Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Art Jewelry Elements - Nightmare Bead blog hop

Looking for the 1st Reveal of the Bead Soup Blog Party®Click here!

I love Art Jewelry Elements, a relatively new collaborative blog with some amazing art bead makers!  I joined in one of their blog hops run by Jennifer Cameron, a glass artist I just love (and she's also a contributor to my book!).

Her blog hop involved her nightmare bead, so named because it apparently interpreted her daughter's vision of a nightmare.  I really like this bead style (and that's what's in the book!) so of course I had to join the hop.

Here's my bead.

As luck would have it, my friend Carol Wingfield Myers had sent me some enameled beads that matched perfectly!!!  But I wanted to add a "nightmare" aspect to it, so I tried, for the first time, to work with steel wire.

And y'all.... that was a nightmare.

I take off my hat and bow to those who can master this beastly dirty wire, but I apparently should have read up on it first!  Do I coat it with Renaissance Wax FIRST, or last?  I didn't have baby wipes on hand to clean my hands so my trusty t-shirt is now a work shirt.  And I am so GLAD I keep every tool I've ever bought, because I was able to cut this stuff with a trusty pair of Barracuda cutters I'd stowed away.

But I couldn't have picked a better wire, because the color is PERFECT for this bead.

The wire has a finish unlike anything I've worked with (oxidized sterling doesn't match it).  I looped the wire, because my own nightmares and dreams often loop back on each other and I have the same ones over and over, but with elements of OTHER dreams inserted.  Talk about confusing -- is it a dream, or is it real?  The dangles are made with apatite, a stone I haven't really worked with much because it can be brittle (again -- like a nightmare if not used just right).

I had some dyed ribbon that worked beautifully with the beads (a good dream this time!) and then worked out a bail that I'm not sure I'm happy with yet.  The IDEA was to make a bail out of a spiral, but what to do with the ends?  I didn't want my beads falling off (nightmare.)  So I tucked them under, purposely being a little.... organic with them (organic is a great substitute for "oops", "messy", and "that-wasn't-where-I-was-going-with-that-but-it'll-work").  

So there you have it!  The Nightmare Necklace.

Oh, you want more?  OK, then!  My top nightmares (and ones I've heard are pretty common).   I don't fall, I don't show up naked anywhere (a nightmare for all involved!), I don't see scary beasts.  No, it's all about planning.  And college.

:: I show up for college graduation, only to find out I didn't take a class and they yank me out of line.

:: I can't FIND a class I know I need to take, or I find it, but only after a) the class only has 2 minutes left, or b) I show up on the last day -- for the exam.

:: I HAVE my diploma, but suddenly The Men in Black show up at my door to take it away because (oh guess what?) I didn't take a certain class.

Obviously, I have issues with college.  It was easily the hardest thing I EVER did.  The military was easier to manage.

I hope you enjoyed the Nightmare!  Please visit Art Jewelry Elements for more monthly challenges!

Visit the other participants!

Beti Horvath: Stringing Fool
Gretchen Nation: Art Food Lodging
Karen Totten: Starry Road Studio
Kathleen Douglas: Washoe Kat's
Keirsten Giles: The Cerebral Dilettante
Kristen Stevens: My Bead Journey
Lori Anderson: Pretty Things
Rana Wilson: Rana Lea Designs
Shannon Chomanczuk: For My Sweet Daughter


Lori Anderson creates jewelry and bead kits as well as collaborative mixed media art with her son, Zack.  Visit her shops by clicking here.  She is also the creator of the Bead Soup Blog Party®   and author of the book Bead Soup.

Join her at the Facebook group Bead Soup Cafe for bead chat, swaps, challenges, and lots of eye candy!


  1. What a great piece. And yes, steel wire is a bear to work with. I got some to wire wrap a pendant for a friend as a gift and my hands were exhausted as well as dirty when done. I wasn't sure what to do with the wire. I don't remember sealing it, which was probably a mistake. Will have to google or check on what to do to seal/coat it so it won't rub off on clothes.

  2. What a grea piece! I'm happy you were able to wrangle that wire into submission! I love that you brought out the colors in the bead by using the ribbon and other touches fo the greenish/blueish beads. The littl dangles are sweet!

    To this day I have dreams about high school: not remebering where my locker was, or the combination, or which class I needed to be at next, and I was contstantly going to the office to ask for help. You can see high school was really terrifying for me. And I also have nightmares of spiders, snakes, being left behind, and the grim reaper even visited me one night--stood by my bed for a long while. If someone were to analyze my dreams they would put me away.

  3. Love how you used the steel wire - a perfect complement to the lampwork. And the enamel beads bring out the glass colors.
    Love steel wire ~ yup, wax at the end, and GOOP is the best for cleaning your hands.

  4. I do love Miss Jennifer's handiwork. That bead is a gorgeous shade of teal. And I like knowing the inspiration behind it! Enjoy the day. Erin

  5. Hey! We have the same bead! =) I absolutely LOVE the necklace you created ... those enameled beads look they were custom made for Jen's bead! I love what you did with the steel wire (I wire wrapped a necklace with it once and my hands throbbed for days), combined with the softness of the ribbon. Gorgeous as always Lori!

  6. What a beautiful nightmare!
    I too have had that "oh you never really finished college" nightmare a couple of times, that one and somehow I'm either in the Navy or at the Naval Academy (both of which my DH did/does) and I obviously have no idea what I'm supposed to do....
    Both anxiety driven I'm sure. Thanks for sharing your work & your dreams :-)

  7. I work with steel wire a lot and run it through steel wool and sometimes even sanding blocks (the spongy kind) to remove some of the mess. I have found a couple different gauges and like to mix it with copper and silver. I've only ever put Ren Wax on after to keep it from getting rusty, but you might try it first and see if it will keep the oxidation on the wire and not on your hands. If you are working with beads that can stand the tumbler and want a light wire, try putting pieces in for a bit. Once out, you need to blow dry what you tumbled unless you want rust (rust is good sometimes!).

  8. Your definition of "organic" now tops my favorite definitions of all time :) And the design you created to set off this bead is fabulous! :)

  9. How awesome that those enameled beads matched so well. I'm thrilled that you could use them!

    Just so happens, I'm working with steel today. I've been taking Keith LoBue's "Steeling Beauty" eClass on Artful Gathering. I took the day off from the torch to do some catch up on the class. I know you can use renwax but I haven't gotten that far in the class to hear what K.LB. suggests. I have gotten far enough to get my hands dirty! I'm kinda loving the steel stuff! I'll let you know when I hear about preserving the steel. . .

  10. What a gorgeous piece! I love Jennifer's work--I think she's one of the unsung heroes of the lampworking world--and you did her bead such justice! =)

  11. Oh goodness, that bead really DOES have a nightmarish feel about it! I do love the vibe of it and I really love how you stepped out of your comfort zone with that wire you used!

    I think your necklace turned out really nice with the mixing of dreams both good and bad :)

    I'm huge into symbolism, so I quite enjoy this piece!

  12. The enamel goes so well with that bead! The same glassy depth of color. And the ribbon was a good call! I wanted to use steel too but chickened out and went with silver--more gauges to work with and I could melt it. The steel is such a perfect match for those endcaps though! I always clean my steel really well with steel wool before I use it, makes less of a mess with my hands. You can also tumble it, just dry it quickly after you take it out--it gets crazy shiny but still that awesome charcoal color.

  13. Anonymous4:06 PM

    Love, love, love that teal green and the black wire is perfect. If you can get used to working with it , it's a great wire. I wax mine after, but there's no really rules.

  14. Hi Lori,
    I love your design it is beautiful. I have never worked with steel wire so thank you for your tips.

  15. Love how you carried forward the nightmare theme, and the enameled beads are perfect. I love "organic", a little messiness keeps things interesting.

  16. Lori,

    I love what you did with that night mare theme bead. I never worked with steel wire and so could not understand what you were talking about, in the beginning. The color combination looks great. I also like your choice of beads.

    Your post made me smile. Because even to these days I have night mares regarding tests and school! What have they done to our minds! So it was nice to know that it's just not me only.

    Your blog gave me that feeling many times...especially when I was sick with my back pain. I have never met you...yet your comments touched me and soothed me. I came to know what a special person you are! Take care. Dita.

  17. Loved what you did with your nightmare bead!! the other beads you put with it were perfect & the wire color accented the whole piece beautifully...so FAB friend!!! :)

  18. A very interesting piece. I love the colors. The black makes the teal pop.

  19. Hmmm, at first I thought the nightmare title for the bead was weird, but as I stared at it I guess it could be a little scary. the necklace is beautiful though:) Great job with the steel.

  20. Oh my gosh! I love it! You rocked the steel wire (I've only used it to make beads onto the end, then create them into pendants so I don't have a ton of experience) and I like the "organic" spiral bail. The enamel beads are perfect and the ribbon gorgeous. I also love that you looped the wire to represent your own nightmares. And my most common nightmares are usually about school too...not going to any classes until the final, etc. The other on is losing the kids or when they were younger, leaving them in a locked car when it was hot outside. Those would make me literally cry in my sleep. Glad they're older now...

    Thanks for playing along, I hope you had fun. You are so sweet to say such nice things about my beads :-)

  21. Such a beautiful piece, Lori! I LOVE black in jewellery but I've never worked with steel wire... your experience will be helpful in future.

  22. You crack me up! I am forever having dreams like that! I love what you did with pairing the enameled beads with Jennifer's. You always rock gorgeous creations!!!

  23. Very nice wire work Lori! I loved college and graduated with honors, I am always taking classes and will take whatever class I can get my hands onto. Strange right?!

  24. Nice job with the steel wire, Lori! I never coat mine with anything but make sure not to keep it in a hot, steamy bathroom. I got Brenda Schweder's book on using steel wire-- it's got some fab ideas for the stuff.

  25. Hats off for braving the steel wire! I've read several comments in different places about how stiff it is, so I can imagine the wrestling that went on! I do so love the organic feel of the bail, and of course the enameled beads are just the right touch. I think you won the match with the nightmare!


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