Bohemian Earrings | ABS Challenge

The folks at Art Bead Scene Studio feature awesome artwork every month, and challenge their readers to create art beads, and art-bead-incorporating jewelry, inspired by the artwork. April’s inspiration is a piece, Disks of Newton (Study for “Fugue in Two Colors”), by František Kupka.

ABS Challenge Apr 2018 Inspiration

The colors instantly drew me in, of course, but so did the concentric circles. Would I want to incorporate both into a project? As much as I wanted to, I wasn’t able to come up with many jewelry ideas involving a lot of colors that would be ‘me’. So I picked the concentric circles as my inspiration, and these are the earrings I made –

Polymer Clay Bohemian Earrings - ABS Challenge Apr 2018 | Anita

As usual, I started out with something in mind, and my process took me in a completely different direction. 🙂 My original idea was to arrange strips of clay scraps in sections of concentric circles. To my credit, I actually did that. And I didn’t quite like how it looked.

I then went in a different direction. I used a texture sheet that most closely resembled concentric circles, and chose strategic points in the circle-filled layers to impress the clay. I cut out two circles from the layers to make into beads for earrings.

The indigo sections in the circles gave me another idea, and I applied Perfect Pearls to give a metallic shine to the main area of the beads, so the blue provides a deep patina look. Beautiful! I poked holes at the top and bottom of each bead, and baked them on a curved surface for some dimension.

I wanted the focus to be on the focal beads so I kept the earrings simple, using wooden beads and glass beads as accessories.

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Art Elements Mar Theme – Nests

I’ve loved following the Component of the Month challenges from the folks at Art Elements, where team members would give away components every month to design with. I’ve seen some gorgeous stuff from the AE team as well as the guests. The only reason that kept me from participating is that historically, I’ve received most international packages of any perceived value after substantial delays (or they’ve gotten lost), so there was no guarantee that I could make something in time for these challenges.

Now, Art Elements has changed its design challenge format to monthly themes that encompass all art mediums, and I jumped at the chance to be a part of it! The theme for this month is Nests.

Of course, I thought of a birds nest first, but I wanted to see if I could come up with something different, so it was relegated to Plan B. I went through my bead stash for inspiration, and I thought of a pearl nested inside a clamshell. I spent some time with the idea, but found I wasn’t going anywhere with it.

While I was ruminating, other options that could replace a clamshell were also flitting around my mind – and I settled on the idea of an organic-looking nest for the pearl using polymer clay. Now that could work as a pendant! By now, however, I only had a week to make the piece. (How do I always end up here? 😉 ) To my relief, I managed to find the time to work on it, and this is how it turned out –

Art Elements Challenge - Polymer Clay Pendant with Nested Pearl

The outermost layer, and the upper part of the inner layer, are quite iridescent, but we know that it’s difficult to capture that shine sometimes. 🙂

The nest layers: I conditioned my Fimo clay just enough for it to be pliable but still have jagged edges. From this, I cut two strips – one for the inner layer and one for the outer one. Along the jagged edge of the inner layer, I added some slices from a mokume gane slab that I’d worked on a while back. On the outer surface of the outer layer, I used a texture sheet repeatedly to make quite a few ridges. Then I smoothed out any remaining jaggedness from the edges.

I attached the layers onto a base, shaped them, and baked them. While baking, I used little paper balls to keep the layers from drooping out of shape. This bake was a short one, because I still had to make the back of the pendant.

The back: I first smeared liquid clay on the back. From a length of wire, I made eye loops on both ends for the bails, and placed it on the back, between the top and center. I covered the back with a mildly textured circular sheet of clay. More baking followed, for a standard bake period this time.

Surface treatments: I painted the outer layer with acrylics, and sanded away the paint from the raised surfaces for a distressed effect. I then added more surface treatment using waxes and mousse from Art Alchemy and Nuvo.

Finishing: I placed a large faux pearl bead within the inner nest layer. For now, I’ve strung a stray cord through the bails for the necklace, but I’ll replace it with something else better soon.

Phew, I’m still surprised, and jubilant, that I managed to finish this pendant! 🙂


If you’re curious to find out what the AE team and the other guests have made for this challenge, go have a peek at their blogs!

Guests:    Alysen    •    Anita (that’s me!)    •    Divya    •    Kathy    •    Kym    •    Mona    •    Rosantia    •    Sarajo    •    Tammy

AE team members:    Caroline    •    Cathy    •    Claire    •    Jenny    •    Laney    •    Leslie    •    Lindsay    •    Marsha    •    Niky

PolyClay Appliqué, and Beaded Bezels

The folks at Art Bead Scene Studio feature awesome artwork every month, and challenge their readers to create art beads, and art-bead-incorporating jewelry, inspired by the artwork. March’s inspiration is a piece, Red Water Lily of Southern India, by Marianne North.

ABS Challenge Mar 2018 - Inspiration

Now here’s a piece of art that captured me in more ways than one. A beautiful, colorful nature scene; set in Southern India from where I hail; painted by a respected female biologist and botanical artist. That’s just too much inspiration! 😉

I allowed a few days for my initial excitement to settle down, and chose the colors, the flowers, and the Indian-ness to work with. I decided to make a large Polymer Clay bead with flowers created using the appliqué technique, and depending on how it turned out, use it with some beadwork.

The flowers and dragonflies in the picture capture our attention, but it would be a dull scene without the reedy background. So I made my background have a texture akin to reeds, using a texture plate. I brushed some chalks and Perfect Pearls over it for accent.

ABS Challenge Mar 2018 - Polymer Clay Appliqué Pendant with Beaded Bezel

I then crafted some layered flowers using the appliqué technique. Wow, it’s been a while since I’d tried it, but I love how it turned out! It also becomes better with practice. Can you tell which my first flower is and which my last one is? 😉 I added some reddish Perfect Pearls to accentuate the flowers as well. As expected, it doesn’t show up much in the pictures I clicked. (I only managed to capture the background shine with some difficulty.)

I baked the bead, and felt it would look good as a small pendant with a beaded bezel around it. I made the bezel using right angle weave this time, rather than peyote stitch which I’d usually go for. I used 8/0 beads for the bezel. Of course, I had to fill in the gaps in the stitch with smaller (11/0) beads.

The bezel looked a little too ‘strict’ and un-fun, so I risked adding a branched fringe aligned with the flower bunch. I also added another outer layer of independent right angle weave stitches for a funner touch. 🙂 I love the traditional/modern vibe that it gives out. Keeping with the theme, instead of adding a traditional necklace, I opted for a metallic-silver bead sideways to double as the bail, and a matching chain. Love the result! ❤

How do you like my attempt? And how does the picture inspire your art?

Tassels, Tassels, Tassels

Beadwork magazine had an article a while ago about submissions for Fast and Fabulous projects with tassels. Reading that made me realize that I’ve not really made much tassel jewelry. I do like tassels, so I wonder why I haven’t… Anyway, now that I had an opportunity and some inspiration, why not?

I selected 11/0 seed beads in three related colors for a pair of tasseled earrings.

Beaded Tasseled Earrings

The tassels

I made each tassel have five equal-sized strands. For each of these strands, I used 40 beads, with same colored seed beads for 3/4th of its length. For interest, the last 1/4th of each strand is made of a random assortment of the 11/0 beads in the above colors and another darker color, and a white 8/0 bead. I attached the top of the strands to a small jump ring that fits inside an end cap. To fix the jump ring in place within the end cap, I used a wire length with an eye loop through the jump ring. I brought the other end of the wire out through the top of the end cap, and made an eye loop on the outside as well.

The assembly

I attached the tassels to a large bead cap using small lengths of chains. I added some interest by varying the lengths of the chains, so the tassels are at different heights.

These earrings had to go through a few design changes for the assembly, and they turned out to be quite long, longer than I’d intended. That’s a blessing in disguise, though, because they look like just the pair to wear on a dazzling evening!

ABS Challenge – Feb – Star Lovers | Jewelry

The folks at Art Bead Scene Studio feature beautiful artwork every month, and challenge their readers to create art beads, and art-bead-incorporating jewelry, inspired by the artwork. February’s inspiration is a piece, Star Lovers, by Warwick Goble.

ABS Challenge Feb 2018 -- Inspiration

I’d first made beads for the challenge, which I detailed in my previous post, and now, it’s time for some jewelry with these beads.


Jewelry #1

I made this set inspired by the main colors from the picture, adding to the color of the beads. As usual, I had a different idea at first, but the making process took me in a different direction. (Mostly because the intersection of compatible colors from the clay, from the ones in the picture, and from the beads in my stash is a small, difficult one.) I’m not disappointed with the results, though.

ABS Challenge Feb 2018 -- Earrings #1

I used quite a few faux beads of gunmetal color as accessories to the polymer beads, most of them as connectors for the beads in the necklace. The wire work is just a basic eye loop plus wire securing by winding it at both ends. I combined some of the faux beads to form bunches for an element of fun, since the color scheme began to look (and feel) a bit monotonous.

ABS Challenge Feb 2018 -- Necklace

The gunmetal beads look lighter or darker depending on the amount of ambient light, and of course, I clicked these pictures at different times of the day. (I like them better when they’re lighter.)


Jewelry #2

I made these earrings inspired by the flowing elements in the picture, with a couple of secondary colors added in.

ABS Challenge Feb 2018 -- Earrings #2

In each earring, I connected two triangular beads so the flow of the swirling patterns in them becomes additive. The placement of the jump rings, with the silver metallic beads and creamish faux pearl beads, adds to the flow of the pattern.


That’s it for today!

Overall, the beads were fun to make, but the jewelry was a bit tedious because of difficulties finding stuff that works with the color and shape of the beads. Isn’t that what a challenge is for, though? 😉

ABS Challenge – Feb – Star Lovers | Beads

The folks at Art Bead Scene Studio feature awesome artwork every month, and challenge their readers to create art beads, and art-bead-incorporating jewelry, inspired by the artwork. February’s inspiration is a piece, Star Lovers, by Warwick Goble.

ABS Challenge Feb 2018 -- inspiration

This month has been a bit hectic for me, which I feel is because the number of things to do remain the same but there are fewer days to do them in. So I decided to split this challenge into a bead submission first, and then a jewelry submission using the beads from the first submission.

I totally loved the flowing elements in this illustration — the birds, the lady’s dress, even the stars, all flow and swirl and float, adding to the dreamlike feel of the picture. Since Goble was an illustrator, my immediate thought was to draw something myself. On a good day, I can manage okay on paper, but on clay, not really. So I opted for the next best thing — image transfer. It counts as drawing if I transfer a digital image that I created, right? 😉 In order to make similar beads, I made my digital image have tiled patterns comprising of flowing, swirling little items.

ABS Challenge Feb 2018 -- Swirly Polymer Clay Beads using Image Transfer

I used blue and gray Sculpey Premo polymer clay to make the beads. For the image transfer, I cut out and used different sizes from the tiles in my printed-out image. I then brushed pink and orange chalk pigment on the beads for a salmon color. (It still looks mostly pink because the orange somehow wasn’t stronger than it was.) I also lightly added some yellow, which mostly manifests as green. I then adhered the beads to thicker bases. The center of the beads is empty, and it looked a bit like a ghost town compared to the busy surroundings, so inspired by the stars in the picture, I added some glitter there and spread it slightly.

Post-bake, I drilled holes in the beads, and secured the glitter by applying some liquid polymer clay over the beads and waving a heat gun over them until the clay set. And that’s our beads, all ready to be made into jewelry!

ABS Challenge – Jan – Spring

The folks at Art Bead Scene Studio have been featuring awesome artwork every month, and challenging their readers to create jewelry inspired by the artwork — the only rule being that at least one art bead is used. I’ve been a lurker so far, observing the artwork, and admiring the Perfect Pairing showcases where ABS features a jewelry piece.

This time, I’ve decided to participate. Sometimes, a good challenge is what’s needed to get those creative juices flowing, isn’t it?

ABS Challenge Jan 2018 -- inspiration

January’s inspiration is an Art Nouveau piece, Spring, by Frances MacDonald. The first thing I noticed was that it featured Ultraviolet, the Pantone color of 2018. Then, the graceful forms of the women, the symmetry — these caught my eye.

At first, I thought of making a set of earrings and pendant that would also work for an upcoming wedding that I’ll attend. But the more I tried to make it work, the more it didn’t. Finally, since we anyway decided to use some jewelry that we already own, I was free to just let creativity guide me.

ABS Challenge Jan 2018 -- Polymer Clay beads

I made a Skinner blend from polymer clay in violet and green, the Pantone colors of this year and last year. (A nod to Janus and duality and all that. 😉 ) I used it as the veneer for a long bead that reminded me of the elongated form of the women. I’d use this bead in a pendant. To add some interest to the bead, I stamped a pattern on it with silver Perfect Pearls. Since there was a bit too much scrap clay left, I stamped the same pattern on it too, and rolled two smaller beads from it paper-bead style. These would work for earrings.

After baking the beads, my plan of beading with the main bead didn’t really work, so I switched to wire. Symmetry in wire is hard for me, and I eventually ended up ditching the symmetry aspect; the beads are symmetrical enough! 😉 Instead, I opted to be inspired by the element of waviness in the picture, and set the wire in wavy, interlocking shapes all around the bead. For the smaller beads, I didn’t interlock the wire, just made it spiral around them. As accessories to the clay beads, I added potato beads, also encased in wire.

ABS Challenge Jan 2018 -- Wire-Encased Polymer Clay Jewelry

I must admit I had no idea this is how the pieces would turn out until I actually made them, and the results are a pleasant surprise. Thank you, ABS, for a super-creative month-end!