What is Bead Soup?

You might have seen posts on Facebook or blogs from time to time about Bead Soup. Sounds kind of yummy, doesn’t it? Or at least fun! And fun it is. The Bead Soup Blog Party is an event in the beading and jewelry world where bloggers sign up and are matched with a partner who then get to know each other and exchange a “Bead Soup”. A proper Bead Soup consists of a focal bead, a nice clasp, and enough supporting beads to make something nice. The partners “cook” their bead soup, swap their soups by mail, and then use the items in the soup to create beautiful jewelry. On a specific day, all the bloggers who are participating in the Bead Soup Blog Party write a blog post revealing what they made with their soup. The list of bloggers will be posted so that anyone (even you!) can take part in the “blog hop” and go from one blog to the next, reading the posts and enjoying the creations.

We are in the middle of the 8th Bead Soup Blog Party. Partners have been matched and their bead soup has been mailed. Most people have received their soup from their partner. Now we get to look at our beads, dream about our beads, and start thinking of what to make with our beads. The big day, the Blog Party and Reveal will be May 3rd.

Meet Jean A Wells

My bead partner is Jean A. Wells, who got bit by the jewelry bug six years ago and has made wonderful handcrafted artisan jewelry ever since. She jokes about having a bead stash of epic proportions, and judging by the amount of beautiful jewelry she creates, I believe her! You can see her work in her Etsy shop and on her blog. Jean is an attorney in her “real” life but her heart has been captured and is held hostage by three beloved Rottweilers. It’s a small world, but come to find out Jean and I are from the same town and went to the same college, at the same time no less! She is one of 7 children and says that most of her family still lives here in Springfield. Hopefully we’ll be able to meet in person sometime when she comes to visit them.

Show Me the Soup

(Ha ha, get it?? Both Jean and I live in Missouri, which is known as the “Show-Me State”.) As part of the challenge of Bead Soup, it’s a good idea to look at a person’s style and try to send them something different from what they’re used to working with. Jean a lot of natural colors and wire work, so I figured I’d challenge her by sending some purple and fuchsia polymer clay beads that I made and some more pink, purple, and blue supporting beads. I thought it was kind of funny that the bead store I visited to pick up some more beads was called Plum Bazaar. Well, there was certainly a purple theme going on here. Here’s what I sent Jean:

Here is the bead soup that I sent to my partner Jean A. Wells.

And here are the polymer clay beads that I sent to Jean.

Polymer clay beads made by Ginger Davis Allman for Bead Soup Blog Party #8.

Purple box with cut paper ribbon and bow from Jean A Wells.

But waiting in the mailbox when I got home from the bead shop was the Bead Soup that Jean sent to me. I’m the kind of person who loves to get a package in the mail, even if it’s socks. But this wasn’t socks. This was magic. First was the lovely box. Neat, eh? There is something about opening packages like this. It’s like birthdays and Christmas. There is the thrill of the unknown, “What will it be?”

So I opened the box. And a huge grin came across my face. Not only was this bead soup gorgeous, but this just might be the most incredible case of “Great Minds Think Alike” that Bead Soup has ever seen. Not only are Jean and I from the same state,  the same town, and graduated from the same school, but we obviously make a very similar bead soup! See what I mean?

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Right down to the strand of freshwater pearls and the little pink flowers and the little color lined seed beads, our bead soups could be long lost sisters. How fun!

Well I’m thrilled. I love the colors. And I love the way that Jean chose both copper and silver clasps, so that I have a choice. I can immediately see at least two things that “need” to be made from this soup, so I’m all excited and ready to get started. Unfortunately, I’ve got a few things on my plate first (least of which is another tutorial coming next month). So I’ll have to wait to get started. But come May 3rd, I’ll be ready. This is going to be a great Bead Soup Blog Party. Thank you Jean!


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