Friday, September 2, 2011

Bead Soup: First You Make a Roux?

This is a blog to show off the wickedly awesome beads I received as a participant in the Fall 2011 Bead Soup Blog Party, to introduce the woman who sent the beads, and to very briefly describe the early stages of the design process for my necklace.

As usual, it's taken me twice as long as I anticipated to get a blog posted on the beads I received for the Bead Soup Blog Party...and I received some absolutely fabulous beads from my partner,
Kate Gardenghi

Not only was Kate uber generous (she sent me so many beads), but she also chose one of my favorite color palettes: turquoise and coral.

Kate sent a luscious selection of beads in a variety of shades and textures. Big carnelian rounds and turquoise heishi/rondelles, petite coral nuggets, adorable glass butterflies in complementary shades...

Kate made many of the beads, and the lovely pendant, from polymer clay.

The primrose pendant has been hand-painted
and distressed; it looks like a piece of
copper that's started to verdigris.

I don't know a thing about making beads like this, unfortunately. How did Kate make those wonderful swirls? The colors are so vibrant! These beads came in two shapes and sizes. The large coins---or disks, as Kate calls them---are at least 12 or 15 mm in diameter.
Theses will serve as "mini focals" around the perimeter of the necklace to complement the pendant. The rondelles are only slightly smaller.

To top it off, she hand formed the copper findings. This one says, "GROW."
[Grow on with your bad self, Kate.]

I took the photographs for this blog the day I received the beads (at least 10 days ago). I even laid out a possible design the same day (gasp!).

I wanted to craft a necklace that used the handmade copper rings as "spacers" between strands of different beads (e.g., see how the coral nuggets stretch between the two copper rings on the left side of this configuration?). The matching copper toggle clasp would serve as a "ring" at the back of the necklace (or maybe the front? No, too much with the pendant. Side? Maybe.)

[I almost forgot to mention the beautiful persimmon-colored sari ribbon that Kate sent as was the decorative ribbon around my package of beads!]

Even though the color scheme and bead types inspire me towards a Tropical-Near-the-Sea theme, I can't help thinking of my necklace as Bead Gumbo! Perhaps Bead Stew better describes my cooking style for this necklace!

To make this my own unique recipe, I am going to add a little bit of "me" to the list of ingredients (aka. South Louisiana flair, ha). That means my finished necklace must have at least two things: a little bit of chain (in this case, copper chain to match Kate's findings) and a few pearls (alright, alright...I'd like to add more than a few---I love pearls). But how do I add those key "me" ingredients without "over salting" my dish and ending up with something that's just "too much"?

I don't normally put a lot of different components in my designs; I like 'em plain and simple (e.g., pearls tied on brown silk thread with a handmade clasp). Kate provided so many beads, so many choices...why do I have to choose? Do I have the skillz to use everything and not end up with a big tacky mess?

Ummm, yes, I'm going to try and use as many of the beads that Kate sent me as possible! I think I can do it because she chose so wisely and made it easy for me!

I still like the idea of shorter segments of beads between Kate's copper rings. I think I'm going to use small white keishi pearls to make one of the segments. The white matches the white swirls in the polymer coin beads and adds another textural element to the design.

I'm not 100 percent sure how and where I'm going to work the copper chain in, but hopefully something will occur to me in the next few days. Somewhere in my head I keep linking the copper chain to the sari ribbon. [ba-dum-bump, pun intended]

I'm going to leave this challenge simmering in the "back pot" of my mind-stove (you know, the big pot that's always on the back burner of the stove, simmering with something yummy, like gumbo).


  1. Keep in mind you don't have to use it all and you can make more than one thing if you like. A bracelet, earrings, two necklaces. You can use the clasp on one and the focal on another (I sound like Lori!) You could have chain on a bracelet if you can't get it into the necklace...

    But I think your plan sounds good as you've outlined it, and I definitely agree that the white keishi pearls will blend in perfectly. I can't wait to see what you come up with!

  2. Absolutely what Heidi said. You can make as many pieces as you want. I made three today! And I have some beads left over and a button that still need to either go into something, OR, I'll give myself permission to say, "I did my best".

  3. I love all your ideas, Charlotte! And I am "SOUPER" happy that you like your ingredients!! I can't wait to see what comes out of it all. Sorry it took me so long to comment but I've been kinda MIA on the internet lately :) Have an awesome day!

  4. Ok, you folks must think I'm the biggest jerk ever! I haven't replied to anyone's post and y'all have written some of the nicest things and offered sound advice!

    I will try to be more than a 'participant observer' and get engaged! I'm getting excited about Sept. 15th...can I get a 'whoop whoop'?