The big reveal is here and I am showing up fashionably late! This is my first time doing a blog hop/swap of any kind. The Bead Soup Blog Party has been a great experience. It really does force you out of your comfort zone, with fantastic results.
My partner is Dot Lewallen of Speedie Beadie! The first thing I noticed when visiting her blog is that we are both published in 500 Showcase Beaded Jewelry. After digging a little deeper I discovered that Dot makes really cool beaded art dolls and was published in another Lark gallery book showcasing dolls. Since I am a little behind in posting, I have already seen her fabulous BSBP piece. I highly encourage you all to visit her blog.
The soup I received included a Duane Collins' raku focal piece, a copper toggle, various earth-tone seed beads, Czech glass, buttons, and several Swarovski pieces. Scroll back in my blog to see full shots of both her soup and my soup.
In my finished piece I used the focal, the clasp, and a few special striped seed beads that I sorted from the mix. I used chain, seed beads, and a Lepidolite cabochon from my own stash to complete my piece.
I got started by culling my stash for colors that I saw in the raku finish. Mostly coppers, purples, and oranges. When I pulled out my round cabochon, I had my "A-HA" moment. Whatever planet this owl woman lives on, this is her full moon! So I knew I wanted the raku piece to slightly overlap the "moon." With that in mind I still brainstormed for a week or two, thinking of how to pull it together into something wearable. Totally confounded, I just started beading. As I bezel-ed, using the peyote stitch, I wasn't sure if this was going to be a necklace, an armband, a belt, a headpiece... who knows.
I finished beading around the "moon" and laid down the raku piece. There was a lot of space under the raku focal, which didn't seem strong or secure. So I stuffed a bunch of polymer clay under it, making it a flat back with no space. ...And then I learned a very important lesson. YOU CAN'T BAKE FIRELINE! Polymer clay needs to be baked for 30 minutes at 275 degrees. And I did this, essentially vaporizing the thread. Um wow, talk about a bead bummer. Luckily I had some ben & jerry's in the house. It was a moment where all you can do is laugh to keep from crying. Looking back, hindsight is 20/20. OF COURSE you can't bake fireline, but I've always been an experiential learner.
So anywho, that was a doozy! But I think I rose from the ashes of my fireline and created something even more dynamic than my original plan. I was intending on beading the moon and the focal separately, but my little detour forced me to bead around them all at the same time. I think it came out really cool, and I guess I'm grateful for my epic mistake.
Once I finished with the bezel, I used the brick stitch to attach a leather backing. It was at this point when I decided this would be a lovely pendant. I added copper chain fringe and 30 inches of chain for the necklace part.
Now that I am all done, I LOVE my piece! I never, ever would have come up with this design without BSBP, or Dot's soup. Oddly enough, I met Duane Collins (the maker of the raku focal) several years ago when I was working at my mom's shop, The Bead Garden of Sedona. We bought many of his pieces to sell in the store. I always admired the beautiful finishes, but never added any to my stash. These raku pieces have a lot going on and are beautiful on their own. I think this intimidated me, causing inspiration not to strike. Well this time, there wasn't a choice I HAD to use it. I'm thrilled beyond thrilled. Thank you, Dot!
And thank you to our lovely host, Lori Anderson!
Browse the rest of the party here: BSBP7