September Design Challenge - Trees
Trees are not only already a very inspirational theme due to the number of components I already owned having to do with trees, but it can also be taken in so many different directions. I love to take photos of trees. The one above is from Lakeview Cemetery in Cleveland, Ohio in May of 2015, not too far from where my son was in high school.
Trees can be done literally, as in use a tree on a component or design. It can also be done at a more microscopic level: leaves, roots, bark are all very interesting and inspiring visually and texturally. Trees also serve as homes to all kinds of animals plants and fungi.
I sometimes like to make acorn headpins and recently just traded several of them to other beadmakers
I wanted to make my own beads with trees for this challenge, however the small amount of torch time I had available this month was spent working on the component of the month for October, which I am hosting and will be introducing over on Art Jewelry Elements in a couple days.
So after taking a look at what I have in my
hoard stash of components, I settled on this very large polymer clay focal by Staci Louise Smith. It originally had 3 wire loops, but I cut and filed those off. Honestly I didn't have a real plan when I first started. I just picked out some sead beads that I thought coordinated well, glued the focal onto stiff stuff and packed it away in my beading pal to take with with me to England. Because this is the month I had to get my kid ready for and settled at his new university over in Newcastle, England. And since I was in the neighborhood (far north England, almost to Scotland), I stopped by (took an airplane) to visit AJE teammate Lesley Watt in the south (Caroline Dewison took a train from her part of the country and we made a weekend of it!). That is when I finally had some free time to start beading.
This polymer clay cab is so large, it took FOREVER (an entire day) to bezel it. As I'm plodding along with my bezel, I think Lesley managed to finish about 3 smaller bead embroidery projects. According my my Garmin watch, I got a whopping 1,979 steps for the day.
This was as far as I got in the beading because I wasn't exactly sure where I wanted to go from here. I got home from England at about 1am September 28th and was up by 6am the same day considering my options.
I decided a jaunt to Michaels was the most important thing to do because I was thinking about framing it and possibly using painted fabric as the background. If I did that, I could easily make it so it could be detached from the frame and worn. So I took the cab for a ride (ignore all the coffee splashes. Wow! What a mess! And yes, I do keep a Sharpie in the car. You never know when you'll need it. The scissors are hiding in the center console...)
I didn't find exactly what I hoped to find, which was a shadow box type frame without glass. So I got one with glass except the glass doesn't come out. I found this out after I opened it. I also considered felt or plain cotton for painting on.
But while I was at Michaels, I found this birch tree discs in various sizes. They would make a really cool mosaic effect. However, I think that might have to wait for a different project as I didn't really love it with Staci's component.
What I decided on is a completely different direction. I found these really thin (birch?) sheets in 6"x12" size. I bought two and cut them in half and glued the halves together so they would feel stronger. I would have purchased something thicker to begin with, but they were too thick and there was nothing in between.
So why would I do this? What does this have to do with anything I shared above? Because as I was wandering around Michaels (and I do mean wander as they've moved EVERYTHING since the last time I was there and I couldn't find anything easily), I was thinking about how I really want to make a handmade book/journal. Being polymer clay, Staci's component should be able to withstand the small amount of abuse it could potentially have to tolerate.
So the plan after gluing the halves together and sitting them under books to dry, was to do a bit of stamping and painting, still allowing the grain to show through, but making them more interesting and warm them up a bit in color.
However, the three hours of sleep I got the night before, coupled with being up for about 26 hours straight while traveling and then getting home to my huband, daughter, and pets, who required attention after 8 days of absence, my brain started going into meltdown mode yesterday afternoon and I couldn't manage to work on it any more before the reveal. However, I plan on finishing it by the end of the weekend and will update with photos. I'm actually super excited to see how it turns out.
As this is a design challenge, there are several other people who participated who would love for you to visit their blogs, see what they've created, and receive comments about their work. Please take a look!
Jennifer Stout Cameron <---- you are here already!