Thursday, 28 February 2013

I Walk in the Forest that was once Seattle - Challenge of Music Reveal!

***Warning***  Very long post - feel free to cut through the waffle :)

Hello and welcome to my reveal for the wonderful Miss Erin of Treasures Found's Challenge of Music, I'm very glad to have you here!

Miss Erin hosts a wonderful selection of challenges, each with a wonderful twist.  I was lucky enough to jump on the jewellery blogging train just in time to join in her Challenge of Colo(u)r blog hop.  It was truly inspiring and such good fun so I jumped straight on the bandwagon as soon as soon as sign-ups opened for the music challenge.  When Erin announced that the extra spice in this challenge would be to draw inspiration from instrumental music, I was laughing!  A lot of the music I listen to is instrumental - from beauteous Classical to dance-driving Psybreaks (I have very wide tastes).  But  the instrumental music I listen to the most is Heavy Metal.

That's right, I'm a Metalhead.  A Metalhead in flowery silks, haha :)

Now I'm not into screamy screechy 'Hail Satan' metal.  To be honest that stuff drives me up the wall.  But progressive metal and post-metal? Right up my street!  Often gently melodic and strewn with powerfully emotive passages, this strain of metal doesn't make my ears want to bleed.  Lyrics, when there are any, cover philosophical, introspective or sociological topics, expanding on human nature and the ways of the world.

When reading the outline of the challenge, I knew instantly the song I was going to create around.  It is called 'Seattle' and is from the album Fade by Cloudkicker.  I am currently obsessed with it and can listen it it on repeat for hours quite happily(I'm a bit strange).

Cloudkicker is the one-man-band project of a chap called Ben Sharp from Columbus, Ohio.  He plays every instrument himself, then sequences and mixes it all too!  A very talented dude.  His earlier stuff was a lot heavier, but Fade, which is his latest album, strikes the chord between heavy and melodic just right for me, though I  know that for a lot of you this song will sound mostly like horrid horrid noise!  

Enough waffle now, here is the song.  I don't expect you to listen to the whole 10 minutes, but about 5 will be enough to get what I am on about.

Now, I have Chromesthesia.  If you have read Erin's post on synesthesia you will know that this means that my brain 'interprets' sound as colours and shapes - I can quite literally 'see sound'.  Which is very odd when I think about it, but as I have always perceived things this way to me it is quite normal!  I can remember being quite shocked as a wee child to find out not everyone has this visual accompaniment to sound.  I sometimes feel sorry for non-synesthetes, when I close my eyes and listen to good music, it is like having my own internal visualizer   A downside?  There are times, when I listen to (usually new) powerful music, or I get caught in a great cacophony, I can feel almost blinded and paralysed!   The first time I heard 'Seattle' I felt like I was going to have a fit.  A wonderful, ecstatic, hallucinogenic fit.  It felt like God had reached down and was massaging my brain with fingers the colour of a stormy sky.

Fingers the colour of a stormy sky?  Well, that first deep, driving riff in this song is a deep blue-grey to me, laced with rich brown and the gleaming colour of hematite.  The sound is linear but organic, the shape of it is like walking down a tree lined avenue, the trunks of trees like pillars leaning over you to shade you with their leaves.  And yet the sound is somewhat industrial as well, as though those trees were once the lampposts and skyscrapers of a city, turned to a forest by enchantment.  Huge and ominous yet warm and round and embracing.  Based on this shape I made a 'sketch in wire' using dino-bone links (probably old-hat to most of you, but a new one for me), which I felt mirrored the shape of the sound quite well:

This isn't a real piece of jewellery, it's just a sketch that likes rather like a piece of jewellery.  But you can wear it as if it really were a piece of jewellery, and it makes  a wonderful chiming sound when you do :)
Unfortunately the idea I had that this sketch was based on would never come to be.  I had some beautiful blue tigers eye beads that were the PERFECT colour.  But they were to big for my idea, and my attempts to find smaller blue tiger eye beads to use were met with massive failure.  I took this as a message and decided to work with what I had, and instead made this bracelet:

You can't really see the deep blue of the tiger eye which is a shame (I am rubbish at photography).  The lovely oak leaf clasp is by Natalie McKenna of Grubbi, once I saw it I *had* to have it!  It was just the right colour to go with the tigers eye and i have been planning to use them together somehow for a while, this was the perfect chance!  I made a coiled toggle bar to match the coiled bead cages, which are my stand in for the industrial but organic shape I was after.  Mixed in are some smashing czech picasso flowers and drops in blue, brown and grey.  And nestled in the flowers are little orange Swarovski crystals - betwixt the great grey blue shapes of the song are little bursts of bright orange, like gaudy flowers hanging from the branches of the forest that was once Seattle :)

Now, I love this bracelet, but for me it doesn't encapsulate *all* of the song.  And for that reason you get an extra bonus bracelet from me!  At just before the four minute mark the song transitions into a softer passage, that for me is a vibrant mix of purple and turquoise.  The shapes are smaller, and rounder yet sharper (I'm really can't think of a less oxymoronic way to describe it - it's difficult to describe things that only exist in your head!)  The little 'flowers' or bright colour are denser and now include yellow and deep pink:

I really must sort that sticky-out end at the front, ergh!
Czech glass and turquoise rondelles with copper spacers make up the likes, with copper daisy caps, swarovskis and little shiny seed beads.  I made a little clasp wrapped with sead beads an a tiny czech firepolish bead to finish it off, shame you can't really see it in the picture!

And that is all from me today.  I hope you didn't fall asleep during all that rambling!  Thank you very much for coming and I hope to see you again soon.  Please have a spiffing time goggling at all the other participants stunning creations :)

Sunday, 17 February 2013

Screw You Creative Block!

If you visited my blog for the Inspired by Winter blog hop a few weeks ago you will know that the piece I made was almost forced out under the immense pressure of that enemy of all artistic types; the dreaded  Creative Block.  It had laid its weighty hands upon me for the whole of January, and I didn't make a single thing, what a horridly stifling feeling!

I am glad to say that creative block has now released my little cat shaped muse (my muse is definitely a cat, the fickle thing) from his constrictive grasp and I have been purred back into productivity!

Screw you Creative Block Monster!

The movement began quite small, with a couple of very basic earring I made for a couple of events I was going to:

Not too taxing :)
I then put together a fairly simple earthy necklace as a gift for a friend who is currently living in Germany.  The awesome owl pendant is from Natalie McKenna of Grubbi:

Yes I have a beaten up old anvil labelled 'Smashy Bashy Thing'.
It makes me happy :)
I also completed a gift for my Mum, which she has been waiting for since Christmas!!!  To make up for the delay I'm going to take my new collection of Bo Hulley components to hers later so she can pick one out for her next pressie :)

Wrapping all those little links took foreeeeeeeeeeeeeeever...
I love these lily shaped carnelian beads.
Last but not least here is something new I tried.  I've been admiring pieces on Etsy and Pinterest that are built around a shaped and wrapped 'yoke' made out of heavy gauge wire and adorned with plenty of dangly bits (I love dangly bits :).  So I decided to give it a go.  The results aren't perfect but I'm pretty darn pleased with this, it is very very dangly:

This was actually the second one I made in this style.  Unfortunately I left the first one at a friends house last night!  I'll have to recover it and photograph it at some point soon.

I have a couple of other pieces on the go as well.  I've been experimenting with new wire techniques, and have also purchased some waxed linen cord from The Curious Bead Shop to try my hand at knotting.  I definitely need some new tools, some mandrels (a candle stick does not make a great substitution), some round nose pliers that are actually round and flush cutters that are actually flush would be good start I think.  And then I think I'll try sawing.  And riveting.  And soldering. And stamping.  And any other technique I happen to stumble across in the vastness of the Interweb.

God help my bank balance!

Blooming creativity.

Thursday, 7 February 2013

Challenge of Winter Reveal?

Hi all :)

I think today is the day that I am supposed to reveal the piece I made for The Studio Sublime's Inspired by Winter challenge   I'm not 100% sure as I haven't received a second email confirming all the blog addresses of the other participants, and unfortunately I realised too late to do anything about it!

I'm going to put up my piece anyway, and hope I can recover the other blog addresses a bit later (*Edit* This issue has now been resolved!:)

To be honest with you this winter has been well and truly uninspiring to me.  Dull, grey, wet and unfortunately sprinkled with a generous dose of personal problems.  So I haven't been creating much (or doing much at all for that matter) for the last month; as you can see from the blog I haven't had anything to write about!  I literally had to force myself to sit down and get the pliers out, but I'm glad I did, the creative juices seem to be flowing again and I suddenly have plenty of ideas for other pieces.

So here is the necklace I made:

It's not the greatest, but I'm glad I did it!  Those little blue Kyanite chips make me think of shards of ice, or those brilliant blue melt lakes you see in the Arctic.  Or most of all, the dazzling blue sky you sometimes see when the world is covered in snow and ice :)

The lovely snowflake pendant is by Bo Hulley Beads, and I was lucky enough to win it in a giveaway over at Artisan Whimsy.  Mixed in with the Kyanite, some tiny Czech firepolish beads and some random faceted rondelles (I think they are some kind of dyed quartz) I think it makes a nice icy piece. Not awesome, but nice.

So anyway, heres boo-poo to rubbish winters and creative block, and a big yaaaaaaaay for the fact spring is on its way :)  Bring on the lush greens and flower beads!

And thanks to Sally of The Studio Sublime, hopefully if you hop over to her site you can then hop along to see what the other participants have conjured up.


Here are the other blogs, enjoy! :)