Fine Art and Artisan Jewellery. Inspired by nature. Fueled by Tea and Dark Chocolate.

Sunday, May 31, 2009

I've Got Sunshine on a Cloudy (Snowy) Day

It has been snowing on and off all day here on this, the last day of May. I snuck out for a quick walk between blizzards wearing my winter coat, toque and mitts. It was a bit surreal to be walking, all bundled up, among the green grass, and newly blossoming plants and shrubs. But no photos of snow-covered flowers - I need something to brighten up my day! So, here is a photo I took a few days ago, of one of the first mosquitoes of the season one of the first flowers to blossom in my garden.
narcissus photo by Julie A. Brown, Wabi Brook Studio
And, just because I haven't seen the sun for a few days, here is a bright yellow pendant I finished a few days ago.
sterling silver wire-wrapped fused glass pendant
The fused glass with attached hematite bead was made by Cheryl Olafson of Visions in Glass. We have been collaborating on a quite a few pieces lately. I wire-wrapped the piece in oxidized sterling silver to frame it, and keep the modern feel.
This, and other pendants are available for purchase in my Etsy shop.

Here's hoping for a brighter day tomorrow!

Thursday, May 14, 2009

A Sunrise, a Good Mother and Earrings

sunrise at Wabi Brook Studio I woke up early this morning to this beautiful spring sunrise. The pinks, oranges and yellows of the rising sun contrasted beautifully with the blues and violets in the clouds. Five minutes later it was gone and the horizon was just a mass of dull, grey-brown clouds. Being in the right place at the right time is always nice, but sometimes it can be downright magical!

Lately, the talk in my house has often been about prom and grad. The prom tickets and dress are bought, ready for the big day next week. My daughter wandered in to my studio the other day purple fire glass bead and sterling silver earrings by Wabi Brook Studioand started playing around with my stash of pearls, informing me that I should make her a necklace for prom. So, good and dutiful mother that I am, I promptly hopped to it and started creating.... some earrings. For pierced ears. Which my daughter does not have. (I said I was a good mother, not a perfect one!)

I haven't made earrings for a while, so I enjoyed going through my stash of pearls and other beads, trying out different combinations, and making the ear wires to go with them. Here are some of the earrings I've created so far:

Purple Fire made with amethyst coloured fire-polished glass beads,

Teeny Weeny made with tiny freshwater pearls and oxidized sterling silver,

and Neapolitan made with three flavours of freshwater pearls.

See more prom, graduation and wedding earrings at my Etsy shop.

And that necklace my daughter wanted me to make? I just might finish it in time .... for next year's prom.

Monday, May 11, 2009

Garden, Creek and a Tangled Bangle

Yesterday started off very cold and miserable, but it cleared up in time for our Mother's Day barbecue, and by late afternoon had warmed up enough that I ventured out to my garden to see if any new flowers had dared to show their faces. I was pleased to see that my single lungwort plant had opened up a blossom or two! With nothing else exciting happening in the garden, I went down to the creek to see if I could photograph the ducks that are nesting along the banks and in the trees. Just as I was heading down the laneway, a Great Blue Heron flew up. That is the first time I've seen one this year. Usually they arrive when the ice is still on the creek. It's good to know they haven't abandoned us entirely!

I haven't been down to the creek yet this year, so of course my presence frightened the ducks, and they swam downstream and around the bend. I waited for a while partly hidden among the hawthorn bushes along the bank, but none came back. They like to nest along the far shore across from the beaver lodge. That side of the creek is only visited by cattle, so it is a safer nesting habitat than on this side. There is quite a tangle of bushes, grasses and trees along the shore.
Wabi Creekbeaver lodge

Which leads me to my latest piece of jewellery, inspired by the tangled thickets of vines and branches I see while out and about on the farm.

Tangle Bangle copper bracelet by Julie A. Brown Wabi Brook Studio
I love the beautifully interwoven patterns found in these thickets so I recreated them in this earthy, rustic free form bracelet. I heated, wove and fused several strands of heavy copper wire into a tangled bangle. I then antiqued the bracelet using two different methods. This created a rich, multi-coloured finish to the metal. Finally the bangle was tumble polished for several hours to strengthen the piece, and to add depth and shine to the finish.

I'm very happy with the result. It is comfortable and casual.
See more information about the Tangle Bangle and other artisan jewellery by Wabi Brook Studio.

Perhaps the next time I'm down at the creek I'll be able to get some photos of the ducks!

Thursday, May 07, 2009

A Reluctant Spring at Wabi Brook Studio and More Jewellery

daffodil at Wabi Brook Studioforsythia at Wabi Brook StudioSpring is ever so slowly making an appearance at Wabi Brook Farm.

My daffodils are stubbornly refusing to open, but I noticed on my way from t
he studio to the house that our poor forsythia bush actually had a few flowers on a branch right above the ground. Our little micro-climate is a little too cold for it, and it rarely has many flowers. It is always a pleasant surprise to see the bright yellow bells on the bare stems. I noticed that some ants seemed very happy to see the flowers, too, crawling in them to find some nectar.

We've had a couple of warm days in a row, enough to make one think
about packing away the long underwear, and other winter apparel, but I think that would be tempting fate - especially this spring!

Even though it was warm out today, the breeze was cool, and I noticed my daughter's little dog stretched out in the lee of the wind beside a pile of hay.
Tilly at Wabi Brook Studio

I've not been able to do much in the way of serious drawing or painting lately because of a shoulder injury. So, while the portrait commissions pile up, I've been focussing on making jewellery. Here is the latest piece:
wire-wrapped dichroic glass pendant by Julie A. Brown Wabi Brook Studio
Delicately coloured pink/violet fused dichroic glass is discreetly wrapped with high quality sterling silver plated wire. If the light hits the pendant a certain way, a hint of pale green appears.

It is extremely difficult to photograph the colours in dichroic glass. The colours appear richer in person.

The glass was designed and fused by Sudbury, Ontario glass artist Cheryl Olafson of Visions in Glass. This is one of many pieces on which we have collaborated.

Browse through my shop to see this and other examples of my work:

Wednesday, May 06, 2009

Trust Your Heart Copper Pendant

If you can't trust your heart, what can you trust?

I heated and hand-formed this wire heart, then hammered it to give it texture and strength. The pendant has a rich, deep patina.

I added a metal charm and a lustrous pink vintage bead that belonged to my grandmother. The bead symbolizes the love and wisdom that is in one's heart.

I like the substantialness and simplicity of this design.

Go to to purchase this pendant and to see more of my work!

Monday, May 04, 2009

Spring Lambs and a Blogging Award

The early spring lambs are arriving at Wabi Brook Farm. The ewes and lambs have snug, safe quarters in the big run-in barn, but a few of them decided to go walkabout yesterday. I think the ewes are longing for green grass and open pastures after a winter of only having the run of the barn and yard. Things are finally starting to green up, so it won't be long until the sheep will have their fill of green grass, and the lambs will be leaping and playing in wide open spaces.

I won an award! Laure from Painted Thoughts Blog recently bestowed a Kreativ Blogger award upon me, or rather, upon my blog. Laure has a wonderful blog, full of beautiful sketches of, and information about, birds and nature .
Thank you, Laure!

Sunday, May 03, 2009

Bittersweet - Red Jasper and Sterling Silver Earrings

These lovely red orange beads remind me of the berries of the native bittersweet plants I often saw while growing up in southern Ontario. I understand that the native bittersweet is becoming more difficult to find, while the introduced oriental bittersweet species has become very invasive.

These earrings drop 1.25" (3cm)from hand formed sterling silver ear wires that have been tumble polished to add strength and shine.
The red jasper beads are 6mm in diameter.

Available to purchase in my Etsy shop.
Purchase before midnight tonight and take advantage of my "Spring Has Sprung" Weekend Sale!

Friday, May 01, 2009

Spring Has Sprung Weekend Sale!

The snow is nearly gone in my neck of the woods. I can finally get to my clothesline and hang clothes out to dry! The rhubarb is up, the ice is out of the creek, and the horses are shedding. Yup, spring has sprung! To celebrate, I'm having a Spring has Sprung Weekend Sale ! 25% off everything - Art and Jewellery - at Wabi Brook Studio's Etsy Shop! Sale runs until midnight on Sunday.

I think I might plant a few early peas today.