Beads, Blog Hops and Challenges, Swaps and exchanges

Owls and dragonflies: the 8th Bead Soup Blog Party reveal is here!

So here we are again, at the 8th Bead Soup Blog Party, the highlight of the blogging beader’s calendar! The premise is simple, participants are paired up by our amazing host Lori Anderson to swap a bead soup containing at the minimum a focal and a clasp, plus some coordinating beads. This year almost 500 beaders and jewellery designers from around the world signed up to play. Today we reveal what we made using the beads our partners sent us.

My partner, Sandra Wollberg, from Wiesbaden, Germany (you can read more about her here), sent me a fabulous soup, including a pendant, clasp and bracelet bar from Blu Mudd, handmade polymer clay headpins, a stunning Czech glass button and a selection of beads including Czech glass dragonflies, flowers, leaves and little critters, freshwater pearls and some painted shell beads, Indian glass, and peanut beads. There was also some sari silk and a packet of mica sheets, thrown in by Sandra as an extra challenge.

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To get my muse going, I started with a few pairs of earrings, using Sandra’s polymer clay headpins, one pair wrapped with the pretty painted shell beads, the other one combined with two little ladybird beads from the strand of Czech glass critters. A third pair of earrings became a posy of Czech glass flowers.

earring collage 1

Next on the list was the bracelet bar. I had it in mind to combine it with leather, and I found some lovely soft teal blue leather that picked up the blue colour in the flowers embossed on the bar. To counter its one-sided weight, I knotted a selection of beads onto some teal blue waxed linen.

bracelet collage

My first necklace was inspired by the dragonfly beads and the Czech glass button, which also features a dragonfly. The challenge for me in this piece was to work out how to incorporate the button into a necklace,, especially as I also wanted to use the clasp Sandra sent me. In the end, I cut off the button shank and used a filigree piece from Vintaj to wrap around the back of the button, with a couple of jump rings to create a link. Between the button link and the clasp, I strung the Czech glass dragonfly coins and the pearls, and used a Vintaj dragonfly as a pendant. I’ve called this necklace the Dragonfly Pond necklace.

Dragonfly pond necklace collage

And finally, a necklace with the Blu Mudd owl pendant. The pendant is glazed in a glossy gold with breakthrough undertones tones of teal and green. I was inspired by some of Lorelei Eurto‘s recent necklaces, with beads knotted on linen, so I picked out a selection of beads in blues, greens and bronze shades, as well as a deep red to give a pop of colour, from both the bead soup Sandra provided as well as my own stash and knotted them on teal blue waxed linen (you’ll recognize some of the beads from the bracelet). The pattern repeats linearly from the clasp to the pendant, but looks asymmetric—a trick I think I picked up from one of the posts in Love My Art Jewelry‘s recent bootcamp on asymmetry. I’m really pleased with how this necklace turned out, I think it really captures the autumn woodland feel of Sandra’s soup. I’ve called it the Owl in the Woods necklace, and I think I’ll keep it for myself!

Owl in the woods necklace collage

Now, there are a few elements from my soup that I haven’t yet used. The Indian glass beads are destined for a necklace when I find the right chain. I almost used the peanut beads in the dragonfly necklace, but the seed beads just looked better. And I plan to make a few more pairs of earrings as well. The sari silk is lovely and I’m sure I will use that somewhere soon. The mica sheets are a bit more challenging, and I’ve been looking at various tutorials and blog posts about how to use. I have had them out to play with but so far I haven’t actually done anything. I have plans though, which I am sure I will blog about down the road.

Thank you Lori, for once again throwing a wonderful party with fabulous guests, despite your own personal challenges besetting you at every turn! I’m already looking forward to whatever you dream up for next year’s party! And thank you Sandra for a fabulous soup, which stretched me as a jewellery designer. I hope you had as good a time playing with my soup as I did with yours!

Now, I have the daunting but enjoyable task of visiting as many of the other blogs partying with me as I can. To see what Sandra made with the soup I sent her, visit her blog. And for the full list of participants, go to the main BSBP page.

 

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