Woodside WireWorks

Wit, Whimsy, & Wisdom…

Month: January 2016

From “Deck out the Denim” to “Cashmere and Pearls”

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My table…where magic happens.

How about these pearls…Aren’t they yummy?  Welcome to my happy place, where I, Susan Bowerman, the gal behind Woodside WireWorks,  produces hand-crafted artisan jewelry;  a journey which began almost a decade ago.  While I am for the most part self taught, I have found YouTube has truly been my friend.  And, drumroll please…it was on YouTube where I first encountered my friend, Brenda Sue Landsdowne and B’Sue Boutiques!  Talk about a kick in the creative pants!

This is the second year I have participated in the Build a Line Challenge and I can assure you, I will learn more in the next three months than I ever would just sitting here on my own.  The event is sponsored by B’Sue Boutiques  (http://www.bsueboutiques.com), where one can find the best of the the best American made stampings in raw brass and in several high quality finishes.  B’Sue Boutiques is the mecca for many jewelry artists.  If you want quality, see Brenda!

There is something pretty magic about sitting down to a table full of beads and findings.  The possibilities are endless.  Often, when I’m in the zone, I will look out the window only to realize darkness has fallen, day became dusk..Where did those hours go?

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Quality, defined! Some of these gorgeous pieces are already part of my new line.

Being part of the Build a Line Challenge affords participants an opportunity to spread their creative wings, and approach making wearable art with a focused intention.  I love it.  Our format this year is different:  more structure, more reading, and more on-topic discussions.  I cannot even imagine trying to fill Brenda’s shoes, because  creating art is a passionate endeavor.  These are our babies, for crying out loud and we all know how most mamas like to protect their young! That makes mentoring an event like this quite a fete…I wouldn’t want to do it!  But, Brenda is guiding us through an odyssey of self discovery; teaching us to be work smarter, to define our style, and to recognize our customer.

The purpose of the challenge is to build a body of COHESIVE  work!  Yikes, throw that word “cohesive” in the mix and therein lies the CHALLENGE  within the CHALLENGE!  My line last year was called “Deck out that Denim.”  Here is a collage of the pieces I made during those three months.  I was so happy with how they turned out, especially since  I knew very little about what to expect and what I was doing.

Here are a few of the pieces I created for the challenge last year. My line was called "Deck out that Denim."

My “Deck out the Denim” line was intended to add a little pop to most any outfit…from jeans to a pair of slacks and a simple top.

One of the things I love about our approach this year is that  we are required to reveal our intended “line” with our first blog post…as in now!  For me, this change in strategy was a great idea, for it forced me to focus from the onset.  The pieces above are cohesive because they use components which collectively have the same finishes, so building that body of work was a happy accident.  The theme I have chosen this time requires more thought…much more!  But, what is the value in doing something if you don’t strive for adding a few new tricks to your trade?

My Happy Place...

My Happy Place…

I will be using metals in this line too, but most of them will be altered.  My line will feature hand painted stampings, flowers, and pearls…all of which I adore.   Since not everyone is a fan of flowers,  some pieces will be made of alternate components in an effort to give the collection depth.

But, but, but…now that I’m altering the metals, it means building COHESION throughout the line requires vast amounts of thought and planning.  My camera is doubling as my editor, helping me to identify pieces which need to be altered and hopefully weed out those things that simply don’t fit.

This is my father, and he is the inspiration for this line.

This is my father, and he is the inspiration for this line.

Now how did I come up with the title, Cashmere and Pearls?  Well I’ll tell you!  My late father and I were talking way back in the day and I think he was trying to convince his “tomboy” daughter to be more ladylike.  That was a TALL ORDER!  Finally, he said to me, “Susie honey, I like my women in Cashmere and Pearls!”  I’ve never forgotten that.  So the line I’m creating is dedicated to my dear father, who was always on point, extremely wise, and the best father a girl could ask for.

Cashmere and Pearls will combine beautiful stampings–modified with a dewey soft finish–and pearls, and with a few flowers tossed in.  Most of the line will be romantic and soft.

Some of these hand painted flowers will bloom in my Cashmere and Pearls line.

Some of these hand painted flowers will bloom in my Cashmere and Pearls line.

I am optimistic that I will be able to make pieces of varied shapes to add interest and create pieces, which can be layered within the collection.  With a little luck, I will be able to master some simpler pieces so that the next time I setup at a craft show, I will have offerings at many price points.  Here is a sneak peak of one of the pieces I’ve created, thus far.  I must say, I love, love, love to make jewelry.

Introducing the first piece in my Cashmere and Pearls line. The focal and stampings were hand painted and the piece hangs from a golden chain hand wired with tiny pearls.

Introducing the first piece in my Cashmere and Pearls line. The focal and stampings were hand painted and the piece hangs from a golden chain hand wired with tiny pearls.

And this is me, the crazy girl who would much rather buy pliers and beads than shoes!  Thank you so much for visiting.  Please leave me a little comment if you’d be so kind.  And please, please, please visit the many other talented artists with whom I have the pleasure of sharing this journey.

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Introducing our “2016 Build a Line Challenge”  Artists:

 

Brenda Sue Lansdowne Jewelry Making Outside the Box

http://www.bsueboutiques.typepad.com

 

Diana Buynak Butterfly Emporium Ceramic Studio

http://butterflyemporium.indiemade.com/blog

 

Irene Hoffman, Heart’s Dezire by Irene

http://heartsdezirebyirene.wordpress.com

 

Clare Wells Nemeth, Creative Magick

http://www.craftingmagick.blogspot.com

 

Mary Reckmeyer, Afrayed Not

http://www.afrayedknot.net

 

Marcia Tuzzolino, Aurora Designs

http://auroradesignsjewelryblog.me

 

Elizabeth Wilks, Wearable Art by Lizzie

http://wearableartbylizzie.blogspot.com

 

Jeanette Rose Belmont, One Canvas At A Time

http://www.onecanvasatatime.com

 

Lyn Joy Reeve, A Journey From Jewels To Jubilation

http://lnreeve00.blogspot.com

 

Belinda Reed-Ingle, Vogue Rocks

http://voguerocks.blogspot.com

 

Beth Trubman, The Journey of Jewelry

http://thejourneyofjewelry.blogspot.com

 

Carole Carlson, Bead Sophisticate

http://beadsophisticate.wordpress.com

 

Jann Tague, Clever Designs by Jann

http://janntague.wordpress.com

 

Shari Gardner, SLG Jewelry Designs

http://slgdesigns.wordpress.com

 

Susan Bolton, Fern’s Place

http://www.fernsplace.org

 

Chris Kemp, Noodle Pie Bracelets

http://noodlepiebracelets.com

 

Barbara Kelley, Angels’ Keep

http://angelskeepbandbdotcom.wordpress.com

 

Susan Bowerman, Woodside Wireworks

http://woodsidewireworks.com/

 

Pamela Anger, Novegatti Designs

http://novegattidesigns.blogspot.com

 

Joan Donovan, Hailey’s Cottage

http://haileyscottage.com/

 

Alison Huie, Ally’s Baubles

http://www.allysbaubles.blogspot.com

 

Sharon Palac, Sharon’s Jewelry Garden

http://www.sharonsjewelrygarden.blogspot.com

 

Erica Olmos, Beeb’s Closet

https://beebscloset.wordpress.com

 

Erin Whitacre, Shattered Time Jewelry

https://shatteredtimejewelry.wordpress.com

 

Fran Sitton, Sitton Up Front

https://sittonupfront.wordpress.com

 

Ginger Hammond, Lynn Leigh Designs

https://lynnleighdesigns.wordpress.com

 

Paula Gaskill, Lovely LaylaBug Jewels

http://www.lovelylaylabugjewels.com/Blog.php

 

Mary Deis, The Rose Sword

http://theroseswordmdeis.blogspot.com

 

Renee Webb Allen, Small Stuff Design

http://smallstuffdesign.com

 

Valerie Tilghman, ArtJewelsandGifts

http://www.artjewelzdimensions.blogspot.com

 

Chris Cravens, Vintage Cravens

http://christinecravens.blogspot.com

 

Leslie Carver, Adorn Divine Designs

http://www.adorndivinedesigns.blogspot.com

 

Donna Parry, JewelryDonna

http://jewelrydonna.typepad.com

 

Gina-Marie Hammer, Tangles, Twists and Treasures

http://tanglestwistsandtreasures.com/blog/

 

Kelly Wymer, Winged Wisdom Enchantments

https://wingedwisdomenchantments.wordpress.com/

 

Challenged! Again!

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Mama’s little helper.

It has been quite a while since yours truly has done a blog post…Way too long. This one will be quite short as at the moment there is a cat between my hands and the keyboard.  WHEN NOT?????  My cat, Miss Skittles is getting up in years, and earned the right to be demanding and she is.

The "Creation Station."

The “Creation Station.”

Last year about this same time, I was knee deep in the Build a Line Challenge sponsored by B’Sue Boutiques.  It was an extremely rewarding experience and I am at it once again.  The purpose is to create a body of work which can be readily replicated, is cohesive, and if one of my friends or customers saw the piece, they would recognize the style as mine.

In preparation I reorganized my studio, and made a few purchases, the first of which was to buy a heater, hoping I could find enough comfort this time around to not be working in every room of the house like I did last time.  Then, I rewarded my self by purchasing supplies.   Oh yes, we love that part!

 

Aha!  Wish I had used this last year!

Duh. Why have the tools if you don’t use them?

Since I am an American, the metric system continues to baffle me.  Last year, I was expecting a few of the things I ordered to be the size of a half dollar…needless to say, I was a tad disappointed to find them arrive the size of a dime!  So I got out my caliper, went to Youtube to make sure I was using it correctly, and was delighted this time around when the pieces were the expected size.  Small victories excite me!

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I just love to open these boxes!

Frankly I found the challenge to be much simpler when I was flying by the seat of my pants!  This year, I know more of what is expected–just enough to be dangerous actually–and I’m finding myself overthinking everything.  But that is a good thing.  I am far more intentioned this time around and lets face it:  Indecision is expensive…I am currently playing with a couple of ideas so naturally, I had to buy enough stuff to execute either one.  Aren’t  these just gorgeous?  Oh my goodness!

 

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And check these out.  Holy cow!  I mean, what’s not to love?

 

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Now the trick is making up my mind and trying to figure out how to combine all of these pretties!

We have a handful of “alumni” repeating this year’s class as well as an impressive group of very talented first timers.  These gals came to the party ready, willing,  and fully engaged.  Sharing the experience with them is already proving to be enlightening.  THEY ARE AWESOME!

So in deference to my classmates, here are a few tips that helped me get my groove on last year:

  1.  Drag out that crockpot and fill it.  Having dinner out of the way is the bomb.  It is your best friend.
  2. Make your coffee the night before.
  3. Take bubble baths.  Close your eyes and imagine.  You’d be surprised what great ideas come to you when you are drifting placidly in a steamy tub.
  4. Take trillions of pictures and slam them in a file dedicated to this class.
  5. Keep your camera on your work station and keep it charged!  And use it…again and again.  See tip #4 and tip #6.
  6. Let your camera be your editor…before you pick up your pliers.  It tells stories the naked eye doesn’t see.  Use it to test your line and individual pieces for compatible elements.  The camera and the crock pot will both help you rock this thing!
  7. Walk away.  When you get frustrated do something else.  See tip #3!  Maybe give the house a “lick and a promise” while you are at it.  If it is like mine, it could always uses a little loving attention.
  8. Gather your supplies, have them convenient, and play.
  9. Pay attention in class, but listen to your own heart!  And most importantly, enjoy the ride!

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And, may we each find ways to continue to inspire one another!  Much love to the my fellow artists.  It is an honor to be part of this journey with you!  Thank you Brenda for making this possible for all of us!

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