Art in the Park

This week finds me in Louisville spending time with grandsons Nate and Wesley, while their Mom returns to teaching and they get to enjoy their last week of summer before their school starts after Labor Day. Although it has been a week without beading, it hasn’t entirely been without beads. On Sunday, my daughter, sister, and I ventured across the river to Indiana to attend Art in Speed Park, where one of my favorite jewelry artists and bloggers, Bobbie Rafferty of Beadsong Jewelry, was exhibiting.
Bobbie Rafferty wearing the piece she created for TesoriTrovati’s Challenge of Music

Since finding her blog last year, I am so in awe of Bobbie’s eye for color, her range of materials, and the texture and beauty she packs into each and every piece. It was great to chat with Bobbie and see her designs in person; examining her delicate and artfully detailed watch face necklace was a special treat!

If you’re not familiar with Bobbie’s warm and inviting blog, click over to Beadsong Jewelry today and check out more of her creations.


Weave, Wrap, Walk!

When I started beading three years ago, I quickly realized that I could spend days at the bead table (literally!), so I promised myself that for every hour I spend on beading, I would dedicate 10 minutes to exercise. And yes, that includes time spent reading and writing blog posts, researching design ideas and storing away all those beads once a big project is finished.
I usually start the first hour of my morning right here at the computer, checking out what my friends in the blogosphere have been up to. Always an inspiring way to kickstart the day. By 8, I’m at my bead table.

On my bead tray this morning: finishing up some
back-to-school earrings for my daughter and granddaughters.

Nine o’clock finds me headed out the door to walk around my neighborhood – a little over 2 miles, which takes 40 minutes. I’m earning the right to spend the rest of the morning in my beadroom, and the simple act of putting one foot in front of the other can help connect the unresolved parts of my designs – creativity expert, Michael Michalko calls this Creative Thinkering!  This is also stretching time for my hands and shoulders, which appreciate the rest from the demands that long hours in the studio place on them.
My afternoons almost always include a workout at Curves where I can bank another 3 hours at the bead table.
I’ve been spotty at keeping to this schedule over this hot Atlanta summer, but with the return of school and cooler mornings, I’m looking forward to getting back into the groove.
How do you fit fitness into your mix?


Refreshing the Fashionista

When my sister and I were little we loved to play dress-up with our cousins. While I went for the glamour of the peep-toe heels, my sister would dive into the big box of my aunt’s cast-offs and come out with fistfuls of big, glittery necklaces.  The oldest, and born with a sense of style, she was the one we all turned to for fashion advice. Janet’s birthday is this month and I knew I wanted to create a statement necklace for her with this big, curvy lampwork bead from YaYa Beads in Augusta.

The beautifully colored focal bead in this necklace needs very limited embellishment, so I chose swirly chrysocolla nuggets in the same blues and greens, teal freshwater pearls and silver-and-black accents to complete the strands. The beadwoven sections use matte seafoam seed beads my sister gave me a few years ago mixed with transparent teal for a little extra shine.

I added some chrysocolla rondelles, sparkly blue firepolish beads and jade rounds to the bracelet.

Now a stay-at-home mom to two teen-age boys, (which doesn’t involve much staying at home!) Janet’s days are filled with PTA meetings and piano lessons, but a birthday is always a good time to indulge that inner fashionista.


Bead Soup Blog Party - Playing with Fire

My Bead Soup Blog Party partners, Evie and Beth McCord, presented me with four of their vibrantly toned enameled focals; one for each of the classical elements, air, fire, earth and water. (You can see the entire bead soup here). I tend to create on a very small scale – I consider size 8 seed beads monstrous and if I were going to stray from my typical 3mm crystals, it would be toward 2.5mm, not 4! In the last year I've pushed myself to incorporate larger beads and a greater variety of materials in my work, so these big, beautiful pendants were the perfect challenge!

Have you followed Alan Alda’s challenge to the scientific community to explain to 11-year-olds exactly what a flame is? I’d recently watched the winning entry, an illuminating video by Ben Ames, complete with catchy rock song. So, since flames were already stuck in my head, I chose to design with the fire focal for this challenge.

Expanding on the orange, yellow and red in the luscious lampwork beads from Evie and Beth, I added sterling silver, some richly colored squiggle beads, Czech glass and Kazuri rounds, a bit of red and yellow coral and black agate. Looking to create a neckpiece with firm structure and very little drape, I chose cubic right angle weave, reinforcing each stitch twice to ensure a very square shape. To stabilize the center section of the neckstrap, I inserted a length of 18 gauge wire, twisting the ends into simple loops, which I secured in the beadwork. To connect the sides, I made 5 passes through the center piece with 10-pound Fireline. I wanted the neckstrap to maintain this shape when I added the pendant portion of the focal.

Beth and Evie included a beautiful sterling silver toggle clasp which was perfect with the vivid yellows and oranges in the pendant.

Silver is also a fresh look with the  yellow-gold seed beads and orange-red stones in the earrings. These pieces are sure to put some sizzle in my fall wardrobe!

In his 7-minute video, Ben Ames, graduate student in quantum optics, explained life’s little mystery of the flame. I am so glad Beth and Evie McCord explored it even further and transformed its power into art! Take a minute now to head over to the EB Bead and Metalworks blog to see what they did with my bead soup! Then click here to go to our hostess, Lori Anderson's blog, for links to all the Second Reveal participants (scroll half-way down the page.)

As always, Lori, the biggest thanks to you for encouraging our creativity and organizing all 400 of us into this year's Bead Soup Blog Party. Fire element finished, I'm diving into the water focal next!


Lunch for One: Soup is On!

Road trips are over. Summer guests have departed. Even Dan is away for the week-end, which leaves me completely on my own for three days.  Time to take a deep breath and dive into my bead soup from Evie and Beth McCord. Sketches have been drawn and beads gathered over the past few weeks. Since I’m slated for the Second Reveal of the 6th Bead Soup Blog Party next Saturday, it’s time to make my final decisions.

Beth and Evie were so generous in providing me with four (yes, four!) pendants, representing the classical elements: air, fire, earth and water.

I’m more than a little nervous in coming up with a design to highlight the brilliant colors and expert craftsmanship in these amazing focals! EB Bead and Metalworks’ designs have been treasured by many an artist – take a minute to click on the fabulous photos below and read the stories of just two that are sure to inspire!

Kokopelli pendant in a design by Heather Pyle of My Muse, Aquariart

Lori Anderson's Lotus Blossom Necklace, Cup of Bead Soup project