"The Cream Puff"

"The Cream Puff"
"The Cream Puff" was shown by request @ Liberty Art Gallery, Long Beach Ca. April '12

Saturday, February 28, 2015

Light a Creative Spark

    Got the Winter Blues? 
    Let us help you light a Creative Spark, to warm you through the cold winter nights. 
    The latest edition of Creative Spark magazine is out and I am honored to be featured again. 
    I was a participant in yet another awesome design team challenge for ZnetShows.com
    What a thrill it is to have the privilege of submitting my designs for the winter publication. 
    You'll find my five page spread on pages 80 - 84. As well as a few quotes about the season scattered throughout the magazine. 
    Most of this issue is a winter design theme, featuring cultured sea glass. A traditionally beachy element, transformed into icy inspiration. Beginning on page 6. 
    You'll also find some easy earring tutorials starting on page 50. 
    I, however, was lucky enough to be chosen to create with one of ZnetShows newest lines, 
Here is the fun stash I received from ZnetShows for this challenge. 
    I actually love these cultured sea porcelain pieces so much that I supplement my stash with an additional order. 

    For my first design I created something very simple and sweet.
    I used two mismatched patterns of the cultured sea porcelain in the same shape. One bird plate large triangle pendant (PCMX23) and one Dream/Joy/Happiness bowl large triangle pendant (PCMX28). 
    I topped them with a pair of blue swirl textured ceramic art beads by Natalie Pappas of NKP designs
    Accented them with a few creamy fresh water pearl dangles on balled copper head pins, and some hand dyed silk snippets in shades of watery blue, and hung them on handmade copper ear wires. 
    I titled my earrings "Haiku" and even wrote my own Haiku poem to go with them. 
    I remember having to write one in grade school and it being a real struggle. I find it was much easier to write one now that I actually grasp the concept.  

Sparrow Sings Sweetly
Morning Song Dance on Water
Blossoms Swirl in Blue
"Haiku" earrings
"Royal Aviary"    
  Next up, I made another pair of earrings.
    I started out with  some antique coppery bronze colored filigree cone bead caps to fit on top of a pair of ZnetShows glass pearls (BDS1620).
    I had ordered several shapes and sizes of the Montana blue colored pearls to go with my sea porcelain pieces, thinking that the Navy blue would be too dark.
    Turns out that Montana blue is a much brighter, almost turquoise blue than I was expecting, and didn't quite match with the classic Flow Blue of the porcelain pieces. 
    Well, I'm a color junkie, and never need much of an excuse for a dye job. 
    I had attended the CHA convention in Anaheim last month, and was surprised to see in the Rit dye booth, among the many many samples of possible uses, that they had dyed pearls in brilliant hues of color. Well this was the perfect opportunity to try it out for myself. 
    Now the standard dye instructions involve boiling it on the stove top. However, I have a fantastic fun shortcut that I put to use. 
Hand dyed glass pearls
    The very first time I ever tried dying wool, I found a recipe to dye it in the microwave using Koolaid. It was such a fun, simple and easy technique, compared to the standard tie dye T-shirts we made in buckets as kids, that I was absolutely hooked.
    I spent the next couple of months dying everything in site. Expanded to silk, cotton, linen, and even polyester and nylon. 
    I learned how each fiber accepts the colors differently, and how each of them uses a different preparation to accept the dyes. 
    To this day, a dye bath as an open invitation to anything white I can find in the house. 
    I mix up my Rit dye in a glass Pyrex dish, and microwave it until boiling. About 5 minutes, depending on the microwave. Then dip the pearls in the dye bath in a mesh strainer. 
    How light or dark the color is will be determined by how long they were left in the dye bath. If you just wanted to give the pearls a soft tint, a few seconds would do. I actually left my pearls in the bath for about an hour, reheating intermittently, because I wanted rich deep color. 
"Royal Aviary" earrings
    Once I had the perfect color, I then began to assemble my earrings. 

    I found the lines of the cone cage beads to be reminiscent of ornately detailed antique Victorian birdcages. So I paired them with the  bird plate cultured sea porcelain small triangle pendants (PCMX23). 
    The sari silk that wraps the handmade copper ear wires was also dipped in the same dye bath as the pearls to achieve the perfect shade of royal blue. 
    I finished by swirling copper wire around the cages and hanging a few fresh water pearl dangles. 

                 "Koi Pond" 
    I love to think outside the box and come up with new and different ways to use materials, to get them working outside their intended comfort zone. 
    These cultured sea porcelain pendants were no exception. 
    My first thought upon receiving them, was to use them as links, rather than focal pendants.
    I used a mix of the small donut pendants (PCMX21 & PCMX24), with cultured sea glass sand dollar pendants in opaque white (P49-B42S), alternated with large gold plated jump rings as links in my bracelet. As well as one white porcelain sea urchin bead by Blueberri Beads to bring up the lead.
    More of those hand dyed royal blue glass pearls (BDS1620 & BDS1621), and creamy fresh water pearls, dangle all about.
    It closes with a toggle bar through one of the sea porcelain donuts, embellished by a hand dyed silk bow.

"Koi Pond" earrings
     I also made a pair of earrings with the remaining fish plate cultured sea porcelain small donut pendants (PCMX24) & the gold plated jump rings. 
    Topped with a pair of vintage silver glass rectangle beads with blue swirls, and accented with snippets of hand dyed silk.
    They hang from handmade brass ear wires.

 "Dive Deep"  
   Again, thinking out of the box, I flipped the koi fish pendant upside down for my necklace.

    A large sea urchin spine, that I also dipped into the royal blue dye bath, hangs from the large cultured sea porcelain fish pendant.
    You'll notice how each of the dyed items appears different colors, even though they were all dipped in the same dye bath.
    Since Rit is an all purpose dye, different materials absorb different elements of the dye. Some items are more receptive to absorbing the dye than others as well.
    Also, the amount of time left in the dye bath will affect the varying degrees of the resulting shades of color.
    The silk used in this piece, I merely drizzled the dye onto it to get the variegated tie dye effect.
"Dive Deep" necklace

    I started with the large fish plate cultured sea porcelain donut pendant for the center focal (PCMX21). Hung the hand dyed sea spine from what should have been the top. Wrapped it in a copper wire coil and dangled lots of creamy fresh water pearls from and around it.
"Dive Deep" focal pendant 
    A very eclectic mix of beads embrace the cultured sea porcelain koi pendant.
    The three large organic lampwork glass beads were made by my mother, Carol Rowe.
    The two large blue scrolled textured ceramic art beads are by Natalie Papas of NKP Designs.
    The white porcelain sea urchin is by Blueberri Beads.
    I also used a mix of vintage beads, including some silver glass rectangles with blue swirls, African glass trade beads, Greek Mykonos ceramic wheels, and a smaller vintage blue and white lampwork glass swirl bead.
    Lastly, a blue swirl Venetian blown glass ball, and one royal blue cultured sea glass barrel bead (S74-B33) wrapped with a copper wire coil and embellished with a pair of creamy fresh water pearl dangles.
    Hand dyed silk finishes off the back for a comfortable fit, and it closes with a copper wire hook and loop.

    All of these designs will be listed in my etsy shop within the next few days, so keep your eye out for them.
    Please take a look at the magazine, and all the other wonderful designs created for these challenges. You'll find links to each of the designers blogs and shops in there.  
    Thank you for stopping by. Have you enjoyed my tour of the Japanese gardens? I hope you have found your zen place.
                                Peace, Love & PyxeeDust!


  1. Hi Kelly All of your designs with the cultured porcelain are beautiful. The fact that you had dyed the pearls makes you designs really special.

  2. Fabulous! The colors compliment each other so well!