Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Introducing the Honey Bijou Hive

The Honey Bijou Hive is a new monthly (month-end) feature here on this blog where I choose 5 polymer clay/jewelry artists ("The Hive Five") who’ve inspired me and share what I love about their work.

(Note: In the future, Kim, my shop-mate, may participate in writing one of these features. However, she’s been in behind-the-scenes mode for a long time with her demanding job and a move underway and I’m starting to feel creepy about saying “we” all the time, when I’m really only referencing myself. So I’m using “I” for this post, but I don't want to give the impression that Honey Bijou is only me. )

I feel it’s important to mention that inspiration can come from a zillion places at once, and the 60 artists I’ll mention here this year is just a tiny fraction of all the wonderful creative people who keep me jazzed about makin’ stuff. However, there’s only so much time in a day/week/month, so I’m keeping it down to 5 a month- the top 5 who keep popping up in my thoughts as I’m working and experimenting.

JANUARY 2012’S HIVE FIVE ARE (In no particular order)…

1. Rebecca Watkins/ ArtyBecca

Rebecca seems to have found the perfect midpoint between the often conflicting desires to make things polished and perfect, yet keep the freeform charm of handmade goods. I’ve been following her work on flickr and etsy for a couple years, and have found that although she is constantly experimenting and inventing, there is a strong sense of her unique style that shows through in all that she does. An artybecca bead is always recognizable at a glance.

My beloved Doodlebeads are largely inspired by Rebecca’s etched beads, and her organic stripe technique is my new favorite for creating a quick and lovely pattern.

Check out Rebecca Watkins on Etsy, Flickr, and her blog.

2. Claire Maunsell/ stillpointworks

Claire’s polymer clay creations all look like they’ve been touched by Mother Nature and Father Time. Organic forms, tons of crackly, scratchy, delicious texture, and beautiful jewel tones juxtaposed against rich black antiquing. She’s another artist with a very strong personal style.

Check out Claire Maunsell on Etsy, Zibbet, Flickr, Facebook, and her blog.

3. Christine Damm/ Stories They Tell

“Stories They Tell” is such a great name. It highlights a wonderful aspect of handmade goods- that even before an item has reached it’s intended owner, it has a story. It’s been imagined, designed, contemplated, created, held, and admired.

Christine’s polymer work is full of lively shapes and exuberant character. She sells her beads and components on their own for others to create with, but I’m particularly fond of her finished jewelry. I look to her work for ideas when I find myself stuck with a pile of beautiful beads and no idea what to do with them.

Check out Christine Damm at Etsy, Flickr, and her blog.

4. Rebekah Payne/ Tree Wings Studio

Rebekah’s work is a newer discovery, but it only takes a second to fall in love with her beads. Her sleepy woodland creatures are so precious! The over-all feel of her website and shop is like walking into the pages of a charming storybook.

My bunny beads are directly inspired by Rebekah’s critters.

Check out Rebekah Payne on Etsy, Flickr, and her blog.

5. Veronique Hoffman/ FimoMaus

Veronique is a prolific polymer artist. She seems to really have her finger on the pulse of the polymer clay community on flickr, and is always the first to lend kind words on new work. I love that she is constantly, and fearlessly experimenting with new styles and techniques.

How cool is her recent collection of pieces made to match an article of clothing? It makes me realize I’ve got a whole closet full of untapped inspiration!

Check out Veronique Hoffman on Flickr.

As a little gift to our first Hive initiates, we have a little badge which you may post on your blogs/websites/wherever if you like. Just copy the code and paste it where you want it.

Honey Bijou‘s Blog

Jenna of Honey Bijou

Sunday, January 15, 2012

January Art Bead Scene Challenge

I had so much fun with November's ABS challenge, that when December's rolled around, I did way too much planning, had way too many ideas, and created way too many variations, none of which ever got finished. So, this month, the goal in mind was to just keep it simple. That's a difficult thing for me to do, but I think I succeeded.

The image for this challenge is a wallpaper design called "Trellis" by William Morris.

I focused on the flowers and foliage and made this bracelet.

I made the flower beads with a mold of metal flower bead I had, by making 2 castings for each bead and then sandwiching them together. The sandwiching part was really difficult to get right, and I later realized I never really needed a mold for such a basic flower. So much for keeping it simple. However, my convoluted way of going about it made for some cute wonky variations, so it's OK.

This connector piece has 2 soda can tabs embedded into it. I've been experimenting with using recycled metal objects as jewelry elements.

Perhaps my favorite part of the bracelet is the hook, which I accented with a vintage bead and button to make it special.

Be sure to check out everyone else's entries in the Art Bead Scene Flickr group.