I didn’t blog much all winter but I did make a lot of beads.

I love to make beads. I love to use beads made by others. If I had all the time in the world and could set up an area in my studio to do something new it would be to  make lamp-worked (also called flame-worked) beads. I’ve tried it in a workshop and I know that learning to make these beautiful beads would take too much time away from my love of Precious Metal Clay. It would take years to develop the skills I want to have to make glass beads. So, there are a few glass bead makers from whom I buy regularly.

One of them is Susan Kennedy of SueBeads.  Here is the link to her Etsy Shop where I first discovered her fine work. Now I’m more apt to see her latest ideas on her FaceBook page. In the middle of March  Sue  posted some beads I had not seen before. Scarabs. I had to have some! And when the wonderful beads arrived, I knew I wanted to try making some in silver, to use in a necklace along with her beads. I sent her a private message, asking her permission to make a silicone mold of one or two of her scarabs so I could reproduce my own hollow scarab beads in silver from PMC. She was totally supportive and I knew it would inspire a future blog post, as long as my beads came out as I hoped.

Below are photos of my process, followed by some finished pieces.

Sue’s scarabs are embedded halfway in plastocene, ready to have the two part mold material pressed on top.

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The finished molds with metal clay pressed in to pick up the design. I made two halves from each mold so that my hollow beads would be two-sided.

My silver clay beads before firing, next to two of Sue’s beads.

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Sue’s glass beads on top, my silver beads on bottom. These guys are now ready to party together!

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I made four different necklaces using each of Sue’s beads. In three of the necklaces I combined my scarabs with hers.

This is the only necklace without one of my metal scarab beads. Only because I haven’t yet worked on making some in bronze. You can see Sue’s scarab bead setting the tone for the bright colors in the necklace. There are glass beads made by a few other artists as well as the beach rock and sea glass that I drilled, and some African glass beads. The metal beads are ones I made from bronze metal clay.

Below is one of my more traditional beach rock necklaces. I love how well Sue’s beads combine with the organic beads I make. Notice the other two pod-like silver beads. They are made with a mold I took from a goldenrod stem gall. (I’m always on the lookout for unusual things to mold. When I made the stem gall mold a few years ago I had to look it up to see what it was called!)

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Another rock necklace. I really like how Sue’s scarab on the left balances with the longer piece of sea glass on the right. Two silver scarabs are farther up on the necklace. The rondelle stones are turquoise. The beach rocks come from the island where I live. I drill them myself to use for beads.

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This last one is a lot lighter, and might be my favorite of the bunch. I made all of the scarab necklaces one after another because I was so excited about the beads. In this last necklace, Sue not only made the scarab bead, but also the ammonite bead. The sea glass pieces come from the Northeast coast of England and I also drill them to make  beads.

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Now these necklaces are off to galleries for the start of the summer season. Time to get back to making more beads and seeing if Sue has any more scarabs.

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Reveal Day!

The beads I received from Hanna Rossner.

 

I knew right away I would be making two necklaces with these beautiful flame worked glass bead focals that Hanna made herself. The blue flower bead reminded me of a bell so I decided to use it as one of the dangles from a lariat necklace. The freshwater pearls she sent were really fun and I will work them into something at a later date.  I made sure to use pearls in my necklaces as a nod to the ones Hannah sent.

What I love about a lariat is that it can be worn so many different ways. There is no clasp. It’s like wearing a long scarf made with beads. The necklace is 52″ long so there is a lot of potential for variety. But the length made it a challenge to photograph in different styles of wear.

While I did not use some of the smaller handmade glass beads that Hanna sent, I made sure to add in several other lamp worked beads that I had been hoarding. The little carrot-like beads at the end of another dangle are from an experiment of mine with translucent polymer clay. (I wasn’t trying to make carrots!) The faceted yellow bi-cone beads that Hannah sent were what inspired me to work with the blue/yellow color scheme. The larger yellow bead at the end of the 4th dangle is a ceramic bead from Greece that I’ve had lying around for at least 20 years.  I had so much fun  embracing Lori Anderson’s hoarding theme when using the beads I had on hand.

(That is not dandruff on the mannequin’s black shirt. She has no head or hair! I ran outside to get these last minute photos and it was snowing. March in Maine, oh well.)

The next necklace is actually the first one I made the day after Hannah’s beads arrived. The beautiful glass heart was such a necessary reminder that spring was going to get here eventually. I knew right away I wanted to use some silk ribbon I’ve had  for several years. The clasp is a slider bead I designed from silver metal clay to use with these cords, so it too had been sitting around waiting to be considered again. (Hoarding theme!) The slider bead allows the necklace to be worn at several different lengths. I knew that pearls would really make the flower on the heart stand out so I used some large hole pearls I bought last year. The dark and light pink beads are resin, there are green flame worked beads (in this case not Hanna’s, but only because the holes in these were big enough to accommodate the silk ribbon), the pink and green saucer beads are unakite, and all of the silver beads are ones I made from precious metal clay.

Last of all the little brass dangles. Who doesn’t love a dangle?! I would hoard them too. They said “earrings” to me. I used two more of my translucent polymer experiment beads along with some pearls, glass and some of my handmade silver discs.

What a fun challenge this was. It did exactly what I think the Bead Soup party is intended to do. It got me back to blogging, stirred up some creative juices, and introduced me to new friends who love to design and make jewelry.  Below is a list with links to the other participants of the BSBP. I’ll be spending the weekend browsing through everyone’s work. Starting with my partner, Hanna Rossner, of course! (You can click on her name first too!)

Many many thanks to our wonderful hostess Lori Anderson.  She is an inspiration in countless ways, not the least of which is her ability to stay upbeat and connected while fighting a ferocious battle with Lyme disease. Hooray for her energy to revive the Bead Soup Blog Party!

All the rest of the lovely participants:

Carol Dillman

Alice Craddick

Janeen Burlingame

Leah Curtis

Ann Marie Hodrick

Donna Millard

Hajer Waheed Khalil

Lucy Clasen

Michelle McCarthy

Maria Rios
Babette Cox
Natalie Davidson
Brenda Ballou
Christina Hickman
Heather Gunther

Judy Jacobs

Elisabeth Matouschek

Shawn Elkins

Sally Russick

Susan McClelland

Kathleen A Breeding

Joyce Becker

Pam Farren

Divya N

Sherri Stokey

Terri DelSignore

Kate Gonska

Jean Wells

CJ Bauschka

Bonnie Coursolle

Barb Fernald

Noemí Baena

Dana Phillips

Karen Firnberg

Michelle  Escano Caballero

Natalie Ettinger

Valerie Norton

Rachel Mallis

Tracy Stillman

Robin Lynne Showstack

Marianne Baxter

Maria Rosa Sharrow

Therese Frank

Sandi Volpe

Leslie Scholz

Joan Williams

Laura Guenther

Liz Engriser

B.R.Kuhlman

Bev Breisinger

Radel Vela

Kim Dworak

Denise Milward

Bobbie Rafferty

Vonna Maslanka

Elisabeth Auld

Hannah Rosner

Carla Fry

Terri Gauthier

Teresa Fischer

Tanya Goodwin

Barbara Judy

Leanne Loftus

Carrie Stalcup

Lori Schneider

Joelyn Bissing

Kate Dufour

Gail Poveda

Katie Nielsen-Nunez

Pam DeBoer

Dee Elgie

Helena Hatten

Jackie Ryan

Bridget Torres

Inge von Roos

Krafty Max

Iveth Caruso

Rebecca Ednie

Amy Severino

Sandra Wollberg

Blanca Medina

Dyanne Everett-Cantrell

Samantha Wescott

Christine Stonefield

Silke Groeber

Alenka Obid

Lori Bowring Michaud

April Grinaway

Yvette Goodridge

Kathy Lindemer

Sooz Anzalone

Karin King

Leona Smith

Tania Spivey

Jasvanti Patel

Danielle Kelley

Shai Williams

Jacqueline Marchant

Erin Kenny
Ann Schroeder

Klaudete Koon

Veralynne Malone

Lorelei Eurto

Ann  Sherwood

Jackie Locantore

Mowse Doyle

Dorit Woldenga

Cheri Reed

Dolores Raml

Palak Udeshi

Laurie Vyselaar

Heather Canepa

Dorothy Supri

Sharyl King

Elaine Robitaille

Heather Marston

Terry Matuszyk

Andra Weber

D’Arsie Manzella

 

Becky Pancake

Kelly Schermerhorn

Renetha Stanziano

Rana Wilson

Janine Lucas

Kelly Hosford Patterson

Andrea Glick

Joanne Bell

Sarah Strover

Sam Waghorn

Marianna DeLuca Wehner

Johana Nunez

Jenny Kyrlach

Elizabeth Hodges

Lennis Carrier

Candida Castleberry

Mary Govaars

Sandi James

Arlene Dean

Kristina Eleniak

Nan Smith

Nadine Edris

Denise McCabe

Donna Marie Hanna

Audrey Belanger

Nicole Rennell

Robin Reed

Gail Zwang

Terry Jeanette Carter

Donna Hoblit

Claire Fabian

Jennifer Strehler

Rochelle Brisson

Annita Wilson

Melissa Trudinger

Loralee Kolton

Valerie Tilghman

Mischelle Andrade

Elizabeth Bunn

 

 

 

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Time to take some photographs…

Tomorrow (Saturday, 3-25-17) is the big reveal day for the Bead Soup Blog Party. This means I’m racing around at the last minute to take photographs of what I made from the beads Hannah sent to me over a month ago.  I was inspired right away and I actually have the pieces all done, but taking photos of jewelry is something I put off doing over and over. It’s one of the reasons I don’t keep up with my Etsy site very well.

Maybe it’s because I have my photography set-up in our basement which is cold at this time of year, not to mention it’s usually a big mess. It’s the place where everything goes to “get out of the way.” My husband and I both contribute to the pile up but he is usually the one who does something about cleaning it up.  Bruce is a lobster fisherman, who hauls his boat and traps out of the water for the winter months while he repairs and builds new lobster traps. He also repaints his 800 buoys, repaints the bottom of his skiff, paints his oars and measures out new rope for some of his traps. Eventually he runs out of things to do before his boat is back in the water. So he takes on “clean up chores” around the house.

As he was getting ready to leave for the U.S./Canadian Lobstermen’s Town Meeting yesterday, he asked what I would do with all my time to myself for the next two days. “Well, I need to finally take some jewelry photographs,” my reply.

“Oh. Well….when I cleaned up the basement I sort of piled things up on your photography table…  Just throw out what you don’t want and make a pile of the things you want to keep.”  (Argh!)

 

Fishermen’s survival suits airing out on the pool table in the clean basement.

The thought of having to work my way through piles to get to  my little photography corner made me procrastinate even longer. But, as I entered the basement with a load of silver beads to fire in my kiln, I turned on the heat in the “clean” area of the basement and thought, “let’s see how bad this is. If I clean up the area now, I’ll be able to take the photos tomorrow with a fresh start. It might not be so bad.”

And, you know what? It wasn’t so bad. It took me less than an hour to get my area ready to go. That is where I am headed now.

Some photo props, now all in the same area.

The photo cube awaits…

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The Bead Exchange is Complete

After a week away from home, visiting friends in New York and family in Baltimore, I returned to the island to find my beads from Hannah Rossner had arrived! Woo hoo!

I love getting packages in the mail, don't you?

I love getting packages in the mail, don’t you?

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I think Hannah and I were on the same wavelength when we sent each other some lamp worked beads. Check out Hannah’s blog Good River Beads and Jewelry to see her work and what she said about my contribution. (Remember, we’re participating in Lori Anderson’s Bead Soup Blog Party. It’s the bead hoarder’s edition. We’re to send beads that we’ve been hanging on to for a long time and explain why we’ve hoarded them. Okay, so neither one of us remembered to add that little note. I’d say we’re a match!)

Be sure to check out Hannah’s Etsy Shop to view her amazing work. Our styles are so different. I don’t know how she does all that intricate bead work. It’s quite detailed and beautiful. And she is a lamp work artist. Which means she makes her own beads, holding rods of glass and a steel mandrel  in and out of a gas flame. I took a two day workshop in this once and believe me, I know it takes years to develop that skill.

Click on Hannah’s photo below for a link to her Etsy site. Get a cup of tea, and get ready to take some time for visual stimulation. You won’t be disappointed!

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Below is the photo of the beads I sent to Hannah. (It was camouflaged in the last post.)

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The lamp work bead was made by Mindy McGregor who sells on Etsy.  The teardrop head pins are made by Jennie Yip, and also purchased on Etsy. The fine silver beads are made by me. (My own Etsy shop is for the jewelry I make, but you would never know because my Etsy shop is bare. Every month I think, “okay, time to remedy that.” And every month something else comes up. I even have the inventory on hand, so what is that all about? Oh. I just remembered. It’s the photography. Something that I can put off as well as I put off cleaning the oven. Once I start, I can totally get into it. I just can’t seem to want to get started.)

Hannah and I and the other participants in the BSBP have until March 25 to reveal our designs with another person’s hoarded beads. That is the big reveal day, now less than 3 weeks away. Not a bad way to jump start my creative process and start to make friends with my own writing.

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Day 2 of renewed blogging

For a year I have paid for a premium subscription to WordPress. I wanted to be able to post videos and remove any ads from my space that I don’t see, but others do. I find after so much time away it is really hard to even remember how to post on my blog and add pictures! If I do this every day for a while maybe it will all come back.

In a week of 4 snowstorms we managed to rack up at least 40 inches of snow on ground that had been bare since last spring. And, I have been recovering for two months from double knee surgery….

Enter my son’s snowshoes, from high school, patiently waiting for me to rediscover them in the attic. I used to be a cracker jack downhill skier, having started the sport at age 4. But in the 40 years I’ve lived on Little Cranberry Island, I’ve managed to go downhill skiing a total of 10 times. It’s just not in the cards. We’re too far from a ski area, we live with a limited ferry schedule in the winter, and my husband has not skied for years either. Cross country skiing is a good option when we get enough snow. But balancing on narrow skis  is not a wise move for me just now.

So yesterday I tried snow shoeing for the first time ever. I LOVED it! I met up with two other island women and off we went to admire the magical snowy woods.

Today I went off on my own to one of my favorite parts of the island. The property owned by jeweler Sam Shaw.

Yes, I am so grateful to live in a quiet magical place! And, at the end of the walk through the woods, the path opens to this view.

Yup. It is totally beautiful here. I try not to ever take it for granted. I love being able to share some of the winter scenes that most of our summer visitors never get to see. I hope they are as quiet and soothing for you as they are for me.

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Maybe I should post on my blog more often

Ya think?

I have really fallen out of the habit of posting on my blog. Once a year is not enough, but that seems to be my routine for the last few years. When did it become so hard? FaceBook has taken up my time, sometimes in a good way and sometimes not. I belong to several private and public FB groups where we post and comment back and forth. The time I spend on FB, now, I used to spend browsing other people’s blogs and posting something on my own.

I’m not alone. For whatever reasons, several people whose blogs I used to follow have not posted anything for 2 years or more. I miss them! It makes me appreciate all the more the people who do take the time to let others get a glimpse of their lives and talents through their blogs. I want to be one of them again.

Many thanks to Lori Anderson and her Pretty Things Blog for bringing back the Bead Soup Blog Party. Click the link to learn a little  history and more about this year’s special twist. The twist is that we are to send a bead or beads that we have hung on to for a long time, but are willing to gift to someone else. Those special beads that we all have. The ones we just can’t quite decide out how to use, but we’ve kept them for one reason or another.

I think it’s a great idea. Lots of fun and I can’t wait to see what people create when the reveal happens on March 25. My partner for the bead swap is Hannah Rosner. She’s a lot more regular about blogging than I have been. Check out her blog: Good River Beads and Jewelry. Hope she likes what I send, or that it inspires her. Per the rules of the blog party, we are not allowed to show a photo of what we sent until our partner reveals their beads after they receive them. But we can do this:

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Inside the box…..

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Thanks Lori for helping me get back on that horse!

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Memorial Day kicks off a new summer season

A lot of my work goes to Maine galleries that have a busy summer season. Here are some of the pieces headed to Chapter Two Gallery in Corea, Maine. If you have never been there I urge you to take a little drive “downeast” to this beautiful part of the coast. Garry and Rosemary Levin have a wonderful gallery representing many craftspeople and artists from this area. I am so fortunate and honored to be included among them.

And, they kick off the summer season with a party!

Without further ado, please take a look at some of my new work getting sent to Chapter Two tomorrow:

Let the summer fun begin!!

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