Friday, March 20, 2015

Build A Line Challenge from B'Sue Boutiques, Maria Clark of Sweet Willow Designs, Part 3 - The Final Reveal!


Welcome to Part 3 of the B’Sue Build a Line Challenge hosted by Brenda Sue Lansdowne of B’Sue Boutiques. The essence of the challenge was to create a jewelry line based on an original concept using B'Sue components.  The challenge was to develop a cohesive line based on a unique theme with a minimum of five pieces. 




I have to tell you that going in five pieces seemed like a piece of cake.  Five isn't so many after all. Like several of the other artists participating in the challenge, I had to overcome creative blocks and being overwhelmed with too many ideas and nowhere to start.  Here are the components I started with.  You can imagine how necessary it was to settle on a few elements.

Thankfully the inspiration of the group, particularly the local Denver group, helped me overcome these roadblocks and I completed my five pieces.  I'm pleased with the results.
My concept was to use polymer clay to create faux soutache combined with brass elements from B'Sue Boutiques.  Soutache is a traditional fiber arts technique that uses colorful braided cords to make intricate and fluid jewelry designs.  I’ve interpreted the soutache in polymer clay which offers endless options for color and design.  My five pieces include two bracelets, a pendant and two pairs of earrings.


In this first set I used an ornate brass frame and flowers with deep merlot, pink and blush polymer clay custom mixed colors accented with glass pearls.  This set includes a pendant with a 27" chain and earrings with the brass flowers which I cut down and used as accents.

Experimenting with a two tone effect on the brass gave an interesting twist to the design.  The raw brass frame was colored with Gilders Paste in silver.  All of these pieces were sealed to preserve the patina and highlight the clay.

I tend to design in a free form manner with little sketching up front which adds an element of surprise but can be difficult to reproduce.  In the future, I'll try sketching in advance.





The second set used the same brass ornate frame and flowers to keep the line cohesive but in this interpretation I used vintage style silver buttons and metallic cuffs that I made myself from faux leather trim.  The set includes two bracelets and a pair of earrings.

I really liked the way these turned out, the use of the buttons adds interest and design and the faux leather gives a nice glow to the brass and enhances the overall look.  To me this has a Southwestern look with the turquoise, gold and purple clay (hard to see the purple, kind of reads black).

There's a lot more to building a line than just designing pieces of jewelry.  Pricing, branding, watching trends, tiers, selling, inventory management, taking pictures and all the business management tasks that go into a jewelry business have to be mastered for ultimate success.  The class was exceptional in that each of these issues were addressed and participants had an opportunity to weigh in with their thoughts, challenges and strategies.  This was a great learning and sharing experience.

I met two of my goals for the year which was to participate in more challenges and to stretch creatively.  Goals I didn't know I had were to find a community of artists with similar goals and to share, share, share and to make more use of social media.  These goals, while not initially identified by me, were brought to light during this challenge.  That's a great side benefit!  Finally, I challenged myself to try something new and learn new skills.  What a great experience!

You will be amazed at how unique each of the participating artists are and how they went about realizing their vision.  Each had struggles and successes which they share in their blog posts.  The energy and effort each put into the challenge will be revealed as they showcase their lines.  Thanks to Brenda Sue who mentored the class.  It's clear how much of a commitment this was for her and how much energy and passion she put into the process.  A big thanks to her and all the artists!

Please take a look at the other fantastic artists participating in the challenge by visiting their blogs below.


Brenda Sue Lansdowne, B'sue Boutiques

Marcia Tuzzolino

Jann Tague

Judy King

Linzi Alford

Cynthia Wainscott

Carole Carlson

Lynn Stinten

Marica Zammit

Catherine Shattuck

Michaele Collie

Mary Craig

Lee Koopman

Erin Whitacre

Monica Casady

Leila West

Cindy Peterson

Leila Belcher

Gloria Allen

Pamela Anger

Tammy Adams

Lynda O'Mara

Elizabeth Hildreth

Dana Hickey

Janet Calardo

Maria Clark

Lori Beekman

Jennifer Kroeger

Amy Jorgensen

Robin Reed

Ingrid Anderson

Louise O'Shields

Susan Killam

Mary Katherine Deis

Nike Bottalico

Susan Bowerman

Kristy Le

Jan Peters

Mitzie Crider

Gina Hockett

Linda Anderson

Alexandra Sefton

Melida Boman

Teresa Shurter

Melissa Latimer

Renee Hong

Nadine Edris

Lori Meyer

Jennifer Merrill Williams

Denise Lussier Poirier

Renee Allen

Autumn Adams

Elizabeth Owens

Kat BarronMiller

Sandra Ballard

Coral Law

57 comments:

  1. Wow what beautiful pieces Maria! Your faux soutache is exceptional.

    I particularly like your Southwestern sets. Love how great they look, both in gold and silver mode.

    Well done!!!

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    1. Marica, thank you so much. What an experience and so grateful to see all the wonderful lines revealed.

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  2. I think Soutache is so pretty to begin with but yours in poly is inspiring. I can just see so many designs that could be done almost effortlessly (or look that way lol) I'm so glad to have been able to see your pieces, just really, very inspiring!

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    1. Yes, polymer clay is so versatile. I tried the real soutache, made one bracelet and decided polymer was so much better for me. Thanks for stopping by, this was a great experience.

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  3. Love the faux soutache. That takes a lot of patience and control. Your designs are beautiful and remind me of Aztec or Mayan art work for some reason. Beautifully done.

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    1. Tammy, thanks for stopping by. I can see the Aztec or Mayan now that you say it. Thanks for your kind comments.

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  4. Marcia, this worked out REALLY well. You did a great job with incorporating the stampings and pulling it together. Thank you SO VERY MUCH for jumping in and being a real part of the class challenge. I feel so honored to have had so many want to get in here and dig in deep to do the work, and the hard work REALLY shows.

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    1. Brenda, thanks so much for the challenge and the opportunity to work with such a great group of artists. The encouragement was really terrific.

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  5. I love your clay work.
    great colours and striking designs.
    Cheers
    Lynn

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  6. Your work is amazing! The designs are wonderful and showcase your talent perfectly!

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    1. Thank you so much. Learned many new ways to work during this challenge and meeting you and all of the other artists was fantastic.

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  7. Maria, your use of clay as soutache is brilliant. That is such a clever idea. These pieces are absolutely gorgeous and your insights about the class were wonderfully written. I look forward to seeing more of your designs. Well done my friend. Absolutely awesome!

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    1. Susan, thank you so much. The soutache technique was quite fun. I really enjoyed seeing your work as well. Take care.

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  8. Beautiful work. I love the colors you selected and your patterns.

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    1. Thank you Sue, I appreciate you stopping by and commenting.

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  9. Maria--you already know I'm CRAZY for your polymer soutache! But these pieces are just superb! And all with working and traveling for your job = wonder woman! I absolutely love the reddish-pink-blush pieces! Amazing use of colors and I so like the different metal colors together with buttons in all your pieces. The pieces we saw have now morphed into swans!! Truly beautiful! The use of the leather is very elegant and classy! I'm just blown away by your creativity. Hope you make more pieces and feature them in your etsy shop! Lots of peeps like me would like to buy finished pieces even tho you offer great tutorials. So happy to be getting to know you and be part of the Fab 4. <3<3<3

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    1. You are sweet! Thank you for your comments and encouragement. This was a great challenge; I learned a lot and got to meet you! and Lynda and Lori. Such fun.

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  10. really beautiful work, I hope you keep developing your line!

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  11. These look great. I love the idea, it's so creative. Using the gilder's paste to make the raw brass into silver is a great way to stretch supplies and offer value to the customer, too. Your red pieces are just so pretty, you put a lot of time into them!

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    1. Renee, this was such terrific fun and getting to see all of your work was a bonus! Thanks for stopping by.

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  12. Lovely creations! Your idea is so creative and the polymer work fantastic! Great colors too. Love the cuff bracelets! Ingrid

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    1. Thanks so much for stopping by. What great fun this challenge was.

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  13. Maria, you have a wonderful start to this design line! Your work is just beautiful.

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  14. Maria .. great job .. your color's are beautiful and your off and running on your design line .. :-)

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    1. Jann, thanks so much for your kind words and encouragement.

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  15. Love your faux soutache! Beautiful pieces anyone would love to wear.

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  16. Maria your work is just breath taking to me!!! You are such an amazing soul spirit and it illuminates in your creative artwork!!!!!!!!I I love all of your pieces and I am a die heart fan of your work!!! Thank you deeply for your constant inspirational support as you are always sharing the gifts of you. I am beyond thrilled to have been selected to be on this adventure with you!! ~Louise

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    1. Thank you so much for your inspiring words and encouragement. This was a great adventure with the bonus of meeting you and so much wonderful artists. Thanks again for stopping by.

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  17. Maria I just adore the faux soutache designs you make they are perfection you are truly a talented artist. I loveeeeeeeee both sets they just gorgeous!

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    1. Kristy Le, thanks so much for your comments and kind words.

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  18. Maria, your work with polymer is wonderful. Your designs combining the polymer with the brass are beautiful!

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  19. Maria--Your finished pieces are awesome. Your claywork if amazing! I loved the way you incorporated the brass and leather with it...and you did all of this with your heavy work schedule. I'm so glad that you did the challenge and that we can get together. I'm looking forward to more get togethers (preferably when it's warmer!). Well done! Congratulations!

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    1. Lynda, thanks so much for stopping by. I'm so glad to be able to connect with so many great artists and to have a group here in Denver that is such a delight!

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  20. They are gorgeous. Your line is very unique and innovative. I never see people use polymer clay to make faux soutache. So much to learn from you.

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    1. Thanks Coral for stopping by and commenting. Such a great opportunity to see the work of all the participants.

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  21. Beautiful and unique jewelry. Love the combination of clay and metal stampings. Your claywork is beautiful.

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    1. Janet, thanks so much for your kind words and thanks for stopping by.

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  22. Your soutache technique is stunning. You have captured the effect in clay beautifully. The design looks Aztec-like with the color combinations. Very Impressive!

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    1. Fran, thanks so much for stopping by and your kind comments.

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  23. I love your soutache work, Maria! The uniqueness of this line is special.

    Cheers,
    Susan

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  24. You have such a unique way of re-inventing an amazing art form to make it truly your own and new. I honestly love these, especially the merlot and pink!

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  25. Very original and what a way with color you have! I like the way you combine the clay and the metals, More cuffs please!

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  26. Maria, Just stunning! Your work is lovely, original and perfectly executed. I am completely WOWed by your work and your comments on the group. It's been such a pleasure to participate in this challenge with you.

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    1. Nadine, thanks so much for stopping by and commenting. What a great challenge this was. Take care.

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  27. Gorgeous colors and color combinations! I like the way you used mixed media and created truly unique designs!

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    1. Micheale, thanks so much for your comments. I love mixed media. So many possibilities.

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  28. I love the bright colors and combinations you choose, they just pop! Beautiful job!

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