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…
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 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!
Below is the photo of the beads I sent to Hannah. (It was camouflaged in the last post.)
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.
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:
Inside the box…..
Thanks Lori for helping me get back on that horse!
…is coming home. Especially yesterday when I had four packages waiting for me. (4! And I had only been away for 2 days!) All of them were jewelry-related which made it even better since I plan to spend the next week locked in my studio, creating.
In my excitement, I took photos late in the day, some with a flash and some without, but I wanted to show you what will inspire me this week. These cool little blue/green sea urchin beads made by Kathi Mohlman, purchased on Etsy. I know they will find their way onto some future necklace that combines beach rocks, pearls and sea glass. Or maybe they will be set apart with just silver beads…
Next was a package from Sue Kennedy. You already know I am a big fan of her work. I love how well her etched glass beads combine with the colors of the beach rocks I use. I really appreciate that she posts on FaceBook when she adds to her Etsy shop. It reminds me that I need more of her glass beads!
The late day photography does not do these beads justice. They are gorgeous. (Thanks Sue for the gift of the two little swirly guys!)
The third box was from my Bead Soup Blog Party partner, Barbara Mason. Here’s the box, and what was inside. But, I’ll wait until tomorrow to post the pictures because I think the Bead Soup stuff should have a post of its own.
Last AND least exciting was the 4th box, from Amazon. I couldn’t remember what I had ordered which amazed my husband. I opened it today and now I know why it was so forgettable. A huge box of hot glue sticks. Necessary for all of the rock drilling I do. Woo hoo. Good times!
Earlier this week I received my bead soup from Lori Anderson. It was all wrapped up in a very cute little bag that Lori had crocheted herself. Clever gal that Lori! It was full to the brim with cool stuff. Look!
I am so happy to work with these colors. This photo doesn’t do justice to the periwinkle blue of the glass beads that Lori made herself. (Lamp working is one of those techniques I really wish I had more time to learn. Lori’s beads are great!) The dyed jade beads in the center are such a rich magenta color. They are also faceted in a very pretty subtle way. The pewter jump rings are twisted wire, very bright with a lot of texture. I love working with silver metals. Woo hoo! Check out those shell shapes of the Thai silver beads. Sweet! The silver hook and eye clasp also has a nice twisted texture and a very solid weight to it. The yellow/green dyed jade beads are such a cool shape. I know I’m going to have some funky fun with those. The ceramic focal is gorgeous, and I’ll admit it also scares the heck out of me. I hope I can do it justice as I’ve not worked with anything that size before. But that is what the Bead Soup Blog Party is all about. It’s a chance to think outside the box and work with things that just may not be in my comfort zone. It’s a perfect opportunity for creative growth as a jewelry designer, and I’m happy for the challenge! I’ve also never worked with sari silk, but I like the idea of reusing something that had such a different life before this.
You may have noticed there was also a little purple box that was not part of “the soup” unless I wanted to include it. This is what was in it:
The house/firefly pendant, made by Martha Easton, looks ceramic but it’s quite lightweight. I think it is polymer clay. It has a cream colored flowery texture on the other side. (I forgot to photograph it, duh.) It will make a lovely little pendant. Last but not least, the brass flower shapes are just the kind of thing I have been working with this week. I’ve been either cutting out my own copper and brass pieces to patina, or texturing stamped out metal shapes, like the flowers above, to make my own mark on them before I add patina. I can’t wait to put these little babies on a steel block and have at them with a hammer or two!
Thank you Lori! You are generous and clever and amazing. Yes, in case you missed this information from a previous post, Lori Anderson is the person who created the Bead Soup Blog Party. This party is the 7th one, and it is the largest yet. Over 500 crafty people of all levels are participating in the exchange and challenge, and they are blogging about it. Lori has writtena book called, “Bead Soup,” featuring 32 projects. She has also written an e-book about creative blogging called, “Follow the Path.”
The first BSBP reveal is on March 30, the second reveal is on April 6, and the third reveal (that’s the one I’m in) is on April 13. I’ll post a list of all of the people in each group with a link to their blogs on the reveal dates. It’s fascinating to hop around all the different blogs and see what everyone has done and what their partners have done. Oh, and just in case Lori doesn’t seem busy enough…she also has a 10 year old son named Zack, and she is participating in all three Bead Soup exchanges and reveals! Rock on Lori!
That’s soup with a capital “S” as in Bead Soup Blog Party. I had so much fun doing this last year for my first time, I made sure to sign up again for this year’s BSBP. There are over 500 of us participating, with three different reveal dates.
I am super psyched because my partner this year is the Bead Soup queen herself, Lori Anderson. I call her the queen because she is the originator of the Bead Soup Blog Party. She has done an amazing job matching people from this country and around the world. I can’t even wrap my head around figuring out how she manages it. To read more about the BSBP click on this link.
Lori’s hopes for all of us who participate in this blog hop:
:: To trade beads
:: To design outside your comfort zone
:: To get to know someone new (or better!)
:: To show your work to the world via your blog
: To kick start, revitalize, or continue blogging as a way of self-expression.
I sent my package of goodies to Lori today. I already know, from following Lori’s blog
that she has a 10 year old son named Zack. When I went to the post office today, our postmaster Joy was totally into making sure there was an interesting assortment of stamps on the box in case it was something that might interest Zack. (Joy is a fellow Dip-of-the-Month Club member, too.)
I’m not supposed to show what I’m sending because I want it to be a surprise for Lori. When I receive her package, I’ll post photos to show the “soup” she sent. Meanwhile, here is a hint of what is coming her way…in a box that is loaded with cool stamps.
This was a challenge and a blast as I spent a few days way out of my comfort zone working with the lovely pieces that were sent to me by by Bead Soup partner B.R. Kuhlman.
There were so many goodies including two amazing wire wrapped focal pieces. That Miss B sure knows how to work her way around wire. Here is what she sent:
I started with the wire-wrapped polymer clay focal. I was so pleased to find I had copper chain on hand that totally complimented the copper hook that B sent me.
I strung and restrung the center of this necklace, trying to make it work with a strand of peach colored silk. It wasn’t until I got out some leather cord and did a little wire wrapping of my own (many attempts!) that the piece came together. I made the copper clay leaves a few years ago and they seemed the right weight to balance and frame the focal. The dotted beads are dyed bone from Africa.
Next came the Zebra Jasper wrapped in gold plated wire. I wanted to keep the necklace pretty simple to highlight B’s beautiful work on the focal. The gold box clasp she sent had 2 holes to attach strands of beads which influenced the necklace design.
I totally missed putting these pieces of gold coral in my photos when I opened B’s package. After doubling the strands on the necklace above, I continued exploring the look when I made the necklace with the coral.
After the third necklace I wanted to make a bracelet. I thought the brown ribbon tied around my package from B would be a cool way to connect the ends of a 3 strand elastic bracelet. I’ve never made anything like this before, but I will definitely keep an eye out for connectors like these in the future!
With still more beads, I set about making some earrings. The copper and brass rings are links I cut from chain I had in my stash. You can see I continued my leather cord exploration.
Since I was already in “crimp mode” with the leather, I tried out some gold plated Beadalon wire for the next two pairs of earrings.
I was so excited about the smokey quartz briolettes. I love how people use them in their work, all wrapped at the top with wire. I wanted to try it too. Uh, all of you guys who do this, you make it look like it would be really easy…I got really frustrated, but I didn’t give up. Like with anything else, there is a learning curve. I hope it gets easier and more satisfying with time…
Last, but not least, did you notice that B sent two feathers in the “soup?” I thought I was being so clever to use them in the photographs, but I really didn’t imagine using them as part of my jewelry making journey. The next thing I knew, I cut them down to a smaller size and tied them up with a mess of square knots in my little leather cord.
Thank you so much B for the beautiful beads, focals, and clasps. I stretched and grew as I worked with them, and it was a whole lot of fun. Thank you, too, to Lori Anderson. You sure host a great party!
I hope everyone who visits my blog will take time to look at the blogs of the other participants. Don’t get overwhelmed by the number of us. Just check out a few every day and explore the world of creative people who took the bead soup challenge!