Three Acrobats and a Dog

Yes, I know Picasso’s celebrated painting, and the ABS July Challenge, is entitled Two Acrobats with a Dog, but it required the help of a third acrobat to get my design off the ground.

I envisioned a fluid cuff in a harlequin pattern, but every sample I stitched was a false start: deep blues and soft grays that looked fantastic on my bead tray turned dull and disappointing when stitched together. The addition of the painting’s soft rose and yellow-green rendered the pattern too distracting.

I set the project aside and welcomed a nice, week-long visit from my sister. We headed to Fresh Market one afternoon, on a quest to replicate our mother’s perfect pork chops, and I encountered this acrobatic wonder in a display at the checkout counter.

Of course! Stick to two colors, and outline the sections in white! (It’s always nice when inspiration and chocolate collide!)

All that remained was to embellish the surface. A Marsha Neal earring-size bead in the colors of Picasso's sky was bezelled into a button, and serves as both the closure and focal of the cuff. A ruffled loop and accents of silver filligree topped with the painting’s blues and yellow-greens inject a bit of whimsy.

And now it will be wrapped, packaged and sent off to the 7000 Bracelets for Hope project. Take a moment to click on the ABS Flickr page to see all the inspiring entries for this month’s challenge.


Zombie Crush

I fell head over heels for a Zombie. I drove across the state of Georgia to the South Carolina border yesterday to see it in person. The zombie in question is the creation of Lesley at Sweet Freedom Designs.  An unfinished project brought back from the grave and given new life as the first in Lesley’s 2012 Zombie Project.  

A Zombie no more, Sweet Freedom's elegant Iolite Fringe Necklace

It’s a stunner, sumptuous, lightweight and pure elegance around your neck. I indulged in the luxury of wearing it for a few moments in Lesley’s store, YaYa Beads, in Augusta. YaYa is a creative oasis where inspiration abounds, both in Lesley’s finished pieces and her fabulous inventory. If you’re not yet a follower, click over to her blog – you’re in for a treat!

We spent the lunch hour sharing our tentative designs for the upcoming Bead Soup Blog Party. I brought the Fire focal from the Bead Soup bounty I received from Evie and Beth McCord of EB Bead and Metal Works, and we discovered the perfect lampwork beads and pearls to round out my design.

My sister, who is my biggest fan, has a birthday coming up, and I knew I would find the perfect focal bead for an end-of-summer necklace. A survey of the store added strands of chrysocolla, pearls and some beautifully reflective firepolish beads for a little extra shine. Won’t these look fantastic with a pop of yellow-orange from my stash?

Time to head to the bead table. I have some pressing projects – and some Zombies of my own - to bring to life!


Bead Soup Bounty

Our mail carrier was very late making it down our street today. So late that my husband was home from work when I walked in from the mailbox with a large box that held what I knew would be my bead soup from partners Evie and Beth McCord of  EB Bead and Metal Works. And, oh! What a bead soup! Six jewelry boxes were neatly stacked inside.

The first two boxes held these blue enameled copper pendants, handmade by my partners, which brought to mind the sky and sea. As you turn the pendant on the left in your hand, the blues change from inky to royal, and I love the cooler blue and bisque-white pendant on the right, inviting the eye to explore its contours.

The third and fourth boxes held these attention-getting focals, with the drama of red, black and orange and the burnished landscape palette on the right.

The final boxes revealed this fabulous and oh-so-generous coordinating collection of lampwork beads and a silver clasp. All but the clasp were hand made by Evie and Beth!
As I stood in awe of the bounty now glittering across my kitchen table, my husband said, “Those don’t look like the kind of materials you usually work with.” Exactly! That’s where the fun and challenge of the Bead Soup Blog Party comes in. I have never worked with enameled focals, and rarely use lampwork beads in my designs.  I am certainly out of my element, far from my creative comfort zone, and I’m SO excited!
Our reveal date is August 11th. But you don’t have to wait until then to check out the sites of the talented mother/daughter McCord team. You can see more of their enameled copper and lampwork designs on Etsy, savor their Flickr spread, and read all about this talented family on their blog.