Saturday, September 17, 2011

Life is Just a Bowl of Soup-- Bead Soup, That Is!

The Bead Soup Blog Party is a large collaboration project, brainchild of Lori Anderson, for lovers of beads in which each beader is paired up with another and tasked with sending the following: a focal, a special clasp (not just a lobster claw) and some coordinating spacers or beads.

Using the focal and the clasp is mandatory, but anything from your own stash can be used to round out the rest and you can choose to use the coordinating beads or not.

In my opinion, the real challenge is to make something in your own style using someone else's interpretation, expressed by the style of the components of the Bead Soup that they send you. My partner was Cynthia Deis, jewelry designer and owner of Ornamentea. The focal she sent was a beautifully-crafted lampwork bead with a tree theme by Lisa Daly, the clasp was a handmade by Cynthia, and the accompanying beads were small Elaine Ray ceramic forms and beads and some Czech glass leaves and faceted rounds.

Now my style is more tribal and usually incorporates large elements. My beads have a soft sheen and are not shiny. Gone are the days of Flecto Varathane for me! But lampwork is shiny and glimmery, so how to incorporate it into my own style? I had to solve the same issue in my previous BSBP piece, Mistress Boleyn's Necklace, so after some musing, I came up with gilt! In the tease post I did for this year's BSBP, I showed a piece of polymer done in multiple gilded colors to mimic a wooden Indonesian screen. I decided to use the same technique to frame the lampwork focal so its jewel-like glow was set off and enhanced by metallic paint.

Since the theme of the focal was a tree, I decided to use woodgrain and branches as a background for the polymer “bezel”. Lately I've been influenced yet again by an HBO production-- The Game of Thrones-- in which gardens dedicated to the old gods are planted with trees called “weirwoods”, so I used handcarved branches on a woodgrain textured background to hold the focal and provide a surface for texture, color and gilt. The same technique used for the layered bezel also created the three-strand connectors that hold the beaded wires.

Now, how to incorporate all the small beads into the design? I've been using wire-wrapping a lot lately so the solution was to wrap and string them around forged strands of heat-patinated copper. I drew the patterns onto paper, enlarged them on a copier and used them as templates as I worked. They were then attached to the focal piece with polymer, textured and cured in place. The amazing thing about polymer clay is that it can be cured again and again without harm so layers can be built up and wires can be held in place.

After adding layer upon layer of color with heat-set oil paint, acrylics and gilders paste--a technique I'll be teaching in a workshop at ArtBliss in D.C. next weekend--I decided that simple bookchain links in copper and steel would be appropriate to match Cynthia's clasp and finish off my gorget. (def: a metal collar designed to protect the throat, later used as an ornamental accessory on military uniforms).

As I've said before, I believe that perseverance is the key to compelling design – to keep working into it, adding layers of color, shape and texture. I design with the intent that when people see my pieces, they are inspired to invent a story about them. With “Norweigan Wood”-- my title for this piece-- I hope I've achieved my goal.

"Norweigan Wood"

Focal lampwork bead

Clasp detail

Here's the link for the entire list of 362 participants/partners of the Bead Soup Blog Party. Grab a cup of coffee and have fun-- there's lots of great design to enjoy! And thanks for visiting!

80 comments:

  1. wow! what a composition - how you framed that tree is absolutely stunning... you did a masterful job, christine...

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  2. I swear to God! Only you could create something like this! Magnificent!

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  3. Oh wow is this spectacular! I love it!!

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  4. That necklace is a show stopper, beautiful! Love it!

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  5. Awesome design, really fun. Love the focal piece!

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  6. Splendid!!! You have really made this your own!!

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  7. Gorgeous. I love the way you used the focal. Turned out really nice.

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  8. Such a fabulous piece of Art for your neck! I love how you incorportated the lampwork bead and you stayed true to your aesthetics.

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  9. Really one of a kind - I like it very much!
    Greetings, Michi

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  10. What a beautiful soup you made my friend, your work is truly stunning!! Thanks for sharing & all I can say is yummmmmy!!!

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  11. Simply, freaking, stunning! I love the detail in the necklace, is amazing! Wonderful, gorgeous piece!!!

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  12. Oh Wow - That focal is truly amazing and you did an equally amazing job putting it all together! The beads and design fit perfectly.

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  13. What a thoughtful, stunning, amazing piece. Wow!

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  14. I love the wire wrapping, perfect!

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  15. I am SO sorry for being late — today our internet provider decided to crash. My stress level is through the roof, to say the least! They’re still working on it, but it’s like dial-up.

    Holy smokes. I knew when I visited your blog I would be blown away and I wasn't at all disappointed. You are a true artist and I would love to be one when I grow up! :-) I think I'm just a different KIND of artist, but oh the things I want to learn from you!

    The way you embedded that tree focal made me think of this book series I'm reading, which talks about weir woods (I may have spelled that wrong) as places of protection and that's how I felt when I saw your focal.

    Can't wait to see you in a few weeks!

    I hope you’ll participate again!

    Love, Lori

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  16. What a "statement piece"! Stunning. We’re all being pushed outside our comfort zones — with amazing results!

    Enjoy the hop,
    Emanda

    http://artemisiastudio.blogspot.com/2011/09/bead-soup-reveal.html

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  17. Stunning! I think that word sums it up best!

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  18. WoW. WoW. WoW. What a stunner, one of my faves on the hop so far, this is a truly beautiful piece of art. Love it lots. WoW...

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  19. Christine, your Norwegian Wood piece is in a class of its own! I couldn't wait to see the finished piece, after hearing you describe the techniques that you used. Your necklace is an incredible compilation of advanced design techniques - I think we'll need to see you for multiple days at ArtBLISS next time! I'm really fascinated with how you created the layers around the lampwork focal, and have gone back to look at the details several times. And there are SO many details to admire in your necklace!! Your necklace does seem to tell a hidden story, and I would love it if you wrote a tale around this piece....I know you could do that like no other.

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  20. Wow, that's truly wearable art.

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  21. Wow, what an awesome design...love that focal piece in your necklace! Great job!

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  22. I could never have imagined a lampwork focal incorporated into the design you created. When I looked at your focal point, I was trying to figure out just what I was seeing, so much interest and wonder. What an exceptional piece!

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  23. I so totally agree with Cindy. There are so many dimentions to this piece, the thought and hard work that went into creating something so beautiful. I'm inspired!

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  24. I love the story you created around the tree focal. All that Czech glass to so yummy and shown off so well by the wirework. What a fun and fantastic piece.

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  25. It's fantastic! A masterful art piece. I am so curious to see it on. So bold and daring.

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  26. Christine-Wow lady! that is stunning! I love what you did with my soup! The amazing frame you made is really magical and this piece really does embody the weirwoods and mystical woods of all kinds. What fun to be your partner for the Soup Party!

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  27. Wow.. that is one amazing piece! I love what you did with the tree. Your polymer is so blended in with it that I had to find your soup picture to see what was the actual focal she sent. Great work!

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  28. Wow, the focal is incredible! Fantastic work!

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  29. FABOLOUS !! I do love that focal You created and connectors and ALL!

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  30. Wonderful! You have created a terrific piece of wearable art. I love your use of color and texture. Thank you for sharing your artistic process with us. Cheers!
    Lori

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  31. Wow!and Wow!! Very tribal I think. Magnificant. Love all the components you made. Great necklace. My pleasure to view it.

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  32. I could already see the Norwegian woods in front of me!!!
    You did an awesome job.

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  33. Very amazing piece. You seem to out-do yourself all the time. You are constantly stretching and exploring. Thank you for sharing your process. There is much to admire in your work.

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  34. Wow, what a necklace! I love how you turned the lampwork focal into a whole new component! Fabulous work!

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  35. Wonderful design I love the colors as well
    Be Blessed to be a blessing.

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  36. Wow wow wow wow wow. Wow.

    I'm speechless. This is breathtakingly stunning/beautiful/gorgeous/unique. Amazing.

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  37. Your necklace is a masterpiece of true art; it is stunningly beautiful.

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  38. Amazing piece, I am so privileged to be able to see all of the exquisite pieces! I love what you have done!

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  39. Wow! stunning - now that's what I cal wearable art!

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  40. All I can think to say is WOW! That necklace should be in a display in a museum.

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  41. Fantastic...having never even touched polymer before, I am learning through the hop how incredibly versatile it can be. Your 'wood' pieces are stunning, both the large and the smaller side connectors...which I am coveting alone! Thank you for the story. and your inspiration...a fabulous artistic piece.
    jenni

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  42. Quite an amazing piece you have made!! The creativity is just flowing out of it! Speaking of flowing, I read your earlier post about the flooding in your area. Sounds like you were very fortunate!

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  43. Such beautiful, creative and original work! I'm such a fan!

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  44. My heart almost stopped when I saw this piece!!!! what an incredible amount of work and thinking you put into this and the outcome - jaw dropping stunning -- was worth it.

    Terri
    P.S. I am a baby polymer clay maker and big fan of yours. am thinking about that class since I am in the D.C. area...sigh.

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  45. My goodness, how beautifully you blended a bead that wasn't in your normal style into a final piece that is completely your style. Thank you for all the detail you gave on your creative process, too!

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  46. Oh Christine, this is a wonderful piece with layers of you everywhere. The way the glass bead is embedded and surrounded is masterful indeed, the perfect setting that makes that bead and its layered backdrop SO much greater than the sum of its parts!
    Well, as I've said before, perhaps one day we will sit in a quiet room and make work together...thanks for the wonderfully encouraging comments, by the way.

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  47. Wow, you had a very fascinating focal and clasp to work with. Great job! I like!

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  48. A beautiful piece of wearable art!

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  49. Wow!!! What a stunning statement piece of art you have created to showcase that incredible focal! Love it!

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  50. this reminds me of all the hours and days i spent in the woods during my youth. such a lovely piece with great comfort!

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  51. Christine, this is BEAUTIFUL. I love all the little details you put into this piece. Hooray for Norwegian Wood!

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  52. Oh my gosh. I am overwhelmed by both your description and your piece. Can I be so crass as to ask how much you would ask for a piece of such beauty. This is original art, not just jewelry. My blog is http://www.heavenlanecreations.wordpress.com not the blog associated with this.

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  53. YOur bezel or setting is very much a work of art. The colors and really the whole piece do bring about a feeling of being in the woods.

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  54. What a cool way of framing a focal! And I just love the bead wrapped branches! It just looks very creative and original. Fab job!

    (And now you reminded me again that I want to read George R R Martin: I'm a big fantasy fan, but have only ever read a short story by him so far.)

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  55. What a beautiful, strong statement piece!

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  56. What an amazing statement piece! You really put a lot of time, effort, and thought into this and came out of it with a . . .I can't even find the words to describe how phenomenal this is. From the clay work to the wrapping of the beads, you really created something special here!

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  57. Sweet heaven- that is just amazing... I would love to take a class from you. Knocked-my-socks-off beautiful!!!

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  58. Absolutely stunning piece! Wonderful colors, textures... everything! Gorgeous!

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  59. What a statement piece! Fabulous!

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  60. I don't even know what to say, except that I"m really blown away by your piece! What an amazing amount of work you put into this...the focal looks absolutely beautiful, as does the entire piece.

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  61. Wow. This is amazing. I don't think I have seen anything like this. Truly a unique piece of wearable art. You rocked it out!

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  62. Knock me on my A*#!! That is stupendous!! Fantastic example of Art jewelry!

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  63. What a wonderfully unique creation. I love working with polymer clay too! So versatile, I love how you encased your focal and the colors of it all are so earthy. It has a renaissance meets modern fairy tale feel!!Great Soup!!

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  64. Exceptional piece! I'm so glad you jumped in the soup with us!!!!

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  65. Oh my!! That is such a beautiful, intricate work of art - I love it! I loved reading about the thoughts behind it too. Definitely one of my favourites in the party.

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  66. Your work is amazing! I have briefly experimented with polymer - as I work in earthenware and stoneware - and I respect the material. You impress upon me its infinite capabilities! I am sorry I dod not get to chat with you Friday night at ArtBliss.

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  67. Always enjoy your blog. I really like how you framed the focal and used your poly pieces. Good work.

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  68. The scene you created around the tree focal is amazing.... the tree bead looks like it is a door leading into a secret place. I'm sure there is a story behind that door! Great piece!

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  69. What an artistic piece! You embedded the focal in a wonderful way, I wish I could do something like that!

    Ambra

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  70. You are so amazing, Miss Christine. I am in awe of the way your mind works and the way you can translate this medium into such striking creations. Enjoy the day!
    Erin

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