A chronicle of the meanderings, false starts (which in retrospect, while sort of embarrassing turned out to be highly instructive), epiphanies, selective apathy (still evolving), wild mood swings, opinions (subject to frequent change), and life lessons of an inveterate dabbler (and her latest dabblings).

Saturday, December 3, 2016

Pendants with Happy Fish Things!

I have embarked on a mission to use up my two bins (ahem) of ceramic artist components--first up, Jana Bližňáková of Happy Fish Things and Happy Fish with Heart! I decided to knot them--I find knotting so meditative! Needed a little of that.

This was the first one I made, with one of a pair of Jana's feather/wing-like elements (with their size and lightness, you could use them for fabulous earrings too, but I wanted to make them go farther, and I thought they'd be great in a more petite necklace). I just love the fine black tracery in the glaze. Sublime! I combined it with a pewter heart connector from Happy Mango Beads, Indonesian glass beads in variegated turquoise (also from Happy Mango--aren't they fabulous? I love how obviously handmade they are), blackstone nuggets, transparent straw-hued Delicas, sterling silver, black Greek leather and waxed linen cording.
Heart Takes Flight
Here is the second one--I had these wonderful Czech glass leaves in autumn tones hanging out in my workspace (where did I get those???...) and when I saw them together, I had to do it! I went back to my Happy Mango turquoise seed beads for a splash of matchy-matchy, added a little Red Creek jasper and a couple of carved black horn feathers, and finished the stringing with glossy black 1 mm leather cord and 11/0 matte black seed beads. I anchored the ends to a pair of my hand-textured silver connector rings, adding some nut brown 2 mm Greek leather with my coil ends, and a short length of sterling silver connector chain terminating in one of my hand-forged sterling hook and eye clasps. Sterling silver accent beads.
Autumn on the Wing
I also had two of these fantastically delicate cherry-blossom-style pieces of Jana's left in my ceramics bin (I had only used one so far). The glaze on this one was a bit lighter than the other--a soft teal fading into a diaphanous sea green. It reminded me so much of the sea, I thought some recycled glass rounds with their sea-glass feel would be a nice addition, and I had some in a lovely celadon that went nicely with the glaze. I decided to stay with lighter colors, knotting it all together with Irish waxed linen cording in ivory, and adding Czech Picasso 3-cut glass seed beads in sea green and cobalt blue from Stinky Dog Beads. For a second it was a tossup between teal Greek leather and this lovely mint -- the mint seemed to make the whole thing pop more so I went with that. It's finished the same as the pieces above, with connector rings, coil ends, and extender chain. (That's a dollop of kyanite on the clasp ring.)
Serenity Now! Right Here Under My Beach Umbrella
The other cherry blossom was in slightly more saturated, vivid hues of turquoise and teal, so I used bolder colors. I'm obsessed with these Czech "wampum" beads from Stinky Dog Beads (they make the most wonderfully mellow clacking sound as they move together). I love the Southwest palette! I added black accents to ground it--black Indonesian glass nuggets from Happy Mango (I love the soft sheen on them), more of my 11/0 matte black Japanese seed beads from Fusion Beads, black Irish waxed linen cording, and black Greek leather--and of course sterling silver (I love that little star jasmine charm--it makes me think of a marshal's badge!). The sweet little Czech glass bird bead is also from Stinky Dog Beads.
Marshal Miss Kitty
I had two of these lovely crackle-glaze medallions in teal and turquoise tones--I love Jana's muted flower pattern, it makes me think of a batik. I thought the vibrant glaze could hold its own against some genuine turquoise, so I went to my favorite blocky turquoise heishi and paired them with garnets--I adore turquoise and garnets together! It's sort of a twist on the traditional Southwest palette, I guess. I love the juxtaposition of the opaque, matte turquoise with the translucent glossy garnets. To bring in some lightness, I teamed them up with vintage Ghanaian glass seed beads in ivory from Afrobeadia, sterling silver, matte black 11/0 seed beads, black waxed linen cord and black Greek leather.
Star Power
This is the other medallion. I wanted to go warm with it, so I pawed through my enormous bin of Indonesian glass beads from Happy Mango until I found my favorite ones, in cocoa brown with stripes of pumpkin, saffron and ivory. To echo the teal in the medallion, I added large and small Indonesian glass beads in translucent teal (from Happy Mango Beads) and 11/0 Japanese seed beads in a similar color; and riffing off the colors in the brown striped beads I added more 11/0 seed beads in a warm maize color, Ghanaian seed beads in ivory, a few 8/10 seeds in root beer brown here and there, and deertan lace in a golden buff color. I added a pewter Celtic knot bead from Happy Mango, and finished it off as I did the others, with sterling silver rings, coils, chain and hook-and-eye clasp. (That little Czech glass flower in teal on the clasp is from Stinky Dog Beads.)
The Warm and Cool of It
I have more awesome stuff of Jana's left--this is what's on my worktable now:


  1. These are all gorgeous! Your beads are always so yummy, and I do enjoy your 'freestyle' of putting them together.

    1. Thank you Gloria! I love my beads too! Sometimes I just want to nibble them because they're so delicious! But I don't have dental coverage so I control myself.

  2. Well, these are just gorgeous! Your work sent me on a shopping spree and Happy Mango! lol I searched for some of the ceramic flowers but alas there are none. Thanks as always for sharing. I love your work.

    1. Thank you Patty! (And sorry to be a bad influence, haha!) I just love Happy Mango--and they keep adding more awesome stuff to their selections! Yeah, those flowers of Jana's are from at least a couple years ago, that's how long I sit on stuff! She's doing more tribal-type stuff now.

  3. Hello Keirsten, how many treasures! They are all so wonderful ! As always you are a great artist and the components you use are really unique!

  4. Replies
    1. Thank you Lori! This seems to be about the only way I can get started anymore--pick a bin and have at it! Jana's pieces are so fun to work with.

  5. Just gorgeous! I have missed seeing your designs.