Saturday, May 10, 2014

Serving Up the Bead Soup!

First of all, for all things Bead Soup, go here. Bead Soup is the labor of love of a woman named Lori Anderson. She's been organizing it for several years now, and runs the whole thing by herself. Her marvelous book on what to do with a bead soup is here. I've been hearing about Bead Soup on the Yahoo ArtCharms group for the last couple of years, and by sheer luck managed to sign up this year. And then, I thought--what have I gotten myself into?

You will see stunning things if you go a-blog hopping today, and please, please do.

What you need to know about me is that I'm a Virgo and like to follow the instructions. In fact, I am the only person I know who does. I read sewing patterns for fun, like other  people read cereal boxes. So designing my own stuff? Not my strong point.

What was great about this particular soup (a woman named Valerie Tilghman sent it to me--see what she did with what I sent her over here) was it was in a scale I am not used to working in at all. These are big components, big beads. The first thing I did was go visit Mani Om Beads on Speedway. I knew they had tables set up, and somebody was always making something--and maybe I could get some ideas.

Co-owner Sandra Prout sat down with me, and in 5 minutes, we had this. Not afraid of designing, that one!

I snapped a picture of this, and got her stringing suggestions (put a small bead in between each large bead to get a proper "drape") and went home and tried it on my own pianola.

Hmm. I discovered if I was going to wear this and have it look good (I'm a relatively small person,) I was going to have to give up a few beads.

And the handmade clasp....I didn't want to hide it at the back of my head. So I started building a matching bracelet.

 That's nice!

And I have the world's tinest here's how the bracelet turned out.

Now, about earrings. Earrings are my guilty pleasure. Women always have something they turn to, a cheap thrill they buy to make them feel better. For my mother, it was lipstick. For my mother-in-law, it was a couple of shares of stock. So I can't just let one pair of earrings do!

Earring auditions:

I settled on the copper components, with a light blue spacer bead, for the matching earrings.

 But meanwhile, there were those swell paper beads. I decided not to use the white beads for the main pieces, but they make nice light earrings--

And the blue crystals! I had to do something with them. But I realized I'd just run out of copper earring findings. And then I remembered an impulse purchase, a pair of Wubbers bail-forming pliers, that I'd never used--

(She can make her own findings! She's DANGEROUS!!)

A little wire-wrapping later, and I have a nice pair of primitive earrings!

I still wanted to do something with that sari silk...and the copper tubes. So I made a sumptuous fan pull, topped with one of the gunmetal wire beads in the soup--

And that's a bowlful of  fun. I didn't get to the tree discs, or the ceramic tree pendant, or the white rondells--and I still have a ton of red and blue beads. Thank you, Val Tilghman, for your generosity, and Lori Anderson, for all your hard work--and thank YOU for stopping by. Have fun hopping!!

Friday, May 9, 2014

A Bead Soup Preview

I'd like to show you the box of goodies I received from Val Tilghman, just to whet your appetite.

What's in the box?

Part of this is in the presentation...which I didn't realize until I'd sent my batch out. Val really outdid herself.

There's a little taste of Georgia in the box. I've dipped into this for iced tea already....

Look at all the sweet little baggies!

These were in the big red burlap bag--kind of an extra bonus, but just might work themselves into a design or two. I love the recycled sari silk. And the titanium coated crystal. And those tree discs want to be earrings.

Here's the main event--copper beads and tubes, and paper beads from Janice Mae...

Shell pearl faceted beads, and recycled glass--probably African. The clasp and focal (bronze/copper) are handmade by Val from precious metal clay.

So there's what we have! Tune in tomorrow to see what I managed to make with some of it!