This blog hop was popular last year and I thought we'd try it again!
How often do you take a look at your bead stash and realize you have a LOT of artist beads, or a ton of pearls, or every crystal color known to man, but you haven't made a thing with any of them yet? (Raises hand). Sometimes I'll collect beads knowing full well I'll never make a thing with them but set them out on display instead, yet after a while, it can get ridiculous and dusting becomes impossible (ha ha... as if I dust...)
For this series of the Bead Hoarders Blog Hop, I made several pieces. The first is a necklace specifically made for a tunic I own (photographed with the necklace), but all of the beads came from random places. The focal is an amazing bronze owl by TheaToo. The lampwork beads had been collected from various batches and set aside because I thought they looked cool together, but I wasn't sure about the red. Best leave everything together until I get everything together, I thought (quite profound). And then I found an antique (they said) Tibetan bead, and things started coming together.
This is a LONG necklace, and if you can believe it, I had originally tried to make it a double stranded piece. Um, no. Often I use large beads in my work, and people are always asking, "Is that thing heavy?" and I can honestly say, "Not once it's on." However, not only did the necklace not hang properly as a double strand, even with average sized lampwork beads, I could have used it as a weapon by whipping it over my head and slinging it across the room like I was in The Hunger Games.
I linked each bead separately, knowing some wouldn't be used, but I had no idea which beads would "win". I also kept putting it on to make sure the pendant hit just where I wanted and the large tribal bead didn't get lost in the back of my hair.
While the necklace looks quite simple, it took stinking forever to put together. This bead color was too close to THAT bead color, now THAT bead is too low -- I had to let this sit alone for a while so I didn't lose my temper. But it's easily one of my favorites that I will not sell.
The next pieces are bracelets. Since I've been talking about larimar on Facebook, I thought I'd show you the bracelet I made myself way back when I had a ton of larimar beads on hand. If I want, I can add a couple of larimar rectangles to the ends and turn it into a necklace. I've considered selling this bracelet when I've been short on money, as these always sell, but I owe it to myself to actually OWN one of them myself.
Of course, I'm happy to make one similar to it as long as I have beads (which isn't going to be for long) and they start at $250, just so you have an idea. I've worked with larimar for a long time, but I just can't afford the good stuff any more (quality beads are going for $800/16" strand, no thank you) and be careful when you buy to read closely. "Larimar agate", "Larimar crazy lace agate", and "reconstituted" Larimar are a big NO. If you're going to invest, get the real thing.
Another blast from the past. This bracelet actually stopped the vendors of White Cloud, who made the large Turkish silver beads, when I wore it to a show. The toggle was made for me by an awesome guy who designed several styles for me but no longer works in silver, so it's very special.
These beads are BIG. My suggestion for wearing large beads is to wire them with thicker wire, not string them. This gives you a bit of "give" and less "chunk", if that makes sense. (And no, it's not heavy once it's on.) :-)
I made this bracelet with beads made by an old friend who quit lampworking a long time ago. I held onto everything she made, and decided I had to do SOMETHING with at least one set, if not more. This is one of my favorite styles to make, linking the lampwork beads with large jump rings and dangling charms from the jump rings. Swarovski crystal, jade, silver, and a special (and also hoarded) Thai silver toggle makes this one of my favorites for jeans.
This next piece is how I managed to take two relatively expensive bracelets, cut them in half, and make one that is even better.
I had made a Half Persian chain maille bracelet with large rings, nice and substantial. Then I bought the lampwork beads from Kris Schaible and I decided to mix the two. Once again I used a special lobster claw clasp made by friend (COME BACK AND MAKE MORE SILVER!!!!) and a tassel from White Cloud (again -- not cheap. But I knew I'd use it). This bracelet now has more interest than just a chain maille bracelet on its own, and I got to highlight the three beads from Kris.
Finally, another bracelet in one of my favorite styles (I guess I know what I like!) with more beads from Kris Schaible.
OMG, right? I added dangles of purple and red glass flowers adorned with whimsical silver flowers, flat vintage Lucite flowers with pale Blue Azore Swarovski crystals, and smaller Thai silver cubes, cut on the diagonal, also adorned with very pale blue beads.
See those tiny bits of aqua in the lampwork beads? I wanted to bring them out just a touch, but not TOO much. I experimented a bit, and this was the result.
I hope you enjoyed the trip through my hoarded beads (and, by the way, thse are all in my personal jewelry box now. And in full disclosure, that's where they were when I took them out to photograph them because I couldn't make something new. Here's hoping I can make more jewelry in 2015!)
To visit other amazing artists and to see what they made with their hoarded beads, please grab a cup of something hot and yummy and settle down to look! (Please hop around, give the people at the bottom some early love, and some people will be posting on Sunday).
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.