Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Beading Competitions - A wake up call to Organisers

Much of my wire work is very distinctive, I mean you gotta know its mine, anyone who knows my work will recognise it immediately. Not only have these pieces been blogged about, featured on other websites and in galleries, published in magazines both here in Australia and the United States, but heck, won an award or too and travelled this country on display.

I'm sending a loud wake up call to jewellery and lapidary competition organisers.

Start paying more attention to the "Terms and Conditions of Entry" from a legal and copyright point of view. If you're a judge, you're supposed to know about the work, technique and style you're judging, you should also know if the work is original, particularly if you know your subject.

Do you not realise that there are people out there blatantly copying the work of others and then passing it off as their own and you are encouraging them by awarding them a prize, a placing or even acknowledging them. Put them where they belong, disqualify and ban them for life. If you can't do that then give the job to some-one who can. After all these people are cheats and thieves with no natural artistic talent of their own, let alone a vivid imagination. Obviously, one thing they are good at is searching the Internet or Magazines for images, printing and studying them with a magnifying glass. Some talent!

Sure everyone looks at others designs for inspiration, but changing the colours of a bead or moving them about does not let them off the copyright hook. Rules of copyright also extend to asking the original designer for permission to recreate his or her work and the reasons why you want to do this. If you do not have written permission then don't do it. The designer might sue. If you do have permission then you must also reference the original designer. There are also people out there who will reference the designer, without permission to recreate. These are the sneaky low lifes that annoy me. You also cannot manufacture copyrighted work for resale. Nor should you enter copyrighted work into competitions, because its not your own original work and you'll more than likely be breaching the Terms and Conditions of Entry. If you want to be treated fairly, then play nice, afterall I'm sure you wouldn't want anyone doing this to you.

To those beading comp organisers don't sit there and tell us designers its between you and the thief. You want to publish or display so called winning, unoriginal work in a public arena, then be prepared to be kicked in the butt, because I gonna be on your tail from now on.

I'm interested to hear what others have to say on this topic, so if you're reading this, feel free to leave your thoughts under the comment link below.

Sunday, April 27, 2008

Featured Artist

Just wanted to say thanks to Cyndi Lavin over at jewelryandbeading.com for featuring my Artist Profile on 24th April, it was indeed very kind of you to do that Cyndi.

For those who'd like to have a peek you can find it at:

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Memories of a Tropical North

This year holds a couple of milestone dates for my family so in order to celebrate those, Hubby and I have decided to mark the occasion with a trip to Far North Queensland. We last visited Port Douglas and surrounds about three years ago, so have decided to do an overnighter and then head off to our real destination by hire car the next day. Our actual destination is to be Mission Beach about an hour and half South of Cairns, just across the water from Dunk Island.

I love "Port" as its affectionately known, having been back there many times since I left in 1974. I first lay eyes on the place in 1967 or there abouts, time has dulled the memory for exact dates, but I loved it from that moment on.

I'm sure Mum was less than impressed when she first saw the house (that's a pic of it above years after) we were to live in. It was perched on a cliff, an old rambling, rusty roofed, mice inhabited wreck, with a view to die for. That land today is worth millions.

We couldn't watch TV for three years, as Flagstaff Hill (located to the right of the house), blocked any hope of getting a decent picture. The old wreck of a house stood beside the lighthouse three quarters of the way up Wharf Street, I never really realised how bad that house was until I saw a huge sepia print of it hanging on the wall in the Court House Hotel a few years ago. It bought back many memories. Like the day my two year old brother fell between the rickety old front steps and got his head caught, or the day the neighbours gave me a the biggest bag of sweets I'd ever seen, because I'd placed second in a singing Eisteddfod in Cairns. Those were the days when a cent coin would actually buy something. I think that bag of sweets cost Fifty cents and it was full to the brim. Other memories came flooding back - Rock pool fossicking and oyster cracking, beach bbq's, reef walks at Low Isles, falling off the slippery slide and spraining my ankle and riding my Dragstar everywhere. Little did I know that bike would be a collectors item today. I laughed out loud when I was watching "Extra" on TV the other night and how the Queensland Museum had recently acquired one of these bicycles for use in future 70's displays.

Other memories of swimming at the wonderful little paper gummed lined natural cove behind our house. The cove was later wrecked by the community who raised thousands of dollars in order to build a stinger proof pool. The gums where removed along with all the huge rocks and no doubt shore life. Later, it had to be filled in to create a park because it was totally unusable. I only swam in it twice, the water was always muddy looking and it was downright scary as most of the time it was deserted. The usual crowd of morning swimmers just disappeared and were no doubt as upset as I at this ridiculous ruin.

My other memories of "Port" are taking a ride with all the other kids in the Amphibious vehicle that came to service the Lighthouse. I was supposed to alight at the centre of town, but ended up riding all the way to Four Mile Beach where the vehicle had come ashore from its ship. I remember seeing that ship, tired, rusty and worn, berthed near New Farm on the Brisbane River a few years back when I was on my way to work by Ferry one morning.

I've always remembered a story told to us by the then publican of the Court House Hotel and how her kitten had gone missing. She had gone down into the cellar thinking that maybe the kitten had been locked in there accidentally and sure enough yes....
However, a sinister looking reptile had found its way in there and had her kitten bailed up in the corner, ready to devour her. The long and short of this story was that the publican had then called the glass cutter over from the gallery who killed the snake. The snakes skin was tanned and hung in the pub on the wall behind the bar. No-one in the family seems to remember this, except me. I hadn't been drinking, nor did I have a vivid imagination - well not at that time. My husband still laughs at this story today.

In the 70's before vegetation was cleared for housing, massive tropical pythons would occasionally pop out of the surrounding rain forests. I remember seeing one that someone had obviously hit with a car one night. Of course it was dead and rather smelly by then, but someone had lay it out in its entirety. It was massive. At least as long as the school bus we were on and it wasn't a small bus. That bus carried about 80 kids.

We lived in that house on the hill till around 1970 when we moved into a newly built house beside the Police station. My Dad back then was the local constabulary.
Port was a one man station at that time. A hole in the wall, sandwiched between the local Post office and General Store. You couldn't swing a cat in that space and the place was dark, dingy and musty and as well always seemed to be overflowing with files.

After a few years of fighting for a real station and a proper house, the Qld Government gave approval to build the required facilities, but not after much kicking and screaming from a few of the locals; one of whom proceeded to tie herself to a 100 year old Mango tree in the horse paddock that was to be bulldozed for the new residence and station. Guess it takes all sorts! Like my Dad always said "You can't stop progess"

Now years later it's on again. A much larger facility is required and is due for completion in Aug, 09. Most people want the station relocated nearer to the towns school, which I might add is a fair way from the town centre. I guess most see it as a blot on the landscape because of its proximity to the shore line and want the area retained as parkland. I must admit, I do agree.

My tricolour pet angora goat "Gidi" lived in the cell yard at the police station or rather slept there at night, most days she was tethered in the paddock beside the house. There was an occasion when a dunk who had been locked up for the night awoke to find a goat staring at him from outside on the steps. He (the drunk) then proceeded to call out to my Dad telling him that he thought the Devil himself had come for him. Who knows what that guy had been on!

In the early 70's the town was growing, progress was evident and tourism was becoming a big thing. On Sundays, bus loads of tourists would arrive from Cairns to take in the sights of the Cook Highway, ie.. Ellis Beach, Hartleys Creek Zoo (home of Big Charlie the Croc) and "do" lunch at the "Catalina Restaurant" in Port. This restaurant was a tiny shop front that then had to be extended with a another dining room at the back, but in front of the owners living quarters. Years later it was demolished to build a new and much bigger restaurant by the same name, however it has since closed.

Of course the other thing tourists loved was the local art gallery, where I occasionally hung out on Sundays helping out. Sets of etched glass goblets made from beer bottles or stubbies were a hit with the tourists. In those days some of the wine companies bottled their brews in Green and Clear glass Carafes, so these where also etched and often sold as part of a set.

to be continued....
Old House on the Hill circa late 1970's - Photographer unknown

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Ancient Greek Jewellery

Recently I was going through my jewellery box polishing and inspecting some of my trinkets when I remembered I had a very special pendant that I purchased a few years back whilst visiting Crete in the Greek Islands.

We had visited Knossos, the largest Minoan Bronze Age archaeological site on Crete, earlier in the day and then had made our way to the Heraklion Archaeological Museum which was basically a hop, skip and jump from our hotel, to view some of the ancient artefacts that had been unearthed at various sites around Crete.

Next door to the Museum was a jewellery shop and of course some of the pieces in the window caught my eye. Amongst them was a gold pendant that had been fashioned on a piece of jewellery that I had seen and admired in the museum. I have since discovered that the orignal pendant was not actually found at Knossos, but not far from the Place of Malia which is the third largest of the Minoan Places and that my pendant is known as The Malia Bee.

The Palace of Malia, which covered an area of 7,500 sq.m., is considered the most "provincial" from an architectural point of view and according to tradition the third son of Zeus and Europa, Sarpedon, had ruled there.

About 500m north of the palace was the Necropolis or royal burial enclosure, which most certainly belonged to the ancient lords of Malia. It was surrounded on all four sides by levelled areas and possibly Porticoes.
This is where the now famous Bee pendant which is on display at the Museum was found.

The pendant is in the shape of two bees, or wasps, storing away a drop of honey in a comb.


This piece contains Swarovski crystals in Alabaster and Garnet, Silver Seed Beads, Swarovski Pearls and some lovely little glass flowers with an AB finish.
It has an oversized sterling silver plated comb and would look wonderful in upstyled hair. Still available for sale on my Bridal Website.

Monday, April 21, 2008

Cream and Golden Shadow

Continuing on with colour themes, I don't believe that this piece has featured yet on Hooked on Wire, so here goes.

These gorgeous pearls caught my eye late last year whilst on a bead buying spree. At the time, I had no idea what I was going to do with them, but then decided they'd look great as a choker. I've added Golden Shadow Swarovski crystals for a bit of glint and a pair of long drop earrings complete the set. These pieces would indeed look fabulous with an off the shoulder cream wedding gown. Visit my Bridal Jewellery site for these and other pieces still available for sale.

Thursday, April 17, 2008


On the weekend I decided to go shopping for a new handbag and wallet. I really wanted a new Lime Green wallet. Lime green it one of my fav colours and I destest dreary Black and Brown wallets. If you own a green wallet it is said that your wallet will always have money in it. Might be an olde wives tale, but so far my trusty battered lime green Oroton wallet has never let me down.

Would you believe after weeks of searching and having almost given up ever finding a new green wallet I found three in one shop and yep I secured all three of them, mainly because I couldn't choose between them.....lol. All were gorgeous.

One is oversized in Lime Patent faux Croc skin with two silver buckles on the front. I think this one is probably my fav, the second one is plain faux ostrich in pale apple and the third is a dark forest green with a really neat looking clasp. All are different designs as well I think I've found my fav bargain shop for bags and wallets.

As my birthday is coming up, I also scored a wonderful Fossil brand summer handbag from hubby, reduced from $259.00 to $49.95. I'm in heaven.

So if you're visiting the Gold Coast, make sure you visit Harbourtown at Helensvale, as most of the shops are having a great summer clearance sale at present.

Having bought all those wallets inspired this piece of Jewellery which contains dyed freshwater pearls in Lime of course, Swarovski Crystals in Montana, Ernite and Peridot which pick up the colours in the beautiful Lampwork bead by Bev Butler from the NSW north coast. The clasp and bead caps are all sterling silver.

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Australia's National Treasure - Part 2

Fire of the Desert..... What picture does that conjure up? Amazing colours of Red, Orange and Yellow. Imagine the Desert at night, Black as Black, no city lights casting a Silver haze on the horizon.

I've only ever experienced this once and it wasn't in a desert, but on a tiny coral cay off the coast of central Queensland. It was dark, I mean really dark, if it wasn't for a torch I would have been seriously lost till morning. So what does all that have to do with Australia's National Treasure or rather Opal?

I while back I wrote about Opal in the form of Yowah Nuts that I discovered on a trip to the markets on the North Coast. I thought that I might continue as promised and cover some of the interesting Opal mining areas of Australia.

Around 1993 Opal was declared to be Australia's National Gemstone. Makes sense really, we are home to the world's highest quality, precious Opal with the best known found at Lightning Ridge in New South Wales. Lightning Ridge is known for its Black Opal which is almost only found in Australia. Black Opal has a background of black, blue or grey with colour plays of red, green, blue, violet, magenta or yellow. I guess therefore its easy to see why our indigenous people named Opal, Fire of the Desert. Opal which is made up of silica minerals, is rather unique in that it has no true colour of its own. The amazing colours are actually created when light rays hit planes of microscopic spheres contained in the opal.

Other well known opal mining areas in Australia are White Cliffs also in New South Wales and Coober Pedy in South Australia (yes this is where people actually live underground, but more about that later.) The opal found in these areas tends to be white and is the most common of the precious opals.

Australian Opals are known for their brilliance and renowned for their stability, as they don't crack or craze whilst being cut or polished or during hot, dry conditions. Most Opals in Australia are formed in weathered rocks deep underground in very arid areas. A good example of this is Coober Pedy in South Australia.

I've always been rather fascinated by the town of Coober Pedy and hope to visit sometime in the future. It's a bit of a tourist mecca, attracting 100,000 per annum and with a population of around 4,500 from approximately fifty different countries in the world. The locals are described as a colourful lot, quickly making art of many things.

Guided tours to various places of interest are available, as well much of the town and its homes are underground. Where else in the world could you stay in an underground Bed and Breakfast or visit an underground Art Gallery, Pottery, Museum, or Church of which there are a few.

Homes or Dugouts as they're known are located underground too. In summer and winter, they are insulated from the harsh climate, remaining at a pleasant 25 degrees C. There is also an award wining designed shopping complexe and a golf course without a stitch of grass. I expect that most of the course is made up of Overburden dug from mine shafts.

From April to October the weather is pleasant. What is typical of a semi desert climate, the days are cool (16 to 20° C) but the nights are cold. From November to March the weather becomes very warm and summer temperatures range from 35° to 45°C just in the shade. There are also occasional dust storms. Rainfall is minimal at around 175mm per annum and can fall during any time of the year.

North-east of Coober Pedy is the longest continual construction in the world - a Fence. Stretching some 5,300kms, a little less than China's great wall at 6,700kms, it begins south east of Brisbane, Queensland and ends up north of Ceduna in the Great Australian Bite. Originally the fence was built to protect sheep country in the south from Australian native dogs or Dingos. Now days it also keeps out Rabbits, Emus and other wild life.

"Mad Max" and "Priscilla Queen of the Desert" movie fans, can visit "Moon Plain" not far from Coober Pedy. It is a vast rocky plain unlike anywhere else in the world. The lunar like landscape has been the set for many movies, and I thought Mt Wellington in Hobart, Tasmania was eerie.

Photograph taken by Bernie of Mt Wellington - Tasmania
Dept of Natural Resources - Qld Government
Dept of Prime Minister and Cabinet
Rediscover Opals in Australia - Stephen Aracic
South Australian Government Tourism

Beaded Bookmark Treasures

Its been a while since I posted any beaded things, so here are a few of my more recent pieces. I rather enjoyed beating that wire into interesting shapes.
I think my fav is the next pic where the wire takes on the form of little sea creatures and treasures. A fish and the spiralled internal compartments of a shell.

Of course there are also pearls and other interesting left over beads in many gorgeous tones of blues and green. Once again these remind me of those beautiful colours found in the coral sea around North Queensland. I used silver plated bookmarks, 925 chain and head pins.

Bookmarks are a good way to use up beads with no remaining partners and make wonderful little gifts for lovers of books. Gee I should make one for myself...these were either gifts or pieces that I sold at a recent jewellery party.