Cactus Bloom Pendant

A Cactus Bloom is my inspiration

One of the first lampworked beads I made was my rendition of a desert bloom or cactus bloom.  Boy I loved making those beads.

Well, a cactus bloom is still on my mind, but I am approaching this inspiration a little differently now.  

This summer I took a class with Robert Lopez.  If you are not familiar with Robert’s work check him out here.  I love his quirky style and wanted to incorporate the feeling into my work.  I was really smitten with some pendants that he made.  You can see one in the upper right of this collage.inspiration Robert Lopez

 

He collaborated with a metal clay artist for the embossed medallions in the pieces, but what I liked about the pieces was the airy garden feeling, and of course the asymmetry. 

I thought my glass cabochons would set off the idea perfectly.

Most of Robert’s pieces use titanium and Argentium silver.  I decided to stick with sterling silver for my creation.

 

 

So I just finished my first piece.  And I am about 90% happy with it.  Of course I learned a lot and the next one is going to be spectacular.  I would like to have a few in the shop by the end of October.  Anyway, since I use sterling silver I had to solder all of my silver together.  With Argentium silver you can fuse some pieces.  I am very happy with the glass cabochon.  And I am extremely happy with the tube set stones.  The major flaw is a design flaw.  The tube settings are sitting too close to the bezel of the cabochon which made it quite difficult to push the bezel near the tube.  But the glass is in there very securely and will not fall out.  However I would not be happy selling this piece.  The next one will be much improved.  It’s a pendant but I am thinking some brooches too.

cactus bloom

new tag

Starbucks

I just read that Starbucks is releasing a new fall coffee drink that might just be better than the Pumpkin  Spiced Latte.  It is the MPL  for short – or Maple Pecan Latte.  It is described as an espresso drink with flavor notes of maple syrup, pecan, and brown butter.  Whoa.  That sounds decadent.  I always look forward to the Pumpkin latte but this new drink sounds like something right up my alley.

starbucks maple pecan latte

 

So that brings me to a question. 

How often do you imbibe at a Starbucks or the equivalent? 

My oldest daughter lives in Seattle, and I think I can safely say she has a coffee drink every day. 

Me – maybe once or twice a month. 

I have an amusing story about my parents and Starbucks.  Way way way back in 1990 my parents had a financial advisor who wanted them to invest in a company that was going public.  They lived in Northern Virginia at the time so he invited them to go to a Starbucks in Washington DC with him.  My Mother gleefully told me that she thought he was going crazy.  Her exact words…  who in hell would pay $3.00 for a cup of coffee.  So I guess I don’t need to say out loud that they didn’t invest. 

My Art Jewelry – something new

“Alabaster” Lampworked Beads – in a new necklace

art jewelry

There is an alabaster box
Carved, and beautiful
but fragile
just like my heart.
I trusted.
I felt certain.
But now live with broken promises
But like the box
I will endure

new tag

 

Design Element Inspiration

Artists can be fickle

Artists generally love their freedom. They want to experiment. They love a challenge. They crave variety. All that is good.  Except the artist wants their work to be recognizable.

I am very guilty about freedom in my creativity.  I like to try new techniques.  I love taking classes and trying new things.  I tend to get bored easily and want to move on.

But this year the word I chose was “focus”; and that is what I am trying to achieve these days – a cohesive line of jewelry incorporating my glass beads and metal – all inspired by my love of the desert. 

I would like you to see a piece of jewelry and say – “Oh, that’s a Louise Little design”

Repition is Reputation

I have a clear vision for my upcoming “Harmony” collection.  And I can’t wait to share it.

the harmony collection incorporates the sword like leaf of the yucca as a design element inspiration

One of the shapes I am experimenting with for this upcoming collection is the leaf from the yucca plant.  I love everything about this plant.  But the leaf is very special.  It is sword like and distinctive.  And is the basis for a lot of the design elements in this fall’s collection “Harmony”.

 

Here is a sneak peek at a pair of earrings……

these earrings use a design element inspired by the sword like leaf of the yucca plant

Harmony is set to launch on September 6th, 2017

in a brand new shop

Hope to see you there

creating the desert in glass and metal

Do you ever wonder why lizards do push-ups?

lizards

This is just one of the juicy local wildlife questions that keeps me awake at night -tossing and turning, kicking the covers off, – and making it impossible to rest.  I need to get to the bottom of this mystery.  

So thanks to the Discovery Channel I discovered it’s the male lizards that engage in this push up activity (of course it is); and all he wants is attention.

Every morning I open the garage door – this is where I do my morning weight routine arm exercises.  And there he is sitting on a rock on all fours pushing and bobbing  – up and down and up and down.

I imagine all the lady lizards are out there swooning.  Yeah, we see ya big boy!

So aren’t you glad you came over to read my blog today.  Now you too can rest well tonight.

 

Lampworked beads for my artist jewelry

So you all know that I have a real passion for creating glass art in the flame of my torch.  (20 years and still torching)

To show off these exquisite glass beads and cabochons I soon branched out to jewelry design.  Simple pieces.  The glass was the star. 

Well as all things in life change; my artistic jewelry designs have really evolved too.  I still create jewelry designs that show off glass, but I also create jewelry designs that show off my expression of the deserts of the Southwest.  Which means sometimes it’s just the metal that speaks to me and sometimes gemstones and sometimes glass and sometimes all three.

I started adding metals to my glass in the torch to give the glass an earthy feel and to create colors that were totally mine.  The colors become more muted, and I can actually make the glass look like the stones and rocks found in the desert.  

Adding pure silver to the glass (in the form of silver leaf and foil) is a favorite thing I like to do.  I take a glass rod of ivory.  Wrap silver leaf around it.  Burn the leaf off.  And then pull a stringer.  Then I use this stringer to decorate the beads in the flame.

Here is a favorite design using that “silvered ivory stringer”.

artist jewelry

I love 

creating the desert in glass and metal

 

I have been working on how to banish her

banish

 

 

Talisman

Definition

A talisman is an object, typically an inscribed ring or stone, that is thought to have magic powers and to bring good luck.  But it really could be any object that has come to have meaning to you.  To me a talisman is a special piece that evokes a memory and makes you feel good.

Talisman Necklaces

talisman

A few years back I designed and sold a series of “Desert Talisman” necklaces each with their own story.  I sold them all; but of course I had to keep one for myself.  I think of it as my summer necklace.  I first wore it on a trip to the ocean back in 2010.  I called it “Wings” as it was the perfect adornment for a walk on a sandy and breezy beach in the morning looking for shells.  Now when I wear it I think back to that week at the Outer Banks of North Carolina and all of the happy memories.

The necklace is a collection of five elements.  The round bead is a hollow lampworked bead that I made.  It’s surface decoration is a series of scrolls or swirled lines.  Next to it is a beautiful feather that I wired to the necklace.  The orange color in the feather speaks to me.  The third piece is a series of metal disks strung with crystals and beads.  Another piece is a remnant of a coin that I purchased when visiting the Island of Kos in Greece.  I set it in gold with a small amethyst.   The last piece is a stone that I purchased some years back at the gem shows here in Tucson.  It is a fuchsite stone with ruby in it.  Then the stone was tumbled for a lovely matte finish.  All the elements hang from a darkened sterling silver chain.

The necklace slips over the head.  It is 26 inches and when worn hangs about 16 inches including the elements.

Everything except the feather can be cleaned with a damp soft cloth if necessary.  The dark patina will change with age.

talisman

A new series of Desert Talisman necklaces will appear in my new shop this fall.

creating the desert in glass and metal

Art Jewelry Pendant with a Lampworked Bead and a Sapphire

An Art Jewelry Pendant – what I made in the studio this week

I was lucky to spend some time in the studio this week.  First I made some lampworked beads.

art jewelry dot beads

I really love these beads.  They look like prong set stones all around the disk.  

Then I fabricated some silver settings – one for the glass bead and one for a sapphire slice

art jewelry - wip

I made the setting for the sapphire slice so it would fit into the hole of the glass bead – which would be set on it’s side.

The glass bead was set into a sterling silver back that I had soldered some wire that would become prongs to hold the glass bead in place.  

All finished….art jewelry pendant

art jewelry pendant

Signed!

art jewelry pendant back

Another fun week in the studio.

I would also like to wish everyone a Happy Easter weekend.

 

 

creating the desert in glass and metal

Art Jewelry Inspiration – Spring Blooms in the Desert

desert inspiration - designer art jewelry

Desert Inspiration – Spring Cactus Blooms

Everything seems to be blooming a little earlier this year here in Tucson probably because we have had lots of rain.  So my art jewelry inspiration in the form of cactus blooms is just beginning.  This hedgehog plant with it’s majestic magenta blooms just started blooming in my yard.  Hedgehogs are the first cactus to bloom every spring.  And like many other cactus flowers, these blooms are really short lived – lasting for only a day or two.  Luckily the plant has many blooms that seem to take turns showing off so I can enjoy them for about a week.  

I really need to try to create this color in glass.  But I have found that difficult.  There is one glass that comes close called rubino but it is difficult to work in the flame and sometimes you end up with a nasty scum on the glass.  Did you know that glass is “colored” by adding minerals and metals.  Some of which are not too healthy to breathe while working in the flame.  Pink and red glass gets it color by adding gold metals.  So it’s really expensive too.

Another technique I have used to get this color is to fume 24K gold onto clear glass.  You end up with a vibrant pink color with a metallic sheen.  Thank goodness for my ventilation system in the studio as breathing gold fumes can lead to heavy metal poisoning.  I also wear a respirator.

creating the desert in glass and metal

 

Tuesday Ta Da

Just a Sneak Peak

I’m developing a new line incorporating my lampworked glass beads, metal, and desert inspiration.  I talked about a hollow bead last week where I had ground off one side.  To me it is reminiscent of a pod especially those prickly pear pods.  So here is a sneak peak of the finished piece……

ta da

 

And the inspiration…………..

ta da inspiration

creating the desert in glass and metal

Lampwork Bead Bangle Bracelet

bangle bracelet

Bangle Bracelets

A bangle bracelet is a rigid bracelet.  Most of the time the bracelet does not have a clasp and just slips over the hand.

The bracelet pictured above is an oldy but goody design of mine.  Lampworked beads and cast silver beads are strung on a wire and finished with a swan clasp.  The bracelet is rigid but the clasp helps when putting it on.

These particular glass beads I made for this bracelet are very organic in shape.  I call them my desert Venetian beads because I usually make them with gold or silver foil which has been covered with transparent glass like the picture of Venetian beads below.

Venetian beads

My beads definitely have a more earthy feel.

But I just had a client that wanted a splash of dichroic glass in that shape instead of foil so I made the beads in the bracelet above.  I think you can see the splashes of pink and purple tucked underneath a transparent brown glass.  I’m very happy with how they turned out.  So the bracelet is off to a new home tomorrow.

creating the desert in glass and metal

 

Bead Museum – what an honor

bead museum

This is a bead from my Artifact Series that I donated to the Sweeney Collection Bead Museum back in 2015

I am proud to be part of a group of extraordinary glass artists.

bead museum

A Contemporary Glass Bead Museum – the Sweeney Collection

The Sweeney Collection Museum is a new museum based on a collection of beads started by Linda Sweeney. The museum is dedicated to raising awareness of this amazing medium of miniature glass art and recording the history of the artists. The collection is currently housed in Glorieta, NM. There is also a lampwork studio where classes of up to 8 students can be held.
Their Mission Statement:
– To educate people about the medium of lampwork beads
-To record the history of the American glass bead movement
-Become a resource of information and networking for artists, students and historians
-Promote artists’ work and market art glass beads
-Support lampwork artists in any way possible
-Support bead related and community charities
 

Bead Museum – Glendale, AZ

The Bead Museum in Glendale, AZ was founded to establish a haven for a permanent collection of beads and adornments of all cultures, past and present, which would provide an enduring opportunity for the study and enjoyment of these magnificent examples of art and ingenuity.  The museum was founded in 1984 by Gabrielle Liese and housed an international collection of over 100,000 beads and beaded artifacts. It closed in March 2011, and the collections were donated to the Mingei International Museum in San Diego, California.  One of my Desert Bloom beads was part of this collection.