Well it seems like a long time ago now since we found out who our Bead Soup Blog Party partners were and began swapping beads across 5 continents and 21 countries but finally the time for the big reveal has arrived. 362 reveals to be precise so this is going to be something of a marathon blog hop and whether you're reading this on day 1 or day 31, I hope you enjoy it and all the other ports of call along the way.
Before I show you what I've been up to here's a quick reminder of what my partner Julie Nordine sent me - a fabulous collection of lampwork and etched copper focals, Vintaj Brass, Silk Ribbon and assorted delicious beads...
The aim of the Bead Soup party is to stretch yourself by doing something different from your norm and whilst I do work a lot with Lampwork, Julie's selections weren't without their challenges for me. I'm a 'less is more' kind of person when it comes to jewellery design and my default setting for focals as beautiful as the three Julie sent me, is to hang them simply from a gorgeous chain or cord and let them speak for themselves - after all, who am I to try and improve such great work? For the purpose of this exercise however, that would make this stop on the blog hop pretty boring!
Akin to this is my use of fabric and textiles - or rather the lack of it. Other than using it as a straightforward hanging mechanism, I never really know what to do with fabric. I'm not that great with small beads either - I tend to use them as spacers or accents on earrings and that's about it.
When I set to creating these were the things I wanted to try and address along with one other that constantly alludes me - asymmetrical design which I love in other peoples work but, try as I might my brain always wants more order.
So let's get on with the show then shall we... As they were themed, my first inclination was to use all of the focals together in one piece, but I started to have so many ideas for each element that I decided to use them individually to create three separate pieces. The first of these is a necklace called 'Wood Nymph' which includes the etched copper oak leaf pendant and Vintaj chain and findings from my soup mix.
|Click images to to enlarge|
The weight of the focal on this necklace is held by a double rope of size 8 seed beads interspersed and linked with brass jump rings. The colouring on these is quite subtle and difficult to capture on camera but they are iridescent green and gold with pink flashes. The chain gives a decorative swag to the piece and the lovely gossamer light (detachable) silk ribbons from SowZere Designs add an ethereal, feminine touch that I imagine a Wood Nymph would have.
The inspiration for my next piece was a childhood memory that came to me when I first started shuffling the beads around to see what the possibilities were. The turquoise nuggets and the white pearls kept making me think of blue skies and fluffy white clouds and then as I shuffled, the tiny ivory acorn rolled into the mix and it hit me - sky and acorns can only mean one thing... So who remembers the children's tale of Chicken Licken (or Chicken Little depending where you hail from) who thought the sky was falling in when an acorn fell on her head...?
This piece is a bracelet which I've called 'The Sky never Fell" and in addition to the mini acorn focal, turquoise nuggets and pearls from the mix, I've added Vintaj rings and a clasp.
This bracelet has actually achieved quite a feat in as much as I rarely make and never wear bracelets with lots of little dangles on them because after about 10 minutes, all that jangling drives me nuts and I have to take it off. This one however has barely been off my wrist since I finished it - I just love it! The pearls tumble about in a soft, fluid fashion with the movement of the wrist and It feels very feminine - something else I don't do!
Now for my last piece... which turned out nothing like my original plan and is the one that gave me the most headaches - yes, it's the asymmetric one. I still can't quite get my head round this - I think it works but that wire in my brain is still sending out sparks every now and then. Returning to my enchanted forest theme I've called this one 'Titania' after the queen of the fairies in 'A Midsummer Night's Dream' - hopefully it won't be "ill met by moonlight..."!
Here I've combined the large acorn focal, Vintaj clasp and silk ribbon from the mix with a matching Vintaj ring and chain from my collection. I've connected two lengths of chain with the tiny glass beads Julie sent me to create a broader chain which mirrors and balances the ribbon on the opposite side and I guess, sort of satisfies my need for symmetry...
Well, I've had a great time being part of this Blog Party - I've used up the vast majority of my soup mix and I think I've managed to meet the challenges I set myself. These pieces are very different from my usual style - a little more theatrical perhaps and I'm really pleased that I managed to achieve something different. It did feel a little odd at times but the whole point about being out of your comfort zone is that it's, well, uncomfortable - but the stretch feels good.
Thank you for taking the time to visit my blog and I hope you enjoyed the post - I'd love to hear what you think about my designs...Don't forget to hop over to Julie's blog to see what she's done with the goodies I sent her and then you can find the rest of the Bead Soup Party participants in the list below. thanks again Julie for sending me such great ingredients to work with.
Finally I'd like to thank Lori Anderson and her helpers for the time and effort that has gone into making this a truly memorable event - well done Lori and three cheers for you!