Monday, December 30, 2013

2013 Explorations - The Adventure Continues into 2014

I have explored a number of new ideas this year... I will talk about just a few here.

Themed Bead Assemblies

All year, I've been wanting to play with the idea of putting beads together into a themed assembly or composition.

Cuckoo Clock bead assembly

Ideas I've been toying with include:
  • Cuckoo clocks with dangling leaf pendulums or possibly baby birds.
  • Log and branch slices, bark textures, and leaves, assembled in layers.
  • Trees with birds inside or on them, Bird houses with birds inside them.
  • Branches with leaves attached or hanging off them.
  • Treasure Hearts with a hollow space for a little arrow bead, or a flower bead, or maybe a bronze key, or who knows what?
  • Word Clouds - clouds that have little words all over them and letters dangling below like rain.
  • Bird houses with bird beads in them, eggs, and other little discoveries.
The idea would be that all the parts can be removed and used independently by the jewelry designer, or all together as a pendant or even an ornament. For example, the bird bead can be removed from the bird house and each can be used separately.

I finally got around to trying some of these ideas out...

Cuckoo Clock with tiny leaf charms

Cuckoo clock detail: a cobbled roof!

Log slice and leaf layered composition

Other "tree parts" for layered assemblies: tree slices, leaves, bark.

Owl in Tree Home

Owl in Tree Home

Owl Tree Details

Owl on branch

Branch assembly with tiny leaf charms

I plan to continue this exploration into 2014. I have been working on some sketches. I want to try a variety of themed assemblies for beads. I also want to try this for pottery and other media.

Other Thoughts for 2014 Based on Explorations Begun This Year...

This past summer, my husband Don had to clear some trees, and I asked him to make me some tree cookies (log slices).

I used these as little jewelry, bead and photo displays. They are wonderful and have inspired other ideas.... like this one with ceramic and wood elements (by the way this was also the inspiration for a version in ceramic, in the photos above)... I want to explore this further. I'm contemplating setting up a little woodworking bench for this!

The other day, Don split some hardwood cherry wood for our wood stove (from trees that had blown down in a fierce storm - so sad that this lovely wood could not be sold and used for furniture!)... I could not resist snagging a piece to use for photographing my work. The naturally split wood grain is so beautiful - so rich in the red cherry color! I definitely want to try some ideas using this in projects other than as a photo prop!

Well that's all I have in mind so far, for 2014, but honestly, they way I work is an inspiration will typically hit me and off I go in a new direction, working in the flow of ideas. So I can't really say for sure what I will be doing throughout 2014. Some or all of these ideas may get done or they may get displaced by some new exploration. We'll see!


  1. All stunning I love your little owls they are so charming

  2. Amazing Karen, your attention to detail in the tiniest of ways is incredible!

  3. Really love your new stuff, K. Very whimsical and storybook-like... tales from an enchanted forest! Looks like your new home is a treasure trove of inspiration.
    Interestingly, we both seem to have birds on the brain lately. ;-)
    Best to you in 2014!

    1. Thank you Dia! Ya birds are calling me lately, especially owls and corvids. :) Happy 2014 to you too!

  4. Hi Karen, love the theme bead assemblies!! Wishing you and your loved ones a wonderful new years eve and a happy, joyful, creative 2014. I can't wait to see all your new ideas come to life.

  5. So very cool! I love this idea.

  6. Love, love, love the new designs coming out of your studio!! Looks like my 2014 will be filled with lots of K Totten beads! Yay!!

  7. Karen, I love, love, love(!) your little owls in their tree homes. The speckled blue/green one just captured my heart. Might he be available for adoption (purchase), please? I looked in your Etsy shop, but didn't see him listed. Thanks for considering my request -- Happy New Year!

  8. I just love the idea of the themed assortments! That cockoo clock really reminds me of my time jewelry.