********* Jewel ********
Definition: something, someone precious Synonyms: charm, find, gem, genius, ideal, masterpiece, nonesuch, nonpareil, paragon, phenomenon, prize, prodigy, rarity, specialty, treasure, wonder

Roget's 21st Century Thesaurus, Third Edition

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Enter MiddleEarths..



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Monday, November 28, 2011

Art Bead Scene November Challenge

The Art bead Scene's challenge this month.. inspired by the painting 'Madonna Pietra degli Scrovigni'. in watercolour, gouache and gum arabic... by Marie Spartali Stillmen. (1844-1927)  Born in Middlesex in 1843, daughter of Michael Spartali, import-export merchant and sometime Greek consul in London 

The woman in the painting is a character from the Italian poet Dante. She was described as a heartless lady dressed in green. In her hand she holds a crystal bowl reflecting the figures of Love and Dante .

I really wasn't intending to do the challenge this month..so close to Christmas..so much to do. But when I saw the painting chosen by the editors of ABS..my absolute favorite colors..golden greens, chestnut browns,the romance in the setting and all that wonderful fabric! sigh..wish I had started a month ago..but here is my entry.

Another fascinating art bead from wondrous strange..meant to be a bezel for resin or a glass cab..to remember the cystal bowl held by the femme fatale in the paintng. But I found it impossible to use the glass cab, for the beautiful texture of the raku ceramic focal would be lost!

Left it alone and added a vintage velvet remnant that had it all..well almost...those olive greens, the chestnut brown  and subtle flowers playing with the warm colors.

Vintage brass beaded chain with tiny shabby yellow enameled  brass flowers wraps, together with the velvet, three times around the wrist for a fabric cuff bracelet...  'Madonna Pietra'.

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Winter Garden fantasy wool cuff ..to win in Aquariann's giveaway!

A winter garden dream..an adornment for an ice queen from some snowy realm..

Handwoven, then hand felted with bits of vintage lace and fabulous designer wool yarns., embellished with vintage beads,swarovski crystals and chinese jade...my creation for Aquariann's blog giveaway. Be sure to stop by her fantastic blog to find out how to win this magical cuff!

I had been pondering over the giveaway for months..wanting to do a textile. I am a handweaver from another life.. 20 years of fabulous fibers and dazzling designs..:). I never really lost that love of and feel for scumprious fibers..soft wools, luscious silk..the unique way the light plays with each. And the touch! The loom and weaving is only the beginning. Careful washing and finishing is what makes  the fabric come alive. Felting wool is fascinating..the transformation allows for so much creativity.

fresh off the loom

same fabric after washing/felting
 This cuff was woven with soft merino wools and a bit of silk and viscose on the edges. The wool shrinks when felted but not the silk and viscose..leaving a wavy, lacy edge. The vintage lace threaded through before felting becomes a real part of the fabric..bumpy, irregular, along with the designer wools which give add to the cuff's organic look.

The fabric is then washed and rubbed with warm water and soap until felted..

Adding the beads an baubles and silk and leather cords..rather like painting on a canvas...

And finally..the jewel in the crown..trimmed with mohair goatskin..for a touch of winter magic.


Dusting off the cobwebs here..been ages since I've posted..wonder if anybody is out there? I know..blogging has to be regular..

Autumn colors..where I grew up..upstate New York ..summer would leave in blaze of color..warming our hearts for the cold days ahead. A spectacular show of hot oranges, reds and yellow..the woods and mountains seeming to be on fire.
Well..here in the Azores..a temperate climate ..40º's at the coldest..the seasons changing can almost go by unnoticed..almost that is. For the thousands of hydrangas that line the roads and pastures do their thing to mark the season's passing. Discreetly but with the most subtle beauty, almost sad and foreboding..but most of all inspiring.

When I saw these vintage tiny Haskell flower parts on esty..wow..those colors..rusty and faded glory colors.
They just wanted to be Azorica (azorean ) autumn hydrangea gems.

So were born these earrings in copper with lava stone beads and the vintage flowers..sanded, sealed and waxed to preserve and protect the  vintage brass and warm fall colors.

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

ArtBead Scene August Challenge Poster Illustration for American Cresent Cycles, 1899

This month's ABS challenge ..an illustration for American Cresent Cycles, 1899 by Frederick Winthrop Ramsdell.

Ramsdell was an American painter who studied in both New York and Paris. While in Paris he became heavily influenced by the Art Nouveau work of Eugene Grasset and Alphonse Mucha, as can be seen in this striking, though derivative, bicycle poster. Ramsdell depicts a woman and her bike with her tresses and her dress blowing in the wind.

So much of this illustration  is wonderful for me..from the style of the lettering  to the detail on the flowing gown to the discreet crescent rising in the back ground hills. 
I had decided to take a break this month of August , but that crescent..on my mind. I had found a wonderful hand carved crescent at an arts and craft fair here in the Azores 2 years ago. A local carpenter had shown his surprising artistic side, and had a few exotic wood focals and sculptures on the table in his booth..snapped them up right away!   And now.. finally.. an  inspiration..perfect!

Coupled with a beautiful and mysterious greens,browns,grey raku bead from (once again..:) Dorcus of Wondrous Strange .

A vintage gleaming brown crystal and lots of delicate chain..thinking of the girl in the poster and her brown locks..and finally,dangling vintage glass amber yellow leaves with tiny white flowers..for the flowing gown.

Monday, August 15, 2011

Secret Shops..revealed..III

Back again with one of my favs. This shop is a more recent discovery..SilverFound on etsy.
If you have a certain weakness, as I do, for the exotic and genuine, it's worth  'stopping' in here 2 or 3 times a week..you see, the good stuff moves fast. There isn't always that one dazzler 'must have' for me, but when one does show up .. here's a tip..don't 'fav' it..buy...it'll be gone in a day!

 Take a look at these..  genuine antique Tibet turquoise..  re-polished..beads.

Douglas, the owner is just so friendly ..really as friendly as his smiling avatar photo..the great service probably counts for half of my 'fav'. Lately, I've been irked by shops that either sell so well don't have the time to give a little attention or just come across like I'm lucky to be a buyer there..so good service has gone up in my ratings.

Titanium Aura quartz..

And one paired with a wonderful 'creation' from Wondrous Strange..a moth. ..the beginnings of a pendant..think I'll call it 'Mother and Child'


 Here are some creations with some SilverFound finds..
Shard of Orodruin..Mt. Doom

Thursday, July 28, 2011

ArtBead Scene July Challenge 'Morning in the Garden at Vaucresson'

Morning in the Garden at Vaucresson by Edouard Vuillard 1923 reworked 1938..July's challenge for the Art Bead Scene blog..love these challenges..so much to learn..
" With its riot of flowers in the foreground, Morning in the Garden at Vaucresson hearkens back—as do many of Edouard Vuillard’s post-World War I paintings—to the Impressionist garden scenes of Claude Monet and Pierre Auguste Renoir. It depicts the country home and garden of Jos and Lucie Hessel, an art dealer and his wife with whom Vuillard shared a long friendship."
At first glance, I thought this painting was a tapestry ..with its myriad soft colors and seemingly boundless tiny flora all set in a place where I longed to be..I was once accused of being a hopeless romantic..this challenge I would go for heart and soul.

Once again I opted for a textile cuff..a distressed (by sun and sea) ocre green  velvet..ooh perfect ..so like the painting.. and with a distressed geometrical pattern. To my surprise the painting of this captivating jungle of a garden was actually, I discovered, a very orderly composition with distinct geometric lines.. the distressed creased lines in the velvet mimicking them.

And ..once again the main focal art bead from the wonderful stillpointworks..I think it is my all time favorite bead..fantastically organic and strangely beautiful.

I added a hand dyed velvet 'bail' ..it hangs on a vintage pin with vintage glass leaves 'pinned' to the cuff..easily removed to be worn as a pendant if wanted.
I couched and embroidered more velvet and wrinkled viscose fabric strips ..added about a billion beads..from labradorite to faceted pearls and much more..

Such a treat..going wild with all my favorite bead stash..so here it is.. Morning in the Garden.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Tea..and the Azores

 Where is the only place in Europe where tea is cultivated? 
Here in São Miguel..the Azores.

The Portuguese introduced tea to the Dutch, and through trade, the Dutch brought the tea to France, Holland and the Baltic countries.  In 1662, Catherine Braganza of Portugal married King Charles II and brought tea to the royal  court of England for the first time.
In 1750 the initial trials of tea occurred on the  island of Sao Miguel in the Azores. 

It was in September of 1874 two Chinese tea experts arrived from then Portuguese Macau and introduced the art of commercial tea cultivation to the island with the first tea being produced and sold in 1883 under the family compound of Gorreana.   

Gorreana's tea estate is the only remaining of the 14 original tea producing estates and has remained family owned and operated for 5 generations. Black and green teas are still produced using ancient techniques that have been passed down at Gorreana for over a century. 


 I find it delicate and fruity.. and just delightful iced with a spring of fresh mint..

Thursday, June 30, 2011

Art Bead Scene June Challenge.. 'Ophelia'

Ophelia by Odilon Redon

c. 1900-05; Pastel on paper mounted on board, 19 7/8 x 26 1/2 in; The Woodner Collection 

This month's challenge from the Art Bead Scene blog challenge is 'Ophelia'.."The depiction of Ophelia seems not at all tragic, but rather an idyllic scene of a naked bather in a limpid pool of flowers. The design and colour scheme is masterly and original, being merely suggestive of the tragedy of death after rejection and madness." - Tony Thomas

The genius of this painting..sweet and beautiful, yet disturbing and tragic. I opted for black and touches of luscious color..yellow and orange..swimming in blues.

 I love the 'roundness' ..everything seems to come around..the end to the beginning. It is interesting that there is some discussion on how it should be viewed ..as pictured above or turned to its side...for me it seems to work any way.

StillpointWorks once again inspired me. Her wonderful polymer clay bead is the focal and the beginning. The blue tone was perfect, the etched uneasy surface giving just the right feeling ..along with black silk vintage trim, yellow opal crystals, a matte pink vintage lucite bead ..with a very black obsidian chunk, mottled  blue czech beads and finally a glassy cobalt blue dangle to capture the deep blue of the pool where Ophelia rests...