Hello! Welcome to my Bead Soup Blog Party revelation!
What’s the Bead Soup Blog Party? Well, it’s a really fun challenge created by Lori Anderson of Pretty Things Blog, where the entrants are matched with a stranger and then they swap a “Bead Soup”. The Bead Soup must include a focal bead, a clasp, and some supporting beads to be used in designing a finished piece. On the Reveal Day (that’s today!), all the participants reveal the beads they received and what they made from it. According to the rules, you don’t have to use all the beads in your bead soup, but you do have to use the focal bead and the clasp in your finished piece. You can add as many of your own beads as you want to make your creation.
I received a Bead Soup from Arlene Dean of A Glass Bash. It featured a large turquoise stone focal bead, a silver leaf clasp, and many stone accent beads.
I’m not going to lie to you. I found this mix of beads to be incredibly challenging. First off, I’m not a jewelry designer, so this is a bit out of my comfort level in the first place. But my challenge here revolved around the large size and difficult shape of the focal bead and that most of the supporting beads didn’t coordinate with the focal bead. Someone more talented and experienced than me would likely be able to whip something out in no time. But this one really had me stumped.
I set these aside for a long time, taking them out every now and then to move them around, push this with that, trying all sorts of different combinations. Finally, I decided that I would have to use just the focal and the clasp, and use my own beads to complete the necklace. And yes, it had to be a necklace because the focal bead is quite large and heavy.
I created some Rustic Connector Beads from polymer clay in colors to match the focal bead. And I used some jasper beads that I had on hand to round out the selection. I chose to make the necklace asymmetrical (a decision also echoed by Rachél Payne of Creativity Tribe on her recent visit with me). And I chose to separate the clasp elements, using one of the leaves as a charm on the focal bead. I did try to keep with the leaf theme for this. Note the little leaves on the Rustic Connector Beads.
Well that left me with a lot of extra beads! I could have stopped here, but I really wanted to push myself to create with the rest of the beads as well. I separated them into like groups that might go together and then paired them with my Rustic Beads and Components.
I really love this bracelet the best. The diamond shaped beads came from Arlene and I added some stone chips to bring out the warm green theme. I used a tribal themed Rustic Bead as a charm.
Next was a bracelet that used the dark green diamond shaped polished stone beads. I added some light brown stone chips and used some of the small crystal accent beads from the Bead Soup. In the center is another Rustic Bead that I made from polymer clay. I really like the charm I created for the clasp end. I used a headpin to go through a ring, enclosing a diamond bead in the center. Very cool.
Instead of using the turquoise colored accent beads with the focal bead in the main necklace, I instead used them with another polymer clay bead and some turquoise stone chips to make a simple bracelet.
Now for the grey and green stone barrel beads. Being a lover of blue, I found a way to make blue work here! I’ve been carrying those Delica seed beads around for a decade! You gotta love it when you can use up the stash.
Next is a necklace. I love the focal bead and the colors. But I had a lot of trouble figuring out how to make the beads physically work together. In other words, in a pile on the table, these were gorgeous. But strung together I just could not make this work. I may rework this one if I can get a better idea. But I love the colors.
And finally we have a bracelet that used up most of the remaining Bead Soup beads. The colors weren’t warm and natural like the others in the soup. These were bright candy colors. The beads are quite large, but put all together on one bracelet they seem to balance each other and it works! I was also able to include the sweet white glass heart accent charm that Arlene included. I felt good about that, because it’s such a nice little hand worked heart.
And there you go. I learned a LOT. I need to learn more about the structural aspects of making jewelry. I ordered some books from the library and will be doing a bit more with assemblage and wire work in the future. This challenge really opened my eyes to my own limitations (structure and design) and pointed out areas where I am confident (such as color). I really do look forward to Bead Soup Blog Party #8, if Lori chooses to host one. What a fantastic thing this has turned out to be. Thank you Lori!
Now remember, this was a swap. So the other half of this is what Arlene made from the Bead Soup that I sent her. Here is what I sent to Arlene.
You probably noticed the Rustic Beads and Components that I made from polymer clay. If you work with polymer clay you might want to check out my tutorial, just released today, where I show how to make them.
Now I hope you don’t mind, I’m going to go pour a nice tall lemonade, put my feet up, and go visit all the other bloggers in the 3rd Reveal. Here’s the list of other bloggers (200 of them!) that are revealing today. Enjoy!