Thursday, April 27, 2017

The Tree of Life

Tree of Life, Azerbaijan, 17th century

I've always been drawn to the symbol of the Tree of Life.  It seems to have been around forever in one form or another, in every culture.  It's an archetypal image, a constantly recurring motif in literature, painting, and mythology, symbolizing (among other things) the union and balance of the upper and lower worlds and all they represent.

It's taken countless forms, of course, as each culture in each period of time has expressed it based on whatever beliefs they had, in whatever mediums they had to use.  It's timeless--perhaps even eternal.  The Norse called it "The World Tree," and given its ubiquity and its many faces, it really is.

Tree of Life, Aberdeen (Scotland) Bestiary, early 12th Century
By the 12th century, in the West the Tree of Life was most often depicted in Christian iconography of the time as The Tree of Jesse, illustrating the lineage of Jesus.

Tree of Jesse, late 12th century.  The head of the House of Jesse was considered the royal forebear of Jesus and in these depictions was most often shown lying down beneath the tree itself, with Jesus and Mary in the center and other relations on the spreading branches.

Celtic Tree of Life (one of so many!)

Tree of Life, Spain, modern day

These are just a tiny sample of the endless ways the Tree of Life has been interpreted over the centuries.  I would never claim to have created anything iconic in my earring offering today; instead I created a very simple and colorful tribute to the Tree of Life, less than 2 inches long.  

Kristi Bowman-Gruel made the beautiful Tree of Life charms, and sky-blue lampwork rondelles, small green Czech glass rondelles, and tiny Swarovski crystals echo their colors. 

The earrings can be found here.  

I loved spending this time with you all--for one thing I got to share some seldom-used knowledge about Medieval iconography--yay!  I hope to see you again in two weeks.  :)

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Honestly, Honesty!

How is it going in your corner of the world? After a couple of fabulous weekends when we were out in the sun it's decided to throw a strop here today and we've had hail, rain and even a bit of snow on the higher ground. You never know what's coming!

Nevertheless, I've managed to get out and try to begin putting our garden in some sort of order after winter. We lost a very long fence to a storm in November so there's been a mess to sort out after it was replaced. Fencing blokes have big feet!

I have flowers and gardens on the brain at the moment, with an on line show 'English Country Garden' coming up over the weekend and a real life show in the middle of May at a very beautiful garden fairly local to me, a tiny hamlet on the edge of the Forest of Bowland called Cow Ark.

'Art in the Garden' will have 35 artists of every discipline showing their work around a huge woodland garden, all in small marquees. Hoping for good weather of course but at least we will be under cover if it decides to turn inclement. And being England, there is always tea and cake!

Some of the leaves that my friend Helen Backhouse uses for her polymer clay moulds come from this garden so it's quite personal. I asked Helen for something new and special for the shows coming up and she made these stunning pieces with leaves from an honesty plant. A proper old fashioned country garden plant if ever there was one (and it comes in purple).

They're a really unusual shape and she has some wonderful greens, deep berry blues and wine colours in them.

I added old bronze chain and wire wrapped some sparkly goldstone beads for the berries. The wine coloured streak down the centre of the leaves is perfectly echoed by the deep pink of the niobium earwires.

I promise to take plenty of pics over the weekend for you plant lovers out there!
See you in two weeks. If you're interested in the earrings, they'll be on sale with plenty more in the Facebook group LBA Galleria Showcase this Sunday. Maybe I'll see you x 
Lindsay xx

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Sun Spots

As I haven't had chance to photograph any of the growing collection of new earrings that I've been making, I thought I'd share a pair I made a while ago.

I just adore those sumptuous bronze and burnt orange lampwork beads (from Grace Lampwork, at Lima Beads). 

The ceramic drops are some that I made: I really love the slight puckering in the old gold glaze. They're listed here in my Etsy shop.

Bye for now, Claire

Monday, April 24, 2017

Hoarders challenge continues

Hello lovelies,

How are you all doing? I hope you are all enjoying wonderful spring weather. Here in Greece, the sun is shining and it is 24 degrees Celsius. Birds are singing, flowers are blooming, just wonderful. 
And I am continuing my self-imposed challenge of using long hoarded beads for the earrings made for this blog.

I never would have picked the color combo pink and blue until one of my wonderful customers requested a bracelet in pink and white, with a dot of mint blue for some contrast. That color combo turned out great. My hoarders pick for today's earrings were sort of mint blue... so why not combining it with beautiful pastel pink? 

Ceramic disc beads by Bo Hulley Beads, one of my favorite ceramic bead makers. I have used many of her beads in the past and have hoarded even more. At the moment she is taking a break, but she will be back. Combined with some brass rings in which I managed to fit tiny Czech glass beads; vintage lucite bead caps, pearls in a wonderful soft pastel pink and more Czech glass (o-ring and firepolished bead).

These will be available this week in my shop. 
Thank you so much for looking and I hope to see you in a couple of weeks. 
Here on Earrings Everyday we appreciate and love to read your comments. So don't be shy and let us know your thoughts. 
Wishing you a wonderful day, full of joy, flowers and singing birds.

Esfera Jewelry

Friday, April 21, 2017

We're All Ears :: April Reveal :: Eggs

Remember a few weeks ago when I said that I wondered if I would get the kids to color eggs with me? Well, they didn't need much prodding! But they were very wary of the camera (so shhhhh....don't tell the boy that I snapped this pic! teehee!)

We had a good time dunking the eggs in all different colors that my daughter mixed up: lemon, raspberry, grass, peacock, grape. I decided to do sort of a madras-plaid style by dipping the eggs in partway and then turning them and dipping in another color and another. They didn't end up very vibrant this year, and I am not sure where all those speckles came from as they dried (but I do like them!), but I would count this as an all-around success. Especially that I got to keep making that memory with my kids for one more year!

I thought about all different egg options that I had.... speckled blue robin's eggs from Humblebeads.... creating my own painted egg charms.... but I ultimately went back to my original inspiration: the pysanky eggs.

Those brightly colored eggs gave me the color palette. All of them! And I was playing around with how to translate a painting technique I have been doing for a few months called fluid painting or pour paintings into polymer clay. I think I may have cracked the shell on this one! (pun intended!)

So as I was making some other beads for my Art Bead Scene inspired challenge for my Simple Truths Sampler in a densely rich color palette, I noticed I had these ends with swirls leftover. I decided to make a couple of egg beads of my own.

Since they are really brightly hued and highly patterned with whorls and bends and swirls of color swishing all the way through, I decided that I should keep the rest of it simple. Some rustic headpins and a little bit of bling with the AB crystal rondelle beads was all it needed.

Now it is your turn! Show off what you made with the theme of EGGS!

Thursday, April 20, 2017

Love in the heart and in the air

As we were just wrapping up a beautiful Easter weekend spent with our loved ones, I felt a lot of love and kindness in the air. Family, Friends and strangers are smiling more, the hint of warm sunshine and the light scent of fresh new flowers blooming creates a palpable positive shift in the energy around here.

Do you feel it too where you live? How about at home? With your family and friends?

This loving vibe and this sentiment is what inspired me this week:

I've designed a romantic 'vine' inspired design, because we're all intertwined by our feelings, our own vibrations and energy, as well as those of others around us. As my eyes were admiring the beautiful flowers blooming around town, my heart was also more open to see the beauty in others, even in total strangers I interacted with...

I've used the long 18 gauge copper wire with which I've created a pair of my Mokume Gane polymer clay headpins to not only set the beads on the earrings, but also to wrap around everything like a vine would do, coming on the way back down. It lovingly gently hugs the beads and rests on the drops, waiting for more places to go.

For these earrings, I've actually used one part of some pretty TierraCast lead-free pewter clasps. I'm not a huge fan of the bar-toggle type of clasps, but I liked the design of these with the 3 vine leaves, and I thought they could be a cool part of this design.

On my copper headpins, I've wrapped some sparkling yellow glass seed beads, as a repeat of the flecks of gold metal leaf found in my polymer clay drops. I've also added in some rustic TierraCast copper tone flat spacers, and a pair of Cosmic 12mm Indicolite Swarovski Crystals. The ear wires are non-allergenic Niobium ear wires (copper color with a copper bead accent), also from TierraCast.

I'm not feeling well enough to make elaborate time-consuming designs at the moment, but, as my dear friend Monica of TG Bears (her handmade bears are absolutely LOVELY) reminded me, I've come a long way since almost a year ago when I became very ill.

I'm feeling impatient at times with myself as there's so much more I'd like to do, but I'm thankful for my friends who love me and remind me to look at myself with more loving eyes, and to be thankful to do what I can at the moment. I'm definitely able to do far more than a year ago (and than most of last year). It's progress!

Thank you all for being here, as well as on FB/IG, and for all your lovely comments. It really helps me keep my chin up, and try to do a bit more despite having been so ill this past year.

More tests are coming with a neurologist (to confirm what we're 99.9% sure of what I have). It hasn't been easy, but creating art is healing, even if I'm not feeling well most days.

May you be showered with love and romance this Spring season xoxo

Nathalie Lesage
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Wednesday, April 19, 2017

A Wise Woman Once Said...

...treat yo'self. 

Putting aside the trendiness of the phrase, there really is a lesson to be learned about knowing when to gift yourself a little something special. And I don't mean in a spoiled millennial consumer-happy "I deserve it" spending spree kind of way. You know, just a little something every now and then---maybe once a year, maybe more, maybe less. 

--- A "me-day" where you only do what you want to do, even if that means doing NOTHING. 

--- A nice bar of that fair-trade dark chocolate from Askinosie that you love. 

--- A new shift dress to show off those humble legs you've been working on shaping up.

It can be anything, and it doesn't have to have dollar signs attached to it. Sometimes the smallest, cheapest gifts can be the most meaningful.

For several years now, I've had a little box of stones that I have set aside for "me" pieces. Things that I knew I wanted to make for myself, given the time. Occasionally I'll come across a new cabochon that speaks to me and I'll gently place it in this little box. Promising that I'll get around to making myself something "some day". 

The other week I was noticing that this little box was close to overflowing---both with stones and with the best of intentions. Realizing it had been a while since I deliberately treated myself, I vowed to focus. 

These two sagenite spray agates were destined to be paired together in earrings. Mismatched but complementary, I love the movement of the spray in each. They remind me of tufts of black fox fur---primitive, animalistic, and in the dark neutral color palette that I've been loving lately. I set them both simply in sterling silver and hung them from hand-cast sterling silver studs so they can be worn as post earrings. 

When they were finished I squealed, thanked myself, and all was well in the world <3 

Happy Wednesday!
LoveRoot on Etsy