Monday, October 11, 2010

A New Cup of Bead Soup -- Tropical Blonde

Today I'm showing you creations I've made with this month's Cup of Bead Soup contributor, Tropical Blonde.  Kathryn makes whimsical polymer clay beads in vibrant colors, and I had fun working with these fun beads.

First up is a bracelet I made with beads in one of my favorite colorways, brown and pink.  The colors fit perfectly into this season's Pantone Fall Color Report.  I decided to take a risk and use gemstones with the polymer clay.  I say it was a risk because polymer clay is light, and the stones I wanted to use were the same size as the clay beads.  I went back and forth to my bead cabinet, pulling out vintage lucite and Swarovski crystals, but I kept going back to these gorgeous red tiger eye beads.  So red tiger eye it had to be!


To keep the weight down from these 14mm gemstones, I wired them together rather than string them together, and I'm rather happy with the result!  I also had enough polymer clay beads left over to create a fun pair of earrings, too.


Next up are the blue and brown beads.  As I looked at the beads, I noticed the tiniest touch of aqua in the polymer clay, so I decided to play up that bit instead of working with the obvious brown, blue, and cream.  I had some simple ceramic beads, and came up with this.


Last in today's line up is a very textural bracelet made with two types of wood in two very different shades and the purple, black, and cream polymer clay beads.  I decided to take the wild pattern of the clay beads and go for a tribal feel.


So what do you think?  I tried to work in a different direction than I have in the past with similar beads.  In the past, I've used Swarovski crystals and simple silver and that was that.  I just matched up colors and found a cool toggle and while that worked, and they sold, I really wanted to try something a little different.  With very distinctive beads, it can be difficult to get TOO creative, because the beads OWN the design, but by working with unexpected companion beads, choosing a tiny color as the accent, and playing with texture, I think I came up with a happy medium.

You can visit Tropical Blonde here:




Lori Anderson creates jewelry for her web site, Lori Anderson Designs, and writes the blog An Artist's Year Off.  She's also a contributor to Art Bead Scene.

23 comments:

Barbara Bechtel said...

Very Beautiful! I liked the way you pulled out very singular colors in the beads. The colors you chose to accent gave each piece a very rich look and pulls each together nicely.

Bold polymer pieces can sometimes take a special hand to work with or else it turns into what I call the "polymer circus" Too often people try to pull out every color in a polymer bead and it ends up looking gaudy and over the top.

GREAT JOB Lori! Those are some gorgeous pieces and Kathryn's beads are really beautiful and special!

Kinderhook said...

I, too, think all three are great! It never would have occurred to me to pull out that tiny bit of turquoise and highlight it in the middle bracelet but it totally worked. I really liked the asymmetry of the 3rd bracelet. I'm so chicken to try anything not symmetrical that I like seeing someone else do it and do it so beautifully. It gives me courage! Thanks, Lori. Beautiful work as usual (and Kathryn's beads are beautiful, too). --SallyA

Silver Parrot said...

You came up with some great ideas and really let the polymer beads play the starring role. I was glad to see this because I have some bright and wild PC beads in my stash that I LOVE, but every time I take them out to make something, I get overwhelmed with the colors and end up putting them back for another day.

Particularly love the dark and white wood beads in that last bracelet - they look fantastic with the clay!

Melissa Meman said...

these are all absolutely gorgeous!!

Regina said...

I love the red tiger eye braclet and the matching earrings, stunning! Others are beautiful too, but that's the one that got me. I will check out her shop. Have a great week.

SummersStudio said...

Yes! I think you nailed it. The polymer beads are full of beautiful colour and contrast. You tamed them and at the same time made the designs your very own. I think most art beads can be diffucult to work with because they are often made to be the tall poppy of the design. Speaking as a bead maker, I know that what sells best are distinctive beads/pendants. Little self centered show stealers. But I also know they can be difficult to integrate into cohesive design. You've created a beautiful palette here and claimed the whole as your very own.

Penny said...

I absolutely love what you have done with all three pieces I think it was very creative and imaginative. The colors you chose to compliment the polymer clay beads have them looking very regal.

sundownbeaddesigns said...

Your pieces are great Lori! I especially like the last bracelet...so much texture and color.

Hopemore Studio said...

I really like the new mix and pillow beads are one of my all time favorite styles in polymer. All that work making canes then building beads...that is quite a feat in my opinion.

Very nice designs!

Angie

rosebud101 said...

Lori, I love what you did with the beads. I've not worked much with polymer, and I see it as a real challenge, but I think you did a great job!

sharon said...

Gorgeous beads and you made gorgeous creations Lori! Those pillow beads speak to me! With all of them you you have accented their vibrancy just perfect!

TesoriTrovati said...

Nice! I love the juxtaposition of the hard and soft, smooth and rough, light and dark. I think you totally rocked this one, Lori! I do love those first beads the best. So pretty!
Enjoy the day!
Erin

raquel roysdon said...

I like both of them. The second one with dark beads stacked together didvit for me, very clever with your creativity. Bravo!

Linda Landig said...

Perfectly balance, with interesting textures. They'd look pretty with simply adding Swarovski crystals, but I think these are much more interesting.

Glaszwerg said...

Great work! your violett beads are my favorites! Have a nice day! Greetings Doris

Nancy said...

Lori

They came out fantastic! I love the way that the beads work together!! Great job!

Nancy

Raida Disbrow said...

These bracelets are wonderful! I too used to use a lot of Swarovski's and silver but I'm trying to get away from them and use different style beads. Great Designs!

Rebecca said...

I LOVE your cup of bead soup project! It's such a wonderful idea and I wish I had the time and money to do the same. I will just have to live the dream through your blog posts instead! Lovely designs as always :-)

Kristen said...

Oh Wow! I love the beads you had to work with especially the pillow beads. Your color choices for accents were the perfect touch! Yummy soup for sure!

Kate said...

I love everything you came up with, Lori! It's amazing to see what another creates with pieces you produce. The beads I sent you haven't been "released" into my shop yet because I wanted you to have first crack at them but I am offering them on my blog for $1 each with free shipping for your readers who might be interested! I will do this for the rest of this month :)

Shaiha said...

You hit the ball out of the park on these! I don't even like red but I am in love with the first one.

I swear Lori, everything you touch is gold.

RockerJewlz said...

How did your show turn out after all that chaos you told us about having to leap out of the way of workers while you tried to prep?

miramecreations said...

Love your designs, Lori! Beautiful! Now you have given me ideas on how to use some of my polymer clay beads! Thanks for sharing!