Thoughts of Design Inspiration

torch fired enameled copper by evadesigns - evädesigns

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Torch Fired Enamel Fun

torch fired enamel copper by evadesignsThe darn winter here in Maine took me out of commission for a bit from enameling, hammering and all the fun! Yes, too much shoveling wears out your arm. Anyway, I finally got it back enough to be able to do some copper work. I can’t wait!

I was super happy of my results. I think I have discovered a bit more technique, and acquired a bit more courage to try my own things. I am really into this melting copper wire on the enamel right now, you can get some really interesting results (or, a total failure is possible, too…) I’ve tried different swirls and even  what I call “metal rain” – just cut a lot of little pieces and sprinkle!
torch enameled copper by evadesigns - jewelry, enameled earrings

And yes, then there are the poppies, I have become a poppy maniac. I quite weirdly got the inspiration on this color scheme of blue and turquoise by looking at a bunch of laundry…crazy, right? The laundry was sitting on the floor and it was a shirt and a fleece coat and the color combination was just marvelous. “That would look great in enamel” and there I go.  You can get inspiration everywhere – even in your laundry! This poppy color is quite awesome, I am so excited about it. I really hope I can make somebody else as excited about it as well! It certainly catches the eye. I will be making many and many of these.
I have tried to master this “two prong” technique, since I’m drilling two holes in my poppies. So far, better that I expected. I haven’t dropped or anything. It does take some more torch firing enamel on copper by evadesigns torch firing copper poppy by evadesignsconcentration and a bit of planning, and your enamel needs to be deep enough so you can dip the two prong into it. This reminds me that I do need to get some more metal containers for my enamels that are deep and rather narrow. It just works better.

Hope you can experiment, too. There is an endless learning curve with this stuff and that does keep it interesting, I’m hoping forever!pper by evadesigns - jewelry, enameled pendant poppy





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Bryn Athyn Cathedral poppy inspirations evadesigns


Purple Haze

purplehaze, bryn athyn cathedral purple stained glass

The “purple haze” at the Bryn Athyn Cathedral – just so beautiful!

So, I can’t stop talking about the Bryn Athyn Cathedral…I was recently just there again, and, for the first time – inside. It would take me forever to describe all of it – the stained glass, woodworking, sand stone, monel items, etc. there is so much to see! I recommend highly you go and visit, I always get great inspirations for my creative work.

I want to show you some copper pieces I’m working on while inspired by the cathedral. Yes, they are Not monel, but somehow I find a connection. (in my next post) Also, for the first time I’m inspired to create flowers from copper – starting with a poppy of course, since I’m a Marimekko fan and I saw the most beautiful stained glass picture at the cathedral with these golden poppies that were just popping out of the window. The light was hitting that window somehow from the outside just at the moment I was there and it was mesmerizing, it looked like they were truly “golden”. I have never been a big fan of flowers in my designs, but hey, you  need to experiment and see what is outside of the box. But first, more of my inspirations from my visit.

poppies, stained glass, art

Stained glass with poppies from a distance, Bryn Athyn cathedral


Golden poppies at the Cathedral – they are most mesmerizing when you are standing right in front!

So, the most friendly guide (Gillian) explained that the detailed ornamental woodworking you see in the pulpits is truly two sided – the inside is what people don’t see, but both must be beautiful. The craftsmen made the intricate patterned carved woodworking on both sides of the piece, even if you don’t see it from the outside. We were encouraged to touch it from the inside and yes, it truly is two sided.

woodcarving, wood carved furniture

Woodcarving at the Cathedral – both sides need to beautiful – like us humans.


One of the stained glass windows at the Cathedral

The most breathtaking in this cathedral (in my opinion) is the stained glass work. There are so many of them and the techniques are incredible, the colors are so vivid and they took forever to finish. AT the front of the cathedral the mesmerizing purple light is created by both red and blue colors coming from the windows and you can truly see as if there is a purple haze inside (yes, I just mean the color). You could read a lot about how time was spent learning to make this then forgotten technique to create these colors, some of them are still secrets. Even just the blue alone is incredible to look at.

sandstone wall, bryn athyn

Sandstone walls

The walls are sand stone, the warmness it creates is quite wonderful. The color is like you are on the beach – warm, a bit beige and peach and varied with swirly patterns. Very beautiful, you just want to touch it. It gives the inside of the cathedral this all around warmness that you can’t really explain.

And yes, they just had put in the new organ! And there was a person practicing!…this was so wonderful for me. I’m a big fan of organs, long time ago I used to play one at my home church back in Finland. I used to be the church guide during the summers while in high school and I just loved to play the organ. (Thanks to the years of piano lessons I could read the music. I’m no Chopin, just your regular home town piano player.) The sound of this organ was so beautiful, I personally could just sit there for hours and just listen and stare at the purple haze.


organ, bryn athyn cathedral, swedenborgian

The organ at the Bryn Athyn Cathedral


metal handcrafted key, monel

One of the keys to the cathedral

Before leaving the tour we were able to look inside the “key box”. These keys to the cathedral doors are all handmade monel keys, carefully crafted and designed.  And, I got to hold one!


You can probably tell how much it means to me to visit here. My husband took me to the cathedral grounds when we first met, and we used to visit and walk there often while we lived in Philadelphia. It has always been a very special place for me. I warmly recommend the experience, you will not be disappointed (and they are not even paying me)!

More about stained glass creation at the Cathedral
(from book “Bryn Athyn Historic District” by Ed Gyllenhaal, Kirsten Hansen Gyllenhaal)


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 –

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!)

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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