aerelin's Prize-Winning Flower Garden

I simply had to make this necklace for myself! Actually, it all started with an idea that involved a faerie pendant from Green Girl Studios, and I couldn't decide whether to make the necklace for myself, using colors that would match the faerie outfit that I got at the NY Ren Faire, or if I should make it in other colors to sell, or if I should buy another pendant and make two. Then I realized that this beautiful faerie, by Mavis Smith, went really well with the colors of the outfit, and that decided it. Now I can use the Green Girl pendant to make another one to sell, and I have this one for me!

I wore the necklace to the Sept Best Bead, and I got a lot of compliments. The necklace wasn't even done yet, I still had to add the final strand. Each strand is wrapped around the previous ones. There are four strands total, a plain one to form the core and three embellished ones. I used three colors of Japanese seed beads in size 11 and 15, numerous pressed glass leaves -- vintage and modern -- one style of pressed glass flower, Swarovski crystal butterflies, and two different colors of lampworked leaves by Joan Eckard. It's much more free-form than my usual work, and it was a little hard for me to get used to the chaotic array of leaves, but the look really suits the nature of a faerie, don't you think?

Lady Aerelin's Prize-Winning Flower Garden
is one of my entries in Art Bead Scene's September contest. This month's theme is "When Beads Collide!" and the challenge is to use beads created by two or more artists. I also entered Faerie Bride, and an older necklace of mine, Purple Dawn. I hope to manage one or two more submissions before the end of the month, if my muse cooperates.

Oh, and by the way? YARH! I can't wait for tomorrow :D

Monday, September 17, 2007

This week's new lovelies!

Image: Lost Tribe, necklace of lapis, jasper, bone and glass.

Have you ever done something which you were proud of, for reasons you can't quite put your finger on? This necklace is one such thing for me. It was an inspiration that grabbed hold of me a couple of weeks ago, and kept hanging on until I went to the bead show and bought the cord I needed to tie the pendant together. It all came from me wondering what to do with those jasper beads, and thinking that I ought to put them with something blue, because brown and blue is rather popular right now, and then I remembered the lapis donut, and then it all fell into place in my mind.

And I just love it!

I mean, I'm thrilled with the necklace, how different it is from much of my other jewelry, and I'm thrilled with the picture, because it came out so sharp, even if there are some weird reflections. I'm also thrilled that my idea to tie beads together to make a pendant worked, because sometimes things that make a lot of sense in my mind don't work out as well in the real world.

So mosey on over to my website and have a look at Lost Tribe! And while you're at it, you can also see Faerie Bride, which I'm also happy with even though it photographed very poorly. And Shamanistic, a pair of earrings which just happens to match Lost Tribe.

Friday, September 14, 2007

Caught up on an idea...

Any of you out there who are also creative types (and I have a feeling that's most of my readers!) have probably come across the same problem I'm having right now. You see, I have this nice idea for a necklace, using one of the pendants I bought at the bead show this past weekend. The only problem is, I need a specific shade of orange seed bead, and I don't have it! I can see it in my mind, and I somehow convinced myself that I do own it, but I've checked, and I don't. I tried an orange that I do have, and to be honest, it looked awful. So I'm stuck, unable to act upon this inspiration until the next time I order seed beads.

The problem is, now that I've been denied the chance to fulfill this inspiration, I'm totally caught up on the idea. The necklace is what I must make. And it's not like it's even the best idea that I've ever had, I'm just being stubborn. All the beads I have, all the techniques at my disposal, and yet I can't move past this one silly idea. Hopefully I'll get past it tomorrow, otherwise I won't be able to take something to work on during the game tomorrow.

Since beads are frustrating me, I've been working on my book tonight. Book 4 is plodding along slowly, because I'm not quite sure what I'm doing with it, I just missed my characters. It is going to be a fun experience to write about NY, though, drawing upon all my visits there and my feelings about the place. I just wish I had an excuse to send my characters to The Planting Fields; now that was a magical place. Just this week we received a package from my MIL with pictures from the trip, including one of Chris and I standing on a rock with a copse of trees behind us. Sure wish we'd taken a picture of the gateway to the faerie realm, though. Maybe Chris has one on his phone. Next time I'm bringing my camera, darn it.

Back to the book for me. I'm going to take pictures tomorrow before the game, or sometime Sunday afternoon, if I'm not at a party all day.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Busy Bee!

My muse continues to work overtime. Last night I finished the very lavish necklace that I was making for myself, and today I strung two necklaces, both of which have beads that I bought this weekend and dual focals. I'll probably do some photography tomorrow, unless, of course, I get caught up in homework. This week should be a nicely varied update. Tonight I'm going to work on an ivory and orange floral necklace, if I can find all the right colors in my seed bead collection. Better start looking, it's almost time to leave!

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Musing on Inspiration.

Image: Contemplation, spiral rope necklace with double focal

When developing a specific product line, such as a seasonal collection, it's important to have some sort of unifying theme. I could never limit myself to a single theme, so for my Fall Line I decided to have a few specific color ways and elements that I would focus on, for a look that is coordinated while still allowing each piece to stand on its own as a little work of art.

The three main trends that I homed in on while observing well-dressed people and store displays were earthy browns, sharp black and whites, and variegated grape tones. All of these held their own appeal for me, so I decided those would be the palette for my Fall Line. You've already seen some great browns and black-and-white pieces; I'm having a bit of trouble finding the perfect purple beads, however.

With colors out of the way, I turned to styles. Spirals are always an element in my work, hence necklaces like Contemplation (above), and bracelets like Organic Treasure. As for leaves, they pretty much go without saying, as they're a part of my work no matter the season, and are extra-appropriate for Fall. This means I've gone a little wild with leaves lately. You can see them as a focal in Medeine, dangles in Faerie Gold, and a main element in Moonlit Garden. Dangles and movement are favorites of mine, too, as seen again in Moonlit Garden and Faerie Gold, and also in Pan's Grove and Forest Singers.

Just creating new jewelry utilizing old favorites isn't enough, though. Luckily my muse came through with a new fascination: dual and multi-segmented focals. I first became captivated by the possibilities of this technique when I made the Beautiful Brown Birthday Bauble way back in May. I explored a different possibility with Dragonfly Pond. That settled it: stacking various beads to form a focal point was addictive. I could coordinate different colors and media for an even more unique look than usual, and give myself an excuse to buy even more lampwork, carved beads, and cute pendants. Life is good! You can see this concept illustrated in Medeine, with the lampwork and accompanying leaf dangle, and Contemplation, where a lampworked bead accents the bone pendant, and in Pixie At Rest, where a lampworked flower and silver pixie combine for a very illustrative focal. Next week's update should contain two variations of this exciting new theme.

I have to say, I'm always at my happiest when I'm inspired, and this last month and a half has been downright blissful. I look forward to sharing the fruits of my muse's whisperings with you in future days!

Monday, September 10, 2007

The Latest From Erthe Fae Designs!

Today marks my return to weekly updates, which will be on Mondays for now. There are four beautiful new items up on my site.

Moonlit Garden -- Pictured above. Black and white leafy-floral necklace strung on chain. I find the design to be very classic, and I cannot count the number of things I've seen in the stores and on-line that would match it perfectly.

Contemplation -- A beautiful spiral rope with a mermaid pendant, accented by a small lampworked bead. Worked in earthy colors instead of the aquatic hues most commonly associated with merfolk.

Faded Light -- Crystal bracelet in a light golden hue. Very subdued, and a nice compliment for several other items already on my site.

Forest Singers -- Earrings with lampwork beads, crystals, and the cutest little bird charms.

Tomorrow I'll discuss the inspiration behind my recent work.

Sunday, September 09, 2007

Show Report: 2nd Annual Fall Best Bead.

If I had to pick a slogan for the Fall Best Bead show here in Tucson, it would be, "Great For Shoppers, Not For Vendors." Of course, Crystal Myths would never accept that tagline, as it would scare away the potential sellers, but that's what I'll always think when the show comes up.

I had a fun time at the show on Saturday. Chris and I got there sometime between 11:30-12 and found the wholesale registration table. My favorite local beadmaker (and to be honest, one of my favorite beadmakers in general), Margaret Zinser was right across from there, so my first stop was her booth for hugs, catching up, and seeing what she had that was new. One of the things that I really like about Margaret is that she is always trying new things. What really captured my eye this time was the black double-sided beetle bead with all the accents done in silver Precious Metal Clay, but that was out of my budget. I'll be saving up to treat myself to one in the future, though! As much as I loved the new beads, I decided to buy one of the first beads of hers that I saw on-line and loved, back in 2004... The spiral teardrop. It's a good thing that I did, too, because she's probably discontinuing them. You can see the one that I picked in the center of the above image.

There were a lot of great vendors at the show, and we had a few hours until gaming, so Chris suggested that we do the tried-and-true "walk through first, decide what we want, then go back and get it." Of course, it was hard to exercise any self-control, due to the table full of the work of what must have been about 20 super-talented Japanese beadmakers. The lampworkers in Japan have such a different style from the ones here in America, and I am always captivated by their work. However, budget once again prevailed, and I did not buy anything there. They tend to have an even bigger selection in February, so I'll probably treat myself then. Even Chris saw some beads that he would wear, so he may also indulge next show.

I really wanted some small but attractive focals, so my first stop after the walk-through was Green Girl Studios. I'm a big fan of Green Girl, and in fact, I already have a lot of her pendants, but I wanted to pick up some more. You can't make them out too well in the photo (they're the pretty pewter pieces), but don't despair: you'll be seeing a couple of them in new necklaces within the next couple of weeks. I really like the tree pendant, and I might try to make it into a more masculine necklace. We'll see what the muse decides.

For more nice focals, I walked across the aisle to Lillypilly Designs. Heidi does great work engraving shells and various other materials. I picked out half a dozen pretty shell pendants, in various colors. I might keep the blue and brown one for myself, because it would go perfect with this skirt I bought in NY, but the rest are strictly business! I already have inspiration for the orange and ivory one, and the green and white. I know what beads I want to put them them, so now I just have to figure out the perfect design.

The other thing I really wanted was some pretty pressed glass. I'd picked up some nice things in NY, but I'd noted that I was running out of good blacks and whites. Bokamo Designs came through with some unusual Czech beads for decent prices. The black and white ones filled my need for medium-large interesting shapes in those colors, the mottled ivory is very versatile (looks great with bronze!), the green ones are just fun, and the agate-y looking ones at the top are what convinced me to stop and shop. They're gorgeous in person. I think I'm going to split them up, use half with the orange and ivory Lillypilly drop, and half with this carved carnelian dragon that I bought back in February.

Although I'd originally intended for my only present to myself to be the teardrop from Margaret, I simply could not resist the green faerie from Bickley Studios. I mean, come on! It's a green faerie! And I'm me. It's not like my logo is a green faerie, or like I was wearing a necklace with a green faerie pendant. She really is irresistibly beautiful, and she was just one of the lovely faeries and mermaids that were displayed on the table. The decision was easy for me to make, however, as she was the greenest, and I think I have some crystals and vintage leaves that will coordinate nicely with her.

Now, as for my reasoning for my personal slogan for the Best Bead: the items that you see above are just the tip of the gorgeous bead iceberg. There were a lot of very talented beadmakers at the show, with simply incredible beads. I didn't even mention the black glass bead with the silver metal dragonfly on it (now I did!), nor did I mention all of the big-name artists, nor did I buy any stones or seed beads or vintage, though I had opportunities to get all of those. There was a great selection. What there wasn't was a great crowd. Despite it being a Saturday afternoon, there were few shoppers, and even the really popular vendors who are swamped in Feb had space in front of their booths. A couple of sellers seemed decidedly unhappy, and I feel bad for anyone who traveled really far for what seemed like a dud of a show. I really do think that it's nice for Tucson to have a show sometime other than February, but I think they're trying too hard to make it a second February show. I honestly believe that the show must only be good for those who live in or near Tucson, or who can score cheap airfare and then crash with a local friend. For anyone else, it has to be too much cost for the amount of sales that they make.

I, of course, had a wonderful time. I didn't buy anywhere near what I do during the main gem show season, but I did pick up enough great things to spice up my Fall Line and keep my muse entertained until the big February stock up.

Friday, September 07, 2007

The week of updates is complete!

I hope you've enjoyed this week of daily updates. I had fun doing it and may have another one in the future. To wrap it up today, I added three more items:

Organic Treasure -- A spiral rope bracelet with a carved stone focal.

Growing Things -- A crystal bracelet in one of my favorite combinations, olivine and bronze.

Harlequin -- A classy black and white crystal bracelet.

Yes, I'm finally listening to the rest of the world and making black and white jewelry. I'm not a huge fan of the color white (probably because I look terrible in it) and I usually only use it with bright colors. But I've seen so much great black and white clothing lately, that I just had to make jewelry that would go well with it. I have a great necklace for next week's update, in black, white, and silver.

Tonight I'm working on a present for myself, a reward for all of my hard work on my website and classwork this week. Not that I really need to rationalize making a necklace ;) I had hoped to maybe complete it in time to wear to the Best Bead Show tomorrow, but it's turning out to be more time consuming than I thought. I might be able to get it partially done and wear it anyway.

As referenced above, I'm going to the Second Annual Fall Best Bead Show here in Tucson tomorrow before D&D. I plan to pick up some focals, maybe some seed beads, maybe some pressed glass -- I'm really running low on larger black beads, and I'd like to stock up on some more browns. We'll see what I find. Expect a show report on Sunday!

Thursday, September 06, 2007

A Personal Favorite.

I have to say that I'm happy with everything that I've made so far for my Fall Line, but this one, Faerie Gold, is really a favorite. The addition of a few dangling leaves takes this already beautiful spiral bracelet to the next level. And the colors are, of course, pure Autumn. I'm looking forward to doing more bracelets in this style... though they may not be in Fall colors. Though I have various orange, yellow, brown, and red leaves, they're all side-drilled and wouldn't look good dangling like this.

I also added a crystal bracelet to the site today, Sophistication. I wish that the picture showed the detail of the button, it really is beautiful. I have a weakness for black glass buttons, I buy them whenever I see them, and then I use them almost as fast as I buy them. Also, I'm enjoying black and brown as a combination for Autumn. You've already seen it in the Pan's Grove earrings, and the Ancient Treasure bracelet. I'm planning to have at least one necklace in the same colors, I just haven't quite settled on a style for it.

Today's Cool Thing is Mary Tafoya's Moth Girl Spirit Pin. She's so cool, with her vintage leaf wings!

Wednesday, September 05, 2007

I've got a new toy!

Today I discovered the joy of Polyvore, where I created the awesome collage you see above. Polyvore lets you browse through a seemingly endless selection of clothing and accessories, to create fashionable collections along any theme you can imagine. If you decide that you want to buy the outfit, you just click on the image and it gives you a link to visit the shop that sells it. Best of all, you can grab images from all over the web, so if your favorite dress isn't already there, you can add it! This means that you could select almost any item from Erthe Fae Designs and pick out the perfect outfit for it, just like I did for this image.

And what is the gorgeous necklace that inspired this fashion frenzy? A little piece I like to call Medeine. Spring colors were supposed to be big for Autumn this year -- I haven't noticed that actually being the case, but it didn't stop me from creating Medeine, a serene blending of ivory and soft greens. Even if you can't find any Autumn fashions to pair the necklace with, neutrals like ivory are looking good for Winter. Plan ahead!

Medeine is today's new item, of course. I also did some general website maintenance today. Tomorrow should see one or two more items added, depending on how long my homework takes and how much time I spend Polyvore-ing it up.

Tuesday, September 04, 2007

New jewelry is here!

Oh yeah! Now we're talking... There's new jewelry up at Erthe Fae Designs! Are you excited? I sure am!

First, the earrings that I posted last week, Pan's Grove.

Next, the adorable necklace that you saw on Saturday, Pixie At Rest.

Finally, one of the many luscious bracelets in my Fall Line, Ancient Treasure.

And there's more where that came from! In fact, every day this week, I'll post at least one new item from my Fall Line. That means there will be updates tomorrow, Thursday, and Friday. Then I'll take the weekend off, and return to my regular weekly schedule, with more new jewelry on Monday!

Sunday, September 02, 2007

Another Teaser...

While I am enjoying the professional feeling that having an official "Fall Line" gives me, I am by no means going to go to a strictly seasonal-line-based business model. It's certainly nice to have a wonderful selection of jewelry that coordinates with the styles that are "in" at the moment, but as an artist I also have to follow my muse. That means that there will still be some pieces that are in whatever colors and styles tickle my fancy. This is one of them.

A tiny Sterling Silver pixie rests beneath a lampworked flower bead by Jennifer Kelting, surrounded by a garden of vintage and modern flowers, Swarovski crystals, and Sterling beads. It's all strung on super-fine Sterling chain, upon which the beads can slide freely. Bright blues and greens blended with the clean neutrality of white hearken more to the crisp colors of Summer than the subdued elegance of Autumn. Pixies are contrary creatures, and wear whatever color they like, no matter the season.

I entered this necklace in the August Art Bead Scene contest, which had a Midsummer Night's Dream theme. I didn't win, which is a shame because I really wanted those Green Girl beads! Nonetheless, it's always fun to participate in ABS's challenge and see how other artists interpret the theme. If you want some eye candy, check out the flickr album!