First is Claire Lockwood of Something To Do With Your Hands. I admire Claire's versatility and she has a love of art beads like I do. If you're interested in reading her blog post about her receiving the beads I sent, click here. I'm not sure, but I think she is the person who introduced me via Facebook to the ceramic artist Scorched Earth, which is funny because she sent me a couple of Petra's pieces.
Claire is British and she not only makes jewelry, but she makes her own polymer clay beads. You can read more about her at this wonderful post on Art Bead Scene.
OK, I can't wait to show you what she sent me. She said she sent me green because she doesn't work with green much. Guess what? Neither do I!!!
So let's see what we have here.
There's a rustic bead cap and leaf charm from Scorched Earth, a length of dark green leather, green and black Czech glass leaves, and a funky painted wood bead that she said she threw in as a curve ball. The main focal is on the left, a fold-formed C-Koop enameled leaf (Zack nearly stole it), an assortment of top-drilled rose quartz, top-drilled rustic amethyst, citrine, and brown jasper. Then came a strand of faux sea glass and a strand of recycled glass rondelles. Finally, a green toggle from Miss Fickle Media that matched the leaf perfectly.
What did I send her?
First, I took advantage again this year of my lying in bed a lot and crocheted a bag for her goodies, complete with a vintage button. (It looks better in person.)
I looked over her blog and saw that she works in a more rustic, bohemian fashion (I think those are the right words). So I wanted to send her something completely different, but something that I hoped she would be able to adapt in her own special way.
What do we have here?
I started with the focal and the clasp, both butterflies made out of Hill Tribe silver, which is 99% silver. Below are three large lampwork beads that could be focals made by Canadian lampwork artist Jane Perala. I found some matching boro lampwork beads that I WANT to say came from Crazy Cat Glass but I can't swear to it.
It was so funny that we both sent each other a strand of faux sea glass (hers in green, mine in clear) and I added some white coin pearls. In the top picture, you can see sterling spacers and pewter twists. And to make a real soup, I mixed up some coordinating Czech glass beads.
Next is my partner Alenka Obid of Pepita Handmade. Alenka is from Slovenia, and small world -- I've been there. In fact, I ate a fabulous seafood lunch in the resort town of Portoroz, not far from Alenka. Check out the stamp on her very cool shipping box...
I'll never forget that trip to Slovenia. I was living in Italy at the time and a friend and I decided to hop the border and have lunch. I wasn't entirely sure what I was ordering, but I THOUGHT it was shrimp casserole. I imagined the American version, kind of like Crab Royale or some sort of thing. OH no. I got a 9x13" glass pan covered in tin foil. With a flourish, the waiter whipped back the foil, and....
... except with that huge glass dish, I have about ten of those huge suckers, and they had eyes, feelers, everything. I looked at my friend with a stricken "I don't know how to do this", but luckily the waiter had apparently seen that particular look before and he helped me. And let me tell you something -- that was one of the BEST meals I've ever had, hands down. YUM.
Alenka sent some presents with her beads. She sent Zack a bunch of coins, stamps, and what looks like a first day of issue full pane of stamps featuring a popular Slovenian cartoon. She also sent me an angel (heaven knows I need all the angels I can get!)...
... and a handmade piece of pie...
... which promptly joined my pie bead collection.
And then the fun started. I told Alenka that I was kind of tired of earth tones, since the last time I really made jewelry it was fall and I am all about color. She made all the polymer clay pieces you see below -- the yellow focal, the green and yellow connectors, and the orange and red heart and tube beads.
She also sent some red and clear glass hollow, some faux stone beads (Alenka, are they polymer?), green Polaris beads (which remind me of my vast vintage Lucite collection, a copper key, orange seed beads, coral cubes, and two rolls of cording.
What did I send Alenka?
I had made her a bag similar to the one I sent to Claire, also closed with a vintage button. Inside:
I sent her a mix of soups. The lampwork set (I have no idea who made them, darn it) had one bead that would make a good focal for a bracelet, but what if she didn't want to make a bracelet? So I went through my pendants and found a pendant in gold-tone that I got from Lia Sophia, of all places. I added a mix of bronze Swarovski pearls, peach cultured stick pearls, gold pewter beads and spacers and toggle, and some silver pewter spacers and toggle. Then I sprinkled in some spices of random but coordinating Czech glass.
I was REALLY pushed out of my comfort zone by both of these fine ladies, and I'm glad of that. I hope they enjoyed playing with their beads, too!
Please come back on Saturday to join me and nearly 500 other designers and see what we made!!!!
Lori Anderson creates jewelry and bead kits as well as collaborative mixed media art with her son, Zack. Visit her shops by clicking on the right side bar of this blog (please and thank you!). She is also the creator of the Bead Soup Blog Party® and author of the book "Bead Soup" via Kalmbach Publishing.