Petroglyph-Inspired Jewelry Designs

When it comes down to it, petroglyphs are simply images carved into stone. What's so hard about that? However, for some reason, this challenge prompt from Karen at Art Elements for October threw me for a loop. Despite the fact that the challenge is open to any art medium, I certainly knew that I couldn't carve into stone and make something pleasing. The idea of carving into polymer clay kept running through my head, but polymer clay isn't a medium that usually turns out well for me. I was almost resigned to not participating in the challenge. However, just a few days before today's reveal, I was finally hit with some inspiration. 

I may not be able to carve into stone, but I could use the images from petroglyphs as inspiration to etch metal and then use stone beads to create finished jewelry designs!

I began by cutting a few simple shapes from sheets of copper and brass. 

To get the designs into the metal, I began by using permanent ink. For the brass piece, I drew an odd spiral design that was reminiscent of some of the spiral petroglyph images I found online. For the two copper pieces, I decided to use some of my hand-carved stamps to imprint images. The fact that these were indeed carved helps to echo the inspiration some. I could have used either method on either of the metal types.

Using packing tape to hold the back of the metal, the faces of the designs were dipped into PCB etchant for about an hour. I did this step outside as I'm not a fan of the smell of the etchant. As well, I wore gloves to keep the acid off my skin. 

Once the designs were etched into the metal to my satisfaction, I removed them from the acid and neutralized them in a mix of baking soda and water. From there, I cleaned, filed, aged, and sealed the metal. After that, it was a matter of punching holes and working them into designs.

As I mentioned before, I wanted to use stone beads in the designs to further give the pieces a more authentic petroglyph feel. For this copper bracelet, I was drawn to use green beads as there's something about copper and green that just seem to perfectly go together. As such, I selected these fire agate beads. 

I initially envisioned only one hole on either side of the bracelet, but the double holes balance it out much better.

As well, the bracelet is probably much longer than it needs to be, but by closing the lobster clasp on any of the loops in the chain, it can be sized down to fit just about any wrist. 

With that done, it was time to move to the next bit of etched copper. 
For this second piece, the small size of the metal encouraged me to use it as a necklace pendant and add dangles. With the rock theme in mind, I was drawn to those long rectangular cubes of gray marble. They absolutely exude stone! In fact, they feel a bit like Stonehenge to me, though I don't think there are any petroglyphs on the stones there. (I could be mistaken though.) 

To ensure the chain curves around the neck well, and because I only had six of the tubes, I used matching marble nuggets at the back of the chain. As well, there are small copper beads between each of the stone beads. 

The shabbiness of the stamped image and the rustic-ness of the stones definitely give this necklace an ancient feel to it. 

Finally, it was time to work with the last etched pendant. 
Alas, since inspiration hit me so late, I ran out of time to finish this last piece. I think I was saving the best for last since the clarity of the drawn image makes it my favorite of the three. I plan for it to be a super simple necklace made with the small garnet beads pictured,

The holes on the garnets are so small that I didn't have any small-gauge brass wire prepped to complete this design. As soon as that happens, I'll either add it to this post or share it with you another time. 

And, wouldn't you know it; once I got rolling with these designs, I had all kinds of ideas of what I could with the petroglyph-inspiration. I guess I'll have to save those for later. For now, I'm super pleased with how well these came out, especially since I had no idea at the start. 

I'm looking forward to seeing what the other designers created for this challenge, especially since it was open to any medium. Below you'll find a list of all the artists from the Art Elements team and the Guest-artists like myself. Make sure to hop around and share some love!

Art Elements Team:

Guest Artists:

Jill Egan
Tammy Adams
Alison Herrington
Sarajo Wentling
Jenny Kyriach
You're HERE ----> CraftyHope
Kathy Lindemer

Thanks for stopping by. Make sure to follow Art Elements to see what the next challenge is going to be and all the other goodness they share there. I know I'm looking forward to it. 

I'm also sharing this post at the following link parties: Beautifully MadeSweet Inspiration, Saturday Sharefest, Mad Skills, Tutorials and TipsMade by You Monday and Recipe & DIY Linky.

Peek at My Week: Oct. 21 - 27

I never quite know where each week will take me, and these little peeks have been such a fantastic way to journal. I hope you don't mind.
Sunday was all about getting stuff done. I edited pictures and readied blog posts.

Trying to get rid of some over-ripe bananas, I made a yummy banana bread.

While I was busy inside, Pat finished up the floor of our back deck.

To celebrate his work on the deck, we went out for coffee. Even Zoe got a puppuccino. You'll have to head to Instagram to see the video of her enjoying it. 

After taking care of some of the household errands and delivering a pair of earrings on Monday, I began stocking my bead box by sorting through the items in my inspiration jar. 

It wasn't long before I had picked out the main pieces for each of the sections of the box. 

I took a break to re-charge by walking the trails in our backyard. I'm always stricken by the beauty of this oak tree with the sparse magnolia growing near its trunk. 

On Tuesday, I went to my mom's and we celebrated my birthday with my favorite dessert!

As I continued to work on stocking my bead box on Wednesday, buttons were pulled out!

After I did some personal birthday shopping, we had dinner with friends to celebrate. We ended the night at the new Little Whiskey Christmas Club in downtown Fairhope. It's a fun little place all year round!

My bead cabinet saw some serious action as I finished filling up the bead box at long last. 

Look at that beautifully stocked bead box!

Friday saw the start of a new project that I'll likely reveal in the next few days.

We watched an epic high school football game on TV as Tua's brother played against Bear Bryant's great-grandson. If you're not into Alabama Football, none of that probably made any sense. Ha! And, our friend made this amazing ratatouille as part of dinner during the game.  It was almost too pretty to eat.

Wanting to get away from the house for a bit, especially since we were at a stopping point on the deck, we headed to Elberta, AL on Saturday for their German Sausage Festival. It was a beautiful day, and the festival was packed. 

As we were leaving the festival, I spotted this tree with these amazing flowers. I have no idea what it is, but the shape of these in their large clusters is so interesting. 

For a little more inspiration and beauty, let me share what I found interesting online this week.

I think that's probably plenty enough inspiration for us all! Here's hoping your week is full of all kinds of amazing!

Bead Box 5 - Stocked

I would not get near as much jewelry made if it weren't for my handy-dandy Bead Box. It's a basic divided plastic craft organizer that I crack open when my inspiration wanes or when I'm away from home. Basically, I plan out one design for each compartment in the organizer and place the elements to work on that design in the container. That way, I have seventeen planned-out, ready-to-be made pieces when I'm ready to create, no matter where I may be. 

This is the fifth time I've stocked the box with supplies. Have a look at what's in each compartment. 

This first one is the same as in the last two. I just can't seem to make myself finish this cute wrapped cord bracelet. Here's hoping I'm a little more motivated by it this time around. 

I started stocking this particular box by dipping into my tin cut-outs stash. These two circles called out to me. I cleaned them up and punched holes in them before picking out coordinating beads and adding the findings that would help transform them into a pair of earrings. 

One of the other tin bits that I selected was this half-circle of acrylic-flow-painted tin. I paired it with another piece of the painted tin so that the pendant is reversible. Since I want the painted portion to be the real star of the show, I went with some basic brass beads to be the start of the chain for this necklace design. 

Another acrylic pour tin and a crescent brass tin were combined to create the base for this pendant. I decided it needed just a little something extra, so I made a quick tassel for it. Bright gold-tone beads will be used to create a chain to finish the necklace. 

These stacked tin and button elements have been sitting on my desk for ages waiting to be turned into earrings. I punched a hole in each then selected crystal beads and silver-tone findings that will help me finally finish them. 

A couple of weeks ago, I began playing with the idea of using cookie tin to top fabric to create pendants. My first set of plaid earrings was a later design from this same idea. I have to admit that I saw similar designs from several artists on Pinterest one day, and the combination of soft and hard really appealed to me. I hope to make more pendants like this in the future, but first I need to see how this one works in a completed design. I started by gathering the tiny beads on the far right. Those are going across the metal somehow to dress it up. From there, I gathered this combination of white and off-white beads that will be used to create a chain for the necklace. I cannot wait to see how this one comes together!

The previous design included the last of the elements that I used just because they were already sitting on my desk. From there, I had to get a little more creative. I dumped out my neglected inspiration jar for help and began making little piles of pieces that seemed to want to be together. This combination of a key, a chandelier crystal, and a vintage button was the first set to speak to me. I'm using black glass pearls to create the chain for this hanging pendant. 

This old brooch didn't need to be paired with other elements as it's fabulous on its own. I pulled out a set of gold and crystal beads from the inspiration bowl to create a chain for it. 

In the jar, I found only a few sets of pairs of items. These three sets kept pulling at me, the buttons especially, to be used for earrings. In addition to the buttons, I'm using wordy washers that I created and small charms from FreeIndividual. I've got a small spool of black wire there that I may use with them, but I may use some other wire that I just ordered instead. We'll see. 

Don't these all match so perfectly? I initially picked out the button and journey tag before the color was added to the tag. I was able to match the button almost exactly with jade Vintaj Patina and happily discovered the matching glass beads in my stash.  It was meant to be!

There are SO MANY buttons in this version of the bead box. I'm loving it. Anyway, the element on the left was originally going to be a pendant for a necklace, but as I finished it up, I realized that I wanted that little brass bell to hang from a bracelet. So, It's going to be a mother-of-pearl button bracelet with a bell. Should be interesting!

The Gaea pendant was all that I pulled from the inspiration jar for this piece, but I knew almost immediately that I wanted to add a tassel to it. So, I stacked antiqued copper spacer beads and bead caps above and below the ceramic bead and created a large loop for the tassel. After that, it was easy enough to find more copper beads and jade beads that will be used to make a chain. 

I don't even know what possessed me to combine these elements, but it could really turn out to be something amazing (or it might not - eek). I've had the two ceramic beads for so long, I'm not even sure where they came from. I paired them with a rusty button, but I knew I needed something else to finish off this long pendant. A heart charm from Scorched Earth was the key. To create the chain, I'll use a combination of those bumpy, matching glass beads and a variety of the brown and metal buttons. Wish me luck on this one!

I'm fairly certain that keyhole is some kind of scrapbooking element. I colored it with Vintaj Patinas and sealed it. Since the keyhole is fairly lightweight, I needed something that would give it more heft. I found the gray marble beads in my inspiration bowl. To round out the design, I picked out beads and bead caps that match the patina colors. 

Five buttons...yup this design is just five buttons. I've got an idea for a really basic necklace. And, it will use these five buttons. Just these five buttons. Hmm...

Both the key and the rhinestone element were in the jar. I attached the rhinestones to the key with E6000. From there, I added a chandelier crystal and a strand of smokey topaz Chinese crystals that will help complete a necklace design.

I decided to try again with a watch face after my recent watch-face tragedy. I riveted a watch face to a disc of aged tin. You can see where the riveting cracked the watch face, but it seems to be fine and I like the crackle effect. This is another piece that I thought was going to be a necklace but then decided that it needed to be a bracelet. So, I punched holes on the sides and picked out a small selection of beads: black with gold Czech glass beads and white glass pearls. It should turn out to be a lovely little faux watch bracelet. 

And, here's how the box looks all packed and ready to go. 
I'm really excited about all the fun elements that I worked into this box, and I can't wait to get started on it.

If you're interested in my previous bead boxes, here are links to each of the stocked and each reveal post about them. 

Bead Box 3 - Reveal

Bead Box 4 - Stocked
Bead Box 4 - Reveal

I'm absolutely looking forward to seeing how each of these designs turns out. I just hope they're a fraction of the awesome that I've envisioned. It's hard to tell in this scattered state, but it's got me itching to get to it. I'll share the results with you just as soon as I get finish them all.

Ghost Tassel Earrings DIY

I've noticed that tassels have been a main staple of jewelry-design lately. And, they're really a fun and easy element to add to a piece. When thinking about creating a Halloween design some weeks ago,  the simple shape of ghosts appealed to me, but I knew adding tassels would give them a trendy flair to make them feel more modern.

I created a video detailing the complete process I used to make these Ghost Tassel Earrings.

Whether you use sturdy paper or tin, begin your process by creating a template of your ghost shape, then trace it onto the material twice. Cut out the ghost shape. If using metal; file and sand the edges of your ghosts. I also darkened the backs of the tin with Novacan Black Patina.

Punch three holes along the bottom of each of the shapes for the tassels and one hole at the top to hang your ear wires. I chose to make the holes on the bottom larger to place the tassels directly in them. Of course, you could also simply place your tassels on jump rings before attaching them to the ghost.

From there, create eyes for your ghosts. I riveted on the large circles that were punched from the bottom. If using paper, glue on small circles before sealing the entirety of both shapes.

Create and attach the tassels. You can see how I made them in the video above beginning at 14:02. It's a really simple process. Once your tassels are attached, add your ear wires with jump rings. And, your fabulous Ghost Tassel Earrings are done - just in time for Halloween fun!

If you have any questions about the process, please don't hesitate to ask. 

Winding down the 100DayProject

I awoke the other day with many thoughts about the 100 Day project and decided to jot them down here to share with you. Some of the bits I g...