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Friday, May 9, 2014

Lori Anderson's May 10, 2014 Bead Soup Reveal

As you all know, this is an annual party hosted by Lori Anderson.  Quickly, for those who don't know, you sign up, Lori partners you with another person that signed up, those two partners exchange a bead soup which MUST include a focal and a clasp and then the other partner must make something that incorporates both the focal and the clasp, but not necessarily in the same piece.  Of course, partners are free to include additional things in their soup if they choose.  Then there is a reveal date when the partners post what they made with their soups on their blogs.  Well, TODAY IS THE DAY! 
I do want to remind those of you who did not know before that my partner this year is Ginger Davis Allman of the Blue Bottle Tree.  She is a talented polymer clay artist and author.  Check out her BLOG at The Blue Bottle Tree and look for her tutorials in her ETSY store at The Blue Bottle Tree.

Here is the soup that Ginger sent to me.  I was really worried about coming up with beautiful designs when I first saw it.  These are colors that I rarely work with, but I knew that I would figure something out.  I always do.  I just gave myself a few days to think about the beads and I began to have some ideas. In fact, they started coming faster than I could make jewelry.  So, if you are ready, here is what I did with it.

First, I turned those gorgeous yellow pendants into earrings with an exotic tribal look to them.

Her pendants, her crystals, her blue pearls, a couple of her seed beads.

These were first intended to be the dangles on the yellow sun earrings, but I decided to go with the purple druzy beads instead.  I didn't want to take them apart, and they technically still qualify because they have Ginger's seed beads on top of the faceted stone bead, so I made these short earrings from them.

Waste not, want not.

On this set, I used the lampwork lantern bead, the toggle clasp (that had an Asian feel to me), her blue pearls, and her butterfly wings.

I added silver lotus beads, porcelain beads by Marti Conrad and Natalie Pappas, glass pearls, glass flower Czech beads, and some silver yoga inspired lotus and fish charms.

I matched the earrings using her pearls, and the lotus and fish charms, and the Czech glass beads.

Ginger made the focal pendant bead, and the six accent beads.  I used some of her seed beads and crystals for accents.

I added titanium cobalt blue druzy beads, verdigris copper links (I did that) and a copper bail, made the focal bead frame and clasp.

I have always been challenged when using polymer beads.  Because of their light weight I have trouble making them do what I want them to do.  They seem to want to twist on the wire or not hang heavy enough.  On this set, I wired the polymer beads to the copper frames that I made, forcing them to bend to my will.  Hahaha  (I wish it was that easy to force my three Rottweilers to bend to my will.)

I also used some genuine lapis rounds that I have been hoarding.

I moved on to the vintage Japanese tube beads.  I loved these beads, but in the beginning had no idea.

This design hit me just before I fell asleep one night. I couldn't wait to get up the next day to execute it.

I used the blue/gray optic glass ovals she sent me, two of Ginger's polymer oval beads, the blue glass rounds, and her seed beads.

I added the black dyed bone feathers and I have to tell you, this is my favorite set. 

I used her blue pearls and crystals and that gorgeous sterling teapot and spoon toggle clasp she gave me to make this sterling bracelet.

I learned something interesting, at least to me, on this set.

I have been making my own ball headpins for a couple of years now.  I have always just used my torch to make them, but I have always made them out of copper.

When I attempted to make these headpins using the torch on 22 gauge sterling wire (which is the only wire that would go through the pearls) my torch just burned up the wire.  I put the project away to think about it and I had an idea.  I have always had, and prefer, a gas cook stove.  I actually made these headpins in the flame of my gas cook stove.  It was hot enough to ball the wire, but cool enough not to burn up the wire.  I'm sure others already knew this, but I felt like I had invented the wheel!

These earrings are made from Ginger's blueberry quartz stone heart beads, her crystals and the four lucite flower beads.

I added the purple opal faceted fire polished beads, copper beads, glass beads, bead caps and made the copper earwires.

These would actually make two pairs of earrings as they are a bit long, but they are not heavy so I guess it would just depend on how long you like your earrings.

My "Everything Else" bracelet.  This piece was made using the third clasp she sent me, a floral charm she made, some faux biwa pearl beads she made, some nugget beads she made, two lampwork beads, those three purple glass tube beads, two vintage lucite rondelles and I accented with her pearls

Although I made matching earrings for most of the pieces I made for this Soup, I did not make any for this bracelet because "There Wasn't Anything Else".  (Get it?)

But, that isn't quite true.  At this point, I had the silver stamping, 12 blue pearls, 24 crystals and 4 seed beads left.  I had an idea brewing for the silver stamping, but I had to ruminate (I love that word) on it for a week or so.

The Victorians loved their stripes (wallpaper) and I liked the addition of the hammered copper and to me the stamping is more of an Edwardian design.  I connected the stamping to the base with rivets.

I used butter soft deerskin leather on the back and a silver pin back to finish the brooch.

But, I wasn't done yet, I still had 24 crystals, 12 pearls and 4 seed beads.

 I have had this set of clay pieces that were made by Barbara Hanselman for some time.  They give me a tribal vibe.

I don't believe it would ever have occurred to me to mix pearls and crystals with tribal had it not been for the challenge to use all of Ginger's materials.

So I just went for it.

I used copper wire to wrap pearls to the holes, made a couple of links for the neck chain, decorated the Irish linen with the crystals and seed beads and here you go.

Finished out the neck chain with carved burnt horn, sand river stone, and serpentine olive jade.

This is my fourth participation in Lori's Bead Soup Blog Party.  It has always been a personal goal of mine that I use everything received from my partner. A couple of times I managed to use every single thing, right down to the last seed bead.

I didn't use the toggle from that beautiful toggle clasp used in the necklace with the Asian flare.

Perhaps I will design my Fall line around it.

The purpose of this exercise is twofold:  First, we get to know someone in the jewelry community that we might not already know.  Second, by making something with a soup chosen by someone else, we may (or may not) be challenged to push beyond what we are comfortable making.  That was certainly the case in this installment.  When I first saw Ginger's soup choice, I was stunned.  I had no ideas!  I just thought "Oh My God."  But, once I got started, ideas came pretty easily, so I guess I can now say that in the future, I will be more comfortable working with pink, purple, and blue "pretty beads."  Thank you Ginger for your choice.  I love everything I made and I hope you do too!

Now that you have seen what I made, here is the soup that I sent to Ginger.  Our soups were so similar, they could have been litter mates.  Let's go see what she made with hers.

I hope the rest of you enjoyed my reveal as much as I have enjoyed participating in this year's party.  Please leave comments, they mean so much to me.

I usually include links to all the other participants, but there are more than 500 this year.  So, I have included only two links.  The first goes to my partner's blog, Ginger Davis Allman
Go to her blog and see what she made with her soup.

The second is a permalink to Lori Anderson's blog.  She will have a complete list of links there.

List of Other Bloggers

My Previous Soups
2-29-12 - Partner Erin Grant
February 29, 2012

7-28-12 - Partner Judy Turner
July 28, 2012

 July 29, 2012 Update Judy Turner

4-13-2013 - Partner Jelveh Jaferian Johnson
April 13, 2013

Monday, May 5, 2014



First of all, let me say that I rarely have a sale in my shop.  I generally feel that my prices fairly represent the quality of the materials and the artistic value of the piece offered; however, I have also been working diligently to downsize my shop so in order to speed up the process I am having a 20% off everything in the shop sale.

 So, in case you have had your eye on a piece, you can either click Jean A. Wells Artisan Jewelry and make your purchase.  Please let me know if you have any questions.

I don't know how long I will run the sale, but it will last for at least 10 days, maybe longer.


Saturday, May 3, 2014

Vintage Pearls and an Ocean Theme Set

My baby sister, Karla, recently asked me to create a piece of jewelry for, Barb, my sister's mother-in-law that would be made from a strand of pearls that had belonged to Barb's mother.  I had done the same thing for Barb a couple of years ago from a couple of other strands of beads that had belonged to her mother. 

Of course, I told her I would be pleased to.  When I got the strand, there were a lot of pearls there so I knew I could make more than one piece.

The harder part for me was that Karla also wanted me to keep a diary, if you will, of the creative process and how I came up with what I came up with.

Not being formally trained, or informally trained for that matter, in the creative arts, I really didn't know how to do that.  A law degree does not do a whole lot to prepare you for doing something like that.  But, I told her I would do my best.  I found it to be very enlightening and I realized that I really did go through somewhat of a "process" that I had been sort of unaware of before.

I have always that that I get my inspiration from the beads and components themselves.  Well, that is true.

First, I realized that I was coming up with a theme.  And, since these were pearls, even though they were Vintage glass pearls, I wanted to do something ocean related.

And, that led me to choosing blues and aquas.  It was also a good color choice as I had used red coral and turquoise and topaz yellows on the pieces I had done for her before.  So, it was a color she didn't have.

I did the looped design first, and I used a marvelous pendant that was made by Kristie-Lou of Sculpted Windows.  She made the turtle of polymer clay on paua shell.  They are amazing.

I also wanted to use Green Girls shibuchi shell clasp. It had to be special ordered and made by hand and the weather slowed down Greg's shipment of metal, but it was definitely worth the wait.

I used handmade blue lampwork with a sandy brown finish, a beautiful brown and blue marbled bi-cone lampwork bead by Linda Cogbill, chalcedony quartz,  African opal, pyrite, amazonite, Czech glass, Tierra Cast spacers, Trinity Brass shell ear wires, etc.

It is a beautiful set and Barb loved it.  Karla loved it.  I loved it.  And, I know Barb's mother would be so happy that these beads have had new life breathed into them.