Thursday, 21 April 2011

Beauty is in the eye of the beadholder...

And I am in love!

Now it's not unusual for me to get excited over some lampwork beads... It never ceases to amaze me how lampwork artists (and artists they are) create such perfectly beautiful, intricate and delicate but strong pieces of such miniature proportions by manipulating rods of glass in a flame.

But this week I came across some beads by jewellery design student Helen Chalmers that were just that little bit different and immediately fell in love with them.

These square tile beads get their wonderful organic stone-like appearance from being rolled in silver leaf and Helen has added shots of colour with Adventurine and Murrini to create sparkling little flowers.

The beads were extras from the degree show and dissertation Helen is currently working on and she has drawn her inspiration from the urban decay and the beauty she can see in weathered buildings, textures of peeling paint and weeds. She is building a wall of beads that will represent both this decay and the growth that springs from it, drawing parallels with the fact that we all go through a myriad of changes in life but still retain an over-arching structure.

I have always found urban landscapes to be strangely intriguing and beautiful in their own way too (I have a particular fondness for roofscapes) and I think it's great that Helen has taken this as her inspiration. As designers we all draw from our surroundings and you don't have to look far to see the influence of the natural world on jewellery design. By seeing beyond this to where nature encroaches on and regenerates the man-made, I think Helen has come up with a really interesting and unusual concept - and I love it!

Helen explains this much better than I do so please take a look at her website where you can see more of her beads as well as her sketches. You can also find her beads for sale on Etsy.  Helen - the very best of luck with your degree show - I'm really looking forward to seeing the pictures.

I have no idea what I'm going to do with Helen's beads yet, other than have them at my work desk and stare at them. In fact - if they were bigger I'd probably mount them on the wall! I would quite like to continue the urban theme and I've no doubt my own inspiration will be forthcoming when the time is right.

And with that, may I wish you all a very happy and inspired Easter.



  1. They remind me of those jelly nougat candies Brachs put out, when Brachs still had those big tall candy displays, where you could put candy in a bag and pay by the pound.

  2. We don't have Brachs's over here but I know the candies you mean - little bits of jelly in nougat blocks...haven't seen them for years, although we still have 'pick 'n' mix' in supermarkets. You're right though, there is very strong resemlbance with these beads.


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