Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Not dead, just busy!

Life's been a bit hectic over the last little while!  I've been trying to make a bunch of jewelry, zibies, and zibabies for the holiday shopping season.  This has mostly been accomplished, with some unanticipated downtime due to tendonitis in one of my wrists.  Still, I managed to get a respectable amount of items created!  Below are some pics of a few of my favorites.  You can see all of them on my FB page, website, and Etsy shop.  Oh, and if you check out my website, please let me know if you find any typos, bad links etc, since I just revamped the whole site!  (Only my jewelry website was updated.  If you wander off into my dog website or my SCA one, they're still the same.)

The two pics above are of Grazia, the Zibellino I made for Noelle's sister Melia.  It's hard to see here, but she has dark indigo eyes!

(This set has over 130 hand-set rhinestones!  It is ultra sparkly IRL!)

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Bronzino's c1550 Portrait of a Lady project: Belt

(This is my ACC project, just renamed and slowly continued...)

I've always loved the belt on my inspiration portrait:
It was the first time I'd ever seen a cameo in 1500s Italian jewelry, which was really exciting for me because I love seeing how the same themes/styles are repeated in Italy through the centuries.  Cameos were popular during Roman times, usually depicting deities and emperors/empresses.  They phased in and out of use over the centuries, but they never disappeared completely.  Even though I can't see who is depicted in this cameo, it seems to have the classic styling of a Roman cameo.  For my belt, I chose a mother-of-pearl cameo and set it into a gold plated setting:

Another fun element in this belt are the two little faces on either side of the cameo.  I like to think that they are lion's heads, since the symbol of Venice is St. Mark's winged lion:
A while ago, good friend of mine gave me a pair of earrings that were little jeweled cat heads, saying they reminded her of my zibies and wondering if I could use them in my jewelry.  With a few modifications, they fit in perfectly with this project!  I cut the earring posts off and drilled a hole in the back of each head so I could pass the beading wire through them.  I love the way they match the overall style of  the belt and the way they help me match the feel of the portrait.  Besides all that, I think they add such an adorable touch!  (Just look at their tineh toofers!)

None of the pictures that I could find of this portrait showed the whole tassel at the end of the drop.  This is frustrating because I wasn't sure what to make.  Finally, I found a picture that showed probably half of it, so I had something to work with!  I still couldn't tell if the tassel was made from metal, metal thread, or silk thread, so I decided to just have fun and make something that looked similar but let me play with beaded netting, something I don't get to use often enough, in my opinion!  :)  I netted metal beads and Swarovski crystals around a German crystal drop for the top of the tassel, then made a kind of multi-layer frame for the chain part to hang from.  I incorporated red Swarovski crystals into the outside layer of chain to mimic the gems on the portrait's tassel.  Here are a few pics of the construction of the tassel:

All the bits and parts, including the completed netted crystal drop:

The first, inner layer:

The second, middle, layer.  This is made up of several simple chandelier findings layered into a circle arrangement:

The third, outside, layer.  Here I attached chain around the edges of a round filigree finding.  I also added Swarovski crystals to the edges of the filigree:

Threading the three layers together along with the netted drop:

The completed tassel.  There are several things that I'd do differently if I make another chain tassel like this, but overall I'm pretty happy with it!

The drop and waist portions were pretty straightforward stringing.  I used bead caps and findings with Swarovski crystal to approximate the feel of the portrait's belt.  I really love the way this belt turned out!  It has a wonderful, heavy feel to it, and a ton of sparkle without being gaudy.  I'm hoping Noelle and I get my new gown done before Collegium so I can wear it!
Noelle took some pictures of me wearing my new set (belt, earrings, necklace) with the gown she's sewing for me (which I absolutely LOVE!).

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

ACC: Woe!

After much thought, I am going to have to back out of the ACC.  When I entered, I neglected to take into account the effect the Fall and Winter weather has on my pain levels, which in turn effect how much physical activity (such as sewing, jewelry, & other handwork) I can accomplish.  If my pain dictates I can only do a couple of things a day, then my business orders must come first!  I'm still planning on keeping up on the other entrants' progress, and hopefully I'll still be able to get something new done before Solstice, even if it is only some new accessories.  I was planning on continuing to post my crafty projects to this blog even after the ACC was concluded, so I'm just looking at it this way: that phase of the blog is just being started a little earlier!

So, I hope my followers won't stop checking in on my little crafty world...I still hope to be able to share some of my inspiration with you and read your comments!  :)

Saturday, October 8, 2011

ACC: Earrings mockup

I've always liked Maria di Cosimo's earrings in this portrait:
Her earrings aren't the usual simple drop pearl, but rather a pearl suspended from a diamond setting.  Simple but beautiful!  I have all the findings to make these except for the "diamonds."  So, while I'm waiting for mine to show up (though, alas, I could only afford cubic zirconia!), I consoled myself by "making" them in Illustrator, replicating as closely as I could the findings I'll be using:

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

ACC: Necklace

Most Italian necklaces were just simple strands of pearls, sometimes with a pendant attached.  Many portraits, when looked at closely, show some sort of spacer between each pearl.  Most likely many of these "spacers" were knots in the stringing cord, which are still used today for both security (in case the thread broke) and to keep the pearls from rubbing on each other.  However, in quite a few instances the spacers seem to be tiny metal beads, such as in the 1544-45 portrait of Eleonora of Toledo with her son Giovanni de' Medici (by Agnolo Bronzino; Galleria degli Uffizi, Florence):

Or in this one of Lucrezia de' Medici, c1560 (by Alessandro Allori; North Carolina Museum of Art):

Presumably these tiny beads served the same purpose as the knots, but with the added bonus of a subtle sparkle!  Of course, with my love of sparkle, I opted for using tiny gold beads in my ACC necklace:

ACC: Rings - first style

I ended up getting four different colors of stones to see which one I liked best.  I decided that I liked them all!  So, although I'm only going to use the red one for the ACC, I included the others in the pic so you can see all the purty colors!  :)

I haven't decided whether I'm going to sell the others or keep them...hmmm...

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Diana the Zibellino

Diana was created for the Province of Arrows' Flight (http://www.arrows-flight.org/) as the prize for the winner of their Insurrection event's Arts & Sciences competition.  In honor of the PAF, I named her after the goddess Diana (the goddess of the hunt) and I took her colors from their device (Purple and Gold).  To make her head I used a special metal powder that anneals to clay, giving the clay an actual metal coating.  Isn't she pretty?  :)

Thursday, September 8, 2011

A small digression...

Even though this isn't craft related, it is an extant medieval object relating to my other great love: dogs!  (Text and picture from this article on the 2010-2011 Scotland Treasure Trove Report.)

Swivel ring and mount for a medieval hunting leash

This is an unusual complete example of a swivel fitting for a dog leash, comprising a freely rotating mount with attachments for two separate leashes. Such leashes were used to control dogs during hunting where the swilling element would prevent the leashes being fouled or caught. The fitting is rather small and is presumably for a pair of scent hounds or dogs for small game such as hare. Hunting held a particular place in medieval culture, putting an emphasis on particular behaviour and virtues. It was in short, a social setting where an individual could show themselves to advantage and this objects reflects this social setting; finely decorated, it is an object to be admired and to reflect the status of the owner as much as it is a utilitarian object.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

ACC: Flag Fan

I am so annoyed!  I very carefully worked up a pattern so I could make a "proto flag fan," only to find out that neither my printer nor my Dad's has ink!  Argh!  Well, I've gotta do something, so I'll post my little pattern and the extant fan I based it on:

Now I just need to get some ink for my printer!  :)

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

ACC: Bracelets

Earlier today I was looking at the bracelets in my inspiration portrait:

 They are heavy chain, which looks like the "Half Persian" technique of making chain mail:

 Today I found another portrait with this type of bracelet and, even better, it shows the clasp!  Joy!  Very rarely can you see how bracelets and necklaces are clasped.

ACC: Verre Eglomise Pendant

I'm hoping that my wonderful and talented sister, Valerie aka Beth-a-Val, will help me with this project.  She is just amazing when it comes to painting miniatures!  Verre églomisé (gilded glass) refers to a technique where a subject is painted onto the back of a clear cabochon (glass or rock crystal), then the whole back of the cabochon is gilded.  The trickiness becomes apparent immediately: unlike most paintings, where you paint the background, then block out the main areas, then add detail, in verre églomisé you have to do everything in reverse!  I'm going to have to choose a very simple subject if I'm going to do this project, since I have very little experience with painting in general.

Early 1600s; Italy, poss Spain; V&A
 An extant example of a pendant using this technique.  The cabochon in the center of the pendant features a man riding a horse, with Latin script all around the edges.  Needless to say, I don't think I'm going to attempt anything this elaborate!

1570s; Portrait of a Woman with a Fan; Giovanni Batista Moroni 
This portrait shows a pendant very similar in style to the extant one.  I think I'll put mine on a ribbon too, though probably not a pink one.  ;)
One of 6 glass cabochons that I had kicking around in my stash.  I'm glad there's more than one, just in case I totally mess up!

Monday, August 22, 2011

ACC: Rings

I'm finally HOME!  I've been out of town so much this month (I've only been home 5 days total!) that I haven't been able to get any ACC stuff done.  Well, as a token effort before I drag my sleep hiney to bed, here are some pics of the bits I just bought to make rings:

No, the navette aka marquise cut of stone isn't period, but I loves me these settings!  Ideally, I'd like to find ring blanks with square settings, but until then, these rather awesome settings make me happy!  :)

I may or may not use these.  Probably will though, since emeralds were commonly used in period...and 'cause I love green!  :)

I'd originally wanted a dark red because rubies were one of the most used stones in period and because my girdle belt (which is finally in progress!) has red Swarovski crystals, but these hyacinth-red navettes caught my eye...

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Interesting Sofonisba Anguissola painting

1559; Bernardino Campi Painting Sofonisba Anguissola; Sofonisba Anguissola; Pinacoteca Nazionale, Siena

This is a self portrait of Sofonisba.  She's painting Campi painting her...could that be why she seems to have TWO left hands?  She seems to be painting herself through him.

Sunday, August 7, 2011

ACC: Kirtle bodice patterning done!

Sorry people, no pics this time, just a little ACC update.  Can I just say that I am so grateful that I have the help of the fabulous Noelle for the patterning of my bodice?  Anyone who has ever tried to pattern for themselves knows that it's a painful, inaccurate experience that usually ends up wasting time and materials, so it is costuming GOLD to find a friend who knows how to whip up a pattern!  I can't start on the gown for a little while, but it's a relief knowing that the bodice pattern is waiting for me when I'm ready!  :)

Saturday, August 6, 2011

ACC: Blueberry Buttons!

Noelle and I were discussing what I want to do for my ACC project.  Many aspects were discussed, as well as what I thought I needed to start with: patterning the kirtle.  Makes sense, right?  So what did I end up doing first?  Buttons!  Noelle was kind enough to show me how to make the awesome little fringed buttons for the zimarra, which turned out looking like little blueberries!  Love!

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Astrid's zombellino: Finished!

I just realized I hadn't posted "finished" pictures of Morte the Zombellino (aka The Death of Zibies).  So, to remedy that oversight, here he is!  :)

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Astrid's "Zombellino": antiqued

The antiquing medium worked beautifully!  I love the way it gives bone-like realism to the clay: