Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Chicago MS Walk this Sunday 5/4/08

In all the current happenings, I forgot to post a message about the MS Walk this Sunday. A person very close to me (who has asked to remain anonymous) has MS, and so I've decided to participate in the MS Walk in Chicago this Sunday.

You can visit my page by clicking here. I know asking for donations now is a little short notice, but they will accept donations even after the race, so dig between your couch cushions and pull together some money for a good cause.

Gina is also walking, so you should donate something to her too! Visit Gina's page by clicking here.

Vanessa Walilko

Unique Handcrafted Jewelry, Beaded Dragon Sculpture and Chainmaille

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Amazing Soft Sculpture

As those of you who have seen my beaded phoenix necklace could probably guess, I'm pretty wild about phoenix mythology, from the ancient Egyptian bennu to the X-Men cartoon Phoenix Saga. When searching for phoenix images, I recently came across this:

That's right: a a phoenix soft sculpture. Sundreams and Myths features the incredible soft sculpture work of Cheryl Simshauser, who makes the most incredible phoenix soft sculptures, not to mention some fantastic dragons as well!

I wonder if I could somehow justify the purchase of one as a business expense...

Vanessa Walilko

Handcrafted unique beaded jewelry, beaded dragon sculpture, and chainmaille jewelry and classes

Monday, April 21, 2008

Blue Buddha Boutique Gallery Update

I'm proud to say that I actually held this piece when it was finished: a Wide Sterling Silver Cuff.

Absolutely incredible is probably the only phrase that comes close to describing how neat is it. Good job, Rebeca!

Vanessa Walilko

Handcrafted Beaded Jewelry, Unique Beaded Dragon Sculptures, and Chainmaille

Saturday, April 19, 2008

Adventures at Lill Street

I'm a beader, a chainmailler, and occasionally I like to pretend that I'm a metalsmith. I'm currently taking Intermediate Metalsmithing with Sarah Chapman at Lill Street Gallery. She is one of the most excellent instructors I've ever encountered, and I highly recommend taking classes with her.

I've posted photos of two rings I put together during the class. One was totally indulgent and made for instant gratification purposes. I purchased a prong setting from Rio Grande and soldered it to a band I had put together ages ago and never found a use for. The only catch was that I had to saw the band to remove the silver under the prong setting, because the stone was cut so deep that it wouldn't fit otherwise. The stone is a "Mystic Green Topaz" that I purchased from Jewelry Television.

The next photo is of a ring I had put together the first time I took intermediate metalsmithing. The band popped off on one side, and after carefully prying the stone from its bezel, I re-soldered the band and voila: I can wear my big ring again! Big rings make me happy, as you can tell from my French Beaded Flower Rings and my Bat Ring.

I have no idea what the stone is. I bought it because I had a store credit at Caravan Beads and thought it looked neat.

I've also made a minor change to the bottom navigation of the Gianessa Designs site, making the Blog link open in a new window.

Vanessa Walilko

Unique Handcrafted Beaded Jewelry, Beaded Dragon Sculpture and Chainmaille

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Changes to the website

I've made some cosmetic changes to the home page, mostly to offset links to the Gianessa Designs blog and the Gianessa Designs Etsy Shop to make them easier to find.

I've also linked the Gianessa Designs blog in the bottom navigation so that you can find out when Chicago chainmaille classes are happening whenever you feel like it.

Vanessa Walilko

Unique Beaded Jewelry, Dragon Sculpture and Chainmaille

Monday, April 14, 2008

Lill Street Gallery Chainmaille Earrings Workshop - May 11

Looking for something fun to do on Mother's Day? You can learn to make chainmaille earrings in this five-hour workshop at Lill Street Gallery. This introduction to chainmaille will turn you into a chainmaille-making expert. In this class, you'll make up to 10 pairs of earrings in a variety of weaves. You can see more about this class (and see samples of the earrings you'll make) at Blue Buddha Boutique.

You can register for this class either by calling Lill Street Gallery or registering on their website.

Vanessa Walilko

Unique, Handcraffted Beaded Jewelry, Chainmaille, and Beaded Dragon Sculpture

Thursday, April 10, 2008

JC Herrell

I have a favorite lampworker. It's true. JC Herrell came to speak before the Bead Society of Greater Chicago tonight, and she was fantastic. Not only is she a talented lampworker, making THE coolest beads, but she is also an excellent speaker. Her discussion of trying to create "perFect" was pretty incredible.

And she's nice too. Due to a projector/computer issue, she had to use my laptop for her presentation and in thanks she let me pick out one of her beads for myself. I've posted a photo of that here:

After browsing her site and stumbling upon her stunning Orchid Rings, I totally fell in love with them. I'm a huge fan of large flower rings, so of course, now I'm trying to figure out how to save up money for one of hers...

Vanessa Walilko

Unique Beaded Jewelry, Dragon Sculpture and Chainmaille

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Class Schedule - April

Here's a sampling of the chainmaille classes I'll be teaching in the Chicago area for the month of April. For a list of all the Blue Buddha Boutique classes, check this link: April Blue Buddha Boutique Classes

Caravan Beads Classes:
Mesh Bracelet - April 12
Byzantine - April 13

Blue Buddha Boutique Class
Bull's Eye Earrings - April 24

Briolette Beads Classes:
Beginning Maille, Intermediate Earrings - April 27

If you're interested in taking a class, check out my Classes page for store contact information.

Vanessa Walilko

Unique Beaded Jewelry, Dragon Sculpture, and Chainmaille

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Jewelry Classes

Now that I'm teaching more, it seems only responsible to tell the world about it. As such, you'll find a new section in my Resources section: a Jewelry Classes page. There you'll find links to the stores and galleries where I currently teach.

Vanessa Walilko
Unique Beaded Jewelry, Dragon Sculpture and Chainmaille

Monday, April 7, 2008

Jewelry Spotlight - Dragons

Due to a Virgin Atlantic-caused nightmare, a trip to London and Salisbury that I had been planning for over a month was canceled a few weeks back. As such, I decided to get myself something to cheer me up. The result of this self-prescribed retail therapy is perhaps the coolest piece of jewelry in my collection, the World's Largest Dragon Ring by Joseph Dean.

It's quite a hefty ring as it's entirely cast out of sterling silver. It's weighted perfectly--and stands quite nicely as a sculpture when not worn.

Being a fan of dragons and dragon sculptures myself, I think this ring is incredible--the detail is amazing.

Speaking of dragons, I've added a new pair of earrings: Dragon's Teeth Earrings.

Vanessa Walilko

Unique Beaded Jewelry, Dragon Sculpture and Chainmaille