First off, I lift my glass to all of you intrepid blog hoppers out there! There are a lot of blogs to visit and if you took the time to come by mine - welcome! I'm sincerely honored that you're here and I hope you'll enjoy the soup I made and maybe even leave a comment or come back by in the future!
Just as a refresher, here are the soup ingredients provided by my partner, Judy Riley of Three Red Beads:
The focal is one of Judy's hand-made paper beads. This presented an immediate challenge as I have never worked with a paper bead before and I wasn't sure what style would best set it off or how much handling it would stand up to.
The other ingredients are Czech glass flowers and drops, freshwater pearls, faceted white jade and a Bali silver toggle clasp. Even though this color combination is not one that I would have ever put together myself, I absolutely loved it! Didn't exactly know what I was going to DO with it, but I loved it.
My process normally begins with the focal bead. I usually try to pull colors from it to select my accent beads and/or inform the idea of the design. In this case, the accent beads are already there for me, but the color scheme really screamed copper instead of silver to my brain. So, my first decision was that the clasp would form part of a separate design.
Next thing I noticed was that the paper used on the focal bead seems to have flowers imprinted on it. Put that together with the glass flowers and the fact that the green drops look like tiny leaves...I think I'm looking at a floral garland type of design. I also decided that the focal was a little small to anchor a necklace so...a bracelet it is!
I used 20 gauge copper wire and made large wrapped loops. Before closing each loop, I strung a few of the green drops directly on the wire and then also strung on some dangles I'd made out of the flowers and then closed the loops.
Here's a closeup of the focal bead. I added some Greek ceramic spacers in copper and some copper daisy spacers from my stash.
I quickly discovered that the lavender freshwater pearls did not have holes large enough to accommodate the wire I was using, but I really wanted to keep the lavender color in so I added lavender Czech glass flowers from my stash.
One of the best things in this soup mix are these faceted white jade beads. I never would have thought to use them, but they absolutely glow next to these other colors.
This copper toggle came from my stash.
And here's another overall veiw of the bracelet.
I had enough beads left to make some matching earrings.
Since I still had the silver toggle clasp, most of the green drops and all of the freshwater pearls left, I knew I needed to make more soup. I really wanted it to concentrate on those pearls and when I received my latest order from Lisa Boucher's Etsy shop and this lavender and yellow sunflower pendant was in it...
...well, they were meant to go together.
Except this design called for brass so the silver toggle still had to sit out.
I started with the pendant and some large-link brass chain and I kept picturing a chain-link fence in an overgrown field of flowers and berries with the plants twining through and around the fence links.
Other than the lavender pearls, everything else in this design came from my stash.
Here's a closeup of the amazing focal and you can see how I started weaving the pearls through the chain links using the illusion cord.
I decided to use up the lavender flowers that I still had on my table from the bracelet and then I added in dyed yellow wood round beads, vintage glass leaves, some lapis lazuli rondelles and olive green Swarovski crystals. Yes, up close with the camera eye view, you can see the illusion cord, but I've used this technique before and when the design is worn, that cord just disappears like...well, like an illusion ;-)
I was so excited with the way this design came out that I knew it needed a very special closure. A simple brass hook wasn't going to cut it and none of my brass toggles were the right size or style (note to self: you need better brass toggles!) and then I happened to look over and see some ribbon spilling out of the top of my "to be put away pile" and voila!
Y'know, people always ask me when I buy a certain bead or supply "what are you going to do with that?" And I never have the answer because I don't really have a specific design in mind for the most part. I put it into my stash where it waits for the right moment to come out and make magic. I mean, really, who would have ever thought that I would use olive green ribbon trimmed in lavender edging, right? But look, the right design came along and I think it works wonderfully. My little matchy-matchy heart is singing for joy LOL!
Matching earrings, of course! Olive green glass pearls, lapis rondelles, vintage glass leaves and some more of the lavender Czech flowers. I used brass leverback earring wires for the tops.
At this point, I still had some leftover lavender pearls AND that clasp. Obviously, whatever the design is, it's going to have to be purple and silver to start with...hmmm...didn't I just buy some pretty purple ceramic beads at the Costa Mesa Gem Faire a few weeks ago...???
Why, yes, I believe I did. Good for me!
Then I searched through my stash for some lampwork to mix with them and despite having a MASSIVE collection of it, I couldn't find a set that worked with what I wanted to do (obviously, I need more lampwork...which is really hard to believe) but I did come across some large grey ceramic beads that went perfectly and then I mixed in a few crystals and it was starting to come together, but I felt like it was still missing that magic something...
So, I let it simmer on my bead design board for a few days and then I went through my carefully hoarded (because the prices have gone C-R-A-Z-Y) sterling silver stash and found the perfect pendant.
This design takes me back to my designing roots when I was all about the Bali silver mixed with crystals and, usually, lampwork.
However, I think this gorgeous shell pendant and the shimmering ceramic beads give it a different feeling. Plus, I love how the ceramic can look so earthy in my earlier sunflower piece and so upscale and glamorous in this necklace. What a versatile material to work with!
And yes, those marbled purple/lavender/grey beads ARE ceramic. Oh, and I did find a way to finish up using the rest of those lavender pearls from the original soup mix!
Here's a better closeup view of the side of the necklace. That lovely purple crystal color is "Cyclamen."
And finally...I did get that clasp worked in! The only thing I'm really missing is that I was out of sterling silver crimp covers so I'll have to add those later, but I didn't want to be late with my soup just because I'm waiting for that order to come in ;-)
Here's a final look at the whole piece. Yes, it's simple and straightforward in design, but I like to think this approach allows the beauty of each individual bead and component to really stand out.
That's it - hope you enjoyed my three different flavors of soup. As you can see, my style is a bit all over the place but that's because I let the beads take charge and tell me how they want to be used.
Thanks for stopping by and if you're continuing on in the hop, here's the list:
The Hostess, Lori Anderson and her partner Manuela Wutschke
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