My first Swap N Hop with Bead Peeps!
Just like Linda Anderson and Gloria Allen! I’m now one of them! I get to include #BeadPeepsSwap on my pages and blog post even!
I am so humbled by the amount of work that busy artists like Linda Anderson and others will put in, just to encourage and support the work of total strangers. I am so grateful to be a part of this.
When I first started to explore the internet for jewelry How-Tos I kept seeing this little picture on the side of my favorite blogs. It seemed like a seal that said “LOOK! This is a real jewelry artist!” Then I learned that there was so much more than just a blog badge that is the world of Bead Peeps. Becoming a part of that is a real blessing.
I’m very late, but to actually be taking part in the 2016 Bead Peeps Swap-N-Hop was pretty unlikely, and I didn’t think it would happen.
The first unbelievable part of taking part in the S-N-H (Swap-N-Hop) was being partnered with an artist I was introduced to when I first began to explore the idea of making and designing jewelry. GLORIA ALLEN! of Gloria Allen Designs, Author of the Wings and Beads Blog – at http://wingsandbeads.blogspot.com/
Gloria has a great Etsy shop too, you should drop in and see her great stuff!
Scroll through Gloria’s posts over the last two years and you’ll see the work of a whimsical and intuitive designer. You’ll also see a warm and giving person shining through. Gloria challenges herself at every corner. Taking part in a tremendous number of design challenges that are designed to inspire and stretch an artist. They’re intended to help others grow as much as the participant is. Even when she’s learning and exploring new components, Gloria takes time to encourage and invite others to join her along the journey. Regardless of whether she’s merely finishing what’s on her work-table for a regular Finish-Up-Friday, or studying the fashion colors of the year and designing jewelry to coordinate with it.
In some ways Gloria and I are worlds apart. I live in an isolated farm house on the Kansas prairie and Gloria lives on the east coast in what we’d consider “The Big City back east.” But it’s fascinating how similar our tastes are. Mom’s to a large family of grown children, we’re both juggling life and everyday responsibilities with our need to create.
Almost immediately after I decided to jump in and join the swap disaster struck and life put up brick walls. After struggling with health issues for years, I was zapped with several kidney stones in a row and basically ordered to go get things fixed. So, instead of leisurely designing my pieces with the incredible components that appeared in my mailbox, I was being responsible. I took the time to get well and schedule a surgery at Mayo clinic to attempt to see that my health will improve. That meant that in between kidney stones I was seeing all of my local specialists and getting all of my ducks in a row. Then I was unexpectedly told to get some biopsies done& bam they were scheduled for the Thursday before the reveal & my son’s Saturday afternoon College Graduation! AAAAaaagggh.
Anyhow, better late than never as they say.
Of course another stumbling block is my own self – Do you ever know exactly where something is, but it’s not? I ask myself “How can I be such a “loser?” I don’t mean that the way you might think. I lose things. I mean- important stuff – that I just had! Like the picture of my greatly adored focal and the components that Gloria sent! I can describe everything in detail, I can describe where each component was sitting in the photo, but nope, I lost the photo.
Actually, I thought I’d lost some of the beads too! I do that a lot. Turn around and something’s lost that I must have to finish whatever it is that I’m working on. Linda suggests we talk about challenges we faced to make our swap piece, well there’s one of my biggies – Brain Fog!
Someday the view will clear & I’ll be astonished to find everything exactly where it belongs! So, now that the panic is over, and I’ve taken a photo of what I have left, I found the picture I need right here on the SD card that was on my desk. Yea… that’s about the way it goes.
Gloria was really inspired when she chose my pieces. She ordered this incredible ceramic focal bead that’s a TREE! It’s from Suzieqbeads and is so exactly what I would have picked for myself. She also included some perfect yellow rondells from Grace beads. Those were intended to show me just what I was missing by not learning sooner about “good” lampwork beads. Quality shouts from the simplest looking bead. I’m sold on artisan lampwork.
To go with those were also some marvelous ceramic beads to accompany the focal and the lampwork. They are all in warm earthy orange and brown along with some lustrous glass pearls that have a warm apricot glow to them. Perfect to pair with the copper I love to work with.
The fascinating thing I found as I worked more closely with the orange beads were the silver highlight polka-dots and swirls. They inspired me to make the second necklace with silver and copper wire.
I used some of the copper that had the patina applied, but I also polished and brightened some of the copper that I was twisting and hammering.
Did Gloria know that I often think “When you can’t walk Fly!?” Well, I do, and she added a great copper wing that will soon be on a bracelet with those words stamped onto a piece I annealed – ready to stamp.
I’m not sure why, but even though they’re all the same components, one piece has more of a late summer feel while the other feels very dark and cozy, kind of autumn woodsy. I’m not sure how I come up with that idea, but it’s like September and November. If you’re asked, you know that they’re both technically called the “Fall” but you know they’re totally different.
There’s an uncompleted necklace here too, teaching yourself wire weaving when you can’t even stick to your own drawings isn’t a recipe for instant success. This is something I definitely want to stick too, but maybe not this week.
The sunflower pillow beads from Grace beads that Gloria sent as a gift were originally going to be earrings, until I looked in my stash of special beads. There were these ceramic beads that match the leaves almost exactly. I also had several Czech flowers that imitate the sunflowers and well.. . . I need to think on this some more.
Come back someday soon. I’d love to show you how I learned to make my own headpins for this challenge and how to make and reduce a polymer clay cane to make Day Lily’s for Gloria’s stash.
Gloria is taking part in a wonderful weekend retreat with Christi Friesen and Brenda Sue Lansdowne and Katie Oskin and many, many others this weekend. I’d planned to go before we found out about my trip to Mayo, so I sent her some goodies to use in one of the classes where they’ll learn about Haskell type caging. You’ll have to stop by her blog and see what kind of wonderful ideas she’s gathered to share with us.
I had such a hard time deciding what was good enough to send to Gloria to work with. She buys and uses some of the best beads that I’ve ever seen, and so many of them are artisan made. She’s met so many wonderful bead designers, true artisans themselves, and she’s shared them with us all. She inspired me to seek the best possible beads, and always try to use artisan produced materials, so I only wanted to send her the best of what I could find.
It wasn’t until I sat down to make some day lilies that I realized how much I wanted to make and send Gloria something I’d designed and made just for her.
I drew some elegant and sweeping Art Noveau type wire weaving and wrapping, but when my fingers get ahold of the wire and beads, something different always comes out. Someday, I must get the brain and the hands to communicate better!
Thanks for stopping by!
Here is the photo of all the pieces in my new collection, earrings and necklaces for now, and a bracelet in the works.
Please be sure and stop by Gloria’s Blog and Linda Anderson’s and all the rest. You’ll be so inspired if you do!
As you hop through the following pages, think about what incredible jewelry these designers were able to come up with, even though they weren’t the ones to choose their focal pieces or components. I’m sure it was a real challenge, but it will yield real benefits for us all. You may have guessed by now, but the idea for the blog hop is for us to choose the components for our partner, and see what we can do with what our partners have chosen for us! The pairs are listed together below.
Pop by Gloria’s first if you would please, and leave her an encouraging not. After that, be sure to read Linda Anderson’s post. She’s our hostess and deserving of your thanks for making this all possible~