Thoughts of Design Inspiration

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…

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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

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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!

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


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Birdhouse Parade

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Blue bird house – gorgeous!

It’s the time of the year when the birds are doing nests and enjoying their little houses. You see them coming and going, with bits of dirt and grass, and happily working on their projects. Then, you see small eggs and small heads popping out of their homes. We have a second year bird resident, an eastern phoebe, who built her nest again under the roof of the steps. We have named her Toivo and hear and see her every day going about her usual bird life.

There are many crafters who have chosen to build bird houses and make them their primary craft.  Here in our small coastal town you see various stores selling handcrafted bird houses. Today, I also saw them used as a decorative design element on a shore house, in a way that I haven’t really seen them used before.  All these colorful little homes can get your inspiration going, what a lovely decorative element.  This could also make whimsical accessories, such as jewelry and pins. I was also thinking – how about a bird house belt buckle?

Colorful bird houses attached to a beach house

Colorful bird houses attached to a beach house

Enjoying the scenery on top of her bird house

Enjoying the scenery on top of her bird house

I’m not too familiar with this craft, but the results sure are interesting. There are plenty of different materials used and the color schemes can be quite remarkable. I was getting really inspired by these little homes since I kept seeing them on my bike ride along the coast. I then decided to stop at a little local gift store that carries a wide variety of bird houses. I was amazed at the artistry and variations!

Various wooden bird houses at a local gift store

Various wooden bird houses at a local gift store

After seeing all the materials, colors and small design elements involved in these bird houses it all evolves into new ideas forming for my crafting. I have been considering various concepts in my head of wooden decorative items, sort of three dimensional paintings.  It’s a bit similar to the small scale of bird houses and their decorative elements.  This is another opportunity for me to use the items I keep finding washed up on the beach – ropes, wood, lobster trap parts, and so on, and this seems like something worth exploring!

Such a nice display with tiny homes!

Such a nice display with tiny homes!

Saco River Market


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Saco River Farmer’s Market

Saco River Market

Saco River Market

A Farmer’s Market –  is that an unusual place for finding inspiration? I have been to the Saco River Market now for a few times  – I am a sucker for good food and entertainment. I bring my jewelry table even though it’s really technically a farmer’s market, not so much  a venue where people come browsing for jewelry and accessories. These markets tend to evolve though, attract more varied vendors and this one is now also a destination during the Saco Biddeford art walk on last Fridays. I love the setting – old brick factory building right on the river on the second floor. The view is amazing and potential limitless. There is both indoor and outdoor space, and  a band playing every Saturday, tables and chairs for seating. You can browse various crafts – from jewelry to pottery and from Maine nature pictures to pillows. You’ll find natural beauty products from handmade soaps to natural fragrances. The food is awesome:  fresh seafood (scallops, oysters, tuna!), vegetables, bread, lobster, pie, seaweed snacks, cajun spices, authentic Italian cookies, artisan chocolates, even locally brewed beer and delicious Italian food cooked right on the spot! (the beet salad, you HAVE to try it…) The vendors are an interesting collection of people from all over the country (and the world!) You can find their life stories quite fascinating.

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Pine Tree Seafood – Jim will get you cooking!

Three Sister's (and Louie) Italian Cookies

Three Sister’s (and Louie) Italian Cookies

Crazy Dick's Cajun Foods - get spicy!

Crazy Dick’s Cajun Foods – get spicy!

Medicine Wheel soaps

Medicine Wheel soaps

I want to feature some of the great vendors here, to get your taste buds going! If you are not near Maine, find some other local farmer’s market – I’m sure there’s one nearby. It’s worth exploring – you might find your ultimate favorite product (like I did with the Maine Homestead Farm’s Blueberry jam) I have cooked both scallops and arctic char that I got from Jim’s seafood  (Pine Tree Seafood and Produce), delish! You get that nice sear on fresh scallops, nothing beats it! If you’re in the mood for pasta, try Terra Cotta Pasta gourmet ravioli.

Then have a sweet treat by 3 Sister’s Italian Cookies (yummy authentic Italian cookies – try the lemon!) End your day with Medicine Wheel Herbals  using one their soaps made out of food grade plant oils and home grown herbs and smell yummy with Kittywitch perfumes.

If you need a crunchy snack have some tasty stuff to dip your chips in from Guzman’s Salsa and herbs from Freda’s Table and authentic Cajun spices from Crazy Dick’s Cajun Foods.  

In the mood for something warm and hardy? Try one of the fantastic handmade artisan soups from the Soup Guy (he has been known to also offer fresh “Finnish Limsa”, his version of Sima – a lemon drink made in Finland for the first of May. )

Penny - a happy greyhound enjoying her day at the market

Penny – a happy greyhound enjoying her day at the market

If looking for something for your pet – like for Penny here – try the Growling Gourmet’s organic dog treats. And of course jewelry – there’s me (Evädesigns), Lois Kenney and Marrick , you will get accessorized in no time!

Evädesigns and Lois Kenney Jewelry -available for your accessorizing!

Evädesigns and Lois Kenney Jewelry -available for your accessorizing!



For a relaxing moment, take home a brew from Funky Bow Brewery and some hand dipped chocolates for the special someone from Azul Chocolates.

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Funky Bow Brewery

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Azul Chocolates

Saco River Market Freda's Table

Barb with Freda’s Table

So does the farmer’s market inspire creativity? I would have to say “Yes!” I get inspired by seeing other vendors’ set-ups, the materials and colors they chose to use. This venue itself is inspiring, the rustic look of the brick and the river, can’t beat that. I enjoy seeing interesting packaging design, like Kittywitch’s labels, the strong colors are instantly recognizable. There are a couple of vendors here that use white birch, I love it since I grew up seeing those birches everywhere. The luscious colors of baked goods and vivids of fresh vegetables certainly inspire. It also becomes a journey in texture, shapes and lines (and don’t forget smell, since there is food cooking here!) Enjoy!

Growling Gourmet - organic treats for pets

Growling Gourmet – organic treats for pets

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Highland Avenue Greenhouse and Market


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Spring Color Schemes

Apple tree blooms in Southern Maine

Apple blooms in Southern Maine

It was a beautiful spring day in Maine today – dry, sunny with nice cool breeze and striking blue sky. I just had to go on a bike ride and enjoy it.  The air was so nice and the colors absolutely gorgeous. There is something about the spring on a clear day, there is such clarity of colors everywhere. The blooms are out and the leaves in the trees are just opening and they are so bright with this vivid striking intense green, resembling a lime green color.

That type of green only happens in the spring and then it’s quickly gone, lost in the winds. I was so taken by all the bright colors of newly born plants.  Colorful phlox everywhere in various shades of pink and purple is stunning. The daffodils that are still in bloom, early apple tree blooms and bright pink early lilac blooms not yet quite open.

Spring green tree leaves

Spring green tree leaves

Bright pink phlox

Bright pink phlox

Purple and pink phlox on the side of a country road

Purple and pink phlox on the side of a country road

Lilac blooms opening

Lilac blooms opening

Color is my ultimate source of inspiration. There is nothing so satisfying and eternally interesting than all the colors and their millions of shades. The light effects color in a profound way, and so do the seasons. Seasonal color is intriguing, a color in the fall is different from the same color in the spring! I get inspired by many things, but color is the ultimate one. There is nothing like it, all the limitless shades of colors.  In color analysis the undertone of color is taken into consideration and people are divided into cool and warm categories. You can clearly see this in the nature, how the undertone changes throughout the year. Just go outside and observe!

The green that I saw today really inspired me, it is the kind of green I do like, unlike the late fall dark muted green that is not my favorite.  The bright yellow of daffodils and forsythias, the pinks of lilacs, azaleas and magnolia blooms are all wonderful colors to work with. I took out some of my green and pink beads, this will be my palette.  I started some ideas wire wrapping beads into necklaces, it is relaxing for a change since you only need a couple of tools, wire and lots of beads!

Beads for spring color palette with some beginnings of wire wrappings

Beads for spring color palette with some beginnings of wire wrappings

Daffodils in Southern Maine enjoying the spring sun

Daffodils in Southern Maine enjoying the spring sun

Lobster trap art


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Can Lobstering Inspire Creativity?

Happy lobster buoy bat shopper

Happy lobster buoy bat shopper

Now that I have been here in Maine for a year I am starting to understand how important the whole Lobster and everything that goes with it is for people here.  When you wonder around in Maine you end up seeing lobster related objects everywhere – souvenirs, traps, floats (or buoys),  signs, food and so on. I have taken countless pictures of “everything lobster” and many of them are inspirational. On the beach you see plenty – the trap marker buoys with great colors,  traps and bait bags  washed up on the beach all the time. Sometimes they have all gotten mangled together in very interesting ways with various forms of other things floating around in the ocean.

Lobster traps, bait bags and rope combined by the ocean into an artistic form

Lobster traps, bait bags and rope combined by the ocean into an artistic form

The rope bags that hold the bait come in bright colors, often yellow, orange or green. Every once in a while you see one that has weathered beautifully or broken up so that it creates a different shape like the one in the picture next to the seaweed. It has formed itself to resemble the seaweed form!

Lobster trap bait bag washed up on the beach

Lobster trap bait bag washed up on the beach

There are so many crafts that use the lobster theme, the floats can make beautiful decorative items, sometimes they are made into bats! (see picture) The local candy store makes lobster shaped chocolates. There are key chains shaped like lobster, mouse pads, towels, dishes, clothing , stuffed lobster toys, jewelry, and of course, lobster beer! (Well, it’s not made out of lobster…) And don’t forget about the lobster trap Christmas tree.  Various towns make their own, in Rockland there’s a whole event for it. http://www.rocklandmainstreet.com/Default.aspx?pageId=779820. Talking about lobster art – how about the picture by Bob Orsillo, the Night of the Lobster Man…

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Lobster trap tree at Nubble Light

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The Night of the Lobster Man by Bob Orsillo

This lobster trap marker was literally glowing on the beach. I have no idea how it’s possible, but it’s not a trick photo!

Glowing lobster buoy, not an enhanced photo!

Glowing lobster buoy, not an enhanced photo!

The lobster lane gathering of lobster markers in various colors can inspire one to create clustery colorful things. It is like a big earring!

Lobster buoy signage

Lobster buoy signage

The stack of traps is very geometrical, makes one think of modern wire designs. You can combine blocks of different color, sort of like legos. It could inspire one to make a design with lots and lots of cubes or rectangle shapes.

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I haven’t yet attempted to make lobster jewelry, but I’m sure that time will come! I have collected  many trap parts and have plans to make some decorative items with them. The options are really endless!