Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Once Again into the Creative Soup

Soup has got to be my favorite food. Stew, goulash, cassoulet, stufato-- whatever the culture calls it, the melange of flavors, the cornucopia of ingredients, the surprising little bits of this and that-- it all comes together in the pot in a surprising triumph of cooperation of many disparate elements. As you're simply chopping all the pieces up, you cannot predict what the final result will be. That's the crap shoot, the risk, taking the leap of faith that you will get something great in the end from things that don't even look like they belong together.

It's 20 degrees this morning in central Vermont and lightly snowing. I can see my snow-covered meadow from the window above my workbench, where there are a number of projects in various stages of completion-- Valentine's presents for the women in my family, a funky little heart framed in wirework with its patina curing, lots of pairs of earrings that need finishing.

It may seem chaotic but I find working like this to be the best way for me to let the lessons learned from one project spill over and influence others I'm working on. Since I've become a serious, every-day-at-the-bench artist, I need to put myself in the way of design problems to solve-- they don't just show up in my workspace. As I've mentioned before, the Art Bead Scene challenges are very stimulating and I've followed Michelle Ward's challenges as well. Now I've got a new “design addiction”-- Lori Anderson's Bead Soup Party!I know several beaders/designers who have done a couple of these with Lori and loved them so I decided to jump in.

Lori asked each one of us to define our style so she could try to pair us with someone who was the opposite of that style. The method in her madness: “to get you to challenge yourself, help break you out of your design rut, so to speak”. And it works.

I was so fortunate to be paired with a very talented lampwork craftswoman and designer, Lyn Foley, from Texas. We immediately e-mailed back and forth and checked out each others photos and in a few days I received this bountiful box of loot from Lyn.

The only rule is you have to use the focal and the clasp your partner supplies in your creation. You are free to use any of your own stash for supplemental beads or the ones that your partner sends. I had immediately admired Lyn's ruffly flower beads and was so happy to see some arrive for me wrapped in palest turquoise tissuepaper! But then I noticed the nifty Steampunk-style found object focal in bronze that she had included. How to make a harmonious piece out of two dissimilar styles? Well, that's the whole point, isn't it? To give your creative problem-solving muscles a challenge, to jog you out of familiar paths and ways of working.

I'll be teasing you with some little glimpses of work in progress in the next few weeks-- the big Reveal Party will be on February 26 and all 210 (yes-- you read that correctly!) of us intrepid designers will be blogging our results at the same time. Fireworks in midwinter!

For more information on the Bead Soup Party, go to Lori Anderson (Flickr group http://www.flickr.com/groups/1290276@N25/)


  1. WOW, what cool stuff! I can't wait to see what you do!

  2. That is some wickedly cool stuff! I am still waiting on my ingredients from Germany. Can't wait! SO glad you are playing along!
    Enjoy the day!

  3. I love Lyn's beads...they are just gorgeous! She and I were just across from each other last year at our Art Walk in Fayetteville =) I made it a point to go say hello after finding out that Cindy and she were Bead Soup partners! And, now this year...you are Lyn's partner=) How exciting! Can't see what you tease us with...

  4. Hey Christine - What an incredible group of beads you have to work with there! You Are a lucky one. Really Love that clasp as well, very unusual and I'm partial to lions being a Leo. Anyway- I checked out your blog and really enjoyed your work. Happy to meet another New Englander bead artist. Can't wait to see what you create with your bead soup! Lisa Boucher :) http://lisasclayhappenings.blogspot.com/

  5. You are the lucky lady paired with Lyn this time. As you know she was a previous BSBP partner of mine and I treasure the necklace I made with her lampwork beads! It is so amazing to now see the beads that you described over the phone! I just know you will work wonders with these components, as you always do! :-)

  6. Hi Christine;

    Love the pictures you took of what I sent. Can't wait to see what you create. I've got your beads up now too. Ideas are stewing.

  7. Those are some very interesting components and I am sure they have your creative juices flowing already. Can't wait to see what you do.

  8. i love lyn's work as well! it can be intimidating to get so much beauty and diversity... i always need to sit with things and let them simmer... cannot wait to see what you do!

  9. Congratulations! Before reading this blog, I just had a bowl of soup before I run off to teach a class. But this is a unique set of ingredients and I'm anxious to see what you create!