Once again we plunge into the creative soup of the Bead Soup Blog Party, brainchild of Lori Anderson, hostess extraordinaire, who patiently matches and then husbands the pairs of participants -- a full 100 this time! from receipt of their beads to the final grand finale of the Big Reveal.
In case you're not familiar with the BSBP, partners are matched and trade sets of beads, to include a focal, a nice clasp and some extra beads that coordinate. The goal is to make a piece out of those components and hopefully, get outside your comfort zone by working with someone else's colors, style and bead choices.
This is my third Bead Soup Party and since I work in polymer clay for the most part, I can usually work easily with whatever I'm given. But the brilliance of the BSBP is that you can just throw your preconceptions out the window because you never know what will be in the little package that you receive from your partner.
I was partnered this time with Deb Brooks of From the Heart Creations who handcrafted the focal she sent me out of vintage mother-of-pearl buttons. Did I mention that I have a teensy obsession with MOP? Well, you don't want to see my eBay invoices. I have quite the collection. Deb made a button stack of several of her beauties and wrapped them in brass wire with a sinuous Deco feel to both the focal and the clasp. I also love old jet buttons and Deb included one of them in the focal as well.
I wanted to pick up the subtle colors of the MOP in both the white buttons and the darker purple one so I chose ochre yellow, salmon pink and purple as a working palette. Black was my neutral and I tried to incorporate as many of the faceted black beads into my stringing that Deb included in the coordinating 'soup'. There were lovely salmon tracings in the long agate beads she sent so I decided to combine both copper and bronze metals in the piece.
I usually work with rather large elements in my designs and always incorporate polymer into them so my first issue was how to use polymer as well as enlarge the focal area of my piece. Making a molded copy of one of my vintage beads allowed me to emphasize my color palette by hand-coloring the polymer element and enlarge my design area. Then I decided to take a page from the book of the talented Cynthia Deis, owner of Ornamentea--who was my partner on the last BSBP-- and add a lush tassel to the bottom of the MOP focal. It gave me a chance to play with lots of tiny rare elements that I tend to collect, mixing and blending favorite components together-- vintage buttons, quartz beads, pre-war Japanese celluloid leaves, Czech glass, pearls and hand-dyed rayon cord.
To round out the necklace strands, I dug into my stash of old polymer beads and found some from a tutorial on making polymer clay ammonite beads by Heather Powers. Both the design and color of these were perfect for my purpose. I added some gilders paste to the edges in black and copper and then just because I love them, I added some vintage Japanese black beaded ball beads to the chains for bling.
You can follow the action by going to Lori's site at http://www.prettythingsblog.com/ for a full list of participants.