Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Jeannie K. Dukic's Echo Creative Club

I'm delighted to be the June artist for Jeannie K. Dukic's Echo Creative Club for 2014!

Cherry blossoms are one of my favorite design motifs, so I couldn't resist selecting them when offered a choice of Jeannie's beads.

Jeannie's polymer clay art beads are a labor of love. Each one is an original design, and she meticulously hand-paints many of the designs, especially the florals. (Check out the Gin Blossom and Acanthus designs for more luscious eye candy!) The Cherry Blossom beads are available in two sizes - 1-1/4" focals and 3/4" earring pairs, and you can find her main page of polymer clay art beads here. Jeannie also makes a wide range of fantastic finished pieces - bracelets, earrings, necklaces, and more, which you can find here.

Following are pictures of what I created with two of Jeannie's Cherry Blossom art beads. I *totally* forgot to take pictures of Jeannie's beads before I started working with them , but I *did* take fairly decent close-ups so you can see the great detail on these beads.

First up is the bracelet, inspired by Linda Hanes' cuff bracelet in (February 2014 issue). I took Linda's idea and made a few tweaks of my own (which I can *never* resist doing, whether it's a recipe or a jewelry design. I'm deviant, I know.).

The bracelet is based on a pre-made leather cuff, wrapped in recycled sari ribbon. The cuff came with a few holes in it, but I added *lots* more so I could affix the focal and embellishments. I was lazy and didn't want to dig out the Dremel, so I used a center punch on each hole a few times, then used an old needle file to ream out the hole. The beauty of the lazy strategy is that you can make each hole a different size to accommodate different elements, yet you don't need to switch out drill bits. Lazy *and* clever, no?

I added two of my lampwork spacer beads (the swirly pink and green one on the dangle, and the deep pink one on the right side of the focal), a short length of brass wire, assorted Czech seed beads and crystals, and one of my etched brass dragonfly charms.

I love this color combo, even though the coral in Jeannie's focal was challenging for me to match. I selected colors that were close (and added a pop of orange to brighten things up a little), and used the green to provide a rich background.

It's really comfortable and I love the way Jeannie's focal really stands out against the sage green.

For the second piece, a necklace, I wanted to keep the design simple to highlight the cherry blossom.

To me, this necklace has a vintage feel, with the drape of the smaller chain.

When designing a piece, one element I always love to include (whenever appropriate), is something that moves.

The jump rings with seed bead dangles carry the color of the focal throughout the piece and add that little hint of movement. I must confess though, putting seed beads on jump rings is a fiddly business, and one that sorely tests my patience. (Why oh why do I do this to myself?!???)

The above picture shows the terrific care and detail Jeannie puts into creating her beads.

Jeannie, thank you for including me in the 2014 Echo Creative Club! It has been a delight and an honor to work with your lovely art beads!