Trollbeads Inspiration: Lightly Into the Dark

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img_2251Today, November 1st,  is a cluttered black square of type in my calendar… It’s the first day of the month, with all of the financial deadlines and chores that accompany a fresh month…it’s the day after Hallow’een, so we are all just a little groggy from sugar overload and a sleep punctuated with fireworks and firecrackers.  It’s also All Saints Day in the Christian calendar, or Samhain in the Celtic Pagan calendar.  No matter what your cultural background, here in the Northern Hemishphere there is no questioning the shift in light that accompanies the beginning of November.

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Gone are the memories of Summer – we are well and truly into the dark months of the year!

3-1The beginning of November feels like a shift.  Suddenly we expect the nights to be long, we expect the days to be cold and we look to the days of Winter ahead.  I awake in surreal darkness, convincing my skeptical body that it really is time to get up… and on rainy days it sometimes feels as though it never really gets fully light.  Curls of slate  coloured clouds catch on the curves of our local mountains and lazily hang there waiting for a breath of wind to push them along.  No wonder, then, that just now the veil feels thin between the world of the living and the world of those who have gone before.

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4-1So what are we to do?  Shiver here in our dim, grey existence?  Hardly!  We North Westerners have perfected our strategies for warmth and light. We celebrate the contrast of light and dark in thousands of tiny ways.  Some examples… You’ll find brilliantly uplit, spectacular trees in most gardens in my neighborhood.  That pop of green light is even more beautiful for being embraced by darkness.  we light our houses more and more as the very darkest time of year approaches, and by Christmas the entire city is aglow.  Inside you’ll find candles and fireplaces are de rigueur to banish the November chill and in the very darkest months I’ll even light candles at the breakfast table!

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In the same way, I seem to gravitate to warmth and light in my personal objects and jewellery… a little more warm metal: a touch of bronze, copper and gold just feel wonderful at this time of year.  Amber has a natural golden glow that is irresistible, particularly when blended with warm metals and some black or grey for contrast.  This leather bracelet is just the thing to have a touch of sunshine that can be carried with me through my day!

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C.

 

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New Obsession: Trollbeads Rings!

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I’ve got a new obsession…. The collection of ring designs by Trollbeads.

Strictly speaking I can’t say that rings are a new area of interest for me.  I have happily collected rings for years, from fabulous vintage auction items, to antique family heirlooms and a huge array of fun contemporary pieces found in my travels.  I love to juxtapose modern designs of humble materials with pieces composed of precious metals and stones for an irreverent and fresh look.  Of course I have received some rings from my husband that are very dear to me – but rings make a great gift between friends as well!  I have a dear girlfriend with whom I have a longstanding tradition of exchanging affordably priced and ridiculous rings that we each find when we travel.

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Recently we decided to stock up on some of the various Trollbeads rings… and we fell in love with so many of the pieces that arrived.  Most of their designs stack beautifully – which is a huge advantage for a ring addict like myself.  I only allow myself to wear rings on one finger on each hand, so in order to indulge in a couple of different styles they simply have to get along!  All of their rings with glass accents stack to form a gorgeous cocktail “bubble” ring, that can be collected over time.  The “Eye of Aphrodite” has been in the collection for some time, but the new “aurora” ring is a shimmering, subtle and softer toned newcomer that has more recently stolen our hearts.

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Isn’t it pretty here with the “Baby’s Breath eternity ring?  The “Strength Courage and Wisdom” ring shown at top is also a Tartooful favorite…we love the thick, generously heavy links of this knot work design, and its’ meaning makes it such a moving gift as well.  Our surprise favorite of the most recent ring designs is the “Neverending” ring… this deceptively simple ring is an absolute pleasure to slip on one’s finger, as it’s gently rounded on the inside surfaces to be incredibly comfortable.  It’s a brilliant little modern jewellery design.

The best part about all these underappreciated Trollbeads designs?  Their prices.  Most rings run around CAD$100, and many of them are much less!  Hand made, Danish sterling silver, modern design for under CAD$100.  Amazing.

Drop by the Village and have a play!

C.

 

 

 

 

 

Trollbeads Inspiration: Simplicity

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Today at the gallery we are playing with a simple design of pure, Trollbeads silver…

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I decided today to create a leather necklace that felt sleek, sophisticated and modern.  I carefully combed through the Trollbeads silvers, finding and selecting  all the boldest, simplest, heaviest designs.  These are geometric forms that give me such joy.  Their naturally balanced symmetrical forms are satisfying to work with, as they easily stand alone, or combine nearly effortlessly with similar companions.  Each one feels like a tiny, modern art sculpture – can’t you imagine them placed on nicely lit, miniature plinths in an art gallery for mice?

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6I began by placing “Victory” in the center of the necklace composition.  This marvelously large and dramatic piece melds organic, round forms with angular, chevron forms.  This was a fit choice, as it happily accommodates both rounded designs such as “Three siblings”, “Transformation” and “Trefoil Knot”, as well as more angular items such as “Smiling Cylinder” and “Two Sides to Everything”.  As I built outwards in the composition I occasionally added a matched pair of beads.  This gives a sense of balance and rhythm to the design, without the rigidity – not to mention predictability – of a perfectly matched set of paired beads.

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From left to right:  “Water”,   “Neverending”, “Two Sides to Everything”, “Three Siblings”, “Transformation”, “Endless”, “Soft Heart”, “Victory”, “Frames”, “Endless”, “Smiling Cylinder”, “Trefoil Knot”, “Love Within”, “Water”.

C.

Happy Long Weekend, Happy Bracelet

Hello Tartoofulers, I hope you are all having a lovely long weekend – and that you managed to squeeze all your outdoor activities into our one sunny day!  I shuffled the plants in the garden around so they are enjoying a good rain to help them settle in.

Today I want to share a ray of sunshine with you – RT’s Happy Bracelet!

This bracelet was inspired by her acquisition of two cheerful “Manga” beads.  They set the fresh, lime green, black and white palette, upon which she has expanded with her trademark array of big, beautiful uniques and oversized silvers.

The “Troll Coin” usually stands head and shoulders above other beads on a bracelet, but here it fits right in, next to this enormous green, black and white spotted unique.  A number of the glass repeat the design element of dots, including the LE glass Egg.

This, latest addition to the bracelet was a fortunate find… Lime green was one of the rare colours from this Spring Limited Edition, and even more so with these perfect white speckles.  Attached to the small end of the clasp, it makes a chic addition to the bracelet.

The silvers further echo the theme of happiness… here “Happy Fish” in 18k gold and silver is pictured.  This petite bead is best featured as RT has done, next to the clasp at the end of a bracelet where its highly detailed fish images may be seen and enjoyed.

“Happy Universe” shows the smiling sun in 18k gold, the moon in silver and scattered all around are stars…

Clockwise from clasp”  “Freja Knot Lock”, “Happy Fish, 18k and silver”, “Green Stripe Bubble”, “Limited Edition Chinese Zodiac series x 3”, “Unique”, “Troll Coin”, “Unique”, “Gekko”, “Manga Bead”, “Happy Universe”, “Manga”, “Limited Edition Chinese Zodiac series x 3”, “Unique”, “Jugend”, “Limited Edition Easter Egg”.

Note how RT has clustered her Limited Edition Chinese Zodiac beads to give them additional visual impact.  These beads are quite slender, and might get lost among the oversized glass and silver that RT selected for this design.  By grouping them in this way they function together as a single large silver, and have a wonderful effect.

There’s always something to learn from RT’s designs… (Thank you, RT!)

C.

Trollbeads Gold & Silver

In the wake of recent price changes (- mostly for the better, hurray!) I’ve been reaquainting myself with the whole Trollbeads collection.  I’m struck by the number of beautiful beads that are expressed in both silver and 18k gold, and am so inspired by the idea of a bracelet design that plays with both styles of bead.

This bracelet design includes: “Mexico Lock, gold”, “Small Berry, Silver”, “Lucky Knot, gold”, “Heart, silver”, “Endless, gold”, “Stars”, “Happy Universe”, “Yes! Bead”, “Endless, silver”, “Heart, gold”, “Lucky Knot, silver”, “Small Berry, gold”.

C.