Tuesday, October 30, 2012

In The Soup Again!

Seems that I can't get enough of Bead Soup Parties! Kalmbach, publisher of Lori Anderson's Bead Soup book, decided to make some soup of their own and I just had to jump in with both feet! Designers were teamed with bead stores across the country and challenged to make a necklace - or two - with the goodies they received. I was lucky enough to be paired with a CO store called "Let It Bead".

The beads that I received for the swap were lovely, but also very different from my usual design style. I knew that I'd have to stretch as a designer to make my creations. Having participated in a couple of Lori Anderson's swaps, I was prepared and excited for the challenge! 
After looking at the beads spread out on my work table for several days, I decided that there were really two distinct color palates in the collection. Some of the beads were in the cool gray, silver and purple family. The rest were warm fall bronze, red, and oranges. The answer to my design question seemed to be two necklaces rather than one.
My first necklace came together easily. Using double-ended, wrapped, wire loops I connected the bronze and orange beads. I then attached these to leather cording. I used brass colored wire to make connecting loops in the leather. The brass clasp from the bead soup worked perfectly to finish the necklace.

The second necklace I designed was a little trickier because I wanted to include the large shell doughnut focal. The focal didn't have a drilled hole and was obviously too big for a traditional bail or jump ring! 

As a solution, I created a bail myself out of sterling silver. I made a paper pattern, sawed out the metal then hammered and stamped the design and word "joy". I used a decorative rivet to attach the bail. For the necklace, I used the really pretty glass and stone purple beads that Let It Bead sent. I accented these with silver square beads and heishi nugget spacers that I already had. 
Fun project! Thanks Kalmbach Books and Let It Bead!!

Friday, August 24, 2012

Soups On! Come See What I Made!

Welcome to my contribution to the 6th Bead Soup Blog Party! Just a quick refresher, the Bead Soup Blog Party (BSBP) is a huge bead exchange that pairs jewelry designers together to trade beads (the "soup") and share what they create. It culminates in a crazy, fun, blog hop party reveal and that's where YOU have landed!

My partner for this BSBP was the lovely and talented Grace Dorsey and this is what Grace sent me. GORGEOUS lampwork beads that this talented artist creates herself!

I must have been inspired by Grace's beautiful beads, because I went a little nuts and made 9 pieces of jewelry with her soup: 3 necklaces, 2 fibula (pins), 2 pairs of earrings, and bracelet and a ring!!

As BSBP alum know, every soup has a focal bead and a clasp as part of the mix. The focal that I received was truly a piece of art. I knew that I wanted to made a necklace with it that was special enough to do the bead justice, yet simple enough so that the bead remained the focus of the piece. I created a bail for the bead out of heavy gauge copper wire and silver solder to accent and create a mixed metals effect.
I strung the bail onto 2 pieces of leather and finished it with the toggle that was part of the bead soup. The metal of the toggle and the metal of the bail weren't working together, so I hammered and oxidized the toggle to give both elements the same rustic look. I really like the way that it turned out!

The following 2 necklaces were made by combining the beads with pure silver rings that I fused and hammered. Yum!

I was very pleased with the way the two fibula (a Fancy-Nancy name for brooch or scarf pin) turned out. I've never made these before and will definitely try them again. They'll look beautiful on a coat lapel or scarf.

Couldn't resist a couple of pairs of cutie earrings!

My favorite piece that came out of this BSBP was the bracelet. LOVE! These beads are so gorgeous that all they needed was some simple silver wire wrapping.

Finally...the most challenging piece - the ring. Grace had included some lovely saucer like beads that were amazing, but I wasn't sure how to use them. After a lot of experimenting, I decided on this ring. The ring is all one piece of wire that starts with a spiral through the top beads then winds and zig-zags all the way around the band.

That's my BIG bowl of soup!! I hope you'll visit my partner Grace's blog to see what she did with the "ingredients" that I sent her. Here's a peek:

If you'd like to see the rest of the bloggers in this part of the BSBP follow this link: http://lorianderson-beadsoupblogparty.blogspot.com/2012/06/participants-of-6th-bead-soup-blog-party.html Thanks for reading and enjoy the blog party!!

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

How 'Bout a Big Bowl of Bead Soup?


Bead Soup Blog Party 2012! I'm so excited to be a part of this wonderful creative blog hop once again. If you're new to BSBP, let me fill you in. Bead Soup hostess and founder,  Lori Anderson, matches hundreds of jewelry makers all across the world with partners. Each artisan sends a mix of beads and components to their partner. You are then challenged to create jewelry using the materials you were sent. On a set reveal date, everyone posts pictures of their creations and "hops" from blog to blog to see what beautiful pieces were made.

This year there were 400 participants from 45 US states and 25 countries!! Here's a map that Miss Lori kindly created for us to share:
Pretty amazing, huh? This is the 6th BSBP. It has become so successful that Lori even has a book coming out about it in October.

One of the best parts of BSBP is getting matched with a partner. Your partner is a stranger to you before the Blog Party is organized. That's part of the fun and creative challenge. If you're lucky, you're matched with an artisan who has a style or color sense that's different than your own, It's an excellent opportunity to stretch your talents and try something new that's out of your comfort zone. I think that because many of us work alone, we get caught up in our own favorite techniques. The BSBP provides exposure to the talents of other jewelry makers. It may even inspire you to try a new direction that you never considered.

I was very lucky to be paired with an amazing lampwork artist this year, Grace DorseyI have to tell you that I LOVE lampwork beads! I often buy them just because I think they're so beautiful. However, I've always been challenged to figure out how to use them in my jewelry making. So I was really excited, and a little intimidated, when I found out that my partner was a lampwork bead artist.

By coincidence, Grace and I both have roots in MS and NC. Our geopraphic similarities and the fact that she is so sweet to work with, made me feel more at ease immediately. Now to show you what Grace sent me!

I'll start off with the packaging. The beads came in three lovely little envelopes and - no kidding - they smelled wonderful. Each had a little sachet inside - what a lovely touch!!

Here are some of the beads that Grace created and sent to me. SO beautiful that I literately gasped when I opened the package.

Can you believe those colors???? Love the purple, tan and gold hues. Here's another part of it. Love these "saucer" type beads.

Here are the pretty beads and clasp that she sent to compliment the lampwork:

...and one more shot of the lovely focal. I wish you could see this in person. It has a swirly milky color and depth that's hard to do justice in a photo.

I hit the partner jackpot, don't you think?! Tune in this Saturday for the big BSBH 2012 reveal.  Here's a link to the post that Grace did about the Soup that I sent her: Soup From Jane! Very nice! Thanks Grace.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

I take a lot of pictures. Mostly with my iphone these days. Some are snapshots of daily life with my kids, but many are just quirky images that strike me. Not pictures to show or sell, just a little creative outlet for my own joy. (My family is generally annoyed when I make them stop so that I can take a picture of a random cloud, sign, 3 legged dog, etc... See photo above that I took while chaperoning a 6th grade field trip!) So... I cannot tell you how surprised and delighted I was when one of my creative heroes, Lori Anderson, picked a few of my shots for her new blogging ebook. FOLLOW THE PATH: Ideas and inspiration for the creative blogger. 

Lori is an amazing writer and artist. I'm always in awe of how brave she is in sharing her own journey.  I HIGHLY recommend FOLLOW THE PATH if you're looking for blogging prompts. It would be a fantastic tool if you like to journal off-line too or just need a creative boost! Don't we all need that some days? :)


Friday, January 06, 2012

My daughter turned 13...

My oldest child turned 13 in December. Tina Fey's "Prayer For Her Daughter", from her excellent book Bossypants (which coincidentally is the nick-name that my daughter's younger siblings have given her) seems like the perfect way to sum up my thoughts on this event:

Prayer For Her Daughter by Tina Fey
First, Lord: No tattoos. May neither Chinese symbol for truth nor Winnie-the-Pooh holding the FSU logo stain her tender haunches.

May she be Beautiful but not Damaged, for it’s the Damage that draws the creepy soccer coach’s eye, not the Beauty.

When the Crystal Meth is offered, May she remember the parents who cut her grapes in half and stick with Beer.

Lead her away from Acting but not all the way to Finance. Something where she can make her own hours but still feel intellectually fulfilled and get outside sometimes And not have to wear high heels.
What would that be, Lord? Architecture? Midwifery? Golf course design? I’m asking You, because if I knew, I’d be doing it, too dammit.

May she play the Drums to the fiery rhythm of her Own Heart with the sinewy strength of her Own Arms, so she need Not Lie With Drummers.

And when she one day turns on me and calls me a Bitch in front of Hollister, Give me the strength, Lord, to yank her directly into a cab in front of her friends, For I will not have that Shit. I will not have it.

And should she choose to be a Mother one day, be my eyes, Lord, that I may see her, lying on a blanket on the floor at 4:50 A.M., all-at-once exhausted, bored, and in love with the little creature whose poop is leaking up its back.

“My mother did this for me once,” she will realize as she cleans feces off her baby’s neck. “My mother did this for me.” And the delayed gratitude will wash over her as it does each generation and she will make a Mental Note to call me. And she will forget. But I’ll know, because I peeped it with Your God eyes.