Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Honey Bijou Hive- February

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.

For more details about the Hive, see my first post.

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

1. Mandarin Moon/ Chris Kapono

Jewelry is just a fraction of all the things Chris Kapono does with polymer clay. She also makes ACEOs and covers items with her signature Art Nouveau-esque blend of sculpted swirls, leaves, dots, textures and embedded stones and charms. Each piece of hers is a one-of-a-kind, and it’s an impressively prolific body of work.

I have been collecting tins and boxes to clay-cover. I will certainly be looking to Chris’ work for inspiration when I do so.

Check out Chris Kapono on Etsy, Deviantart, Flickr, Twitter and her blog.

2. TooAquarius/ Elaine Robitaille

If you’re feeling bored with canework, Elaine’s work can get you excited about it again. She pairs complementary millefiore designs in her beads, making each like a tiny garden scene, and uses cane slices to create delicate little sculpted flower beads. I’m especially fond of the textured can slices in some recent pendants she’s shared on Flickr.

Check out Elaine Robitaille on her website, her Etsy shop for beads, her Etsy shop for canes, Artfire, Facebook, Twitter, and Flickr.

3. So Charmed/ Jodi Bloom

Jodi’s jewelry designs are edgy, yet charming. She mixes handmade and vintage elements in a masterfully stylish way, blending kitschy, industrial, vintage, and even circus-y themes. There is no shortage of character and cleverness in her shop. She serves as a great reminder to put your own unique personality into your work and likeminded customers will find you.

Check out Jodi Bloom on her website, blog, Etsy, and Flickr.

4. SilaStones/ Ponsawan Sila

I learned of Ponsawan through from her tutorial blog, polymerclaybeads, as I’m sure many others have as well. It wasn’t until later finding her on Flickr that I realized she was up to much more than creating great bead tutorials. Her finished jewelry is amazing. She incorporates really fun wirework in with her polyclay creations. She’s also a rather inventive polymer artist; she’s made her own modifications for her pasta machine, invented her own version of the skinner blend, and made texturing tools into an art in itself.

Check out Ponsawan Sila on Etsy, Flickr, and her blog.

5. Celine Charuau/ Gris Bleu

Celine’s polymer and metal work is so clean and precise that it’s hard to believe it’s handmade. She uses bold colors, sleek shapes, and complicated engineering (or so it seems) in a collection of work inspired by sea and plant life. Celine is French, so I’ve never been able to discuss her methods with her, which makes her bio-mechanical-looking work all the more mysterious.

Check out Celine Charuau on Flickr and her blog.

As a little gift to our new Hive initiates, we have a 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

Monday, February 27, 2012

A general update on all things going on in Honey Bijouland.

This weekend I managed to drag Kim out to estate sales with me. I'm trying really hard to get her excited about making jewelry again, but the whole day she didn't buy anything. She does, however, have some supplies coming in the mail, so let's all cross our fingers for some new Kim creations.

I, on the other hand, bought plenty of stuff. Here's my loot:

Up at the top there are 2 pieces of a broken sterling silver bracelet. I get really excited about broken stuff because then I know for sure that whatever I do with it will be an improvement. I'm not sure if the stones there are real sapphires. If so, I got way too good a deal on it ;) The cameos are really cool, too. They're a little bit primitive, which leads me to think they're hand-carved.

The butterfly pendant on the left is way prettier than this photo shows. It's got a bunch of intricate Asian designs on it. It really deserves nicer presentation than that weird shoestring looking cord it's on.

The next 2 necklaces, and the last one in the row are all pretty nice as-is, but I'm going to take them apart anyway. It occurs to me that lots of those beads might compliment the butterfly really well.

The one with the pearls and the red stones (or, probably glass) is broken, so It will be re-purposed. It looks like it was a strange design to begin with. You don't often see dangles like that in even numbers. Maybe it's lost a 3rd part. The red stones are destined to become part of a pair of earrings.

Lastly, the purple one. It's plastic. I hate the plastic stigma. Those beads are just as gorgeous as they would be in some other material, but the fact that they're plastic probably means they'll be passed up by most. I'm going to try to use them anyway. Paired with the right things they could be stunning, and they're certainly better off in my hands than in a landfill.

Kim and I also stopped at a couple of "craft" stores in our excursion. We don't actually have a real craft store in our town, but we have a lot of shops that offer an aisle or 2 of crafting supplies, and between them all, one can get most of the essentials without having to leave town or wait for an order to ship. We hit up the party supply store and a funky old fabric shop downtown that has areas containing stock that has clearly been sitting there since the 70's.

Here's my loot from those 2 places:
Star-shaped boxes and organza bags for packaging our pretties. Various cords and a bag of ribbon scraps, because you can never have too much of that stuff. Well, I can't. A bag of silk scraps and a rhinestone applique, which I have already taken apart to use the individual rhinestones.

I got the silk scraps to attempt making my own ribbon so I could try out Heather Powers' ribbon rosettes tutorial on the Art Bead Scene blog. I am a complete imbecile when it comes to all things involving thread and a needle, but I thought this project seemed pretty simple. I had no idea how to make my own ribbon, but I knew I wanted it to be rough-edged and a bit disheveled, so I just started ripping and making a huge mess. Eventually, after de-tangling lots of frayed threads, it actually worked out pretty well.

See how my name is on my scissors? Those are from the party supply store I mentioned earlier. I worked there when I was a teenager, along with several other teenage girls. None of us got along and there were many catfights over who-stole-whose scissors, so our boss got us all new ones with our names on them. They are the nicest scissors I've ever had. Still super sharp many years later.

Anyway, onward to the rosettes. The silk one came out OK, but then I decided I should practice more with some cheaper fabrics, so I tried it out on a strip of cotton jersey from an old polo shirt and a piece of some stiffer fabric with crazy neon designs on it.

As you can see, you get totally different results depending on the fabric. I think the jersey was a mistake, though. It basically looks like what it is- rolled up fabric. The stiff fabric is fun because I could manipulate it as I went along to give it more deliberate "petals", but there was a slight issue with getting the needle through all the layers. Pliers had to be used. I guess I'll stick with silk in the future.

Also this weekend I got a request for a black version of my bunny beads. I failed to ask how many were desired, so when I got out my supplies I just decided to make a whole bunch. They came out super cute, but I wouldn't feel right sharing them before their recipient gets a chance to see them, so here's a progress pic of what they looked like before ears, faces, tails and feet. Yeah, I'm showing you what a bunch of lumps of clay look like. Hahaha.

"What'd you say? Cant hear you!"

In other news, I'm working on Spring bead designs, and slowly but surely getting the enormous messes I've made lately cleaned up.

Also, Kim just instant messaged me and said she's playing with clay. Woohoo!

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Honey Bijou Stylebook!

Today I visited my long-abandoned polyvore account and decided to make a few sets around my own jewelry.It's really fun to imagine what people might wear with jewelry I made. I think I may make a habit of this.

Honey Bijou Stylebook: Peacock

Peacock Plumage Necklace
and Jeweltone Earrings.

Honey Bijou Stylebook: Asymmetrical Poppy Necklace

Asymmetrical Poppy Necklace

Honey Bijou Stylebook: Cotton Candy Cephalopod

Cotton Candy Cephalopod Barrette and Earrings.

Friday, February 17, 2012

February ABS Challenge

It’s Art Bead Scene challenge time! This month’s image is so jam-packed with different elements that I nearly went nuts trying to decide which direction to take in my entry.

Check out all the different stuff going on in, “The Conference of the Birds” by Habiballah.

This painting illustrates a manuscript wherein birds symbolize different facets of a spiritual journey. The peacock is essentially the bad guy of the story, displaying shallowness and pride. I felt bad for the bird, taking on a bad reputation simply because he’s beautiful and instinctively compelled toward some obnoxious and showy mating habits.

So, I pulled out all my richest, deepest colors of clay and started on my peacock-inspired design.

This baby’s available in our shop already. I’ve been good about promptly listing things lately.


The process:

I didn’t have an overall design in mind when I started, I just knew I wanted to make a cane that looked like the eye of a peacock feather, so I sketched that out and went to work on it.

I wanted a shimmer to all the colors, so I mixed in mica powders on a few of the shades that weren’t already metallic, then created a huge cane and took thick slices for the beads. I textured both sides of each slice to make it more feather-like, and then I baked them and glazed them in liquid polymer to really bring out the shimmer.

I had a ton of cane leftover, so I chopped-and-smooshed (very professional technical term) the remnants into an abstract design and made that into some long, skinny beads, some cone-shaped components, a connector pendant (which I ended up using as a clasp), and even some matching earrings.

I strung this necklace 3 different times, experimenting with different layouts for all the different components. I’m used to having a distinct focal point on all my necklaces, but this one didn’t come together until I threw out that idea and went with an asymmetrical design. I added multicolored iridescent glass beads,a bunch of vintage brass components, chain and cord, and viola! I love how it came out.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Bead Table Wednesday: My organizing method

For this BTW I thought I'd share some photos of my new favorite way to organize my beads; pin boards (AKA cork boards, bulletin boards). Over the years I've tried every conceivable method, and so far this is my favorite. I got the idea from a local consignment shop that displays their jewelry this way. If you use straight pins, you can hang bracelets and necklaces to display, which I may do some day when we finally get around to participating in craft shows. Until then, I prefer this method to keep my beads organized. It has really set my imagination free. Everything I have is there at a glance. I include all my cords and chains and components, too, and I see combinations I wouldn't have considered before, when all these little bead baggies were in various boxes stacked everywhere.

If you'd like to try this method, here's a few tips to get you started:

  • Ball-tipped pins work best. The small heads allow for easy overlapping of the bags, but are still pretty easy to grab and move around.
  • The boards can't be wall mounted. They become too heavy and the pins protrude through the back. This is the only drawback I've come across so far. It's worked out OK, though, since I tend to move my supplies around from room to room as I work. You'll need some shelf or floor space where you can lean your board(s).
  • Use the smallest possible bag for each set of beads. This makes the most of your board space and keeps it visually clear.
  • Start pinning at the bottom with your largest, fullest bags of beads. Don't worry about organizing in any other way (size/material/shape/ color/whatever). Random placement will inspire combinations that you couldn't have planned.
  • I keep a printable centimeter ruler pinned at the top of one of my boards for measuring my beads when I list them for sale. You may also like to use any extra space for tools or images that inspire. Put a capped pen on a string and pin it to your board if you like to label your bags. Pin up magazine clippings with color combos you like. Keep it fun.
  • If your board gets really full, it helps to have a few pieces of scrap paper nearby to pin as placeholders. When you pull off a bag of beads, replace it with the placeholder so you'll know right where it goes when it's time to put the remaining beads away.



If you have a unique bead-organizing method that works well for you, tell me all about it in the comments!

Check out the Bead Table Wednesday Flickr group to see what's going on on other folks' bead tables this week.

Thursday, February 2, 2012

From Sketchbook to Fruition

We've gained a few new followers recently (Hi!), so I'm thinking "Eh....maybe I should post more often." Between our Etsy, Facebook, Twitter, Flickr, DeviantArt and here, I'm always behind in posting somewhere.

So, how about some process pics? Those are always fun.

Yesterday for Bead Table Wednesday I shared a peek into my sketchbook with the flickr group:

I recently rescued the painted beads in the photo from their life of being stuck on a really ugly necklace that no one was wearing. I generally don't call any jewelry ugly, because everyone has their own taste and whatnot- but....this necklace just didn't do those gorgeous beads any justice. They had been paired with a whole bunch of black plastic beads- the kind that are so cheap that they have a seam going down the middle. Such a tragedy. So, I snipped those babies free and started drawing up some designs to incorporate them into earrings for the 52 earring challenge I just joined.

Then today I made some components for them:

The hearts are for a different project. Spoilers! Pretend you didn't see those.

And then I assembled 3 pairs of earrings:They didn't turn out exactly like I had imagined or sketched, but there a heck of a lot closer to the sketches than a lot of my work ends up being. Usually I get to the actual "making part" and realize I can't do quite what I sketched without breaking laws of physics, so adjustments need to be made.

I want to know from other jewelry you sketch first? If so, how close does your product resemble what you had in mind when you sketched it out?

These new earrings will hopefully get listed in the shop this weekend, along with a ton of other things in my overflowing "ready to list" box.

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Bye to the bee

We've recently redesigned our official logo from this:to this:
The old text never played well with other fonts and we were always getting puzzled remarks about the bee. We loved our bee, and we're sad to see her go, but this re-design is much cleaner and easier to work with when we create promotional images. It has officially debuted today, here on the blog and in our shop, and you'll soon see it popping up on new business cards, packaging, coupons, and more.

Let us know what you think of our makeover!