Thursday, March 4, 2010

Sol Bijou Introduces: Etsy Shop shufflestudio

Today the big spotlight is on an incredibly talented artist. She captivated my eyes with her vibrant colours, her imagination and her lively personality. Her name is Cara, the creative force behind "Shuffle Studio". This Etsy shop offers an array of gorgeous lampwork and blown glass beads.

Recently I commissioned Cara to create some custom pieces for one of my future projects. She was thrilled by the challenge, and very eager to fulfill my request. As she very well put it: "I love experimenting with glass, and custom orders allow me to do things I wouldn't think of". Soon you will be able to see her mini "master pieces" in my jewelry.

Below is a mini bio on Cara and some photos of her beautiful art. Thank you Cara for making this world a little brighter with your creations!!!


“When I was young I used to make jewelry and little crafty projects with my best friend (we would go to the local craft store and spend hours debating which supplies we HAD to have versus what we could afford) And that carried into a school career full of art classes and basically getting my hands into whatever type of art I could learn.

In college I saw myself as kind of an art groupie, no great drawing/ painting talents, average sculpting ability etc; and I wondered if I was one of those people who love art but weren't very gifted at creating it. However, one day on a jaunt to a local headshop with friends I met a glass artist who gave me a list of people who offered instruction in hot glass blowing.

I began taking classes in full scale glass blowing in Ann Arbor, MI at Baron Glassworks from the incomparable Annette Baron, and immediately found my niche in the art world. The best way to describe it is to say that working with molten glass made the voices in my head literally “shut up”. I was able to completely focus and give my entire being to the creation of something beautiful. And the lovely part about glass is that even the mistakes are very often gorgeous.

After 3 years of molten glass work I began to long for a way to work with glass that was closer to home, and I bought a starter kit and a copy of "Making Glass Beads" from a local stained glass supply house and taught myself to make lampwork beads. It was a nice way to keep my hand in the glass when I couldn't make the 3 hour trip to the studio.

My biggest challenge in glass is my literal mind. I love the abstract work of artists like Micheal Barley and Sarah Hornik, but when I make beads that are more free form, they never look right, I am happiest when creating my version of something I know and love, like the peacock bead series that I have been working on lately. My goal is to do more abstract work this year and not be so determined to achieve symmetry and "perfection".













Saturday, February 27, 2010

In my Eyes: The Perfect Marriage

I just posted on Etsy my newest creation. I consider it to be the perfect marriage between both my passions: Fabric and Wire-Wrapped gems.

"Breathless", as I named this mini-bib was created with rolled satin roses in shades of champagne and cream - these flowers are made by me, and have been embellished with an assortment of findings, pearls and rhinestones to complement the colour of the blooms. In order to create texture, I added silk flowers and tiny ribbon rosettes to the mix. Finally, I created "floral branches" by twisting non-tarnish silver artisan wire with quality faceted Fluorite marquise, faceted Kyanite briolettes, Rock Quartz briolettes, Swarovski Pearls, Moonstone and Rose Quartz. A feminine satin ribbon in lilac and champagne completes the look. Unfortunately, the pictures don't quite capture the detail and lustre of the stones, and the richness of this piece.

Spring is in the air!!!









Just found out that the necklace was just included in an Etsy Treasury - Check it out!

Friday, February 26, 2010

Sol Bijou Introduces: Etsy Shop stucktogether

Once you find out what this shop is all about you will see how appropriate the name is!!!! Stuck Together – as her owner Wendy says – "is dedicated to the glory of the magnet”. Indeed, you will find the coolest, cutest magnets in a variety of colors and shapes, and if for some reason you can’t find what you are looking for, just ask Wendy!!

“My name is Wendy Parker and I am a single momma to an amazing four-year-old girl. We live happily in Apex, NC, just outside of Raleigh. I have always been a crafty person and have dabbled in various types of crafts for years. I recently opened a jewelry shop on etsy and made some glass pendants for that shop and really loved the process. Those pendants led me to making the magnet sets and I opened Stuck Together in January. I love looking for images and fun papers to use and get very excited when I find one that I know will look beautiful under glass. I try to create something for everyone because I think they make a universally fun and affordable gift”









Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Learning New Tricks!

As much as I love working with wire, I am also very intrigued by fabric. So, slowly I have been immersing myself into a new world...Recently I created various types of Statement Necklaces - Last night I learnt a new technique: how to create fabric roses. I purchased a few yards of organza and ribbon - in serveral colours - and I let my imagination run wild. Below is yet a new style of Bibs. This time, I have incorporated some of my new roses, which I placed in the centre of the necklace. I have to admit that I am pretty happy with the outcome. There is more in the works...I have some night pieces, as well as bridal pieces waiting to be born!







Monday, February 22, 2010

Sol Bijou Introduces: Etsy Shop sweetdixiedesigns

Today, I am excited to introduce to you Etsy shop: “Sweet Dixie Designs”. Jane’s hand-painted frames are unique, colorful and vibrant. The photos below speak for themselves. Thank you Jane for sharing your talent with us!

"I have always loved to doodle and draw. As a child all my mother had to do was give me crayons and paper and I was happy. After graduating from college with a degree in Textile Design I started painting furniture and home accessories that I sold at craft shows and also to local gift stores for a while. Then as I started having children I took some time off; finding time to paint was difficult with three children to care for. Now that they are older I found that I wanted to find my way back to painting and being creative again. I started painting my frames this fall, and became a seller on Etsy in November. My shop is called Sweet Dixie Designs, named after my fourth "child" Dixie, a retired racing greyhound. I love color and I am really enjoying the process of creating new patterns and combination's for my frames. I look forward to adding additional items to my collection as time goes on".











What is Gold Filled?

We all know that gold is not inexpensive, and these days the spot price is going upwards of $500 an ounce. So there is an economical alternative that keeps a solid layer of 14 karat gold in contact with skin! 14 karat gold filled is the affordable solution. Gold filled is an actual layer of gold-pressure bonded to another metal. Gold filled is not to be confused with gold plating, as gold filled literally has 100% more gold than gold plating. Gold filled is much more valuable and tarnish resistant. 14K gold-filled jewelry will not peel or flake and can be treasured as heirloom pieces. By law, it has 1/20th by weight layer of 14 karat gold permanently bonded over a core of base metal. It has far more gold than the few microns coating of gold in gold plate, a hundred or more times the amount of gold.

Gold Filled has been referred to as the "Gold of the Future" because it offers all the same physical characteristics as solid gold such as beauty, durability, and strength, but at a fraction of the cost. Since the gold is on the outer surface area, it is nearly impossible to tell the difference between solid gold and Gold Filled, except when it comes to the cost!

To care for your gold-filled jewelry take a small bowl that will hold about a quart of water and line it with aluminum foil. Add hot water and a tablespoon of Tide washing powder (not liquid or with bleach) and stir. Place your jewelry in the solution for about 1 minute and rinse with clean water and air dry. This works great on Sterling Silver too and it will not hurt any stones. If you have a build-up of dirt in hard to reach places, just put a little dish washing liquid in a bowl of water and soak over night.

This necklace was created using 14k gold filled. It is a mosaique necklace with Aqua Chalcedony, Amethyst, Aquamarine, Citrine, and Czech Glass. I used hair-thin gold filled wire to coil and wrap the precious stones. The results can be seen below.





Thursday, February 18, 2010

Sol Bijou Introduces: Etsy Shop “CozyLittleCave”

Today I wanted to “show off” the work of this wonderful Etsy artist. Her shop is called “Cozy Little Cave” and her name is Tess. Her master pieces are vibrant, playful and unique.

Tess started drawing pretty much as soon as her mom gave her crayons.

As she grew up, she expanded her love of the arts into dance as well - What painter wouldn't love dance? Movement, color, line, expression, emotion, and striking images - A perfect fit! Eventually, some grown up made her pick a "career path", and for a brief stint she considered the very practical "petroleum engineer". Five minutes later, she realized she'd rather be poor and happy and settled on Environmental Design & Visual Studies at the Texas A&M College of Architecture. A minor in dance and one Master's in Art Education later, she found herself married and with the perfect opportunity at following a love of creating beauty and sharing her vibrant view of the world with others. Her work is expressive, bold, colorful, and figurative - directly swayed by her love of painting and dance. She opened a little shop where she sells mostly fun, mod little paintings, helping make original art just a little more affordable!