Friday, February 10, 2012

Bead Soup - It's What's For Winter

As I was mixing up a batch of homemade chicken soup this morning, I looked into the pot of roiling, fragrant broth and envisioned a decadent kaleidescope of beads, all tossed and tumbled in a waterfall of colors and textures. Maybe the fact that I had just been watching SyFy's “Face-Off”-- a competition between make-up artists tasked with creating fanciful monsters and creatures-- had something to do with it. Watching artists turned loose to bring their most fantastical imaginings into reality stimulates my creative urges in a powerful way.

Being deep in the doldrums of a mildly cold yet almost snow-less winter in Vermont begs for some artistic flame-fanning to get the old imagination going and what better to do that than a pot of soup-- Bead Soup Blog Party 5, that is!

For those of you new to the Bead Soup Blog Party, our inventive originator of the idea and perennial hostess, Lori Anderson , invites participants to collect one beautiful focal, one beautiful clasp and an assortment of beads that they would choose for themselves to design a necklace or bracelet and send that to a partner that is handpicked by Lori. This works because she tries to pair people who haven't worked together before so that each person is pushed to create something outside their design comfort zone.

I was partnered with Deb Brooks of From the Heart Creations this time. Neither one of us had met before so I filled her in about my found object passion and polymer clay habit and she responded enthusiastically by sending me an amazing focal consisting of several vintage mother-of-pearl beads cleverly stacked and artistically wired into one, including a vintage jet shoe button.

Vintage mother-of-pearl buttons, jet high-button shoe button

In addition, she worked a small MOP button into a sinuous handmade bronze clasp.

Nice symmetry between the two!

Supporting cast members included tiny faceted jet beads, several lengths of vintage chain (one of my overwhelming addictions!) some large faceted jasper barrels, bone spacers, ivory jasper and a big bag of assorted vintage buttons, including one stunning naturally patinated one. What a stash!

All the Soup ingredients

 As an extra goodie, she included one of her signature pieces, a silverplate fork with ingeniously twisted tines, with its handle curved so it can function as a pendant. I have some interesting plans for this, but not in this piece. You'll just have to visit again in the future to see the final version.

What can we make out of this?

So I'm definitely out of my comfort zone here. I don't use neutrals all that often so I'm contemplating how to use the subtle cream tones of the MOP to advantage. And we can't make this too pretty-- so some steampunk influence will probably show itself, especially since Deb has included some gears and watch faces in the mix. Did I mention that I just purchased some fossilized mammoth bone beads from Happy Mango Beads? I'll let you, gentle reader, ponder that for a bit. And some Baltic amber and a silver repousse Chinese horse bead. Guess you'll just have to be here for the Big Reveal on March 3.