What is a Bead Soup Blog Party?
Each beader was paired up with another jewelry designer and tasked with sending the following:
A special clasp (not just a lobster claw)
Some coordinating spacers or beads
Using the focal and the clasp was mandatory, but we could use anything from our own stash to round out the rest, and choose to use the coordinating beads or not.
Here is another picture of the beads I received from my fantastic Bead Soup partner, Melinda Orr:
With so many amazing beads to work with, I barely had to add anything from my own stash, and I didn't even use up all of them!
I am sure the design process is different for every one of us, and so I'll give you a little insight into mine in this post:
Originally I had wanted to create three necklaces that could all be worn together or separately. This seemed like a great plan, but after starting to work on the designs, I ended up throwing that idea out of the window and instead created one earring/bracelet/necklace set and 2 other necklaces.
Here's the first necklace I made, using the lovely Sue Beads lampwork beads from Sue Kennedy, the sweet bird charm from Lisa Petraka, some of the amber resin beads, the handmade bead caps, some of the copper and the stone beads:
|A close-up of the bird charm|
Originally this was going to be the shortest of the three necklaces, and I wanted it to be fairly simple, which it is. It is actually the one I will probably wear the most, as I tend to wear simpler designs myself.
The second necklace took on a life of its own, and it was during the construction of this piece that I decided to create three very separate designs:
I absolutely love the handmade clasp Melinda made, and knew I wanted it to act as a focal in one of the designs, and it fit perfectly with the beads I used here. The coin pearls and jade are both large beads with the holes through the middle. I wanted to show the height of these beads and not the width as much, so I had to come up with a way to wire them to "stand up", and here's what I came up with:
Basically I put a small length of wire through the center of the beads and created a simple loop on each side of the bead. Then I created a kind of wire cage by putting a length of 16g wire with loops on each end on either side of the bead and wrapped wire around each end, effectively sandwiching the beads between the wire lengths:
This added heft to each link and gave the necklace substance. I worked in the large hammered hoops from Melinda to break up the links.
The last design I made incorporates the beautifully patinaed components from Melinda, along with one of the glass domes and one of the beautiful photographs she sent:
The colors in the patina and the photograph are truly amazing, and reminded me of out trips to Rocky Point, Mexico. For the focal I riveted the handmade bands Melinda made to the patinaed copper base plate, sandwiching in the domed glass piece with the applied photograph. I knew this would be a long piece, and I felt that the focal needed more substance, so I added strips of antique lamp banding to the top and bottom of the pendant and used that to dangle some charms on the bottom.
Then I started in on an asymmetrical design that features the patinaed circle and square links on one side and wire-wrapped stones on the other side. The necklace measures about 35", so there was no need for a clasp in this design.
I had tons of pieces and parts left over, so I decided to make coordinating earrings and a bracelet:
I love this set, and will be wearing it to church this weekend!
Melinda, I want to thank you from the bottom of my heart for sending me such a treasure trove to play with in this bead soup. I loved being your partner, and can't wait to see what you made with the beads I sent you!
Lori Anderson, thank you for being the mastermind behind this phenomenal event. I know you put endless hours into making sure we are all taken care of, and I appreciate you so very much!
Please take some time to check out Lori's blog, Pretty Things, as well as the other participants in this blog hop: