This has been an interesting challenge! I’ll just beg your pardon if this blog post seems a little choppy – I’ve been writing it in pieces as I went along, and photographing each piece as it’s come off the bench. So it’s about a month of working and writing in chunks.
While the bead soup that Robin sent me was really cohesive and would have worked in one piece really beautifully, I saw quite a few possibilities and decided that I would just go as inspiration struck me. I set myself two challenges for this Bead Soup Party. The first was that I would use at least one of my own handmade components in each piece. The second was that I would only use stash to complement Robin’s bead soup package – nothing new. No bead shopping!
“Mermaids at Night, Sailor’s Delight.”
I made: the focal.
Soup beads: green faceted Czech glass rondelles
When I saw the little strand of bright green faceted rondelles, I knew what I would pair them with right off! They were obviously meant to match up with my bamboo tile mermaid focal. I still had some of the beautiful purple pearls from last year’s challenge, which picked up the burgundy/purple tint of the bamboo focal tile really nicely. I used a Patricia Healey toggle and some African Amazonite from my stash.
“On Agate Beach.”
I made: the bracelet focal disc bead, and the tinted copper elements in the earrings
Soup beads: assorted seed beads, faceted agate rounds, faceted agate rondelle
About an hour north of where I grew up is a great little beach called Agate Beach. We used to go there as kids and hunt for agates in the sand. There would often be great clumps of kelp washed up on the beach, the empty shells of various sea creatures and sometimes you would find a glass float from a Japanese fishing net (if you were very lucky). Robin’s soup included ALL the agate! The focal is a polymer clay disc bead that I made. It looks a little bit sea-crittery, yes? A green, faceted, agate rondelle anchors the focal bead to the Patricia Healey toggle closure from my stash.
I really wanted to create a pair of earrings that would work well with my new bracelet. The swirly lampworked headpins came from my stash and looked great set off with some soup seed beads. I paired those with domed and textured copper discs that I tinted with Ranger alcohol ink, then glazed. The layer of translucent ink over the bright copper is very luminous in the direct sunlight. It almost looks like one of those funky glass Japanese floats – imperfections and all. I feel like I really managed to capture my favorite childhood beach in these pieces!
I made: the disc beads and the tinted copper elements in the earrings.
Soup beads: Textured copper toggle closure (Melinda Orr), seed beads.
I used the toggle clasp from my soup in this set. It is from Melinda Orr ‘s studio. The shape and size worked just perfectly with my handmade disc beads. It was originally a little bit too bright, so I went over it with Gilder’s Paste I used some of the dark brown seed beads from the soup to accent the jump ring on the toggle and the ends of the linen cording.
The blue ball headpins are from my stash, they are balls of etched glass from Raida Disbrow’s studio. I really just liked that pop of bright blue against the deeper reds and purples. It’s very eye catching, especially with the earrings! Those are tinted with alcohol ink. I liked the ones I did with the beach set so well, I made a second pair.
“I Carry Your Heart”
I made: the focal element, and copper spiral clasp/hook closure.
Soup beads: “amber” glass rondelles, golden fluourite,
Originally I was going to just do the stamped copper as my focal piece, but then I found some textured copper sheet and made a little cover for it.
The spiral wire it hangs from was because I couldn’t get it to hang on the cord properly alone. So I just kept building.
By the time this post goes to reveal day, I’ll have patinaed and tumbled the clasp to match the focal. But on picture day, it was still unpatinaed.
This piece is all about mothering and every element is representative of the journey in some way, for me. Fire and water and oh yes, it roughs you up a bit on the way!
Thanks for a lovely soup, Robin Kae Reed! I had fun with it!