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!

Saturday, March 29, 2014

Beads Revealed

How better to procrastinate this weekend (I should be cutting up dichroic glass and cullet for a fusing project, among other things) than to post to the wee bead blog. First, let's look at the batch I sent my partner--now unscrambled for your viewing pleasure:

A nice batch of purples and blues. I was inspired in part by a "winged" challenge we had a couple of years ago in the Art Charms group. Those colors were iridescent green and violet. I found the dragonfly focal and clasp first, and built the soup around that. I had the freshwater pearls and the green/blue lampwork from Gem and Mineral. The asymmetrical blue iris crystal hopped into my shopping cart at Mani Om Beads. The matte lucite flowers also came out of my stash, after much soul searching--but I thought they would adapt well to the antique gold findings. They're very classy with filigree bead caps. I'm not a fan of plastic, but I love those lucite flowers.

And then there's the mix--cut glass light green and lavender beads from Gem and Mineral, along with flourite rounds, dyed jasper ovals and rounds, moss agate and other green agate cubes (also from G&M,) some purple crystal rondells and turquoise-dyed howlite beads. The turquoise picks up the inclusions in the lampwork beads nicely. So there are a few directions you can go with this--at least I hope so!

Friday, March 21, 2014

Soup's On!

Here are two teaser photos of the soup I sent out...more to follow soon!

Saturday, March 1, 2014

An Art Charm Retrospective...

I've belonged to Peg Krzyzewski's and Chris Hansen's Yahoo Art Charms group since 2010. It's a sleepy, rainy day in Tucson, and seemed like an excellent time to look back at some of the charms I've made for them.

Peg and Chris wrote Making Mixed Media Art Charms and Jewelry. They have an extremely friendly group of swappers, and are very encouraging of newbies. Looking back, I realize I wouldn't have had the impetus to learn resin, or become such a good wire-wrapper, without participating in so many swaps there.

This is not every swap I've participated in (I do a lot of bead dangles--they are bead-dangle-friendly there) but definitely include the ones that made me work outside of my box.

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Saturday, February 8, 2014

Am I Insane?


Having signed up for the 8th Annual Bead Soup Blog Party, guess I am just a wee bit mad.

It's the end of a difficult period of my life, where reinventing myself is a bit of a challenge, and the order of the day. My husband died a year ago, and I am faced with the continuing questions of what to do with my life, what to do with our house, what to do with his things, what to do with boxes of old Smithsonians and my giant bead stash from several years of Tucson's Gem and Mineral Show....

The backlog of magazines were easy--I became a SoulCollage(R) facilitator. The beads...well, I notice that I feel better if I make things occasionally. I don't think I have the patience to have a full-time jewelry business, but I do like to play with shiny beads.

I am taking a lot of classes right now, ballroom to burlesque, glass fusing and moccasin making. I like to learn in real time, although the YouTubes are quite useful. I notice myself using "Facilitator Brain" at these things, and think I am studying how to teach more than how to learn. I want to start my practice as a creativity coach. Creativity means anything is possible--even for me.

Even this modest bead blog.