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Studio Saturday- the Keys to my Creativity

Welcome to Studio Saturday. Where each week we share our creative insights, ask for comments and randomly choose a winner the following week.
White Iris Designs is last week’s winner, she’ll receive a set of Heather Powers’ Monet disk beads . Please email us your address by using the suggestion box and your beads will be sent right out to you.
The last time I did Studio Saturday, I was in the middle of working on the prototypes for my new steampunk and hardware inspired Steam Stone line of components. Since that posting a month and a halfish ago, I have finished up the series, listed them on my website, and presented them to the public for the first time at our local bead show. Below, you can see part of my bead show display.Once all the designs were carved and molded, the hardest part was coming up with a brand new color scheme. I had some real specific ideas, and was inspired by a movie called City of Lost Children. I really wanted to showcase some new metallic glazes, rusty finishes, and new textures. It took many firings and tests, but I am very happy with my final palette of glaze choices, shown below. You can read more about my thought process on the color inspiration on my blog, and see the inspiration for the entire line during my series of posts called Steam Week.
So now that I have the designs and the colors, the next part is the really fun part: designing with my new components! I would show you my actual studio space where I am collecting all my fun new components and beads and supplies, but it is mostly just a pile of cool stuff on what was once our kitchen table. Not much to see there. So I will show you a few things I am excited to incorporate with in these new designs.
One of the things I am really excited to start playing with again are the gorgeous natural brass findings from Vintaj. The color of the brass is so warm and rich, it is a beautiful mix with my new metallic glazes which resemble a mix of gunmetal and bronze. I think the brass fits the steampunk imagery that I am seeking as well. I am particularly excited about the key and lock charms shown above, and some of the art nouveau and art deco designs like the Sparrow’s Compass circle component.
And with the price of silver being so high lately, it is a great coincidence that I am seeking non silver and non precious metals that are not so shiny and new, like brass. I am also enjoying pewter and copper lately. Another exciting addition to my design studio are vintage and vintage reproduction parts like the keys and watch parts above from Ornamentea. I love the mix of metals in the watch parts and the dark iron like sheen of the keys. I am really having fun playing with non traditional jewelry components and metals like these keys and gears, finding new ways to use them and incorporate them into some new jewelry.
So I have shown you these new colors and metallic inspirations that are opening doors of creativity in my mind, and I would like to know about the metals that inspire you. Are you purely a golden gal? Do you adore shiny silver? Or do you like more antique silver and pewter? How about brass, copper, or gunmetal? What metals are your favorite metals to bead with?
Please leave a comment on this post in the next week and next Saturday, we will pick one winner. The winner will get the two new Keyhole Steam Stone charms shown above. Thanks for stopping by, and have a great weekend!

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18 Comment

  1. Reply
    *melanie* earthenwood studio
    March 29, 2008 at 2:48 pm

    So, What metals are your favorite metals to bead with?

  2. Reply
    Beth
    March 29, 2008 at 3:33 pm

    My preference is a mix of metals instead of just one. I like gold and silver together or copper and silver. I prefer to bead with sterling silver. Hmm….. a trend appears. I like a bit of shiny, not antique silver with everything. I also like pewter by itself.

    Love your new collection.

  3. Reply
    Carlene
    March 29, 2008 at 3:52 pm

    Hi Melanie,
    Your key holes are my fav of your steam components!!!! (if I don’t win, expect an order from me!)
    I like working with silver but I tend to like it tarnished, (antique) not so shiny. I love working with earth tones so the antique silver and gold seems a natural to me. But cost is always a factor so I’ve added pewter and brass to my pile of goodies to bead with. I’m really loving the look of brass with earthy beads. But you never know when another metal might sneak in. Can’t wait to see your studio!

  4. Reply
    nap girl
    March 29, 2008 at 4:45 pm

    Hi everyone~ I am tagging you for the “Excellent Blog” Award. Your blog is a regular read of mine and I find it, well, simply excellent!! Thank you for sharing your creativity journeys with us!
    Ox Kelley

  5. Reply
    AJ
    March 29, 2008 at 6:20 pm

    For actual metal, I like to use Sterling and Pewter, and I’m slowly adding 14kGF to my findings. It’s not MY favorite, but some beads need gold instead of silver.

    When I’m beadweaving, my favorite metallic is various shades of bronze! I think it’s a great neutral with almost anything.

  6. Reply
    Jamie
    March 29, 2008 at 7:20 pm

    I absolutely love your keyhole beads. I would love to buy some to add to my collection.

  7. Reply
    Gaea
    March 29, 2008 at 9:23 pm

    I love your color palate! Everything was so well thought out! I absolutely love copper! It is not expensive, easy to find and looks good with just about everything. I love when it gets a nice dark patina!

  8. Reply
    No Easy Beads
    March 30, 2008 at 3:36 am

    Melanie, I love your new steampunk designs. My favorite metals to use in my bead work are brass and gunmetal.

  9. Reply
    sewandso
    March 30, 2008 at 12:25 pm

    I remember when I was a little kid, clock gears trapped in lucite were a popular item. It always intrigued me to imagine them working together to produce an mechanized piece that tracked the hours and minutes. It seems our new generation is no less intrigued.

  10. Reply
    Lorelei
    March 30, 2008 at 9:15 pm

    Hi Melanie!
    I hope that you end up posting some images of your finished jewelry using these watch gears! I am fascinated with this concept but haven’t really seen it done quite yet!
    I love Vintaj brass, it’s definitely my favorite metal to work with. Lately I’ve been playing around with silver and gunmetal together. And sometime I like mixing the brass with pewter or silver just to mix things up a little!

  11. Reply
    rhino
    April 1, 2008 at 12:21 am

    sterling silver i love how it tarnishes 🙂

  12. Reply
    Melissa J. Lee
    April 1, 2008 at 12:28 am

    Well, fine silver (of course!), but I also like gunmetal, so I love some of the new glazes you have for the Steam Punk series!

  13. Reply
    thorngrove
    April 1, 2008 at 12:56 am

    About 80% of my jewellery uses sterling or fine silver (I especially like the sheen of the latter). Occasionally I’ll use antiqued copper or goldfill.

  14. Reply
    sprite
    April 1, 2008 at 4:44 pm

    I love Sterling Silver. It feels alive to me. The bulk of my experience is with brass, copper and colored wire. I like the malleable strength of copper and love how the colored wire sparks my creativity!

  15. Reply
    Doreen
    April 2, 2008 at 6:33 pm

    Love your style! Very creative and I love those colors…

  16. Reply
    Joy
    April 3, 2008 at 11:20 pm

    I’m a bit late to the game here (bad cold) but here’s my two cents. 🙂

    Copper has been a favorite for years now, love the color. At the moment I’m obsessed with bronze of all things! I managed to find some bronze wire, and solid, cast bronze findings that I am in LOVE with. The color is so….hm…ancient? It takes on such a lovely patina as well.

    I like silver, and used to use it exclusively, but what small scale designer can do that now with the prices? I like brass, but, I have to admit, it’s all starting to look the same to me right now.

    I have to say, I am thrilled to see all of the mixed metals out there!

  17. Reply
    Shaiha
    April 4, 2008 at 7:21 am

    I think that I am running really late as I just discovered this blog. Hey I said that I was running late. Anyways, I am torn between sterling, pewter and copper. I have never really been that fond of gold which I guess is a good things as expensive as it is.

  18. Reply
    Janel
    April 4, 2008 at 6:12 pm

    When I work with metal beads I tend to use sterling silver. I love the look of gunmetal and antique silver, but hardly ever use them. I have silver-lined seed beads in every color of the rainbow, but I’m sure that’s not the kind of metal you’re talking about!

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