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When I was a small child, my parents bought waterfront property on a remote island in British Columbia, Canada where they subsequently built a modest A-frame cabin. This was the early 1960's and back then the only people sharing our rustic island were a small handful of families, most with children close in age to the three of us children. As the island was so beautifully vacant of people & cottages or roads or shops or really much of anything beyonds its natural splendor, it was a child's paradise. As such, we kids named parts of the island so that we could quickly identify places to meet for play. There was 'the springs,' a densely wooded spot where natural springs erupted, bubbling cold & clear from the sandy banks of the island and dribbling all the way down to the tideline on the white beach below. There was the "Indian Camp' above it on the flatlands within the forest where the Coast Salish First Nation people (in times gone by) had their summer camp, the remnants of which still stood beside bright middens, white with shell leavings. Then there was the 'Sunset Trail' round Indian Point where we would gather after a full day of play to behold the sun sink ever so slowly behind the snowy peaks of distant Vancouver Island. And 'the Meadows' - a long bike ride up the Wharf Road and following a more narrow logging road to the wide, open and dry open space where snakes were plenty and the visage seemed to 'sing' with crickets in the hot & otherwise quiet midday sun. And finally, there was 'the dunes,' which was the space exactly at the tip of 'Indian Point' and facing North towards Desolation Sound and the Strait of Georgia. The Dunes were like gentle folds of silk fabric with strands of grasses amidst the shine of fine sand all alone except for one grand turn-of-the-century log cottage which was set back against the woods. All of these places made up our daily destinations, where we planned our days whilst the tide was out all day and before our play could find voice in the lovely, warm full sea, the tide now high and our great big raft at the ready, anchored by the buoys. It is in memory of those beautiful dunes that I created its namesake, reveling in the modest, rich colors of sand mixed with sea, driftwood and strands of fine grasses. Our island has changed a lot in the past 50 years with cottages and houses cluttering the once vacant places, replacing forests and woods with so much form and noise - so different from those early, golden years when we were children and had paradise in the palm of our hands and somehow knew it.
'The Dunes' is an all-artisan crafted, gallery-calibre 2-strand wrap bracelet made entirely of studio lampwork glass beads, gemstones, Swarovski crystals and sterling silver. Another LUXE design, this is a complex bracelet design in the 'spirit' genre; a complex design invoking the wild moving, alive energy of a time and place gone by and all that means in terms of life and our call upwards to a God or to Gods & Goddesses to help shepherd us on this journey of life.
This piece, as with others of my LUXE collection, is awash in top-flight artisan lampwork beads (by 5 different artists both here and abroad), sterling silver beads & components including beautiful Bali & Thai Hilltribe silver beads and a Bali sterling silver toggle clasp. Central to the design, inherent in 'The Dunes' is a small collection of disc lampwork beads by a few artists. You will find modern metallic and iridescent discs, some with polka dots, others in soft, solid taupe or as if coated in golden sand and yet others rubbed down to an earthy, worn look and still others like beach glass discs. Following the same pattern are stone disc-shaped gems of steel blue iolite, quartz, blue topaz, blue-fire moonstone, encased organic lampwork beads which look like watercolor paintings inside glass pods of irregular shape and size. Other beads include elegant golden Baroque pearls, clear chunky lampwork squares, small white lentil lampwork beads by a Florence-trained glass artist, faceted nuggets of green Aquamarine stones and shimmering grey faceted quartz briolettes. Over 40 pieces of sterling silver findings, beads and components pepper 'The Dunes,' sending glimmers of bright light throughout the piece as the sunlight hits it at certain angles. One large & 2 smaller scallop shells in solid silver enjoy the focus of the bracelet along with beautiful Swarovski sculpturalcrystals in the shapes of starfish & coral branches, making for a staid, elegant and fetching statement-design of serenity beside the sea which is so imbued with mystery and myth. 'The Dunes' measures just a tad over 8.5 inches. My 7 inch wrist fits this 8.50 inch bracelet perfectly without being too tight and with just the right amount of slack to make it comfortable. "The Dunes" can be re-sized at no additional fees as this is a relatively straightforward task to complete. One resizing upon purchase is included in the price, however should subsequent adjustments be required, an additional fee of $50 to cover postage, time & materials will be charged.
'The Faerie and the Old Oak Tree' is gallery-calibre 3 strand-wrap bracelet made entirely of studio lampwork beads, gemstones and sterling silver. One of my more LUXE designs, this is a complex bracelet design in the 'spirit' genre; a complex design invoking the rich, beloved spirit of an old village oak tree at the center of the plaza and the protective faeries who look after the branches and acorns when a tough, crankly north-wind blows through town. 'The Faerie and the Old Oak Tree' celebrates the whimsical fancies we carry in our hearts and psyche throughout our every day life as a wee sanctuary from the sometimes-grind of an oft difficult world.
This piece is dripping with top-flight artisan beads and components. Starting with the focal bead of the piece is a large, 24K gold encased thick lentil shaped bead which seems to have the very wings of faeries frozen under thick, clear soft glass. These irridescent wings are the most magnetic point in the design as they shimmer in shades of pink and gold and teal blue as quickly as the light changes in the room. All the rest of the bracelet's composition is built around this focal bead as it sets the tone for the whole design. Lampwork beads made by six different studio artists both here and abroad lend their unique talent to the piece which is equally littered with the finest, chiseled, faceted green, pink & purple amethyst nuggets and rondelles, fine faceted purple amethyst cubic zirconia teardrops looking regal and plush alongside blue-fire flash moonstone in disc shape and chunky rondelles. It is a wonder to watch the light catch the blue fire in these stones as the beads tussle about. Two sculptural lampwork acorn beads done in a rich amber color add to the oak tree theme along with sterling silver oak leaves (and one wee ss acorn). Elegant amitrine rondelle beads in a light purple and gold shade litter the bracelet, adding a mystical, healing touch to the piece as amitrine is considered a rare and healing stone with only one mine available located in Brazil. Its healing properties suggest a money-magnet power as well, though I admire it for the delicate shades of color, the faceting and the way it subtly picks up and projects surrounding colors of other beads. Other lampwork glass beads include an amazing encased green round bead with dollups of sterling silver peppered under the thick, clear glass. The shade of green pops in its fresh, hopeful color and causes surrounding moonstone to flash with blue-fire. A lush Baroque pearl sits parallel to a gold-scroll tube lampwork bead and sits beside perhaps my favotire of all gemstones, iolite, known to be the navigational stone of the Vikings. Swarovski SS rondelles with sparkling clear crystals frame portions of each strand along with braided loops of bright and darker sterling. Furnace beads (purple encased) by the esteemed D. Christensen also pepper all three of the strands to this piece, bringing out the purple and violet shades which contrast so elegantly against the overall gold wash. The myriad details incorporated into this sculptural composition seem endless and you will always find something new hidden in the midst of the gorgeous chaos. Among them are small, organic vermeil droplet beads - that is 24K gold over sterling silver, daisy spacers, ss wave beadcaps, tiny ss rounds, Swarovski cosmic square sliders and a variety of other Swarovski shapes, sizes and colors help complete the backdrop of the design. SS charms include a Thai Karen Hilltribe butterfly bead, a small oak leaf and her acorn, a larger acorn, a petroglyph symbol for rain and a large sterling jungle berry bead add to the wonder and whimsy of 'The Faerie and the Old Oak Tree' which measures 8 inches in length. I added a bracelet extender and so the bracelet could size up to 8.75 inches by adjusting the split-ring (holding all three wrap ends) onto another ring on the extender. Resizing beyond 8.75 is possible, but would cost an additional $30 for time and materials spent adjusting to-size, all three strands. Should you wish a closely similar design to 'The Faerie and the Old Oak Tree,' please contact me at: email@example.com.
'The Faerie and the Old Oak Tree' celebrates the whimsical in our life not only through the wonder of ancient folklore and mythology, but also those wondrous, rare Oak trees that have stood in town squares like old gents of the town for decades if not whole centuries, looking over the well-being of all the townspeople. In some towns the old trees are revered and great measures are taken to protect the trees from viruses, pollution and even noise! Sometimes these heritage trees are unable to withstand the toxic load of modern times and they succumb to nature's life cycle. 'The Faerie and the Old Oak Tree' aims to honor the vibrant life and times of these old protector trees and their resident elfin folks who add that mystical allure to the already beautiful gnarled branches and foliage of the old Oak trees.
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The American Buffalo nickel is rarely found in loose change coming from a cash register till anymore. More often, to find one, you have to search in Grandpa's 'junk drawer' or buy from eBay just to feel like you own a little bit of the Wild, Wild West or the gritty, mystical times when the western plains and prairies owned the day. On one side of the 'Buffalo Nickel' is a buffalo and on the other side is the rugged profile of a Native American Chief who I always associated with the great man, Sitting Bull. I have designed 'Mud Ponies, Wild Horses & the White Buffalo' after a wonderful Buffalo head nickel which, while once in circulation, as a real nickel, was taken by someone and turned into a button. It is this nickel button which I have used as the focal point of this three-strand, LUXE wrap bracelet. This piece is dripping with sterling silver, gemstones & studio glass artisan beads known as 'lampwork,' each a one-of-a-kind design.
Add to the bracelet's focal point (of the nickel), you will also see a sterling silver button piece by a talented silver artisan I use a lot for her old wax technique and original designs. Here, she has created a pony looking etching on a small sterling button which mimics, if only in a vague way, the horse-like figure on the lampwork bead which shows more like a primitive early man cave painting. But it is really her generous, long wild horses sterling silver connector which commands the boldest attention of the bracelet. Exquisitely rendered, the sterling silver seems fluid & alive with movement of wild horses and is magnificent. Brought all together this piece is a celebration of the verdant, open & wild plains where wild horses run, herds of buffalo graze and where First Nation leaders once held their people and their home in nature as one cohesive & guarded sanctuary. Freedom. All of this came to a sudden halt with the introduction of Europeans, 'pale faces,' and it is now the White Buffalo First Nation people wait for as a sign of the coming of a new, happier era and a time of renewed independence. Such is the backstory of 'Mud Ponies, Wild Horses and the White Buffalo.'
Nine individual lampwork artists are used in the beadwork of 'Mud Ponies, Wild Horses...' - from the USA, Europe and the U.K. Done in colors of gold, sand, taupe and peppered with violet, cabernet, amber and cream, the piece includes especially fetching beads by a European artist whose signature design are beads with glass portals protruding from the bead's surface, like perfect half-orbs. Her beads are always great fun to work with and even better to wear, especially if one is a nervous type and needs something to fiddle with whilst waiting in a dull situation or at a traffic signal. The many stones and gemstones include the following:
1. Blue-flash fire moonstone, 2. Faceted garnet nuggets 3. Moss blue iolite faceted nuggets 4. Faceted citrine nuggets 5. Cubic zirconia teardrops 6. Keishi creamy pearls 7. Light blue aquamarine rondelles 8. Freshwater Baroque pearls 9. Faceted green amethyst nuggets 10. Baltic amber 11. Purple amethyst teardrops. Other beads include esteemed Austrian Swarovski square crystal sliders, micro-faceted rounds, bicones & cosmos shaped beads along with Swarovski fancy sterling-plated pave crystal rondelles which adds that unexpected glamorous accent in the midst of earthy splendor of semi-precious gemstone. Sterling silver braided rings, plain rings, avant gard sterling shields/spacers, beadcaps, hand-rendered sterling loops complete 'Mud Ponies, Wild Horses...' with a modern, sterling lobster clasp.
'Mud Ponies, Wild Horses & the White Buffalo' measures 8 to 8.5 inches in length & is meant to be worn somewhat loosely. That is, one strand measures a tad bit shorter than the other two (8 inches) and so the other two strands can move or tangle just a bit with the main strand. You will note that the anchoring, shorter strand is the one I have attached a bracelet extension in sterling so that if the bracelet needs to be resized, I can do so by adjusting the anchor/main strand accordingly. If more length must be added to more than one strand, we can discuss possibilities such as closely duplicating the piece with lampwork beads from the same or similar bead sets.
The companion beads in this pendant include more mysterious iolite nuggets (navigational stone of the Vikings), Baltic Amber, Keishi pearls, AAA blue-fire moonstone, misty green apatite, clear quartz, onyx, a Swarovski crystal teardrop and a handsome lampwork acorn by an Australian artist. The pendant hangs on a simple, but beautiful hand-rendered sterling bail by a local California artist.
Interesting that in the language of the Sami people of Northern Scandinavia, there are hundreds of words which mean 'snow.' Being a Scandinavian myself and loving the idea of 5 months of a white landscape and icy temperatures, I created 'The Snow Queen,' or simply, 'Snow.' 'The Snow Queen' is another of my newer designs from my Simple Luxe Collection. This piece is a lampwork, gemstone 'wrap' bracelet. That is, two strands of lampwork, stones, gems, white & regular sterling (925) and some lovely sterling charms including: A hammered puffy white SS heart (Hilltribe artisans), two white SS snowflake, reindeer and a snowflower. The Snow Queen herself is a hand-rendered (old, lost wax technique of silver-casting) done by a local artist who also completed the handsome, substantial round toggle clasp. Stunning pure white studio lampwork beads by five esteemed lampwork artists living here and abroad make up 'The Snow Queen.' The piece is punctuated with AAA faceted quartz nuggets, freshwater Baroque & Keishi pearls, clear furnace beads by the esteemed furnace glass artist Christensen, a large faceted chunky moonstone which flashes blue in just the right light and lots of white sterling findings, beads, Swarovski beads and accents. A small touch of red at the toggle ends completes 'The Snow Queen' and adds just that bit of startling contrast to an otherwise tres elegant landscape of cascading beads for the season of snow, ice and cold.
I read just yesterday that a color trend of Spring, 2012 is a pure and 'blinding' white. I must admit I was swooning when I saw an elegant, silk, flowing suit - perfectly tailored on a tall, elegant young woman. It is nice to see the pure color of white 'on trend' again!
'The Snow Queen' which measures a loose 9 inches, may be resized at no additional charge. Please note that this style of wrap is meant to be worn somewhat loosely and playfully, but not to the point where it could slip off your wrist.
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As the spring folds gently into warm summer days, colors of the tropics come to mind as I ponder days strolling in the breeze on sandy shores both here and abroad. During an unseasonal May rain storm, I was inspired to create 'Tangerine,' to prod those fanciful days forward as the calendar marches toward summertime.
* Bumpy beads in Aqua by BeadIntrigue
* Hilltribe sterling lotus, spiral & large Hibiscus beads
Another bracelet for summertime parties and fiestas and the colorful, cheerful days that attend summer weather.
Donated to Hidden Valley Elementary School Auction
I'm continuing my mermaid-themed sea pieces by 'Ariel's Dream' and this piece. When I was expecting my daughter and pondering nursery themes and shower invitations, I steered clear of the whole princess culture and was drawn to the more mysterious mermaid (or merrow of Irish lore) culture (Disney aside). Although I never did create a mermaid's nursery and we did not even have a shower for Elsie Rose, she has always been my mermaid-girl. And of course she is as drawn as all little girls to Ariel of Disney fame and has even named a recent rescue kitten 'Ariel.' So there you go.'Ariel's Dream' is designed around the dreamy lampwork beads by Catherine Steele. Amazing glass artist, Catherine creates beautifully detailed sand, beach & seascape lentil shaped beads with waves of soft lavender punctuated with sand-colored sea creatures & sand dollars. Her beads often remind me of paintings. Extraordinary work. The focal of the bracelet is an amazing sculptural etched starfish bead by Catherine. All of these lampwork beads are handcrafted bead-by-bead and kiln-annealed overnight for strength and durability. These whimsical, otherworldly lampwork beads are surrounded by a tidepool of lovely beads in lavender and hues of sand colored topaz which pull out the colors of the beach in Catherine's lampwork. Everything works together harmoniously. You will find Swarovski crystals in a variety of shapes, colors and sizes including the elegant faceted briollete beads, Swarovski curve & round pearls, tiny lucite frosted drop flowers, freshwater pearls, Thai Hilltribe silver beadcaps, daisy spacers and small dangling scallop silver seashells and starfish in sterling silver from the Hilltribe artists. Punctuating the piece are two stunning silver sculpted roses by published clay artist, D. Jean Vainio.The bracelet measures about 7.5 inches in length and can be resized at no additional charge.
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