12/12/14

Get Your Doodle On!

If you haven't tried it yet, you need to pick up a pen and a piece of paper and try Zen Doodling.  I have the privilege of having two of my drawings published in Zen Doodle: Oodles of Doodles from Northlight Books, and also of having one of my published drawings, I Have A Purpose featured on the cover of the book, as well as on their blog (here is the link).

Below is the blog post that was originally published on November 24, 2014:

I Have a Purpose
by Molly Alexander
I have a purpose final 500
5¾” × 8½” (15cm × 21.5cm)
Mixed media on ephemera


I Have a Purpose is actually taken from a page in my art journal. I love working with vintage books and dictionary pages because they give instant texture and interest to a design. The word purpose is one of my favorites and just happened to be at the top of this page. I started drawing and filling in patterns, and ended up with the finished piece you see here. I love the freedom I have when I doodle. I’m not a huge rule follower, and this art form allows me to wander freely through my mind as I work through the repetitive design elements of a finished piece.
i have a purpose step 1
1. Glue down an antique dictionary page, leaving the top side without a decoupaged finish. Using a graphite pencil, draw in the main elements of your design. Then, using watercolor pencils and water, fill in your large elements with the color wash of your choice. Allow to dry.
i have a purpose step 2
2. Start filling in the larger elements with your doodle designs using the graphite pencil. Using a fine-point black gel pen, draw over the penciled-in lines.
i have a purpose step 3
3. Continue to fill in your flower parts with doodles until the picture feels finished. Then, using a thicker black gel pen, go over some of the lines, making them thicker than others and filling in backgrounds behind some of the doodled elements.
(This demonstration was previously published in Zen Doodle Oodles of Doodles edited by Tonia Jenny, copyright 2014. It is republished here courtesy of CreateMixedMedia.com and North Light Books.)
Here is a little more information about the book, Zen Doodle: Oodles of Doodles:

Zen Doodle Oodles of Doodles

By Tonia Jenny (Editor)

You will love this Zen Doodle book if:
You are a fan of Zentangle®
You want to explore zen doodling techniques for relaxation
You want to find new doodling inspiration
Get your doodle on and find a little Zen at the same time! Explore stunning doodle art from around the world with more than 100 original designs. Enjoy gorgeous patterns brimming with the latest tangles and techniques that will sure to spark your creativity. Discover the stories behind each creative tangle while immersing you in the world of Zen doodle. Then take your tangle to the next level with step-by-step instructions for creating everything from traditional doodles to your favorite tangled art. Don’t wait; order your Zen doodle book for oodles of doodling fun! 

Inside Zen Doodle Oodles of Doodles you will find:
Step-by-step instructions to help you on your doodling journey
100+ Zen doodle art pieces from 49 artists
A gallery of featured artists to learn more about your favorite Zen doodle artists
 
This book would be a great Christmas present for the creative people in your life!

12/11/14

Noble Knight Challenge Reveal

Welcome to the Noble Knight Challenge reveal hosted by Andrew Thornton!  The guidelines for this challenge are to create pieces using beads from the fabulous kit we purchased from Andrew:

Here are the pieces I made with my kit:

"Bold Femininity"


This first piece is made using the gorgeous oxblood-colored seed beads and larger bead cap of the same color to compliment one of my own fused glass cabochons.  Because the colors are so bold and stark, I wanted the design to be soft and feminine for contrast.  I made 'ruffles' around the cab and the strap using the oxblood seed beads, and used the glass bead cap as a button for the clasp.


I am a big fan of jewelry that is versatile and can be worn in more than one way, and that is the mindset I had going into this second piece, "Winter Love Story":


I saw a technique on Pinterest that I wanted to try (check out the pin here), and this challenge was the perfect opportunity to do so.  Now, the kit Andrew sent came with a beautiful aubergine waxed linen that I set aside to make sure I didn't lose it...and I lost it.  So I pulled out some pewter waxed linen from my stash and set to work.


I love the necklace, but wanted to be able to turn it into a wrap bracelet, so I created the bail for the focal in such a way that you can remove it from the necklace easily.


Andrew's handmade 'mystery component' focal is just beautiful, and I wanted to be able to highlight it using the kit color scheme, but still have it stand out.


Here is what it looks like as a wrap bracelet.  It is long enough to wrap at least 3 times around, and the colors really stand out against the texture of the linen.


Here's a close-up of the clasp I made.

And, finally, of course, after I finished the whole necklace, I found the waxed linen that came with the kit, so I decided to make a pair of earrings with some more of the gorgeous beads:

"Night on the Town"


I still have beads left over, and am excited to use them in more designs.  

Thank you for joining me for this challenge, and, as always, thank you to Andrew for hosting!  Please take a few minutes to check out the other participants' beautiful work:


In addition to these artists, you can find the following artists' work on Andrew's blog here:

Andrew Thornton
Laurel Ross
Alison Herrington
Naama from Peculiaris
Donna Hoblit
Joanne Goldberg 







10/18/14

8th Do-Over Challenge Reveal

Welcome to the Do-Over Challenge Blog Hop hosted by the talented Jeannie Dukic of Whee! The People blog!

The way this works is Jeannie sends out an old piece of jewelry that she made and challenges us to use the components of the piece in a new piece of jewelry. 

Here is a photo of the jewelry I received:


And here are the pieces I made with these beautiful purple Czech beads:


For this necklace I pulled out my favorite wireworking book, "Totally Twisted" by Kerry Bogert and found the design for these fabulous links.  I also used some beautiful beads from Mary Cobble at Firebabies.


The focal for the necklace is an enameled cross I recently made that worked perfectly with the purple beads.


I decided to use the rest of the beads and the clasp from the original set in a couple of fun bracelets:


This bracelet is made with the larger Czech beads, the silver clasp and black waxed linen thread.


This last bracelet features ceramic links from Cindy Kovar at Captured Moments, and looks great with the purple coiled wire and small Czech beads.

If you have a few moments, take some time to check out the other talented artists hopping today:

5/10/14

Welcome to the Bead Soup Blog Party!

What is a Bead Soup Blog Party?

 Each beader was paired up with another jewelry designer and tasked with sending the following:

- A focal
- A special clasp (not just a lobster claw)
- Some coordinating spacers or beads

Using the focal and the clasp was mandatory, but we could use anything from our own stash to round out the rest, and choose to use the coordinating beads or not.


You can see the picture of all the amazing beads I received from my fantastic Bead Soup partner, Nan Emmett of Spirited Earth Studio in this post.

With so many beads to work with, I barely had to add anything from my own stash, and I didn't even use up all of them!  I actually had a hard time settling my mind down enough to organize designs in my head, so I did something I never do: 

I sketched out the designs I wanted to make beforehand. Crazy - right?  

So many of my beady friends are planners who generally sketch out their designs before they make any jewelry, but I'm not that kind of artist.  I prefer the 'on the fly' method, and have rarely - if ever - sketched out my designs ahead of time, but this time I needed a way to reign in my ADHD brain and create a plan.  

Guess what?  It ACTUALLY worked!  

I was able to create a whole slew of designs, using up nearly all of the beads Nan sent to me, in an efficient but creative way, and I am SO happy with how they turned out!  

So, without further ado, here are the pieces I made with Nan's beads:

"In Flight"
When Nan sent me these butterflies, I knew that I wanted to create a statement piece incorporating all three of them in the same piece.  I felt that if I separated them into individual pieces, they wouldn't make as much of an impact as they do together, and this way they carry so much more visual weight.  I added some of the blue howlite, three of Nan's handmade rounds, some jonquil rondelles and the sweet blue and green Czech beads to bring out the various colors in the glazes of the butterflies.  I made a couple of quick handmade copper links and a handmade copper clasp and pulled the whole piece together with a dark green waxed Irish linen cord.  I decided to make a pair of earrings to go with the necklace:


The necklace hangs approximately 22 1/2", and the earrings are approximately 2" from the top of the ear wires.


I just love how these pieces turned out!

The next piece I made was a fun knotted bracelet using the same dark green waxed Irish linen cord with three of Nan's ceramic flowers:

"Triple-y"
I thought a great deal about how to best showcase these flowers, and decided to go with a simple, casual look.


I added in some small Czech rondelles from my stash and used one of Nan's ceramic rounds for the clasp.  Such a fun bracelet that will go with just about everything in my closet!

This next piece is made to wear as a wrap bracelet or as a reversible necklace.  I used the brass rounds, soapstone rounds, blue howlite roundels, white howlite rounds and focal, one of the brass shields and the brass toggle clasp:

"Elegance"




The next piece is one of my favorites.  I went back through photos of some of my old designs and decided to use simple 'stick' links (like I did in this design) with natural leather and copper to set off the beautiful tree of life bead:
"Roots"
The length of this necklace is about 17", and the focal hangs down an additional nearly 4" - quite a different kind of design for me.


The soapstone beads were a perfect compliment to the colors in the bead, and I wanted to let the simplicity of the design take a backseat to the focal.

This next piece is one I've already worn and *may* not be selling - lol!  I loved the dove pendant and wanted to find a fun way to use it, and a long tassel is what I came up with.

"Belief"
Sari silk is the perfect way to finish the cord of this necklace, while bringing in some deeper teal tones to the piece.



I was trying to figure out an unusual way to construct the tassel, and decided to cut up an antique sterling silver knife from one of my crazy collections.  The hollow handle is a perfect way to hide the innards of the tassel and also to create a matching bail.


This next design is just plain fun!  I used the house pendant, the remaining flower, the shield from HumbleBeads and a whole lot of Nan's ceramic rounds:

"Happy Home"
I used  some of my handmade enameled headpins as accents and for the wire wraps on the focal:


The antiqued copper is a fantastic finish with all of the beautiful ceramic finishes Nan used, and the olive green leather cording sets off the greens in the ceramics:



This last piece is right up my alley:
"Simplicity"
I had some of the beautiful ceramic rounds left, and wanted to use them in an organic, simple design, so I created a 'bead stick' that I did a messy wire wrap around.  I finished it off with a long piece of olive green leather and tight copper wire wraps, and I have my new weekend t-shirt necklace!


I have to say, I was VERY spoiled by my amazing soup partner.  If you only go out to see two other blogs in this hop, make Nan your first stop and our fabulous hostess extraordinaire, Lori Anderson your second:

Nan Emmett:     www.spiritrattles.blogspot.com

Lori Anderson, Hostess     www.PrettyThingsBlog.com

And then you can hop from Lori's blog to see the rest of the amazing 'soupers'!

Thank you so much for stopping by, and enjoy the rest of your weekend!

5/8/14

Deep Waters Challenge Reveal

Welcome to the Deep Waters Challenge reveal hosted by Andrew Thornton!  The guidelines for this challenge are to create pieces using beads from the fabulous kit we purchased from Andrew.

Here is a picture of the beads in the kit:


So many possibilities!  And here is what I made with them:

The first piece is a free-form peyote stitched necklace featuring the 'mystery component' - a beautiful ceramic seahorse focal made by Andrew:


I love the colors that weave together through this piece, and the copper is a perfect compliment to the blues of the beads.


For the second piece, I used a focal I had enameled together myself a while ago that I decoupaged sheet music tissue paper to:


For the connecting links, I used my own enameled headpins to wire wrap different bead combinations together.

I finished the piece off with some lovely sari silk that is perfect with the beads.

The third piece I made is a *very* long necklace that can also be worn doubled up or as a wrap bracelet:


I made about a gazillion wire wrapped links that I attached together using links from my favorite antiqued copper chain.



I made the final piece using the turquoise waxed linen thread and an eclectic mix of beads from the kit to form a netted, knotted necklace that I wear with just about everything in my closet.



Thank you so much, Andrew, for hosting such a fantastic challenge!  Take a few minutes to check out the fabulous artists participating in this challenge:







Andrew Thornton, Marian Howarth, Julie Katz, Crystal Farrel, Laurel Ross, Alison Herrington http://andrew-thornton.blogspot.com/2014/05/deep-waters-challenge-reveal.html