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: 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.