Thursday, July 02, 2015

Seed beads

I really like beads. I've tried out just about every kind of bead making: handmade glass, paper, fabric, clay, rose petals, resin, gemstone and of course metal. I also collect all kinds of beads, except one, seed beads. I mean, I have a bunch of them, but I only ever use them as accents or a few embroidered on fabric. I never got bit by that bug that you see other ladies dealing with at shows, eyes focused with laser intensity, carefully selecting piles of tubes of sparkly color, searching for that perfect shade. I love the colors, but the idea of putting hours into a project made from thread seemed strange. I had been given a beaded glass ornament early on and a thread had caught on a hook and made a terrible tangle, ruining the piece. I suppose that fragility had stuck in my mind, because I never so much as glanced at a seeded beaded anything. Then, a few months ago, my friend Emily Miller showed me a necklace she was working on made from nylon string and metal beads. I remarked how fragile it was and she told me I could try and break a piece of the thread. I couldn't, so was intrigued enough to try it. Now, I'm hooked. I've made loads of the crocheted stitched necklaces and have a few spools ready to go in my bag at all times. Of course, I had to try dyeing my own colors of thread! I really like that the thread is part of the design, rather than just the unseen base.
Emily showed me how to crochet a rope, but it was a little too intimidating a project for the moment. That is until a couple days ago, when I decided I wanted to try it. I fiddled with it for several hours, having zero luck. I looked at videos, but most of them just confused me. I stumbled on Beadaholiques video and then I got it. Now I need to find more antique seed beads in that greasy opaly color I like so much ( since those were dug out of heaping piles of beads at the African Village in Tucson)! I'm really enjoying using these beads and can't wait to start designing clasp and pendant components. After I search for more beads, since I clearly don't have enough.

Wednesday, July 01, 2015

New treasures

Every bead show I enjoy collecting a few more items to add to my mountainous horde of beady goodness. The Bead and Button Show is one of my favorites, as it gathers so many amazing artists and vendors in one spot. 
Let's start with my most favorite, Anne Choi, (top left, 3 silver beads) an artist whose work I coveted since I first saw her large mandrake bead in Metal Smith magazine nearly 20 years ago. We met at a show in Atlanta ( in an unaircondioned horse barn) after I mailed her a request form cut from her catalog. I remember how hard I stared at that booklet, trying to decide which beads I should get. Both of us were surprised by the other ( she pictured me as a mature artist, not a half Asian gal that looked fourteen and I didn't expect her to be as tall and southern) anyway, we've been friends ever since. The beads I found at the show were some that I've wanted for awhile, but were always sold out: the cube with various weather conditions, the ouroboros cylinder and a tiny with an eye, heart and u carved into it. They will look delightful with the others. 

Next, the little blue beaded bead is from Onye ( The three glass beads that look like alien fruit are made by Karen Elmquist. The cool bumpy bangle made from glass is from Trinket Foundry. The neat stacked and carved wooden drop pendants are from Banyan Bay Studios. The cornflake pearls are from Ta Pearls. The stones (ametrine crystals, drilled scapiolite crystals and opal nuggets) are from various gem dealers. The glass discs, eye beads, dark dichroic and tooth bead are from the delightful Maureen Henriques. I'm not sure what I'll do with the tooth and eye pieces ( probably put them in a little apothecary jar) but the discs are for wire wrapping to copper hairpins. The lovely blue and gold polymer bead was made by Erin Prais-Hintz ( I think it would look great on a hairpin as well). The ancient Roman glass pendants are from The bead goes on ( I think!). The little ceramic houses, which I adore, are from an artist whose name completely escapes me. I just love my new beads! I'm hoping to have time to make some new jewels, but in the mean time, I'm going to leave them displayed on my gem table, so I can admire them all day.