Still Life with Pussy Willows by Taisia K. AfoninaBack in February when there were no signs of Pussy Willows coming into bloom, Erin Prais-Hintz, Michelle McCarthy and I (Mary Harding) decided that we would do a collaboration on the April Challenge painting, Still Life with Pussy Willows, as seen above. We each agreed to make a component based on the theme and palette of the painting and send one to each of us and keep at least one for ourselves. We would then share what we made with our Art Bead Scene readers on March 22. What fun!! Reminds me of the Collaboration Exploration post Heather, Lorelei and I did back in the day. You can see that 2007 ArtBeadScene post HERE .
Today is the reveal of what we made. I will start with Michelle McCarthy of FireFly Design Studio. Happily Michelle took a picture of what she received in the mail and what she used to make her pieces with.
Michelle sent us a set of 10 handmade ceramic beads with a pair of each of 5 colors in the painting.
FireFly Design Studio
I sent each of us a handmade ceramic bracelet bar of Pussy Willows that grow in Northern New York. I made several of these, each in different colors and a slightly varied image, as you will see.
Now for what Michelle made:
Next Michelle used my pussy willow bracelet bar and small bird charm in a lovely Spring design.
FireFly Design Studio
For this bracelet, she used large hole pearls which she paired with 10mm ceramic rounds and 4 strands of tiny blue Czech glass beads which she strung on linen. A ceramic bird which I sent to both Erin and Michelle, hangs off the bracelet and makes the perfect charm, she tells me. I love the combination of the larger elements like the bracelet bar and the pearls with those tiny wonderfully blue seed beads. Such an inviting and assuring bracelet for this time of year when one day is not at all like the next and snow and warm weather mix together for one last blast or two of winter.
Erin started with the bracelet bar. She says she wanted to frame this pretty piece to give it a more dynamic presentation. She used copper sheet that was shaped and hand-cut, hammered for texture and used Liver of Sulfur to give it an aged patina. Simply tying it all together with dark copper leather cord by knotting large hole pearls and finishing with an antique button make this bracelet easy to pull together in a flash.
Next, Erin used her pendant for a necklace along with the wee ceramic bird. She took a cue from Heather Powers' book Beautiful Elements and made a catkin-inspired bail from copper wire (similar to the Reflecting Motif bracelet link in the book, p. 44). Repeating the large hole pearls, the colors play well with the ceramic bird. As luck would have it, Erin found this swirl rose clasp from fellow editor Rebecca Anderson of the Curious Bead Shop for a perfect finish.
The matched sets of ceramic beads from Michelle were screaming to be earrings, so Erin whipped up a rainbow for your ears. These beads were perfect for that use! She paired them with Humblebeads disk beads (she has quite the hoard of these little beads and the colors match perfectly!) and each pair goes with the bracelet and necklace for an added bonus.
What Mary Made:
I used Erin's Signs of Spring pendant in a necklace, too. I went with the darker colors of Spring, probably because I live in the Northeast. I love the gold hues in the painting and was able to find a set of golden beads in what Michelle sent and in some seed beads I had. I used a bib bail that I purchased from Lima Beads to give the Pussy Willows a special setting. The chain is handmade by me from annealed steel wire. I love its gray black color that feels like cold cloudy days but has the beauty and warmth of aged pewter.
My favorite piece that I made for this collaboration is my bracelet wrap. I never tire of making bracelet wraps and I love to mix lots of textures and colors when I do. For this one I used a variety of wires and chain. I was happy to be able to polish up some of the brass with my sanding block and turn it into a golden color. The steel nest links that I made from Heather Power's new book, Beautiful Elements, gave me some gray and some more shine to add. Michelle's beautiful ceramic beads brought out the colors in the bracelet bar, as you can see in the picture below.
I really enjoyed this opportunity to work with Erin and Michelle's beads. It was really fun and very relaxing to make them a component and then to put them all together into jewelry. Erin makes a new component each month inspired by the painting and was delighted to share this with her talented colleagues. Michelle tells me she had a fun time making her contributions as well. I hope we get a chance to do this again sometime in the future.
I hope you all enjoyed seeing what we did and what we made.
Thanks so much for stopping by.