Thoughts of Design Inspiration

Blue heart jewelry clothing trends 2016 -blue enamel hearts


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Making Hearts

Blue enameled copper heart jewelry

I had a big inspiration recently on creating hearts, I guess the concept of Valentine’s Day might have had something to do with it, since you start seeing hearts everywhere! Anyway, I wanted to try some new color combos in my enameling work. I use the torch method so you can’t really do as much detail with the enameling like you can in the kiln because I just dip and sprinkle, but with careful balancing act you can achieve interesting results. It all happens while dangling the piece of copper over the flame, adds to the excitement! And, you always get a unique result, so you won’t get bored with your artisan craft!
I wanted a tonal blue, so I did one with three shades of blue that I like to call “Blue Sky”. I cut the copper shapes from raw copper sheet, I like to use my own stylized heart shape. Made blue earrings to match the necklace, which is new this time, I have rarely done sets before. The other version I wanted to try was using some purple that I haven’t used in a while. I did purple with a blue center, tried to sprinkle an inside shape of a blue heart on the larger purple heart. I really like how it came out, put even some pink in there. Again, did matching earrings with the same purple and blue tones.

pippa middleton blue heart scarf

Pippa Middleton and the blue heart scarf

Purple and blue heart earrings - enameled copper handmade at Basketofblue.com

My purple and blue heart earrings

Thinking of the fashion trends this year, I did find some really nice heart prints in clothing. Even Pippa Middleton has been wearing a scarf with blue hearts on it! (It was for some good cause, and seems to be sold out.) I found a couple of nice blue heart sweaters also that I thought were really fun. Would go nicely with the blue heart jewelry! Some designers have also made heart handbags this spring. Kate Spade has a lovely clutch type bag that’s really cute. Hearts are red though, not blue. I may have to make myself a blue version!

Blue heart sweater

Fashion pictures from theoutfit.com, instyle.com and hearts handbag clutchcaliforniadreamsboutique.


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Jewelry Giveaway!

WIN A NECKLACE OR A BRACELET – Ends 10/4/2015!!

If you win you can choose either item! Sodalite and Lapis long blue perfect everyday necklace OR multi gem blue green bracelet.

Go to the Giveaway Page

 


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Jewelry Display

Jewelry display, wall panel display, standing displayI got my copper jewelry in to a new store (yay!) and I needed to build a display. I just happened to get all this great cardboard for free recently and I just had to use it. I usually start with wooden panels, but this time I figured I have to experiment with the cardboard to see how it would work.

First I needed a base, I figured I would attempt to build my first simple table (!). That would be a blog post of its own…but I managed to put it together using a 2×3 stud for legs and a ready made top panel. I cut the legs with a handsaw and bought the hardware to attach them (hanger bolts, square plates). I can tell you there’s a bit more skill involved that you would think just making the legs. There are tricks to get the hanger bolts in the wood and it is not easy to saw totally straight pieces from the post, no matter how much you measure! Sure, if you have experience with woodworking, but I’m just a total beginner.  (more in the tips and tricks at the end) Don’t let it intimidate you though, you can redo…and even if the legs are a bit crooked your base will still stand. You need to have two extra bolts that fit the hanger bolt that you tighten against each other to be able to screw them into the wood. (I call it the “two bolt twist and samba” – essentially you need something for your wrench to hang on to, this would be in the “tips and tricks of general woodworking” manual, I guess!)

attaching wooden legs to display top wooden legs for table display

Now how to attach a panel to this base that would be against the wall? I cut a 20×30 piece of the cardboard and covered it with burlap using carpenters glue in the front and hot glue in the back. Then I had to think a bit how to attach it to the table – I had l-shaped brackets around so I decided to use that. I needed something “woody” to support the panel and sturdy enough to put a screw in for the bracket. So, I glued a narrow piece of wood in the back (Something 1 1/2″ wide I had trash picked…) One piece across the whole panel and then a short piece down to the bottom. I also screwed the short piece to the long piece just to make it sturdier. This actually worked pretty good! The bracket just happened to be a good size and the panel would actually sit straight on it even before I screwed it on.Then I wanted a panel that would hang on the wall, the base was 26″, the back panel 20″ so I was up to 46″ from the ground. Still good room for something at the eye level. I cut a 30×15 piece of the cardboard and covered that with burlap. I wanted a pocket for postcards so I finished the edges of a piece of burlap with my sewing machine and hot glued it in. Hey, nice pocket! How to attach hooks was the next question, this one had no wood in the back so you couldn’t screw them in a tap in nails. I decided to experiment with making wooden little posts out of a thin dowel and glue them in. (Cut them with snippers and sanded the ends a little) They actually seem pretty sturdy!

cardboard panel for jewelry wall display

Pocket and wooden hangers for the wall display

simple display neck for jewelryI wanted to try making my own display necks to attach to the panel. I cut them out from a thinner cardboard and covered with burlap. I decided to use velcro to attach them to the panel. I had adhesive velcro, but the glue on it was not sturdy enough – I ended up pulling the piece off the panel if I tried to remove the neck. So, I sewed them in by hand to the panel – it was hard to get the needle through it in parts where there was glue underneath! (You could just hot glue them in.)

 

two bolt samba, table leg making

This is the “two bold twist and samba” – how to screw in the hanger bolt

So far so good! After I delivered it to its final destination I realized I do need something to balance the wall display with. It can be tippy unless you have a way to secure the bottom corners to the wall.

jewelry display - cardboard, burlap

Back of the display attached to the table

TIPS and TRICKS:

  • Use round legs – it’s tricky to get rectangular legs to align. I found that using the leg plates is not that straight forward – my legs kept spinning around and you would have to keep tightening them. I ended up reattaching the plates several times.
  • If you want straight legs, pay a lot of attention while putting the hanger bolts in and that they are straight (and cut straight legs!)
  • You are going to need some “real” tools – power drill, ratchet to attach the legs (I have discovered the reverse button on a drill – it’s awesome!)
  • Smooth your hot glue with a piece of wood or plastic – prevents hard bumps on your gluing and burned fingers

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Early Times Antiques store - Evadesigns Maine inspirations


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The Yellow Buoy

Yellow Maine buoy Evadesigns inspirations Rockport Maine

“My” buoy

Recently, I was at a local antique store here in Maine and got totally drawn into exploring the store. They had a few rooms full of all kinds of interesting items, you browse for a while and then you see something that makes you stop. It was a “treasure basket” in my eyes since it was a basket full of old buoys (hey, who doesn’t need one!) I saw the yellow one right away, it was calling me.   It was an old one, with that rustic homey look and lots of character. You could just imagine the years of ocean waves pounding on it, and it still keeping still in the water. It’s like when you meet a really interesting person that you can’t stop talking to, because they are THAT interesting. (Hey, it doesn’t happen that often, at least not to me.) This buoy had a personality! Anyway, I look for things that inspire me to create something of my own and this was a perfect item. Now, I did not buy it, so I have to go back…I seriously can’t stop thinking about this buoy!

Sandtimers - Evadesigns Maine inspiration at antique store in Rockport

The early timekeepers, sand away!

There were some other things that interested me, like the collection of old sand timers (or hourglasses). It’s funny when you go on these explorations for inspiration you usually end up learning  something new. You see an item and want to know more about it, look it up and now your inspiration seeking also taught you something. This time, it was the sand timer (or the hourglass). I now know that  it is thought that the origin of the hourglass may have been introduced to Europe by an 8th-century monk named Luitprand, who served at the cathedral Chartres, France. Although, the Romans and Greeks had the necessary technical knowledge and skill in glass making, but there is no positive evidence of the existence of sand-glasses in those early days. Who knows about those Romans! (See, now I can answer that trivia question…)

Anyway, always explore, you never know what you might find. My best work often happens after I see something that truly hits the origins of creativity. It may not happen right away, you might see the results in a couple of months or even a year from the actual visual event. The brain works in mysterious ways!
Early Times Antiques Rockport Maine - Evadesigns Blog

He has that stare… but I like the bright colors and upbeat attitude.

Early Times Antique Store Rockport Maine Owner

The Happy Store Owner – she was fun, bright and energetic.

Early Times Antiques  dishes Rockport Maine - Evadesigns Blog

Dishes – you can find anything here.

Hemp jewelry by evadesigns


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Hemp Jewelry Experiments – Bright and Fun

green hemp and seed bead necklace evadesignsmaineI did experiment with hemp before, but just this week I got new inspiration. First I wanted to incorporate some of my enameled copper pieces into a necklace somehow other than them being the sole item. Second since this it the “year of color” I happened to have hemp yarn in bright  green and light blue – how perfect since green is one of the big colors right now? I wanted to make it statement green (and blue), nothing lame. So I decided to incorporate bright green and blue seed beads into my hemp yarn and voila, with lots of crochet loops later it’s a necklace!

My other idea was to use some knotting and make a pendant. I used one of my round enameled copper pieces and one enameled iron bead in dark purple and blue tones. The hemp yarn is a light pink/salmon color, I went through my stashes of beads to find some individual beads that would fit the color scheme. My selection is a bit limited when it comes to the need for large hole in the bead, but I think it’s beginning to work pretty well. (still work on progress). So, now the hemp bug has really gotten a hold of me – I want to find more hemp colors, hoping to find some really bright ones for the next colorful creation!hemp and enameled copper pendant necklace evadesigns

Glass beads


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Bead Shows – Inspiration from Seeing and Touching

beads in a bead show trayFor an artist or a crafter just the gathering of materials can be a satisfying and inspirational experience. You go to a bead show to get beads, yes! But it is also a way to get ideas, see new gemstones, touch them and see combinations of stones together. You can suddenly get an idea, or see a stone that just calls you “make something with me”.

So, what is a bead show? It’s a collection of vendors selling beads, gemstones, materials for beaders, jewelry makers and other crafters. You can find them all over the country, I attended one last weekend in Massachusetts. This one is held at a hotel and every vendor has their own room. You wonder back and forth in the hallway and get dizzy by the quantity of rooms and beads! You will find gemstone beads and your standard glass and crystals. But, you can also find unusual ones, people making their own beads out of sawdust or some other unusual material. Some offer kits for hobbyists, who are not yet ready to design their own, or who just prefer to follow instructions.  Somehow I personally skipped this step, I went straight into my own experiments, for me replicating somebody else’s design is boring. But, there’s a way for everybody that fits.

gemstone beads - lapis, ruby at a bead show

All those gemstone beads – ovals, rounds, lentils, nuggets!

You can also learn a lot if you decide to ask questions. The bead vendors know a lot about the beads and gems that they sell and you can end up having a very inspirational conversation. You can talk to the other shoppers and also admire the jewelry they are wearing. (They often made the piece themselves and are very proud and willing to talk about it!) Once I met a person who makes bead jewelry to fundraise for pets and I still follow their journey online.

So, go bead seeking – you might find something new or come home with a renewed inspiration!

beads and gemstones at a bead show

So many rooms and so many beads! Priscilla Beads – sawdust and handrolled paper beads.

gemstone beads in a bead show

Searching for the ultimate gem

Color for winter blues


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When Dark Outside Inspire with Color

Purple lavender and yellow, some colors for 2014How can you get inspired when it’s dull, dark and cold outside and you see no color anywhere? We’ve gone from terribly cold snowstorm to pouring rain in two days! This is always my problem in the winter since I am totally a summer person and love color and nature when its the most active. What to do?  Luckily I got a bit “prepared” during the summer and took a lot of pictures of plants, flowers and other colorful lively things. You got to think of the season ahead when designing jewelry anyway, what are the colors for spring, what new combinations could I try?

The Pantone color for year 2014 is radiant orchid – a type of purple. We also have bright shades or blue, green, pink, all are colors I like. I have been making scarfs recently and attached is a sample of one I made – bright blue and green – those colors together are so fabulous! (see pic) I watch men’s tie fashions – for some reason I feel it’s a good indication on trends.  Even the football announcers have sported some great colors and patterns. There have been some good ones – minty checkerboards, blue green stripes, bright pink squares.  Inspiring!

blue ties, Kenneth Cole, Tommy Hilfiger for 2014 color trends

Going with Blue!

The combination of the bright light purple on the wall with the yellow lilies is striking and you can’t help it – it brings you to a cheery mood.  I am currently working on a green and white minty scarf, the combination is like a breath of fresh air. Color affects our moods and sometimes make us act a certain way (the best known is probably true red that can make people hostile and aggressive! But the darker red makes you eat and drink more, that’s why you see it often in restaurants.)

And yes, the blues “cool” you down, they provide restful sleep. Blue is known to be the most universally accepted color. No wonder the standard for so many things is blue.

Evadesigns Blue and Green Novelty Yarn Scarf

Evadesigns Blue and Green Scarf
See this on Etsy – https://www.etsy.com/listing/174612428/bright-blue-and-green-fashion-multiple?

I’m going to go back to my color experiments with scarfs. It’s  perfect activity for a dark winter day (and can also keep you warmer!) Hope these colors inspire you as well.

colorful neckties

Samples of colorful neckties – candy like checkerboard and powerful combination of orange and blue stripes

purple and lavender trends for 2014

Various shades of purple and lavender are included in 2014 color trends. (And also in creative containers!)

Kambaba jasper, sodalite jewelry by Evadesignsmaine


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Fall Inspirations – Jaspers, Larvikite, Sodalite

Pantone fall 2013 colorsMany of us follow the color trend projections such as Pantone fashion color report to decide what colors to include in our designs. I have noticed before that many times you don’t even need to read any reports, the information just sort of “comes” to you. I find it fascinating how many times you find that your instinct was right. It might be that all the media and your environment, what you see and experience is actually “telling” you the color trends. Not sure, but I have always found color to be the most interesting part of design.

Earlier this summer I was suddenly inspired by colors I generally rarely use: greens, browns, grey and other earthier tones, as well as cobalt blue. I love blue, but that particular “medium”  blue was never one of my favorites.  (Well, Pantone named it Mykonos blue). I was quickly buying gemstones in these tones and really fascinated by them. I got jasper, sodalite, bronzite, larvikite, etc. in these tones. I was particularly inspired by Kambaba jasper which is this nice earthy, but cool green with orbicular shapes in black and darker green.

Kambaba jasper necklace by EväDesigns Maine

Kambaba jasper necklace by EväDesigns

Isn’t it interesting though that rocks like this jasper are formed from Cyanobacteria (form of algae)? They are actually composed of fossilized algae! Cyanobacteria were likely responsible for the creation of earth’s oxygen atmosphere. They were the dominant life form on Earth for over 2 billion years. Quite fascinating, don’t you think?

So far I have made a necklace and a pair of earrings using this interesting variety of jasper. I’m actually quite fond of the color! It is interesting how some shape, form or color combination can suddenly become so interesting to oneself. I definitely never thought I would like anything dark green again… it might be that the powerful qualities associated with jaspers are  getting a hold. It is told that this jasper will mystically soothe the nerves and your state of mind, and bring a sense of security as well as protection.  Jasper is highly-prized for powerful protective energy. Native Americans especially believed that it would protect against unseen dangers in the night. Jasper is said to calm a troubled mind and give courage, creativity and strength under pressure.

I am definitely feeling the pull. It looks like many of my designs will include natural gemstones this fall. You go with what inspires you!


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Rope – Hemp and Macrame Inspirations

Worming, parceling, serving

Worming, parceling, serving

So, yes, there is the movie “Rope” by Alfred Hitchcock with James Stewart…but I’m not talking about that. I recently visited the Coast Guard ship Eagle while it was in New Hampshire (ship is 65 feet or more, so don’t call it a “boat” like I did!). She was built as a training vessel for the German Navy as SNF Horst Wessel and was awarded to the United States as reparations following WWII. Today it serves as a training vessel for cadets and officer candidates.

While on board of the Eagle I took notice of the usage of rope, it is used everywhere –  there are knots, rugs, pulleys, steps, mops! You have all heard of macrame, but did you know that rope is used to protect line using the methods of worming, parceling, and serving?  These terms sure sound interesting – I had no idea what they meant. I saw this little demonstration on the ship of how to use these methods with rope and got really interested. Yes, tar is used. And this whole approach is really practical. Here are the concepts:

The eagle flag staff

I believe this is the staff at the stern. It sure looks like a lot of tar was used on the rope.

Worming consists of following the lay of the line between the strands with tarred small stuff.  This keeps moisture from penetrating to the interior of the line and at the same time fills out the round of line, giving a smooth surface for the parceling and serving.

Parceling consists of wrapping the line spirally with long strips of canvas, following the lay of the line overlapping like the shingles on a roof, to shed moisture.

Serving consists of wrapping small stuff snugly over the parceling, each turn being hove as taut as possible so that the procedure makes a stiff protecting cover for the line.

With my jewelry work I have tried knotting hemp before, but now I really got interested in it. I found out that you can get it in all different colors and there are really so many techniques that can be used.  The standard macrame with combining beads is the one I started with (see picture).

Macrame tassel pendant

My attempt – it has macrame with small cat’s eye beads with a large aventurine and wood bead.

I ended up with a pretty nice little combination of beads and macrame that you can make into a tassel necklace.  This is definitely worth exploring, the options are limitless with how you can combine different materials. You can also learn other ways of knotting and end up with something like the blue one below that probably took at least 500 knots and many hours to make. Anyway, I now have the hemp in four colors in addition to the natural one and I can keep experimenting!

hemp-mote

Yes, it’s a hemp-mote…a remote made out of hemp…

micromacrameanklet

A macrame anklet – I like the colors and the knotting technique is really interesting.

micro macrame pendant

Micro macrame pendant with lots of knots!

Coast Guard Cutter Eagle

You could try climbing up these rope steps on the Coast Guard Cutter Eagle – while sailing!


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Blue Hazy Beach Sky

bluehaze

Early morning hazy blue sky on Maine Coast

Sometimes when you are at the beach early in the morning and you look up you see these marvelous shapes lining the sky above you. It looks like a painting with soft puffs of shapely clouds. The sun just came up and is still looking hazy, the cloud cover blocking off some of the rays. It is texture and color with a great lighting effect that will certainly get your creative thinking to soar!

Other times you may catch a real pastel painting on the sky. Pink, purple, blue, even that lime shade of green in between. The green is usually the hardest to see, but you have to keep looking in order to get a glimpse of it. I have seen some really good paintings of these colors by a local artist. It’s mesmerizing.  Those colors are more reserved for the sunset though, the morning starts out with extremely powerful orange. But that’s for another post.

The blue hazy and puffy cloud sky instantly got me thinking of the blue enamel colors that I have used in a couple of pieces recently. I want to get the puffy texture of the clouds to show up, possibly hammering the copper piece first so you get enough texture on it after it has been enameled. Wish me luck – I’m still learning the powers of enamel! (In other words, it rarely turns out the way you intended, you get creations that were inspired by a certain thing but end up looking like something completely different!) Well, I believe that’s part of the fun of the whole concept of torch enameling. If you did it in a kiln you have much more control, but the making of it might not be as much fun.  I was reading an explanation about the difference of torch enameling compared to the kiln process that was very well put: ” It requires working from instinct with a sensitive observation of cause and effect. The torch oxidizes and blends the pigments, creates patterns and causes chemical reactions that do not occur with kiln firing. Firing times are intuitive and the temperature is controlled by the length of the flame.”  So, there is lots of potential for both success and failure!

bluehaze2

Color adjustments applied in Photoshop – you could really produce this beautiful texture in any color.