Strega Jewellry's Blog

jewelry, beads, stone lore, music, kids and nature

Coming Out

I  know I said I didn’t have any resolutions for this year, but I do have a goal for this present time.   A goal is different than a resolution.   And, you can set one at any time, you don’t have to wait for New Year’s.   I set this goal right around Halloween.

Let me take a little detour for a moment and explain that for Wiccans, All Hallows is the end of the yearly cycle.  It’s a celebration of the fruits of the past year’s harvest and it’s also a time to think about future goals.   So it’s a really big deal, lots of reflection and contemplation along with the celebrating that everyday folk do, plus a lot of Thanksgiving for blessings of the year.  We usually try to “clear our fields” (being a nature based religion) and make way for the next year’s “crops”.  That means letting go of and getting rid of ideas or habits that aren’t working.   Staying inside my comfort zone is not working well for me.   I feel the need to push myself into new things that I’ve been hesitant to try or maybe even things I’ve never heard of.

Anyhow, I set myself a goal to creep outside my own box, my comfort zone.   It’s as much a challenge as a goal.   It’s a challenge to become a better me as a designer and as a person because I think that what we do as our hobby/art is a reflection of our personal self.

Okay, let’s not get too deep here, I’ll bore us all to death and that is not my style. Let’s get back to beads and baugles.

I’ve always been a jewelry maker who believed in simple, clean lines.  When I did wire wrap and my other friends started coiling and curling a lot, I stuck to my simple style.   There is something pure and natural about good clean  lines, just following what nature put there in the first place.

Last year, I did some experiments with coiling .   It was a definite challenge.  The biggest hurdle was to coil without getting kinky.   I liked doing the coiling and made some pieces that I had fun with and that accented the jewelry the way I wanted……….BUT……..I found that my natural instincts led me to be more kinky than coily. (Please, no quirky comments, ladies, I AM what I AM).  I do not have the patience to sit for all that time and make components and be happy about it.   I do like what I made, but it is not where I want to be.

I made this little owl bottle necklace for my grandchild, Jessie.  Lots of coils and chain.

A crazy ring I had fun making.

I tried some wire weaving also.

I think this agate bracelet looks so plain and in no way reflects the amount of time to coil and weave all that wire.

My next challenge to myself was to perfect my clay work.     I blogged about my workshop at Zeffers Farm Studio and am in the process of making changes and challenging myself with clay work.   I’m still sticking to simple lines and textures with the clay BUT, I”m trying to come up with ideas that will lead to more complicated pieces.   I used to be satisfied with a clean piece I could put on a chain or cord like this simple textured bead for a man’s necklace.

or maybe a simple textured piece with dichroic glass

Now, I’m working on small charms and pieces with texture and words that I can use on Veda style jewelry.  (More on this style in a future blog).

I”m still not far enough outside the box but now I am pumped!   My head is sticking out there and I’m peering around!

I’ve been watching a TV series (someone who loves me bought me the boxed set) called the Tudors.   I never get tired of looking at the elaborate costumes and the ornate jewelry.   I’ve been wanting to experiment and try some Tudor style pieces but still keep my own “clean lines” style.   Here are some “experiments I made with some filigree, some stones I had in my stash box and some chains.

Not the greatest pictures, but you get the drift.

‘m definitely outside my comfort zone and loving it!

My next plan is to try some gypsy beading.   That will be a challenge.   I have to have the right piece and use just enough beads and chain to use the opulent gypsy beading and still keep  my simplistic style.  I think I may use this bronze pendant that I made during my weekend at Zeffers Farm Studio.   I’m psyched!

I’m also going to try collage jewelry.   I see a lot of that for sale, especially on Etsy.  Some of it is way too much for me, but I’m going to try it and see what I can come up with that reflects my own way of doing things.

Where else am I going?   Steampunkery, here I come!   I’ve been in love with steampunk style and lifestyle for over a year now and scared to try even on a small piece.   I found some steampunk texture stamps at B’Sue Boutique and it looks like a great way to start. I can use them with the metal clay but I think I’ll start with polymer clay and maybe make a pair of earrings at first.   I’m also going to experiment with patinas and have found an awesome product called Gilder’s Paste that looks like SO much fun!!!   You can use it on metal and even on polymer clay.   I’ve got plans to do another weekend at Zeffer’s Farm Studio and play with resin jewelry.   There is no telling where I am going to end up!  I’m out of the box and rarin’ to go!


January 16, 2012 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , , | 7 Comments

Strega’s 2012 Predictions

Christmas has come and gone.  The New Year fast approaches.   What is in store for 2012?  My predictions are based more on watchcraft than witchcraft.  I’ve been watching the stock market quotes, the fashion trends, blogs and news from local stations to Al Jazeera.   Here are my jewelry predictions for the coming year.   (if you don’t like them, call the psychic hotline and see what “Miss Cleo” says).

As jewelry artists, we will be heavily influenced by the prices of metals that we use.   We want to be able to produce pieces that people can afford to buy.   Many of us love silver, not only because it is affordable but because is has the beauty of moonlight in its reflection and glow.   Silver is not only used in jewelry, but in electronics,  batteries, solar panels, paint, water purification, medicine, and, of course, the old fashioned cutlery.

So, what does that mean for us?   Electronic gadgets, many of which run on batteries are becoming more and more in demand.  Fifteen years ago, most of my friends did not have computers and I didn’t know anyone who had a cell phone.

Today, even the smallest child knows what a cell phone is.

Miss Crabby Patti with her dad's phone

You cannot go anywhere without seeing people with a phone in their ear, talking to invisible people.   High school and college students MUST have a computer.  Senior citizens have joined Facebook and have email accounts.   Nooks and Kindles are becoming a rage and soon people will all own books and movies that are part of “the cloud” on an electronic device.   Notebooks and iPads, house phones that speak to you and tell you who is calling, cars that make your decisions for you and GPS devices to keep you on track.   All are becoming an integral part of everyday life.   More and more silver is needed to mauufacture these devices.

In addition, the whole world is talking about “going green” and solar panels are becoming more available.   With a war in progress and natural disasters one following another, gold and silver are more than ever in demand.   The price of gold has skyrocketed out of sight.  Also, because of the poor economy more and more people are wearing silver.

So what, you might say.   What does that have to do with us, the artistes?   Give us some beads and findings and we don’t need the fancy talking cars and electronic game systems.

Well, here is what it means for us.   Silver is a non renewable resource.   As the demand goes up and more and more is used, the supply goes down.   Think back to high school and the old law of supply and demand.   Prices go up when the supply dwindles.   The price of silver is climbing faster than the price of gold.   I’m not saying it will ever reach the limits that gold has attained but percentage wise, the price hike is greater.

I checked a lot of charts and stock market reports.   Some predict the rise of silver to 100 dollars per troy ounce.   The prediction for January, 2012 varies but averages out at about 33 dollars per troy ounce.

We may need to take a look at our inventory and raise some prices to reflect the current market.   We need to take stock of what silver we have on hand and use it wisely and sparingly.   It will be advisable to talk to consumers and point out that purchasing a piece of silver jewelry is an investment in the future.   The value of the piece can only increase with time.

"Elf Shot" pendant made from PMC

As the price of silver rose, copper became popular in jewelry use.  Now copper prices are rising as it also gains popularity.   I predict that we will be using more base metals like bronze and steel in jewelry pieces.    Bronze mimics the look of gold, is more durable and can be beautifully accented with patina.   Steel chains are being substituted now and manufactured so that they are shiny and mimic the look of silver.

Bronze pendant crafted from Bronz Clay

Color is going to become more and more inportant.   The news is full of grim tidings:  natrual disasters, war, crime, heavy drug use, failing stock markets and economic disaster all over the globe.   Pantone has already named the color of the year for 2012.   It’s a bright red orange that is uplifting and energizing to combat the doom and gloom on the news and the everyday blahs.   Even the name, Tangerine Tango makes you want to get up and dance.  Read the article about this color here. 

I predict we will be using more vibrant colors in our work and therefore will have to buy more beads!    Don’t forget, as you shop for beads, this is good for the country’s economy.  You are doing your share!    Sally, at Four Corners USA on Artfire will be glad to help.

mookaite beads

BTW:  A really fun blog for color inspiration is Design Seeds.   Jessica comes up with some simply beautiful palettes from photos of everyday things.   If ever you are at a loss for inspiration, or undecided about what color your new beads should be, check out her blog.

Fashion headlines:

According to Accessories magazine  (Juiced Up, get splashed with bold citrus colors!),

Harper’s (“High-gloss metallic pieces serve up the perfect blend of luxe glamor.”)

In Style magazine (Animal Ringdom “Answer the call of the wild by wrapping a little creature around your finger.”)

I predict I’ll be blogging about some of these things.

Television shows like The Tudors and Rome have created in interest in older styles of jewelry, ornate and rich in stones and color.   I predict we will be using more faux gemstones and more base metals and heavier chains to create pieces that are affordable and still stay in sync with fashion trends.   I predict that I will be blogging about some of these trends and styles.  Watch an episode of The Tudors online and get an idea of the jewelry styles.

Or, check out this site for Tudor style jewelry. 

There is a rising interest in tribal style jewelry.   I predict we will be using more symbols, feathers and chain, maybe more bone and fossils.   I predict that I will be blogging about this trend also.   I already have some pictograph bronze pieces ready to go in the kiln.

Bronz Clay tribal warrior for men's pendant (unfired)

My final prediction has to do with our JCUIN guild.  We have a strong core group with some talented and motivated people.   Some are great at writing blogs.  Others are great at putting together collections.   All of the guild members are innovative and talented in their own ways.   I predict that 2012 will be a year when we finally “mesh” and work together as a unit, producing smashing collections, blogs that get read by more than our guild sisters and that we will come up with some fresh ideas to promote Artfire and our guild members and to challenge ourselves, push our creative talents to the limits.    I wish you all the happiest of New Years………..Bring it on, 2012!!!

Here are some links  to guild blogs


Shadowdog Designs Blog

Pretty Gonzo’s Blog

Epicetera’s Blog

My Personal Oasis’ Blog

December 28, 2011 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , , , , , , | 8 Comments