Last year I made my first ear cuff, which I had intended to keep for myself since it was basically a prototype. But, it ended up becoming a gift for Mamechiyo when I met her at Anime North. I’ve learned a lot since making that first one and knew I wanted to do another one with some improved techniques.

Bellflowers are an easy choice for me – I love pale purple and had just finished dyeing some pale purple and white two toned petals when I started on this project. The cherry blossom ear cuff was nice, but I felt it could have been fuller and had more going on. So, I made sure to have additional flowers, foliage, and added fluttering streams of shidare to this new piece.

I actually wasn’t sure about the shidare at first. I’ve always struggled with them, but I know you can’t improve without practice. I can honestly say that these shidare were a lot easier to get through that previous ones I’ve made. Once I finally sat down and made myself work on it, it came together easily. Hopefully that means I won’t be hesitant about doing them going forward.

The process for making shidare starts with taping the nylon cord down flat so that it doesn’t twist around as I apply the petals. I craft the petals separately, and when they are about have dry I remove them from the glue, pair them up (aside from the last single petal on the end) and press the pairs of petals together to seal the ends.

Once the petal pairs and the end petal together and dry, I trim any fraying threads, then glue the petals to the nylon cords using E6000. The nori paste that I use for forming the petals has a tendency to dry brittle and crack, making it not very suitable to the nylon cords which tend to move and flex.

Now that I’m done with this ear cuff I’m thinking about doing a similar bellflower comb, hairpin and/or maybe a lapel pin to match it. I’ve always been fond of making things in sets, and I don’t think I’m ready to move away from bellflowers just yet.

I’ve got a few other projects that I really need to wrap up first. I’ve had some dancing crane base pieces sitting in a storage bin for the better part of a year just waiting to get worked on – and I need to start ramping up production for this year’s conventions. I’m not planning on doing too many events this year, and will be focusing more on larger pieces, but since my husband and I both like to support local events we’ll probably still be at SaskExpo and Ganbatte.

If you’d like to see me at a convention other than one of those two, make sure to let the convention organizers know. I’m always open to invitations, but I’ve only got so much vacation time and funding to go around – and I’ve got two weddings to attend out of country this year!

Anyhoo, that is all I’ve got for this week. If you like this blog and want to help support it, consider buying me a coffee. Your support is greatly appreciated, and I hope that you check back again soon for more art, crafts, and creativity!