Thursday, May 24, 2012

Vintage Porcelain Doll Face Cabochons

From left to right 'Lola', Missing #7, 'Nadine', 'Whitney', 'Veronica' and 'Edith' is centre (GI Jane is not shown).

Coco - Guardian Girl (Private Collection)
I purchased a large booty of vintage (1940's) minature, handpainted porcelain doll face cabochons from the US back in 2008.  The dealer knew very little about them; other than they were made in Taiwan and possibly from the 1940's.

I have 6 different  and beautiful face cabochons in 3 sizes listed in my Etsy store.  There is a 7th face cabochon, however I am having some difficulty locating her.  Each face is delicately handpainted and while each may look the same if you compare them they are in fact unique.  Some imperfections are present in some of the faces, but they are slight.  There are  no cracks or chips in any of the cabochons.

I got busy with them and created perhaps, twenty or so beaded girls.  I called the collection 'Guardian Girls', they all sold.

I lost interest in beading my girls, boxed and shelved them in my bead stash cupboards and moved on to beading other jewellery bits and pieces. 

I posted a pic of Coco (who now resides with my dear High School friend, Jane) an elaborately embellished Guardian Girl on Joanne Browne's (of JosJewels1) Facebook page as she was seeking inspiration for beading some face cabochons that she had been gifted. 

The interest in my girls was so great that I decided to list them in my Etsy store for others to share.  I listed them yesterday and overnight there was a flurry of activity.  I've got girls travelling to Mexico, Israel, the US and a few orders within Australia.

I charge only what Australia Post charge me ie there are no inflated postage rates or handing charges.  I will refund any postage over charge, guranteed.

I will reserve some girls to take with me to the Aussie Beading Retreats in September of this year to offer at the mini market (Friday night) along with other fabulous bits and bobs from my giant bead stash!!

Take heed though .. if you 'want em .. git em quick'.  The supply is not infinite and so when they are gone my friends, they are gone.  Happy Beading

Jenny (Private Collection)

Monday, May 21, 2012

Battle of the Beadsmith .. Begin It Has.

The Battle of the Beadsmith began without fanfare on May 14 2012, May 15 here in Australia owing to the global time zones.  The participant number increased from 64 to 80 due to controversy*.

My colour way had already been selected and the large bundle of bead filled tubes and assorted components already purchased.  My decision to choose this particular colour way was based on two elements 1. Fun and 2. a colour way I had not ever worked with before. I cleared my work area .. took a deep breath and opened the first factory package of vintage Swarovski Chatons that I managed to source from the UK.  This particular colour was hard to find and I thought I would never find it despite extensive internet searches.  Then the task of individually beading them commenced .. each one takes around 30 minutes to bead .. and I have alot to do. 

I had sketched out my initial design in my trusty handmade, leather bound journal; but as always it morphs into something that only slightly resembles the original design.  I have beaded other parts of the design and do this when I get tired of continually beading the Chatons.  I always design like this .. constantly moving around the design.  If I get stumped I walk away and let it rest and give my mind time to visualise the design and explore solutions.  I have what I call 'on board CAD software' that is I can visualise, rotate in 3D and design in my head.  I can see thread paths and bead intricate designs using my minds eye. I like to do this quietly, it's a sort of meditative process.  I can block any white noise around me and just focus.

This Tournament for me is not about trying to out do each other, it is about celebrating beading as an artform and sharing in the moment with other like minded bead artists.  I am truly honoured and grateful for being invited to be a part of the Tournament. When it comes time for my design not to progress into another round, do not be sad for me .. do not think ... 'oh, she must be disappointed'. Please just be happy for me that I was a participant of this wonderful fun, Tournament. I will politely curtsey, smile and usher graciously to whom I am paired with to step forward to the next round.

*The participant number increased from 64 to 80 owing to some controversy. I will elaborate .. Initially the Tournament, created by Steven Weiss (Marketing Manager for Beadsmith) was a secret group on Facebook, with members invited to participate by Steven. When the Battle of the Beadsmith group became 'Open' a Canadian woman became unhappy that Canada was not represented in the group. Her thoughts were that this was a global Tournament when in fact it was not. Anyhoo the upshot is that there was lots of discussion, some pleasant some not so pleasant so Steven made the hard decision to increase the participant number to 80.

Saturday, May 5, 2012

4 Year Anniversary with Australian Beading magazine

This is cover of the April 2012 edition of Australian Beading magazine, Vol 6. No.2.  This edition is especially poignant for me as both a project contributor and a beading artist.  The Editor, Kelly Nealon and the team announced me to the readers of the magazine as an 'Internationally Acclaimed Beading Artist'. 

It felt peculiar too have such high accolades not only spoken but printed on the cover of a magazine! 

I was emailed the .pdf of the cover prior to it's release but I did not see the top caption at first .. just saw my Spanish Dancer earring design (top right) on the cover.  Terrific .. I thought .. wow .. Mel, that is 5 times on the cover of this popular bead mag.  I looked at the mag cover at least 3 times again before I noticed the thin pink line at the top of the mag with white letters.  My first reaction was a big belly laugh .. I don't know why .. it just felt right.  I still now feel a little uncomfortable with the title.  I try to push aside my insecurities and difficulties with 'self promotion' I literally forced myself to include the title on such things as my Linked profile, my website, Facebook and other networking threads. My thought process being well if Australian Beading feel this way .. then so must I.

I thank the magazine deeply for their support of my jewellery projects and articles.  I have been writing for this publication for exactly 4 years this April.  It is fitting too that the April edition, my 4th year as a contributor that I have grown to become an 'internationally acclaimed beading artist'.

ps for those wondering how this came about .. two of my beadwork pieces were included in the prestigous 500 Series by Lark Publishing.  Lark Publishing a US publishing house will release on August 2012 'Showcase 500 Beaded Jewelry'.  I am extremely proud to be a part of this publication. I have two beadwork pieces currently in the US with the Bead & Button team awaiting further jurying for both the Seed Bead Category and the Crystal Jewelry Category.  I have one other piece of beadwork also in the US with Fire Mountain Beads & Gems as a finalist with their Swarovski Crystal Jewelry Competition.

pss The Spanish Dancer earring pattern/tutorial appears on page 108.