Trinkets and Some Bowls to Hold Them

It’s not like I don’t already have enough beads, but having access to a pottery studio, glazes and a bead tree has made new beads magically appear in my workshop.  The items you see below are pendants and a couple of bead comes.

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Here are some beads in their greenware state and decorated state  after bisque firing and prior to glaze firing.

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And if bead making was not enough, I been making  little trinket bowls to hold rings and other small treasures.

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I am having fun with different glazes and textures, and finishes.

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And I have also been having fun making components for the Into the Forest  collaborative polymer clay project.

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A Hoard of Beads from the Hermitage (and Jewelry too!)

Since I design and make jewelry, I am always on the lookout for inspiration, and there is nothing better than getting to see ancient pieces up close. Here are a few I saw at the Hermitage in St. Petersburg.

Collections include items from the Culture of the Peoples of South Siberia exhibit and Ancient Relics of the Art and Culture of Eurasia

Beads of a Different Stripe

I have been busy trying  lamp working techniques this summer.  Striped beads are made differently than I would have thought.  Instead of drawing stripes on the bead with a stringer you  lay down dots, put on a layer of  clear glass and melt it slowly.  This serves to magnify the dots underneath which appear as stripes!  How cool is that?  Here are the basic steps:

Base bead

Make a base bead

First dotsAdd some dots.  Don’t melt in.

dotsAdd dots on top of dots.  Don’t melt in.

 Clear wound aroundAdd a couple layers of clear over the dots only.  Think of a shape like the planet Saturn with its rings.

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 Begin to heat the clear glass.  Slowly so the glass doesn’t pop or crack.

 wrapsBring up the heat to melt the clear glass.  This magnifies the dots underneath

TorchingPick it up a bit and keep the mandrel turning.

heatingWhy?

Stripes taking shape2Because you don’t want your bead to sag.

Stripes taking shape

Let the bead cool slowly and keep it turning to maintain the shape

coolerAlmost finished.

Beads2   And here are the finished beads.  This could get addicting!

Don’t forget Bead Fest this weekend!

    

A Golden Age

I have lately  been binge-watching  historical mini series’  set in the Elizabethan-Era. I started out with Elizabeth R, (very good-how could anything with Glenda Jackson be bad?) followed that up with The Tudors (historically inaccurate but beautiful costumes) and have just finished watching The Six Wives of Henry VIII. (The best of all-acting, script and historical accuracy).  But I watch for more than acting or script or history.  No, I watch for the jewelry.

The reign of Elizabeth I of England is often referred to as The Golden Age of English History, or the English Renaissance.   I do not dream about what it would have been like to live in the days of Shakespeare and sonnets.   I have to admit that  for me, plague,  bear baiting, public executions and religious wars are major turn offs.   But then there is the jewelry. Here are some images I found on the Internet along with some links that provide fascinating information about jewelry (Western European mostly) from the late Middle Ages to the Late Renaissance.  

 

 

 

 

Victoria and Albert Museum

Lucrezia Borgia

 

 A young Elizabeth I

 

I am currently in jewelry design mode and have been trolling the Internet for interesting visuals.  Here are a few good links I’ve found:

Late Middle Ages Early  Renaissance

Italian Renaissance

Medici Jewelry

Royal Collection Trust

The English Crown Jewels

 The Cheapside Hoard

Jewelry and men in Tudor and Jacobean England

Girdle Prayer Book

You might also be interested in

A modern twist: Elizabethan Beads post here.

Enjoy!

The Big (Blog Hop) Reveal

It’s time for the 8th Bead Soup Blog Party Reveal! Here is what I made from the beads my parter Marta Grabalowska sent me. Her blogs are http://galeriakota.blogspot.com/ and http://wilkmademe.tumblr.com/.

My bead soup was not my typical color palate and I consider that a good thing! I realized that I had some pink seed beads in my stash that I thought I would never use. They were almost identical to the ones  in the soup. I mixed them with  beige and tan beads of a similar value  and threw in some turquoise  beads to make a bead crochet pattern. I used the remaining beads as embellishment.

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The copper clasp holds the rope closed. I beaded around the focal cameo and went for an asymmetrical look. I am very happy with the result. Thank you Marta!!!

Here are some more pictures.

Thank you Lori Anderson for making another great beading experience possible!! You can find a list of all the participants on Lori’s blog.

Jeri’s New Jewels

Not many words this week, just pictures of  new beaded baubles from Jeri Schatz.

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    The beauty of these little elements is that you can make a bunch of them in your favorite palette and then combine them with one another or other elements (beaded beads?  lampworked beads?) to make a one of a kind beaded creation.  

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And the possibilities for making clasps, closures and focal pieces are unending!

  Jerri  teaches beading and is currently offering classes at the Fashion Institute of Technology  in NYC and The Bead Garden in Havertown, PA.

What I Made at Clayathon

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I decided to try making hollow beads using marbles as cores.  The technique goes like this:  You cover a marble ( mine were 25mm and 32 mm) with  clay, poke a little hole so air can escape and bake for 20- 30 minutes.   You slice  the clay open and slip out the marble.    I learned a neat tip from Olivia Surratt.  Don’t cut all the way around the marble; think clamshell.  If you leave a bit of clay attached you will be able to line up the halves perfectly.  Then I glue the bead back together with cyanoacrylic glue.   You can also use Genesis Medium and pop it back in the oven for a bit to set it.

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Marbles covered with white clay before baking

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Finished bead.  I got the texture from rolling the bead in salt before baking.

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Beads covered with zig zag canes before going in the oven.  After they come out.  I sand and buff.

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Some of the finished beads strung with bicones and spacers

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You must admit she looks stunning with or without the beads!

For more Clayathon pictures, press HERE

We’re Having Bead Soup Again?

This is one leftover I  never tire of.  I am just back from Clayathon and will post pictures later today.  But for now I am looking forward to participating in Lori Anderson’s 8th Bead Soup Blog Hop

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Metal, Mixed Media, and Imagination

That’s the name of the class I am teaching at the Main Line Bead Society ‘s 2014  retreat.   I plan to teach the students some methods for using metal, fabric, paint, wire and found objects ( to name a few) to make jewelry  or anything else we can dream up.  I want the class will be a guided play session for grownups,  and the students feel comfortable enough to create with wild abandonment.  I plan on bringing a ton of tools and materials and  inspiration pieces. (see pictures below).  And I hope to learn as much from the students as they learn from me.  Wish me luck!  I’ve never done this before.

Bead Shopping in Prague

I’m writing this on my last day in Prague; we leave tomorrow for Copenhagen. Prague as you may well know is in a part of the Czech Republic called Bohemia. To my husband, that means Bohemian
Rhapsody and every corny joke that goes with it. To me, that means Bohemian crystal. The souvenir shops are full of Bohemian crystal, both cheap and expensive: goblets, vases, candy dishes and figurines like your Grandmother used to display so proudly in her china cabinet. These don’t do a thing for me.  I came for the Czech crystal beads.

Before I left the U.S. I scoured the Internet in search of bead retailers who would be convenient for me to visit during my trip. I found Robinson Beads without much trouble. It’s a small store with a large selection of Czech crystal and glass beads at reasonable prices. I didn’t buy much because I have a large collection of Czech beads already and I was in search of something new. I did buy a copy of Perlen Poesie and read through several more issues. This is a fabulous beading magazine out of Germany that I’d heard of but I never got to leaf through an issue. Now that I have, I will subscribe. I also picked up a few issues of Koralki a Czech magazine with much simpler projects. I always like to get at a copy of at least one beading magazine from each country I visit and Robinson’s Beads is the only place in Prague where I saw any beading magazines for sale.

My big find came by chance. While trolling the open Market on Havelsky Street near Old Town Square in Prague, I saw a stall crowded with customers looking at beads.   Did someone say beads?

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I ended up buying some attractive and different looking (to me) crystal beads, some old favorites and a few glass beads. The prices were good. An example: I paid $5.00 U.S. for a bag of 300 very sparkly 6mm round faceted crystal beads.

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The proprietor (and I am sorry I didn’t get her name) explained that her son ran the business and sold beads on the Internet. I took her card and looked up the site: http://www.koralky.cz and saw that they run five bead stores (not including the stall) and that three are in Prague. By the way, koralky means “bead” in Czech.

The koralky.cz site is in Czech and it will likely stay a Czech language only site because they get so much new inventory that requires frequent page updating. They do speak English, however, and will be happy to answer questions if you contact them.

Here’s another tip: if you want a good tasty Czech meal that’s not over priced or swimming in grease (with vegetarian options too!) try Blatnice, Michalska 6-8/511 Prague 1.

 

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