Saturday, September 17, 2011

Bead Soup Blog Party

Finally the day has arrived to reveal the lovely beads my generous Bead Soup Blog Party partner Stefanie Teufel of sent me. They were a lovely mix of oceany blues and greens in lots of different materials and textures with coordinating sari silk fabric. Stefanie does such a beautiful job with these materials that I was thrilled to have the opportunity to work with them. I love this necklace and plan to add to it and wear it very soon. (The candy from Germany was also a big hit with everyone here!)
To see the list of bead soup blog partners and their creations visit Lori Anderson's blog:
This has been a great experience! Stefanie did an awesome job with the polymer clay beads I sent to Germany. Now I'm off to check out what everyone else has done. Join me....

Friday, August 12, 2011

A Matter of Preference

Beadmaking is my passion and my delight. When I started to make what I like instead of what I think other people might like, beadmaking progressed into jewelrymaking. Here's today's question: shiny or mattte?
I like matte finished beads. The colors do not pop quite as much, but individual colors tend to blend with things you wouldn't normally choose when the finish is unglazed. The beads have a more earthy feel and are smooth as silk after sanding.

Glazed beads, on the other hand, have that great light-reflecting quality that makes you notice jewelry. Glaze deepens the colors and makes them stand out more. Glaze also fills in and strengthens the surface of a bead.

Designing a piece of jewelry using both glazed and unglazed beads works in most compositions, but most of my newest work cries out for diversity and a large variety of beads from which to choose. I envy people who have huge bead stashes to pick from when designing. I want to create all of the beads in a piece myself. Perhaps years from now I will have built up a backlog of beads. Perhaps I'll be making something else altogether. Robots, maybe.

Thursday, August 11, 2011


I have exciting news to report: for the first time I signed up for the Bead Soup Blog Party and I have received an absolutely wonderful partner. She is Stefanie Teufel in Germany. Many years ago in university I took enough courses to receive a minor in German. I didn't learn how to speak it well as we mostly watched videos of a student's daily life in German and memorized phrases. She kindly provides both German and English translations on her blog
Wait till you see the vibrant colors of her work in her etsy shop:
I tend to work with a lot of muted earthy tones, but am so excited to think about working with the color combinations she creates like the pictures here. I can't wait to exchange beads and see what our creations will be!

Monday, August 8, 2011

To Bead or Not to Bead-That is the Question

Things are happening rapidly for me right now. Back to school time means back to work and less time for studio work/play. I'm trying to list as much as possible on etsy for the times ahead when I'll be too busy. Here's the thing: when I make a few beads that I really like, it's difficult to decide whether to make something out of them or list them for someone else with more jewelry-making skill to enjoy. I'm taking apart some bracelets to make necklaces to increase the number of beads I have to work with. Still love the stretchy bracelets best of all, but necklaces are quite fun now that the secrets are revealing themselves. Will just have to take my cue from Scarlett. Tomorrow IS another day after all.

Friday, August 5, 2011

The Color of August

I adore the colors in this month's ABS Challenge. Most of the walls in my home are painted the lovely ochre of the model's dress. It's a perfect backdrop for the brick reds,burnt sienna,olive and cobalt blues I like to use in decorating. As usual, I got out the clays and played around with mixing my colors. I decided to use some different polymer clay techniques so that the beads would have some pizzazz: caning, extrusion, and mosaic. I made an ochre, a soft yellow, some coppery sienna and some green-grayish mud to work with the black and white I saw in the original. I wanted the necklace to be long like women wore during this time period so I made lots of beads. The necklace hangs beautifully but does not photograph on my necklace display as it is 31 inches long. How perfect this challenge was for August, the weeds and trees are starting to take on that thirsty ochre hue before the fall rains begin.(If you click the necklace picture you can see the detail better.)

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Smoky Mountain Memories

Part of my growing-up years were in the Smoky Mountains. I love all of Tennessee, but the eastern part holds a special place in my heart. I love the way you can see that misty blue gray outline from miles and miles away as you approach. I love the way the trees seem to shade and shelter you from the heat. I love the way a smidgen of sunlight peeks through a hole in the leaves. Last year our loved ones took us to see a production about the original inhabitants leaving the mountains to make way for the park. It was heart-wrenching to realize that people lost their homes and their traditions so that we could make roads that snake slowly up the mountainsides for tourists to visit. Say hello to the Smokies for me, you'ns.

Twilight Zone Web Beads

These beads have a mysterious spooky feel to them. While trying to achieve a soft-edged design using the mokume gane technique, a web appeared. Was it an accident or have we entered (insert music we all know here: dee,dee,Dee,dee) ....THE TWILIGHT ZONE?
There are eight 12-14 mm matte-finished polymer clay beads for your stringing pleasure...if you dare. There's something weird about these beads. I just tried to make this post and the computer went bleep and published it with only the title.
(Been watching too many old shows on Netflix lately, can you tell?)