For the first episode in this series, I am going to introduce my friend Diana Ptaszynski of Suburban Girl Studio, LLC. Diana is a New Jersey ceramic bead and component artist, and I first encountered her work through another bead friend that was able to attend a Suburban Girl trunk show. I loved the themes that spread through her work - the maritime ocean, sea life, organic forms, fossils, steampunk, color and humor. My friend shopped for me long-distance, and picked up these things for me (the little stone cab was a bonus gift - you gotta love the generosity of fellow beaders).
Well, of course when I was done, the first thing I did was message Diana via her facebook page with a ton of pictures. This opened up a dialogue between us, that has blossomed into an awesome friendship! We have discovered that we have a ton in common, and we often chat about beads and life on Facebook - even though we haven't met in the real world. When she was in need of ultrasuede a bit later, I sent her an envelope stuffed full...in exchange for more cabochons and components...see what I mean about making bead friends?
So, how could I pass it up when Diana asked me if I was interested in making a few pieces for her table at Bead Fest 2014 in Philadelphia, PA? You're right, I couldn't! I made more than a few pieces though...I might have gone a bit overboard.
I made this Greenman necklace first, using some of the components that she sent in our ultrasuede swap. The leaf on the bottom, and the two flower shaped components above the face are all cabs that I captured - no embroidery on this one. Building the structure of this piece was a huge challenge, along with finding ways to capture these pieces in a way that still showed the beautiful glazes and shapes.
After rooting around in my stash of goodies, I made these two pairs of earrings next. Again, these are fully captured with beads, rather than embroidered onto a backing. These are quite a bit of work, but the end result is worth it. Here you can see the maritime influences in Diana's work.
I had already glued this starfish to ultrasuede months ago, but never got to beading it until now. Personally, I think this is not only the most successful piece that I ended up making, but also the most comfortable to wear. Diana seemed to think so too, as she decided to keep this piece in exchange for beads! My favorite kind of work trade...(insert maniacal cackle here).
A day or two after I finished the starfish necklace, a package arrived from Diana with three sets of components for inspiration. I haven't used this one yet...the root beer glaze is gorgeous...but strangely outside of my color comfort zone. I decided to save it for later (and have since come up with the PERFECT idea).
I just had to do something with this steampunk themed set!
I ended up using the pair of small oval cabs with the large gear topped cab to make this piece I call Cog, Dog, and Key.
You might be saying "Well, I see the cog, and I see the key, but where's the dog?" Do you see that rectangular object on the end of the fringe? It's an antique, bronze, Chinese, stamp...and the figure on it is a dog. I really experimented with this piece - the key capture is totally invented. I didn't want to hide the pretty brass. I've never used O beads before, nor have I used lace as part of an embroidery in this way. It is very different than my default work...but apparently successful, because one of Diana's lampworking friends love it so much she is trading me for beads! I'm gonna be rich! Only rich in beads, but that's what matters, right?
I love to challenge myself with color, and the third set of beads was definitely that.
I tried out several combinations before this necklace congealed. I call it Grapefruit Garden. The colors in the set remind me of my favorite citrus, and, well, the garden part is obvious.
I really need to take some better pictures of this one when Diana sends it back...its hard to tell from these pictures how juicy these colors are!
After all of this, I'm sure you have a favorite. I definitely do, and it's this one! Remember that tentacle from my very first purchase?
I have loved this tentacle since the moment I saw a picture of it! It is a bit of a rarity - Diana doesn't make a ton of them because they're time consuming, and rather a niche item. I am so excited to finally be able to wear this thing! And it's just enhanced by those vintage, matte Venetian glass beads, the sari silk, the architecture of the beadwork, and how the O beads mimic little suckers...I just love it. Diana, I want another!!!
You can find Diana's work on her Facebook page, her blog, and ready to buy in her Etsy shop. She is also a regular contributer to the Art Jewelry Elements blog, and published in numerous magazines. The Fall 2014 issue of Jewelry Stringing even has an interview with her!
Thank you for looking! As always you can see more of what I'm up to on my Facebook page, and in my Etsy shop. Thanks for stopping by!